My Pre-Hike Checklist: What To Do Before A Day Hike

Achieving a positive hiking experience takes a little thought, planning and preparation. Over the years I have developed a quick and simple routine that I follow before each hike to enable me to have the best time. To help you stay safe, feel energised and handle any curve balls thrown at you by the weather gods, make sure you check off this list before you embark on your next day’s hike! 

Psst. If you’re looking for a hiking kit guide that explains what to bring on a day hike, click here.

  • Check the weather forecast. Ensure you’re bringing the appropriate kit for the conditions ahead, whether that’s warm layers, waterproofs or suncream. It is always better to be over-prepared than underprepared. And remember – weather conditions can change in seconds and it is significantly cooler the higher up a mountain you hike.
  • Look up the sunset time. Ensure you have enough time to complete the hike before darkness, and if in doubt – carry a headtorch. 
  • Use a map. If you’re using an online hike planner (such as AllTrails), ensure you download the route onto your phone so it is accessible offline, therefore you can access it if you lose signal. It is also wise to carry a map and compass as a back up.
  • Consider the route itself. Is it appropriate for your fitness levels? Are you feeling energised enough to take it on today? How much time do you need to complete it? Do you have the correct equipment you need for it and is the equipment all in working order?
  • Charge your phone. Start the hike with a full battery and bring a portable charger with you. It is surprising how quickly your phone battery can drain when you’re using it to navigate and take photos, especially while exposing it to different weather conditions. 
  • Inform a loved one of your plans, route and timings. Therefore if you’re not home when expected, they know when to be concerned and where to come and find you. You can always go one step further and share your live location with them too.
  • Fuel up. Eat a nourishing meal prior to the hike and bring along more snacks than you think you need. Your energy levels can become depleted very quickly under tough conditions. I also recommend bringing as much water as possible, especially if you’re hiking on a hot day.
  • Look up parking options. Check where you can park near the trailhead and whether you need to pay for parking. I also recommend considering arriving early to secure a parking spot if it is a busy route.
  • Take warm, dry and comfy clothes to leave in the car. There is no better feeling than taking off your hiking boots and slipping on some fresh socks.

Happy hiking!

Zanna x

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