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Couple hiking sestovic/iStock

Hiking: tips and advice for beginners

The hiking trend also enables us to discover the beautiful side of our homeland – we have all the important information on clothing, provisions, etc. for beginners.

Always individual: the route and difficulty level

Hiking is a sporting activity and – just like any kind of sport – an individual and slow introduction to it is important, depending on your level of fitness. Beginners should use their first hiking route to test their own abilities. Accordingly, a route that can be completed easily in three to four hours with an elevation gain of less than 500 metres is sufficient. A day tour over a distance of around ten kilometres is a good start. 

As a general rule of thumb, you can roughly cover four kilometres per hour on flat terrain and two kilometres per hour in the mountains. If you wish to hike as part of a group, however, this tempo should always be adjusted to suit the slowest members.  

Route distances and elevation gains can then gradually be increased to enable the body to acclimatise. Over time, you will then notice that your strength and condition will gradually allow you to take on longer and more difficult routes. 

Top up your energy reserves with the right kind of food

Depending on the duration and difficulty of your hiking route, your body will need between 350 and 550 kcal per hour. So it is important to keep your energy levels topped up! 

Carbohydrates and dietary fibre are the best energy sources. As good preparation for your hiking tour, you should therefore eat a nutritious, but light breakfast with muesli, fruit and wholemeal bread, for example, and make sure that you drink sufficient amounts! 

Generally speaking, you should always keep your energy levels well balanced. That means you should eat something every one or two hours – ideally food that is high in carbohydrates again, such as muesli bars, fruit, trail mix or wholemeal bread.  

It is equally important to make sure you take on enough fluid: you should certainly drink between two and four litres each day if you are undertaking any form of physical exertion. Here it is better to drink around 150 to 200 ml every 15 to 30 minutes than a litre every two hours. That’s because if you only drink once you become thirsty, it is often too late and your body has already lost a great deal of fluid. 

Water or slightly sweetened herbal or fruit tea and carbonated juices are best absorbed and utilised. Definitely avoid alcohol – it dehydrates the body and clouds your judgement. 

Tip: Even if you have planned a little stop-off on your route, you should always take enough provisions with you just in case.

excerpt hikingCasarsaGuru/iStock

Better safe than sorry – the best weather

When it comes to the weather, the most important rule is to make sure you always keep an eye on it. Weather apps are now more than reliable and can give you up-to-the-minute information about the weather along your planned route. 

With the right clothing, of course, even rain is not a problem, but if there is the risk of a storm, you should generally not go hiking. Fog can also be dangerous – it can suddenly descend and lead to poor visibility and in the worst-case scenario it may even cause you to stray from your route. Particularly when hiking in the mountains, you must remain well informed at all times for your own safety. 

In the event of light rain, you should ideally head for the forest – its leaf canopy will protect you and the forest floor from getting too wet. This will help you to stay as dry as possible, which means there is less risk of catching a cold or slipping over. 

Daylight is also important – so always keep an eye on the sunrise and sunset times. You should ideally set off in the morning so that you are guaranteed to have enough daylight to keep you safe on your hike.  

Tip: Check the weather forecast the day before and on the morning of your hike to make sure that you are well informed at all times.

Perfectly equipped with the right kit

‘There is no such thing as bad weather, only the wrong clothes’ – nowhere are these wise words more apt than when hiking in the great outdoors. 

First and foremost, suitable footwear is part of the right outfit. At the beginning and on easy routes with firm terrain, trainers or running shoes ought to be sufficient. Most important of all, they should always have a good tread and a certain amount of slip resistance, and they should also fit comfortably with no pressure points. On longer and more difficult hikes, however, you should certainly adapt your choice of footwear to the route and terrain. Depending on the unevenness of the terrain, you need stability around the ankles, for example, so that you don’t twist them and injure yourself.  

The best idea is to go to a specialist store for advice and try on various hiking boots until you feel completely comfortable in a pair. You should then run the boots in on shorter everyday routes prior to your first proper hike in order to prevent blisters. Breathable hiking socks will also support you with a reinforced area around the ball and heel area, while also keeping your feet dry and protected. It is nonetheless always a good idea to carry blister plasters on your hikes, especially at the beginning. 

A good fit and breathability are also important when it comes to the rest of your hiking clothing. You are best prepared for any eventuality with the famous onion look. Each layer should consist of sportswear or outdoor clothing and be as breathable and weatherproof as possible. This will ensure that you are always well prepared for sweaty stretches of the hike as well as adverse weather conditions. Headgear will also protect you from the sun and the rain. 

By the way: You can read all about the most essential aspects of outdoor clothing in our related article. 

You will also need the right rucksack to transport your provisions and temporarily carry the layers of your onion look that you don’t need. This should fit perfectly and be light and robust. In order to make sure that it hugs your body as well as possible, the right size to suit your back and wide, padded shoulder straps are advantageous. Several straps for the waist, chest and shoulders also distribute the weight to prevent your shoulders from getting cramp during a long hike. The waist strap alone bears around 60 to 70% of the total weight of your rucksack. This will ensure that even the biggest supply of drinks will not be a burden on hot days.

Persil Service will take care of your hiking clothing

Just give your soiled hiking clothes to Persil Service so that you can simply put your feet up after a long hike. Your functional clothes and outdoor laundry will get the best cleaning care here. You can find all the information at www.persil-service.de