One of the best ways to get outside when the weather warms up is by hiking through your favorite nature preserve or park. Whether you plan on driving to a new hiking destination or just going to your favorite local haunt, keeping yourself prepared for the hike is a must. Before spring begins, make sure you’re ready to enjoy your hikes to the fullest and keep yourself out of danger with these tips for preparing for early spring hikes.
Check on Your Gear
Before you even consider your hiking destination, you need to make sure your gear can hold up to the demands of a long hike through the wilderness. Make sure your old hiking clothes still fit and check for holes in the fabric—especially in the pockets. If you lose something during a hike because of a hole in your pocket, you may never see it again.
Check your trusty hiking backpack for holes or damage as well. Even something as small as a damaged backpack strap can lead to pain during or after your hike. If you have plans to go on a longer hike or camping trip before the weather heats up, make sure you choose a hiking backpack that works well for the trip.
Watch the Weather
During any hiking trip, you should keep a cautious eye on the skies—this is especially important during the spring. Turbulent spring weather can be nearly impossible to predict. Watch out for signs of mudslides or high water. If you plan on hiking somewhere at a high elevation, remember that snow may not melt until further into the season.
Some trail conditions can add extra adventure to your hike if you come prepared—such as wading or a hike through snowy conditions. However, you may need to plan on ending a hike early or come up with a backup plan if extremely poor trail conditions pop up during your hike and you aren’t prepared. Always keep a phone on hand in case of emergencies.
If you haven’t hiked since the end of last year’s hiking season or have never hiked before at all, you may be out of shape. To prepare for early spring hikes, take it easy on your first hike of the year. Your body needs to warm up to the idea of exerting energy on hiking through tough terrain and hills. Even if you’re physically fit, hiking requires an entirely different skill set that you’ll need to master.