WMSS tips & tricks for hiking

Coming to the end of the summer season but don’t let that stop you exploring our giant backyard. Hiking is a fun, safe and accessible way to spend time with friends and family. Here are some great tips & tricks to keep everyone safe and smiling on the tracks this weekend.

What a view!! WMSS Logistics Officer, Emma on the Tongariro Alpine Crossing, National Park, New Zealand

WMSS top 10 hiking tips

  1. Pack light – aim for never more than 20% of your body weight. A light pack will make walking more enjoyable and keep the group happy.
  2. Check the weather – but be prepared for change and always expect rain – it never hurts to throw in some lightweight waterproof over gear.
  3. Plan your trip – read about the best viewpoints, best campsites and have a good idea where you are going. No-one wants to be that person who is hopelessly lost, in need of rescuing and a space blanket.
  4. Spend the money on socks – they may seem expensive, but your toes are worth it.
  5. Water
    • generally, a safe amount is 3-4L per person, per day. You will need more, up to 1L per hour if walking in hot weather or at altitude (where the air is dry and exposure is greater). You might get away with less if there refill locations along the track.
    • Drink small amounts frequently to stay hydrated. A hiking bladder that fits into your pack is also a great investment.
    • Refill water from flowing streams and rivers above the tree line (away from live-stock), and avoid water from stagnant, dirty or foaming water sources. Huts and camps generally have water but this will need to be treated or boiled prior to drinking. Look for signposts for more guidance. Water purification capsules are a good option if there is an available water source.
    • Explore these links to learn more about staying hydrated while in the wilderness.
  6. Wear in your hiking boots – around the house, down the street, on short day hikes, in bed. It doesn’t matter where just make sure you have clocked up some k’s before your first big hike.
  7. Always take a head torch and batteries – for those days when sunset creeps up on you before you have reached your campsite (this happens more commonly than you think, and iPhone torches just don’t cut it)
  8. Take plenty of food – a mix of things you can eat on the go and substantial warm meals to raise the spirits at the end of the day.
  9. Dress in layers – a chilly day can warm up quickly once you start hiking and the temperature can drop quickly once the sun is down. Good layering will ensure you are comfortable throughout the entire hike. Wear thermals and polar-fleece as they pull water away from the skin to keep you warm. Don’t forget a water/wind proof layer on top. Avoid cotton as it will stay wet against your skin for a long time.
  10. Be spontaneous – this may sound counter to point 3 but one of the best ways to enjoy the outdoors is to just explore. If there is a mountain, climb it. A trail you didn’t know about, follow it. As long as you are sensible and always know the direction you came from you can explore as much as you like!

Emma’s 10 non-essential essentials

  1. Scroggin…pretty much the main reason to go hiking in the first place. Add Kellog’s Nutri-grain cereal – I promise, a welcome addition.
  2. Blister packs…because there is no worse combination than blisters and hiking boots.
  3. Electrolyte capsules…for surprise stomach bugs.
  4. Hand sanitizer…best way to avoid needing the electrolyte capsules.
  5. Cheese…because no matter what you are eating, it will taste better with cheese.
  6. Deodorant…your hiking buddies may argue this is actually essential.
  7. Bed socks…the best way to treat your feet after a long day of hiking.
  8. Camp shoes…because there is just no better feeling than kicking off those hiking boots.
  9. Duct tape… in case literally anything breaks. I’m yet to find something that it can’t fix.
  10. Head-wear (hat, beanie, bandana, buff or headband)…it doesn’t matter what really, as long as it can hide hair that is long overdue for a good wash.

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