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18 hiking tips for beginners: Things you should know

Updated On 14th June, 2020

Are you new to hiking? Are you ready to reap all of the rewards of a more outdoor lifestyle but a little worried you’re not geared up for it?

Do not fear, this blog post is here. In this hiking guide, I am going to take you through 18 hiking tips for beginners and share my favourite hiking essentials with you to get you on your way.

Hiking really isn’t as hard as you may be thinking, it just takes a little extra preparation than your average walk. Hikes tend to be longer in distance, requiring a little more endurance and a little more awareness of what you might need along the way. You can check out my complete guide to hiking for beginners here if you are looking for more information than in this top tips blog post.

If you’re looking for some hike inspiration:

18 hiking tips for beginners: Things you should know


1. Right of way:

  • Uphill hikers have right of way over downhill hikers.
  • Order of right of way: horses, hikers, bikers.
  • It’s polite to step to the side and give right of way to the people passing you if you have a dog because not everyone likes dogs.

2. Stay on the trail. Not only is this for your safety, but it’s to protect the area you’re walking in too!

3. Dress comfortably and practically, rather than fashionably.


4. If you want to listen to music, use your headphones. If you’re talking to your friends, talk to them, don’t shout. Some people go hiking for peace and quiet!

It’s really important to respect other hikers when you’re out and about. By all means, take a little speaker for a picnic but be sure to ask anyone sitting near you if they mind!

5. Keep your dog on a lead.

You never know who’s scared of dogs or when they may be led in a different direction. I’ve heard some tragic stories about dogs wandering off on hikes so don’t risk letting them off unless you’re familiar with the route and completely trust your dogs’ instincts and training.

6. Prepare for any weather – take a raincoat and sunscreen and layers.

Particularly if you’re hiking through the mountains, weather can be unpredictable and so it’s always good to layer up with e.g. a vest, a t-shirt, a jumper and an outer layer. That way you can delayer and relayer as often as necessary! Always bring a waterproof, even if it’s a thin one!

7. Prepare for technology to fail you – take a paper map.

8. Tell people where you are and how long you’ll be gone.

9. Take plenty of water and snacks, and extra.

10. Take a reusable water bottle that you can fill up along the way.

11. Say hello to hikers that you pass – it cheers everyone up!

Honestly, it’s one of the most beautiful things about being in the outdoors. Human connection and pure interaction. Many of us use the outdoors for grounding and for gaining perspective and peace from our everyday life and so if you’re feeling the effects of the fresh air, share your energy with others you cross paths with. A smile goes a long way!

12. Leave the wildlife alone (plants and animals!) and don’t feed the animals.

13. Stay on the trail to avoid contributing to natural erosion.

Trails are carved out by local authorities and will not only direct you the safest way to your destination but they will reduce the risk of any adverse encounters. It’s always best to follow official paths, particularly as a beginner.

14. Fuel your body with something carby but healthy the night before.

A big bowl of pasta and lots of veggies is a favourite of mine. I keep myself extra hydrated beforehand too.

15. Get a good night’s sleep the night before, so you can have an early start.

Save up as much energy as you can and get some decent hours in bed. Not only will it mean you can proceed on your walk in a better mood but it may even mean you’re willing to get up for sunrise and be one of the first hikers out. This is also a great opportunity for amazing hiking photography if you’re an avid photographer / Instagrammer haha!

16. Check the weather before you leave to check your kit is appropriate. British weather changes very quickly!

17. Save your hiking route offline, in case you lose signal.

(You can download Google maps offline.)

18. Leave no trace. Take your rubbish with you!

Likely chance you have a backpack with you, tuck your rubbish into a pocket / dedicated bag for your rubbish and keep nature looking as gorgeous as it was before you enjoyed it.

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See my European road trip bucket list here.

What top hiking tips do you have for beginners??

I’d love to know!

Love as always and happy adventuring,