Everything You Need for Planning the Perfect Summer Hike [CC's ShapeU]

Looking for something a little more adventurous than switching up your yoga class from a morning to an evening session? One of the best ways to be active during the summer is to get out and take a hike…literally! Now, if you’re anything like me, who’s own personal version of hiking used to consist of checking out a local 1.5 mile trail the loops in an almost-perfect circle, the idea may seem a little intimidating, but it doesn’t have to be! When it comes down to it, hiking is all about proper planning and preparation, so check out these tips for planning the perfect hike!
First off, I must mention how amazing hiking is for your health. Aside from giving you some serious cardio, the climbing, jumping, and squatting will not only make you break a sweat, but also work and tone your entire body. Because you utilize the larger muscles groups of your lower body, with the added work from your arms, you’ll burn tons of calories as you soak in the scene of an amazing natural setting! And what’s better, you’ll be so distracted and engrossed in the experience itself, you’ll barely notice the work you’re actually doing – well, at least not until the day after!
Now, you may be intrigued, but that doesn’t mean you’re ready to embark on a hiking adventure just yet! Like I said, planning is key, and whether you’re a beginner, novice, or pro, you’ll need to figure out a thing or two before you get going. So with that in mind, here are five essentials for planning a hike!
1. The Trail: Since you can’t exactly plan your hike if you aren’t sure where you want to hike, this is probably the most important part of your planning. Unfortunately, it can also be the most difficult, because, well, where do we even start? Luckily, there are some pretty sweet guides out there to help us narrow down our choices (thank you Pinterest). The first is for anyone looking for a comprehensive list of hidden hikes across America! There are 43 to be exact, and they span from sea to shining sea. As the hikes are separated by region, this is an awesome resource for anyone, no matter what state you call home. The list also rates hikes on their level of difficulty, making our lives a little easier! Next up is a more global list, which features the 10 best hikes around the world, for those who long to venture out an explore some of the most breathtaking settings our planet has to offer. Travel to France, Nepal, Peru, Mali and more! And lastly, for anyone who enjoys being more at one with nature by like, sleeping in it, here’s a list of the best camping sites around the world! From tree canopies to glass-topped igloos this is not your momma’s camping!
2. The Logistics: Now that you’ve found a place to hike, it’s time to plan the details. Will you hike the whole trail? Will you be staying in a tent? Are their designated camp sites, or is there a backwoods camping option? These are some questions you’ll need to answer, and doing a little research can definitely help! Most trails will be in parks or designated areas, especially the ones listed above, so finding some contact numbers or online information should be relatively easy! You’ll also need to figure out when to go, the expected weather, and what to wear and pack.
3. The Attire: Speaking of what to wear, this is also extremely important. A good pair of supportive sneakers, a shirt that will lock out moisture, comfortable pants, even a light-weight, waterproof jacket are great to wear or pack! A sports bra is great for supporting the girls, especially when you’re scaling some steep inclines that you may encounter on your hike! Additionally, you’ll want to bring some extra socks in case yours get wet on the trail. Sunglasses will be  a godsend on wide-open hikes that aren’t through wooded areas, and a hat is also a great idea to keep your hair contained on a humid day! It will also keep bugs away if you get sweaty – gross, but so true, you’ll thank me for it! Check out the picture below for a better idea of what to wear!

4. The Necessities: You’ll also see some extra necessities that will make any hiking trip easier, even safer, if you bring them along. A sturdy backpack to carry your stuff in is the first necessity. Of course, you’ll want a map of the trail so you know where you are, and a first aid kit is always advised. Bug spray is a must, and again, you’ll thank me for it! You’ll also want a towel in case the trail is muddy, and you know, you just happen to trip and get covered in it – not speaking from experience or anything (cough, cough Picture Rocks National Lakeshore…yeah, covered). Pepper spray is just a precaution, because you never know. A flashlight will also be helpful, and sunscreen to protect your skin. Lastly, you may want to bring one of those portable, no-plug phone chargers, to keep your phone charged at all times! Of course, if you’re camping, you’ll need additional supplies like tents, sleeping bags, etc.
5. The Snacks: Obviously you’ll need to bring some snacks along! A water bottle will come in handy to quench your thirst and keep you hydrated – the last thing you need is to be dehydrated while on a hike during the heat of the day, which could increase your risk of heat shock. As far as snacks, anything that offers sustained energy is ideal – hence the quintessential hiking snack trail mix, packed with proteins and healthy fats to fuel your hike! For some great trail food ideas, check out this list of hike-friendly lunches, and some other cool snack ideas to pack on the go!
Additional Tips: Always remember to let someone know where you plan to hike and the details of your trip, especially if you’ll be going alone. Check out any weather advisories for the area you’ll be hiking through, along with any other cautions associated with the trail, like areas that should be avoided due to treacherous terrain etc. And for some additional goodies, check out these awesome hacks to make your hike or camping trip a little easier.
With all the essentials, you’re now expertly prepared to plan your summer hike! Grab some friends for a day-long getaway, head out with family and plan a weekend trip, or set out solo for a peaceful excursion of your own!

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