Hiking Beginner’s Packing List for Essentials
If you’re new to the slopes, you may want to know what to wear and pack on your hikes. This is a hiking beginner’s packing list.
Sports Scientist Shona Hendriks provides an excellent guide to preparing for a hike – scroll down to the end.
This is my guide for novice hikers, based on my experience hiking in the Drakensberg, Swaziland, Golden Gate National Park, the Polish Tatras and all around Cape Town. You can read about my experience hiking in the Drakensberg here.
Hiking pants with zips for conversion in warmer weather
Polypropylene or synthetic t-shirt to wick away sweat
Long sleeved hiking shirt for sun protection in summer
Sturdy hiking boots – wear these in a few weeks before.
Sock liners and appropriate hiking socks
Rain jacket or poncho – Kat says: Never underestimate the Berg. Be prepared for fast-changing weather.
Lightweight backpack – Shona says: Pack as light as possible. If you don’t have a very good level of fitness, that pack gets extremely heavy quickly.
Vaseline or Glide – to prevent blisters on feet
Basic medical kit with small scissor or utility knife
Hand wipes or tissues
Mace/pepper spray – a preventative measure
Kinesio tape for shins and knees
Water – consider a camel pack for hands-free drinking
Snacks – dark chocolate, unsalted nuts, wine gums/jelly babies for energy boosts.
Sandwiches – use rye or dark low GI bread and a protein like ham, cheese, tuna or boiled eggs. Pineapple wedges, apples, cucumber chunks and oranges are refreshing and hydrating.
Training Tips from Shona Hendriks, sports scientist
- Build cardiovascular endurance, strength in your legs and glutes, a conditioned core and perform proprioception and balance training [Ed: with a BOSU balance board, for example] to assist with the unstable, rocky ledges.
- Combine your routine with a mixture of endurance and strength training. Much of this can be done in the gym.
- For concentration, the fitter a person is, the longer (and more effectively) they will be able to concentrate.
- Keep hydrated and take plenty of water.
- Avoid very sugary snacks. Energy bars, dried fruit, wine gums and peanuts are good. Crackers with a protein like chicken or tuna are nutritious and easy to carry.
- For sustained energy, consume 20-30 grams of carbohydrates every hour, especially on long hikes, rather than one big meal. Use dinner to replenish your energy stores.
- Most injuries for an unconditioned person occur from falling or tripping while fatigued or from uncoordinated movements. Ensure you train sufficiently.
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