7 Preparation Tips For A Multi-Day Hiking
Multi-day hiking is becoming more and more popular in different parts of the world. There’s a lot of paradises to do, you can tour the canyons of the Grand Canyon, spend several days in the jungles, in fact, we are fortunate to do a multi-day hiking trip in almost any place.
Would you be interested in doing multi-day hiking sometime? It doesn't matter if you are a beginner or an old mountain hiker, it is something that requires a lot of preparation beforehand.
Published: June 7, 2021.
Everything in life has its risks, so it happens in the mountains as well. Here I am going to share with you some tips for when you want to plan your own multi-day hike with friends.
Familiarize yourself with your destination
Spend time getting to know everything about the location where you are going to be. Find out about the climate and terrain where you will be planning your route. Make an itinerary of what you plan to do each day of the hiking, mentioning important facts about the area you will be in that day and whether you will need to pay for transportation or lodging.
Not so long ago we were used to paper fold-out maps to accompany our trips. Get a topographic map, these provide you with information that you don't always get in Google Earth, such as contour lines that reflect the shape of the earth's surface.
Remember to know the regulations of the area, maybe you have to pay an entry permit or maybe it is forbidden to make campfires. Don't forget to find out about the flora and fauna of the area: should we be careful with poisonous plants? What dangerous animals can we find?
Get in touch with the locals! This will serve you much more than you imagine, maybe they even speak another language and you need to know phrases that will help you to save yourself from a problem.
Food and water
Once you have the logistics of the hiking ready, continue planning what you need to stay on your feet. No one said you can't eat well in the mountains!
There is a huge variety of foods you can bring but it is important that you don't overload yourself and consider lightweight options such as instant rice or quinoa, tuna, pasta, or even pre-made dehydrated meals. As well as a trail mix that gives you plenty of energy, you can bring things like protein bars, nuts, and almonds, dried fruit, chocolates, seeds, protein powders (whey protein, casein protein, protein mix) in a single serving packages, beef jerky, etc.
Not drinking enough water can be one of the most common mistakes hikers make. It doesn't matter if it's hot or cold, if you're at sea level or at very high altitudes, hydration should be the most important thing.
The climate and the type of place will define the hydration system you need to carry, it is not the same walking through a desert area or through mountains where there are large rivers. In these hikes, we run into surprises all the time! So check the temperature throughout the day, hour by hour, if it is going to be cloudy, the probability of rain, wind, and humidity (the drier the weather the thirstier you will get).
Normally you need about three liters of water per person in a day, but this may vary depending on each person. More is always better than less.
It would be easy to say to carry enough thermoses to be able to carry at least three liters of water per day of the hiking trip. However, thermos bottles are relatively heavy (for such amount of water) and should be used to keep the water (or soup, tea, etc.) warm or cold, depending on the local climate.
A hydration bladder is an excellent aid in keeping one hydrated during hiking - just be sure to take sips regularly. Also, hydration bladders can store more water than thermos bottles.
Larger water tanks or bottles can be used to carry enough water, even for several days in the area where there is no water available in any other form.
But, a 5-day desert trip may require a person to carry 20+ liters of water if there are no other sources of water available - and that is a lot of weight to carry around, even when not climbing up the hill.
In areas with plenty of water, be sure to take a system to filter and purify water from the river, creek, cenote, or any other water source that you will encounter. There are many gravity systems that can be very efficient and there are also chlorine dioxide drops.
None of them work 100% and that is why I suggest filtering the water first through the gravity system and then adding a few drops of chlorine dioxide (I recommend aquamira drops, they come in two bottles with different solutions, mix them in a small bottle, let it sit for a few minutes and then pour it into the water).
Of course, there are many other water purification systems, from the most basic ones to the more complicated systems, which may be excellent, but unpractical to carry on a hiking trip.
For example, simple water purification straws can make a huge difference when trying to rehydrate yourself in the wilderness!
Taking electrolytes is also a good idea, such as effervescent tablets with added vitamins and minerals.
