Hiking is a wonderful outdoor activity that you can do with minimum gear while reaping the benefits of immersing yourself in nature, disconnecting, and getting physically active with little injury risk.
Nevertheless, it can feel intimidating, especially for beginners, as it demands more planning ahead and taking precautions.
We have you covered with a guide that will show you exactly what to expect on your first hike, where to hike in UAE, how to prepare for it, and have fun while you’re at it.
How Long Should a Beginner Hike Be: Start with a Day Hike
Unlike Trekking and Backpacking, which are multi-day hikes, there’s not really much to Day Hiking; it’s hiking that you can do in just one day and it’s the type of hiking we recommend starting with. Go for a 5-mile hike or less and work your way up from there.
What to Pack for Hiking: The 10 Essentials
The “10 Essentials” is a hikers’ system of safety gear to pack as a unit to stay safe and prepared for the unpredictability of the wilderness. These include
Navigation: Always carry a GPS device on your phone and download or print an offline map of the trail you’re hiking from start to end.
Headlamp: It’s handy to pack hike lighting gear for when it gets dark, make sure you have an extra set of batteries just in case.
Sun Protection: Sunglasses, a sun hat, and sunscreen.
First Aid: A small kit will do for your first shorter hikes, make sure you know how to use it.
Knife: A pocket knife and duct tape can come in handy for gear repair and food preparation.
Fire: You might need to start a fire on your hike at night, pack fire-starting equipment and windproof matches.
Shelter: Stay prepared for overnights by packing a space blanket and an emergency bivvy (a compact sleeping bag).
Extra Food: Pack more than you might expect you’d need.
Extra Water: Pack extra, increase the amount depending on the weather and temperature on the day of the hike and consider hiking coolers.
Consider getting a durable hiking backpack to pack the 10 essentials. Most hiking backpacks are designed with a sturdy back panel to provide support carrying the weight of the gear on your back throughout the hike.
What to Wear for Hiking | Clothes and Footwear
You want to be wearing breathable workout hiking clothes that allow you to move freely. Apart from the extra clothes in the 10 essentials, avoid jeans by all means and opt for
Breathable workout tops: Go for sweat-absorbing fabrics that wick away moisture.
Low-impact workout pants/ leggings: Pants are better than shorts as they protect you from broken twigs’ brush-scratches or mosquito bites.
Hiking Boots: Invest in a good pair of hiking boots to stay supported, pair them with good socks and steer clear of rocky or steep trails worry.
Essential Tips to Know Before your First Hike
Train for your hike
Though short hikes can be a breeze to take, it’s safer to train for them beforehand to avoid burnout or injury. Light cardio can help you develop endurance and a good stretch after is sufficient enough for easy day hikes.
Find a hiking companion
It’s better not to hit the trail solo on your first trip; find friends and acquaintances, specifically non-first-timers. Or seek online communities; try searching “Hiking Groups“ on Facebook. A lot of experienced hikers and backpackers will happily share their knowledge and time with beginner hikers like you.
Stay Safe - Let someone know your itinerary
Make sure someone outside the hike knows your itinerary and where you’ll start and end the trip exactly.
Stay Green - Leave no trace
Respect the wilderness by leaving it as good as you found it; be eco-friendly, dispose of waste properly, and do not damage the natural habitat.
It can feel like a lot at first till you go on your first hike, then it becomes the first of many to come. We hope that by now you feel prepared to pursue hiking safely, conquer your fear and reap the benefits of this rewarding activity.