Vattakanal Hike

Unleash Your Adventurous Spirit: Hiking and Trekking for Beginners (2024)

Explore the great outdoors with our comprehensive guide to hiking and trekking for beginners. Discover essential tips and tricks for a safe and enjoyable adventure. From choosing the right gear to navigating trails, our beginner’s handbook will empower you to embark on your first trek confidently.

Over time, I’ve frequently encountered inquiries about initiating a journey into hiking or trekking. Numerous individuals desire to venture into hiking and trekking but are uncertain where to begin.

Drawing from my personal experiences, including trekking in the Himalayas and reaching the Everest Base Camp, I’ve decided to compile a guide that can provide a boost and assist those eager to take their initial steps into the world of hiking and trekking. This resource aims to offer valuable insights for newcomers, helping them embark on a fulfilling journey into outdoor exploration.

PIN for later reference – Hiking and Trekking for Beginners

PIN for later reference - Beginner's guide for hiking and trekking
PIN for later reference – Hiking and Trekking for Beginners

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Hiking vs. Trekking

Before delving deeper into this post, let’s first address the distinction between hiking and trekking. In India, trekking and hiking are often used interchangeably, while in Australia, they are distinctly referred to as hiking. Despite their interchangeable use, these terms carry different meanings.

  • Trekking is an extended outdoor walking activity, encompassing journeys lasting multiple days along a designated path or trail. On the other hand, hiking is a one or two-day outdoor walking activity, often enjoyed as a day hike.
  • The essence of trekking extends to include both hiking and outdoor camping, while hiking typically excludes extensive camping activities.
  • While both activities serve as tests of physical fitness, it’s crucial to note that trekking tends to be more demanding than hiking.

Gear Required for Hiking and Trekking


A reliable pair of shoes is the primary and essential gear for any hiking or trekking enthusiast. The comfort and sturdiness of your footwear can significantly impact your outdoor experience. When selecting hiking or trekking shoes, ensuring a proper fit is paramount; some hikers recommend buying half or one size larger than your actual foot size.

It is crucial to break in your shoes by using them on a few shorter hikes before attempting more strenuous treks.

I relied on a pair from Kathmandu (Model Max NGX) for an extended period, which served me well for over 1000 kilometres. These shoes accompanied me on challenging trails such as the Everest Base Camp, Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, Six Foot Track, Seven Bridges Walk, Bloody Long Walk, and Cradle Mountain (twice). They were exceptional, but I eventually had to replace them due to natural wear and tear after covering numerous kilometres.

The longevity of hiking shoes depends on the distance covered and the duration of use. Consequently, I switched to a pair from Decathlon (Model NDY M SHARK), which I’ve used ever since. Although I haven’t been able to test them at higher altitudes, they’ve proven reliable during a 10-day hike in Meghalaya, Light to Light and the Snowies Hut to Hut walks.

Hiking shoes
Kathmandu shoes


Selecting suitable and comfortable attire is the key consideration for hiking and trekking. It’s essential to be equipped for various seasons and ensure that your clothing doesn’t cause discomfort, particularly on multi-day treks where issues like rashes can become significant concerns. I opt for dry-fit clothing and employ a layering strategy.

Wearing dry-fit garments ensures efficient moisture management, keeping you dry and comfortable during your outdoor adventures. On the other hand, the layering approach provides adaptability to diverse weather conditions. By adding or removing layers, you can easily regulate your body temperature, staying prepared for unexpected weather shifts that are common during extended treks. This combination of dry-fit wear and layering enhances comfort and provides a more enjoyable and adaptable trekking experience.


While not obligatory, it is recommended to bring hiking or trekking poles. These poles are crucial in safeguarding your knees, ensuring they don’t bear the entire load during ascents and descents, particularly when navigating rocks and steps.

Mt Everest Base Camp

Water Bottle/ Bladder

Maintaining adequate hydration during a hike or trek is a crucial factor. Therefore, carrying the appropriate amount of water in a bottle or bladder is essential. I opt for a reusable water bottle and sip it throughout the journey. However, in groups, individuals often prefer using water bladders in their backpacks, allowing them to sip on the go without frequent breaks.

If carrying sufficient water for the entire duration proves challenging, bringing water purifier tablets is advisable. This enables you to collect water from streams or creeks along the trail and purify it before consumption, ensuring a safe and replenishing water supply throughout your outdoor adventure.

Day/ Hiking Pack

A day or hiking pack is essential to securely store items like water bottles, sunscreen, caps, and sunglasses. Carrying these items in your hands can be cumbersome and, in certain trial conditions, even hazardous, as it may interfere with balance.

