Your first few nights out in the woods can be intimidating for some, especially when you don't have much experience with camping. When I first started backpacking, I struggled with finding peace of mind at night and knowing how to enjoy the trail without being completely exhausted. I failed to research before going into the woods, so learned a few lessons the hard way!
Hiking Tips: When starting out on the trail, no matter what shape you're in, your mind can get the best of you. The last time my husband and I were out for a few days, I would stop going up inclines every quarter mile, needing to catch my breath. My hubby gave me the best advice possible - try to push through the urge to stop. Of course, listen to your body, but when we were out and I was 30 weeks pregnant, that was the best thing he could have told me. I found that when I pushed through the urge, I stopped feeling winded and found the extra energy to really challenge my hiking ability. Don't focus on how tired and out of breath you are - enjoy the scenery, or even listen to some music that makes you feel motivated! I always had a bit of anxiety starting out on the trail, wondering if I was going to be able to make it through the hikes, but once I let all the self doubt go, I managed to be able to climb any mountain.
Sleeping Tips: EAR BUDS! Seriously, if you are a light sleeper or nervous about the wildlife around you, make sure to pack some ear buds. I am a very light sleeper and every noise that I heard would wake me up at night. Bring a iPod or music on your phone to listen to while falling asleep. My son and I both like white noise, so I downloaded a app on my phone to make sure we had peace of mind while sleeping. I also always seem to feel the days hike at night, no matter how good my equipment is. I have an emergency pack of medicine just in case it is keeping me up. I always pack allergy medicine, fever reducer and a anti-inflammatory, just to be on the safe side! If you do happen to come down with something while out on the trail, see out tips for surviving the trail while sick here.
Equipment Tips: Get fitted for a pack. I just recently finally got my own pack, and had been using my husbands whom is a foot taller than me. It caused a lot of painful hikes and sleepless nights. Most gear sites have a DIY measuring system, but you can also find one here by REI. See my review on my pack here. Get a comfortable pair of hiking boots. Research boots for your foot type, depending on your foot arch and how you walk, almost like getting fitted for tennis shoes. I always bring my ankle supported hiking boots and my Chacos for the hot days and walking around camp. Pack light! Try to remember that what you pack, you have to carry. I always bring one pair of shorts, one pair of underwear (non cotton - may seem gross, but see our nitty-gritty tips for ladies to stay clean here), a short sleeve shirt (non-cotton), rain gear (rain jacket and rain pants), and a pair of socks for every two days of hiking. I try to wash my undergarments and socks off in filtered water every couple of days.
Being out and being one with nature is one of the most relaxing experiences! Having a little peace of mind before adventuring out can be all you need to have that perfect hike.
A now prepared,
Back Country Momma