Don't wait until you are thirsty and take sips of water whenever you remember. People can survive for weeks without food, but without water, only three or four days maximum.
Don't forget to bring sunscreen! This will help you not to get dehydrated.
You can use tools like excel to make your list, so you won't forget anything important. It all depends on where you are going, but you have to think about the layers of clothing you will need and if you need a waterproof jacket.
It is important that you test all the equipment before using it, that you load your backpack and wear your boots so that they don't bother you, and even that you wear them a couple of times before your hiking trip. You should also know how to set up your tent quickly and adapt to it.
Make sure that everything you need for cooking on the mountain works well and that you know how to use your hydration system as well.
If You are a beginner, consider getting a tour guide and re-check the required and recommended equipment - better safe than sorry.
Weigh your gear
Be prepared to ditch the luxuries! Sometimes you want to take the "prettiest" stuff so that your photos look great, but in the mountains, the prettiest stuff is not always the lightest.
We tend to believe that something as simple as a thermos "weighs nothing", but in reality, each gram in the mountain weighs at least three times as much - it is important to weigh all your equipment while packing and always look for what weighs less.
It is normal that if you have just started hiking, you do not have ultra-light equipment for mountaineering, but do not worry, it is very easy to get it, there are many online stores that sell ultra-light mountain equipment. Also, if you look in your city you will probably find specialized mountain stores as well.
Start with the big stuff
Backpack, tent, sleeping bag. With this you must be careful - carrying a light tent makes the difference and, if you share it, you can carry it between two or three people and everything is much more practical.
The backpack is essential, look for a special one for hiking that is adjustable to your waist and back and that is light. There are different sizes of backpacks, you can choose the one you want depending on the days you will spend in the mountains and the equipment you carry. What I would recommend the most for this type of hiking is a 40 to 60-liter backpack.
And now try to add a magnesium fire starter, camping knife, multitool knife, flashlights, solar battery chargers, water bottles/bladders, food, additional clothing, sunscreen, first aid kit, bear repellent spray (or anything similar if required), mosquito net, mosquito repellent, light sticks, etc. Weight just sums up ...
Be prepared for emergencies
No matter how extreme you consider your hiking to be, it is essential to carry a first aid kit. Accidents are always likely to happen, from scrapes and headaches to sprained ankles or hard knocks.
When hiking in remote areas or even countries, you should always carry a satellite locator (cell phones don't work everywhere!), which is a device that provides a vital line of communication that allows you to send messages to family or friends in an emergency and work anywhere in the world. Or they at least allow You to send a distress signal!
There are many types of satellite locators, so be well informed and choose the one that best suits your expedition.
Be physically prepared
We saved best for last :)
Hiking is all about enjoying, not suffering! So dedicate a few months to training before going into the depths of nature.
Strengthen your legs, you will need them more than you think, it is not easy to walk carrying a backpack of 10-20 kilos or more. Do a lot of cardio - I would recommend you to test yourself and if you run 5 km in half an hour, it means you are more or less fit! Especially if You can manage it with 10kg weighted west - very difficult and can stress the joints very much!
Keep your nutrition in check and try to lose some fat before the hiking trip - 5 kilos of fat less to carry around can be a big difference.
When preparing yourself for such hiking trips, try to increase your strength, stamina, but also agility. Recommended cardio exercise machines are ellipticals, treadmills, rowers, steppers, exercise bikes - and do all of them, if possible. Each hiking trip is different and stresses your muscles in different ways.
Also, do some weight training in order to increase your overall strength, combined with full-body exercise and some stretching.
Going for short hiking trips (several hours for example) will give You the best answer on how fit You are - and yes, try to carry at least as much weight as You will carry on your real hiking trip. If necessary, gradually increase the carried weight.
Mountains are masters that have much to teach us, they conquer our hearts every time our feet walk their trails. So don't forget to enjoy, delight yourself with the scent of flowers and talk to the rocks, contemplate everything around you and let yourself be carried away by the beautiful views. Don't forget to be patient and take the time to breathe. Have a nice walk! And stay safe ...