Bheema Bakasura Betta

First Aid Kit

A first aid kit is crucial to any outdoor activity, including hiking and trekking. A compact pack with unexpired essential medicines and bandages is invaluable on the trails. I always ensure that I always carry a small first aid kit with me. Additionally, when trekking in Australia, it’s advisable to include snake bandages in your kit. These essential medications and bandages typically don’t require a prescription and are readily available at pharmacies, providing an added layer of preparedness for unexpected situations on the trails.

Download the Emergency Plus app for any unforeseen situations. The app does not require a mobile network; it shows your location. This is useful to inform the emergency services in case of any emergency.
If you are a tourist, always have good comprehensive travel insurance to cover yourself in case of any emergency.

Other Things

A hat, sunglasses, sunscreen, a torch (preferably a headlamp), a lightweight raincoat, and provisions like snacks and lunch are just as essential as other gear for hiking and trekking. I always include a stash of chocolates for that quick energy boost during my hikes. Observing fellow hikers, I’ve noticed some opting for energy bars, raw carrots, and even energy drinks to fuel their trek.

Trekking requires extended preparation and additional gear, such as food supplies and camping essentials like a sleeping bag and cooking gas. Given the multi-day nature of trekking, a reliable hiking backpack is indispensable for carrying all necessary items during the journey.

How do you start your hiking and trekking journey?

I recommend commencing your outdoor journey with day hikes and gradually progressing to trekking. This approach allows for the gradual development of stamina and an increased appetite for more challenging treks. To get started, explore the numerous hiking groups on the Meetup website. You can quickly RSVP for hikes organized by others and join the group on the specified day. It’s worth noting that some groups may charge a nominal fee, usually around AUD 5 per person, to cover the costs of organizing and leading the walk. This offers a fantastic opportunity to connect with like-minded individuals and embark on your hiking and trekking adventures.

Get Your Gear

Initiating your hiking and trekking journey begins with acquiring the necessary gear. As outlined in the earlier section, ensure you gather the essential items. Your gear doesn’t have to be extravagant; focus on obtaining items that are practical and within your budget to kickstart your adventure.

Start Short Distances

As the saying goes, “It is better to take small steps in the right direction than to make a great leap forward.” Similarly, when beginning your hiking journey, it’s advisable to start with shorter distances. Numerous trails cater to beginners, and it’s advantageous to commence with small, manageable hikes. I recommend initiating your journey with at least a 5-kilometre hike.

Note: It’s essential to recognize that a 5-kilometre hike on streets and flat surfaces differs significantly from a 5-kilometre hike through bush trails. Be mindful of the terrain and challenges posed by different environments.

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Go With a Group

While I advocate solo travels and hikes, I must admit that embarking on journeys with a group of people adds an extra layer of enjoyment during hikes and treks. Beyond the fun factor, having at least one travel buddy enhances safety, ensuring preparedness for unforeseen or uncalled situations.

Being part of a group of like-minded individuals, all sharing the common goal of hiking, is a significant motivational factor. My hiking journey began by joining strangers I met on the Meetup website. Subsequently, I formed my hiking group with a small circle of friends, fostering a continued passion for hiking.

However, solo hikes can be undertaken for specific trails with proper precautions and care. There are numerous benefits of solo hiking, offering a unique and reflective experience in nature.

Familiarise Yourself with the Trail

Before tackling any trail, thorough preparation is essential. Please familiarize yourself with various hiking websites and blogs as they offer information. I particularly emphasize studying the trail’s grading and distance. These critical pieces of information play a crucial role in mentally preparing for the upcoming hike, ensuring you’re equipped to handle the challenges of the trail you’ll be traversing.

Be Consistent and Keep Hiking

“Consistency is the key,” and I cannot emphasize enough how crucial it is. Regularly engaging in hikes and treks contributes significantly to building the stamina required, making trails gradually more manageable. Despite my years of hiking experience, I occasionally struggle with maintaining consistency for various reasons. However, the valuable lesson learned is that the more I stay committed to the activity, the more I derive enjoyment and have fun from the overall experience.

Tadiyanmol trek

Closing Notes

Exploring nature through hiking and trekking is a delightful experience and a fantastic way to stay fit. I have a deep passion for hiking and indulge in it regularly, especially over the weekends. I encourage you to take that initial step into the hiking world.

Exploring nature through hiking and trekking is a delightful experience and a fantastic way to stay fit. I have a deep passion for hiking and indulge in it regularly, especially over the weekends. I encourage you to take that initial step into the hiking world.

I would love to hear from you if you have any additional tips or insights. Feel free to reach out to me at Let’s continue this journey of discovery and adventure together!

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Unleash Your Adventurous Spirit: Hiking and Trekking for Beginners (2024)
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    PIN for later reference – Hiking and Trekking for Beginners

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    PIN for later reference – Hiking and Trekking for Beginners