Depending on your preference and physicality, there is something for every type of hiker from beginners to very experienced hikers. For those who are considering or are new to hiking, here are some of the things you should know before starting up the trail.
You should know as much as you can about the hiking destination before signing up. Inquire about the terrain, how long it would take, the stress rating (leisurely to intense on a scale of 1-10) and the possibility of swimming.
2. Dress code
The golden rule is casual and functional as much as possible. Avoid jeans as they are not as comfortable and wear a cap for shade from the sun. Pack extra clothes just in case; you will probably be very sweaty and uncomfortable at the end of your hike. Most hikes in Trinidad and Tobago end with a nice swim in a cool river or waterfall.
Running or waterproof hiking shoes are preferred. Make sure you get used to them before using them for a trek. This prevents you from having blisters. Hiking is not glamping so absolutely no flip-flops, high-heeled shoes or sandals.
4. Gadget care
Have a waterproof bag for your mobile phone, camera, car keys and other items that could get lost or damaged.
Limit your supplies to only light-weight essentials to save your energy. These essentials include big bottle of water (1 litre or more), insect repellent, sun screen, sports drink and some medication.
6. Packing for a long multi-day hike
The rule of thumb is packing one set of clothes for hiking and another for sleeping. Let’s face it, your clothes get sweaty within a few minutes so why bother to bring so many? The best approach for packing for a long hike is keeping the weight down as much as possible especially if you will be carrying everything you need.
If you must carry a backpack, make sure it is one that you are comfortable with. It must distribute weight on your shoulders and back. If you have one that is waterproof, excellent for you.
8. Check your medical fitness
Confirm the rating of the hike you choose to be sure you can manage it. Hikes have a rating ranging from 1 (very easy) to 8 (very difficult). If you are a beginner, stick to 1-3 rated hikes, those are pretty much leisurely walks on the beach. Hikes rated 7-8 are brutal tests of endurance. Be guided accordingly.
9. Young ones
We understand that you want to have an experience that the whole family will savour but let’s leave the babies at home…even on a 1-rated hike. It is not advisable for children under the age of 7 to go along on hikes where the trail difficulty is higher than 4.
10. Obey Group Rules
Always stay in the group with everyone else. Do not try to explore a shortcut on your own. It is also safer to travel in the middle of the pack, try not to run. Most hiking groups do not allow alcohol or other substances. Water and energy drinks only.
Before going on a hike, have some experience and build up your strength. Compile your favourite songs on an offline playlist for your listening pleasure. Always stay hydrated and eat whether you’re hungry or not. Hiking with friends and family is an unforgettable experience when done right. Prepare well so that you can have an amazing adventure. Good luck!