How to Prepare for your First Hike of the Year

08 June 2023


In this guide, we'll take a deep dive into all things hiking, helping you prepare for an enjoyable and safe journey. Whether you’re a novice or a seasoned walker, we’ll get you ready, and with our top tips for hiking and trusted recommendations from the icebreaker range, you’ll be equipped for every eventuality.

What is a Hike?

A hike is a walk in nature, typically off-road on a trail or in a wilderness area. Hiking is a popular outdoor activity with a wide range of physical and mental health benefits, including improving cardiovascular health, reducing stress levels, and enhancing mindfulness.

Hikes vary in difficulty, distance, and terrain, so choose a trail appropriate for your fitness level and experience. Additionally, check the weather forecast and trail conditions to help prepare for any potential challenges.

To prepare for your first hike of the year, consider several key factors:

  • The trail:

    Select a trail that's appropriate for your fitness level and experience. Consider the trail's distance, elevation gain, terrain, and difficulty level. If it’s been some time since you last went hiking, start with a shorter walk.

  • Boots:

    A pair of well-fitting, sturdy boots or shoes are the most important part of your hiking gear. If you haven’t worn them for a while, check that the boots are free from damage and are clean for the new season.

  • Safety:

    Let someone know the route you plan to take and your expected return time. Carry a fully charged phone and a power bank, and make sure you have a good understanding of basic hiking safety, such as how to read trail markers and what to do in case of an emergency.

  • Limits:

    Listen to your body, and don't push yourself beyond your limits. Take frequent breaks, stay hydrated, and turn back if you start to feel tired or unwell.

  • Clothing:

    Dress for the weather and terrain, wearing comfortable clothing in layers that allow you to adapt to changeable conditions.

Hiking clothing should be lightweight, flexible and breathable to provide a comfortable experience. The most effective combination of hiking clothes work together in layers, allowing you to adapt to changing weather conditions.

A baselayer fits close to the body, providing insulation. Mid layers are added for extra warmth depending on the conditions. And an outer layer should act as a barrier to the elements.

At icebreaker, we specialise in outdoor clothing that maximises performance and comfort using natural, responsibly sourced merino wool. Following the lead of New Zealand’s merino sheep, this versatile wool can thrive in rugged environments, whatever the weather.

Hiking Gear

Having the right gear is essential for a comfortable and safe hike. Use this checklist to get ready:

  • Backpack:

    Choose a size based on the length of your hike and the amount of gear you need to carry.

  • Navigation:

    Think about a physical map as a backup if you can’t get a signal for your phone.

  • First aid:

    A basic first aid kit should include plasters or bandages, antiseptic wipes, and painkillers.

  • Water and snacks:

    Bring plenty of water to stay hydrated, and pack high-energy snacks such as nuts, trail mix, or energy bars.

  • Torch:

    Even if you plan to finish your hike during daylight hours, bring a headlamp or torch in case your hike takes longer than expected.

If you're getting ready for your first hike of the year, it might've been a few months since you last used your hiking gear, boots, and clothing. Before you head out, check everything to ensure it's still in good condition. Look for signs of wear and tear, and replace any damaged or worn-out items.

What is a Hike?

For experienced hikers and those just getting started, follow our essential tips for your next adventure:

  • Start slow:

    If you haven't hiked in a while, it's important to start slow and gradually build up your endurance. Start with shorter, easier hikes and work up to increased distances and difficulty levels.

  • Stay on the trail:

    Don't take shortcuts or create new paths, and always follow trail markers. This protects the environment and ensures your safety.

  • Leave no trace:

    Leave the environment as you found it. Take your rubbish home with you and avoid disturbing the natural habitat.

  • Stay hydrated:

    Dehydration is a serious risk when hiking, especially in hot weather. Drink plenty of water before, during, and after your hike.

  • Emergencies:

    Even with careful planning, emergencies can happen. Make sure you have a fully charged phone and a basic first aid kit.

For your first hike of the year, a few extra factors are worth bearing in mind:

  • Trail conditions:

    Conditions can vary significantly from season to season. Before heading out on your first hike of the year, check to see if the trail is clear of snow or ice and if any trail closures or hazards are in effect.

  • Bring extra layers:

    Weather can be unpredictable, especially in the spring, and extra clothing layers will help if the temperature drops or the wind picks up. A warm hat and gloves are worth packing.

  • Check your gear:

    Before heading out on your first hike of the year, check all your hiking gear, including your boots or shoes and backpack. Make sure they're all in good condition and still fit properly.

Connecting People and Nature

At icebreaker, nature is our hero, and all our clothing is based on natural guiding principles of adaptation, symbiosis and sustainability. Premium merino wool is ideal for hiking, with unmatched comfort, insulation and breathability. Whether you're looking for a base layer, mid layer or outer layer, icebreaker has you covered with versatile and performance focused clothing options.



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