Prepare Before You Hit the Trail: A Pre-Hike Checklist
Hiking is not only a great way to get a full body workout, but it also can improve your mental health. Being outside in nature can reduce stress and anxiety and can lower your risk of depression. Hiking can also be a fun group activity, allowing you to bond with others over the shared experience. Grab some friends or bring your family along for a day in the outdoors!
It is important to stay fueled and hydrated whenever you are doing any sort of exercise. Before you hike, plan ahead to ensure you have what you’ll need to feel your best and stay safe. You’ll also be able to relax and enjoy the hike more since you won’t have to worry that you forgot something important! Use the checklist below to make sure everyone in your group is informed and prepared before heading out on the trails.
☐ How long is the hike?
☐ Who is coming with you?
☐ When are you leaving?
☐ When are you returning?
☐ Do you have a map, GPS, or compass to guide you?
☐ Have you shared your plans with someone who isn’t hiking with you?
☐ How will you carry food and water?
☐ How much water will you need?
☐ What nonperishable foods do you like and want to bring? (ex. trail mix, nuts, dried fruit, whole food bars, tuna packets, etc.)
☐ When you will be able to eat and drink?
☐ If you want to bring perishable foods, do you have room for a cooler or insulated lunchbox?
☐ What first aid basics will you carry? (ex. bandaids, antiseptic wipes, blister treatment, etc.)
☐ Will you need to take any prescription medications with you?
☐ How will you protect yourself from the sun? (ex. sunscreen, sunglasses, hat, etc.)
☐ How will you protect yourself from insects? (ex. insect repellent, long clothing, etc.)
☐ How will you illuminate the trail at night, if applicable? (ex. headlamp, flashlight, etc.)
☐ What will you wear to stay safe and comfortable from the elements and from the extended activity?
☐ Do you have a pocketknife or multipurpose tool that can be used for malfunctioning gear, removing splinters, or other emergencies?