Tips for Planning Your Trail Hike

A little planning can go a long way out on the trail. Follow these prepping tips for your next excursion for added security and fun.

Whether you’re headed out on a multi-day expedition or an afternoon trek on the trail, it’s important to be prepared. Having a solid sense of security can enhance your outdoor experience, and there are a few pre-trek tricks that could help put you on the right path from the get-go.

Research the trail and the area that you plan to hike. Marc Chase, Director of Toughness at Columbia Sportswear, suggests first contacting the local forestry commission or another suitable authority to find out any relevant information on the place you’d like to hike.

“Speak to people who have walked or run these trails before and just know your capabilities,” Chase says. “Don’t bite off more than you can chew.”

You should also take some time prior to hitting the trails to focus on your gear. Regardless of the length of your hike, you should make sure you have plenty of water and snacks as well. Bring a cellphone with you, too. Even if you pack the phone away or put it on airplane mode to conserve the battery, it can come in handy if you need to make an emergency call, check your GPS or if you want to snap a picture of a gorgeous view. Check out our multi-day hike checklist and day hike checklist for even more gear recommendations.

Also, take a gander at the weather forecast. A little preparation can help keep you dry and comfortable on the path.

As a final precaution, Chase recommends that you always tell someone where you plan on going on your excursion. While phones can be lifesaving tools, you can’t always count on a cellular signal in remote locations.

“Not all of the wilderness areas have cell service,” says Chase. “So make sure you’re telling someone you can trust where you’re going and when you’ll be back.”

These quick and simple planning procedures can help you have a fun, memory-making hiking experience. Add these tricks to your expedition arsenal and tackle your next trail with confidence and security.