What does stepping further on the trail mean to you? For some, it means hiking for the first time! So, we’ve compiled a list of things to consider before getting out on the trail this Spring
- Start small
- Check the weather
- Dress appropriately
- Carry the necessities
- Tell a friend
- Take a trail map
- Respect the trail and others
First, you want to start small. Research trails near you and find an option that is recommended for your comfort level. Reading reviews and comments about the hike will be the best way to figure out what you want your first experience to be, so using apps like AllTrails or joining a local hiking group will help get the most honest feedback and recommendations for your area.
Next, you should always check the weather before you hit the trail. Conditions and temperatures can change at higher elevations, so knowing if you need to pack extra layers or if it’s safer to go hiking on a different day is important to make sure you are able to enjoy the trail safely.
Once you know where you’re going and what the weather will be, choose breathable, quick-drying material and good shoes to make sure you stay comfortable throughout the hike. Take our “Find Your Sole Mate” quiz to discover your perfect trail shoes!
There’s no need to overpack, but you should at least carry the essentials for the hike you’re going on. Some of the items we recommend you never hit the trail without are a first aid kit, water, snacks, extra layers, and a cell phone in case of emergencies. Service can be limited though, so make sure you let a friend or family member know where you are going! Use our Trail Plan template to send to a loved one the next time you hit the trail.
My Trail Plan
On (date) __________ I will be hiking at around (time) _________ on the (hike name) __________________ trail in (city, state) _______________. I will be hiking (mileage) ________ and will be (circle one) by myself with friends
If you have not heard from me by (time) __________ on (day) _____________ of (month) ____________, call search and rescue at 911 and report me as overdue.
Vehicle Make ____________
License Plate ____________
Depending on the trail you choose, some are more difficult to follow than others. Having a map on hand can help you stay on course, but checking the trailhead signage for what the trail markers will look like is also helpful! Trail markers can be anything from paint on a tree to wooden signs with mileage information along the way. There are also trails that do not have any indication of where to go, so make sure you do research in advance to know how your chosen trail is marked.
Finally, try your best to stay on the official trail to avoid disturbing surrounding foliage. Also, make sure to pack out all your trash, and be mindful of other hikers who are outside to enjoy nature. Here at Merrell, we believe the trail is for everyone, so we can’t wait to see you out there!