How do I start?
If you’ve never hiked before, it’s just like anything else. Start slow and try things out. By starting with shorter distances, you’ll get to learn yourself and how you can plan for longer hikes, based on your own needs. How far can you walk in a day? How far do you walk in hour? How much food do you need? Is there anything in your pack that you can get rid of? Something that is worth a little extra money in your opinion? How much can you carry? How easily do you get cold? A good idea is to make some notes before and after your hike. That will make it easier to remember how it was until the next time.
Basically you start like this,
1. Choose where and how far you want to hike. Read about finding a trail here.
Where will you start and where will you go? Are you going in a loop, meaning that your start and finish point is at the same place, or are you going from point a to point b? How do you get there/from there? How far is it?
2. Estimate how long your hiking will take from how far you’ll walk.
How long will you be out, a day or more? Where can you camp or take a break? Have in mind that it takes much longer to walk a stretch in nature than on a street, especially if you have a heavy pack.
3. When you know how far you’ll go and how long you’ll be out, you can start planning what you should bring. Read more about packing here.
4. Tell someone that you’re going on a hike, where you will go and how long you’ve planned to be out for.
5. Get out and hike!
Start with a day trip. Then you won’t need anything more than comfortable well used shoes, clothes by weather and a bag with a warmer sweater/jacket, a raincoat/poncho, water, snacks and some food if you want. Take what you have, you don’t have to buy anything new for this. Keep an eye on the weather forecast and choose, if possible, a day with good weather. If it’s your first hike, don’t over do it and walk to far. A walk in the woods is way harder and takes longer than a walk in town.
Day trips is a good way of getting experience before you set out on a longer hike. You’ll find out what speed you are keeping, how far you walk in an hour and how much extra energy you need meantime. Get yourself a map over the area and learn how to read it in a safe condition. You can also get a compass and learn that as well. Ask in the store if they can show you how to use it right.
First camping night. When you feel like it’s time to try a longer distance and spending one night outside, your pack will immediately start to grow. Now you’ll need someplace to stay, something to sleep in and someway to make food. And more and heavier stuff needs a bigger pack. See if you can borrow a pack from someone in your family or from a friend. Some stores even rent out there packs or you can buy one second hand. Wait a while to make more expensive purchases until you know what you want from the products.
First multiple days hike. A multiple day hike isn’t that much different than a hike with just one night out. The difference would be the size of your packing, since you’ll need more food. But you also need to plan your hike more carefully. Mark your day marches on your map and where you plan to camp. Then you won’t have to worry about that on the trail. But of course you can decide to camp somewhere else if you find a really good spot along the trail. It’s just good to have a plan before you get out. Keep an eye on the weather forecast and make sure you have a plan b, just incase something unpredictable should happen. If you’ll be going deep into the wilderness, especially if your hiking in the mountains, you should do a risk analysis over the area and check so there’s no restrictions where and when you’ll be hiking.