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10 Ways To Prepare For Spring Hiking Season

Scott Rousseau
As the snow begins to melt, and the rain evaporates, adventurers start to plan hikes that they’ve waited all winter to explore. So, how do you prepare for the upcoming hiking season?

1. Increase Fitness
Though you may have exercised during the winter, we all pack on a certain element of laziness during the cold seasons. Now that you’ll be seeking out more intense cardio activities, it’s time to prepare before you get there. Don’t get halfway up the hiking trail and realize that you can’t make it.

2. Drink More Water
You may not have felt the effects of dehydration during your regular day-to-day winter activities, but you will once you begin your first hike. Be sure to increase your water intake days before your first hike of the season, especially if it includes a drastic altitude increase. A solid range to aim for: drink half your body weight in ounces of water each day. For example, if you weigh 200 pounds, drink 100 ounces of water per day.

3. Scout New Hiking Spots
The excitement of warmer weather can get you amped to return to your usual hiking trails, but what’s the fun in hiking the same trail every time? Scout new trails that you haven’t explored yet. Who knows, maybe you’ll find a new favorite!

4. New Hiking Boots
Last hiking season, you probably got a lot of use out of your hiking boots. They’re worn in and fit your feet well, but without much use or maintenance during the off-season, they may be done. It could be time to invest in a new pair of boots.

5. New Socks
Socks wear out quickly, especially if you utilize the same pair each time you go hiking. It could be time to invest in a few new pairs of hiking socks in order to save your feet during this year’s hiking season. Grab one pair for cold days, and another lightweight pair for warm hikes.

6. Accumulate Non-Perishable Snacks
Even for short hikes, its best practice to carry a snack with you for healthy energy. To ensure you bring a snack each time, accumulate a stockpile of non-perishable snacks, like bars, and keep them in a certain spot so you can grab one each time you leave on a hiking adventure.

7. Create Your Emergency Kit
Create a lightweight emergency kit that you bring in your daypack each time you hike. Ideally, you’ll never need it, but you’ll be thankful when you do. Include common first aid gear, like bandages and gauze, along with small survival tools, like a knife, flint, and compass.

8. Register For Any Necessary Permits
Some hiking locations can shift their regulations during the off-season. Be sure to update certain permits needed for some hiking locations. If you need a day-pass to hike up Mount St. Helens, get it now. If you enjoy fly fishing while you’re hiking, be sure to update your fishing license. Some places, like Boulder, Colorado, require permits to hike with your off-leash dog. Do a little research before the season arrives.

9. Scout Post-Hike Rendezvous Points
Depending on your hiking group, a post-hike food and drink stop is essential to the day’s adventure. Scout some new watering holes that you haven’t experienced yet and plan new hikes based on places you want to try after your adventure.

10. Inspect Your Vehicle
After a harsh winter, some vehicles may have been roughed up. Inspect your adventure vehicle to ensure that it’ll make it to any hiking destination. Change your oil. Inspect your brakes. Refill your washer fluid. Rotate your tires. Do this once before the hiking season begins and you’ll have peace of mind all summer long.

That concludes our list. If you want to submit your own method for hiking season preparation, send you submissions to Submissions@AdventureTribune.com to have your piece considered for publication.

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Tom Malone is the Editor-In-Chief of The Adventure Tribune and author of adventure novels, like Across Americana. He is based in Denver, Colorado, where he adventures through the Rocky Mountains while not traveling abroad.
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