Summer hiking. My favourite type of summer exercise. It’s social, you get gorgeous views, it doesn’t have to feel like a workout, and you can stop along the way for a snack.

What could be better?

As we approach hiking season, I’ve got a few quick tips to help you hike better.

1. Find a trail worth hiking

This can be tricky. If you’ve got outdoorsy friends who hike a lot, they’ll likely tell you what the best spots are, and how difficult or easy they might be. If your friends are more the indoor-types, finding a great spot at your level can be a little more difficult. Thankfully, there are a number of great sites that can help, like REI’s Hiking Project, Backpacker, and TrailLink. When you find a hike that sounds fun, make sure to check how long it will take, the level of difficulty, and any other useful details, like information about altitude or humidity.

2. Get comfortable

You don’t want to hike in jeans or converse. At least, not if you’re serious. For clothes, go for thin, light layers of clothing made from polyester, nylon, or wool, as these are moisture wicking and dry quickly. Depending on where you’re hiking, shorts could be an option, but in general you’ll want rainproof pants that are comfortable and don’t rip easily. You’ll want a rain jacket too; just make sure it’s breathable, and if you’re hiking where it’s cold, a fleece will definitely come in handy. If this is light hike, athletic shoes are fine, otherwise, stick with hiking boots.

3. Stay watered

Although a boozy hike might sound fun, the reality is that it’s less than helpful. Make sure to carry water with you; you’ll want at least 1 liter for every two hours spent hiking. So if you’re hiking for 12 hours, bring upwards of 6 liters of water.

4. Snack right

Snack often. Hiking can burn up to 500 calories an hour, making it an easy way to burn of a day’s worth of calories. Make sure to pack snacks that are rich in protein and good sources of complex carbohydrates. Things like trail mix, protein bars, jerky, and dried fruit are ideal.

5. Pack the essentials

Besides food and water, you’ll need to make sure you have a flashlight, a map and a compass, sunscreen, and a first aid kit. If you’re going for a longer hike you’ll obviously need more, but if it’s a short day thing, these five essentials should be enough to get you through.

Where are you hiking this summer?

Femi A-Williams is a health and fitness convert trying to reconcile a healthy lifestyle and a happy food life. She is 80% whole grain and 20% donut.

All posts by Femi A-Williams