No matter what your experience with the great outdoors, it’s always great to get out more and explore the world around you. If you’re new to the world of outdoor walks, then check out our top tips for hiking beginners to get you inspired for the next sunny day!
Hiking is a great way to see the natural landscape around you, and with the promise of warmer weather and sunny days on the horizon, we love to look at the best ways to get out and about and rediscover our love for the great outdoors. Although there is plenty to explore during the rest of the year, there’s something quite special about the first hike of the spring season. Whether you want to venture to the top of a nearby hill, or just want to explore the coast – there’s something for everyone.
With better weather comes better opportunities for your first try at hiking. No matter which season its is, many people, across all ages and fitness levels, will be inspired to get outdoors and enjoy walking in the UK’s varied landscapes. But if you have had the winter off you might need some fresh pointers about clothing, kit, safety and where to walk before tackling your first hike.
What Are Your Top Tips for Hiking Beginners?
The UK is well known for changing weather conditions. In spring and summer the temperatures are generally higher but it can still be wet, windy and chilly. Remember that the higher you climb, the more likely you are to be met with colder temperatures, wind and clouds to limit your views. It’s always a good idea to think about layering up your outdoor clothing, with enough extra layers for when conditions change.
If you prefer to stay at a lower level, following waymarked trails, you’ll be less likely to face harsh conditions, but a spring and summer walking rucksack should still include all the kit and clothes that you will need to stay safe. Always think about what you might need. It’s better to be safe than to be sorry. We all know what it’s like to be caught in an April shower that has us absolutely soaked to the skin. Think light waterproofs, and trousers that won’t hold onto water when it starts to pour.
It’s always good to know before you go. Check out other people’s comments and reviews of some of the most popular walking routes for some helpful hints and tips. The weather will be the most common factor when it comes to the conditions of your hike, but make sure you know the important information about parking, and access routes if you’re likely to pass by working farms or across other public access.
What outdoor Clothing Should I Wear for hiking?
The clothing you wear for the great outdoors will obviously depend on the conditions on the day, but a general guide is to wear and pack the following items to ensure you have the layers of clothing you’ll need to be comfortable:
- A baselayer top in sweat wicking fabrics such as merino wool will aid comfort in terms of warmth and breathability.
- Synthetic and sports specific tops are an advantage if you have sensitive skin and do not like the feel of merino wool. Synthetics are quick drying and lightweight and a great way to add layers if you feel the cold.
- Outdoor midlayer tops, such as a fleeces or lightweight insulted jackets are a good idea if the weather is cool or windy. Look for windproof layers for extra protection from the elements. With developments from some of our top brands, there’s plenty of options for any potential spring walker.
- For your outer layer, its best to invest in another windproof or waterproof shell jacket. Think extra pockets and stretch panels for a more comfortable fit. You should always carry a waterproof outer layer because you never know when the rain will come!
- Outdoor jackets should be breathable, as well as highly waterproof. A lightweight jacket will suffice at lower level country walks but for mountain hiking a high quality jacket made from Gore-Tex is advisable. Make sure you keep your waterproofs protected by using a good waterproofing spray or in wash gel.
- Walking trousers or running tights are great for comfortable walking. You’ll need to pack waterproof over-trousers for times when the rain gets heavier. Walking specific trousers are made from more durable and hard wearing materials – and are much better if you’re going to be getting outdoors more!
- Accessories such as gloves, neck buffs and hats are also advisable during the spring. You can pack accessories you’ll need in a rucksack according to how cold you get, having more is always better than ending up cold.
what other items should i think about for hiking?
Walking Boots should be carefully chosen. It is important to seek advice and to try on footwear. Comfort is very important, as is choosing the right footwear to suit the terrain that you plan to be walking on. It is up to you whether you go for leather or waterproof fabric based footwear but good quality will count for a lot in the long-term because the boots will be more durable.
Other kit to consider includes a map and compass, a GPS gadget, food, water, hot drinks, energy bars and an emergency shelter, especially if you are heading into the mountains.
A walking day rucksack should be big enough to pack all your kit. Again, comfort is important so take advice and consider what you will be using the rucksack for. Try on a few bags and choose a male or female specific rucksack if you can to make it more comfortable for a day in the hills.
Where Should I Go to hike?
There are so many options in the UK, for hiking beginners. from easy low-level trails to long-distance waymarked country hikes. Wherever your local hills or high-rise mountain ridges are, there’s bound to be a hike for beginners near you! If you are a newcomer to walking you should first aim to build your fitness and increase the mileage that you can comfortably walk.
Navigation is a vital skill if you plan to walk off the beaten track and there are plenty of courses and workshops that you can sign up to learn the techniques of using a map and compass, as well are videos on youtube.
A walking club or meet-up group can offer the opportunity to take your walking further afield and to new places. Look online for local groups or head along to outdoors or walking festivals in the UK where you will find lots of like-minded people and guides. We’d always recommend that new hikers get in the know before you go, and follow easier routes to see if the great outdoors are for you!
You could also choose to sign up to a guided walk to take you to locations that you do not feel experienced enough to manage on your own. Again, an online search will reveal a host of walking and mountain guides in the UK. Ask for recommendations from walking friends if in doubt. Make sure you get the best maps for UK hiking from the official supplier, Ordnance Survey.
No matter what your starting point, we want to help you get geared up for those first walking adventures, so what are you waiting for? Leave us a comment below or get in touch with us so we can give you some of our favourite walking routes across the UK! It’s great to start a new hobby, and hiking for beginners can be such a great way to spend a day.