Ultralight hiking is made more challenging by planning a multi-week or long-term hike on major trails. A successful lightweight hike requires physical conditioning and resupply.
Before you begin assembling your resupply packs, you should start conditioning your body. Your chances of success are higher if your legs and feet are healthy. Keep in mind that 40% of thru hikers abandon their plans before they reach their destination. Make sure you eliminate any reasons why you might not make it to the end. Hiking is the best way to get ready for hiking. Although it may seem simple, it can be hard to find the time to hike when you are busy with your daily life.
Cardio and stairmaster at a gym are good options, but they don’t provide the complete answer. For long-distance hiking, you need to be able to hike and climb a lot in your shoes. You may need to break in at least three pairs of shoes if you plan to hike the entire length of a major trail. It’s just like if you walked down a creek. So, make sure to wear shoes that are waterproof. Socks that provide plenty of padding are a good choice for hiking because your feet will tend o swell, and can even grow on long trips.
You shouldn’t think that you will get fit as soon as you start hiking. You won’t have much time to recover before you embark on your long-distance hike. Therefore, it is important that you are in good physical condition when you set off. It may seem more feasible to hike shorter distances at the start of your trip, but this is not always the best option. Your training hikes will help you prepare for your long hike if you have many ups and downs. Senior hikers can get injured on steep descents, especially if they are older.
As you hike, it is important to stay hydrated and well-fed. You’ll likely lose weight if you are like most hikers. So eat well and drink well right from the start. You’ll find your joints will be more flexible if you drink a lot. Your muscles will also feel less sore. You can start with extra ibuprofen, and you’ll be able to reduce the amount as your days progress.
You should remember to bring a partner if you plan on hiking with them. They might be unable to make it while you are there. You should make sure that you have all the gear you need, and not rely on others. You may have a faster pace than your partner so it’s important to be independent.
Training hikes are an excellent opportunity to check all your gear. Desert hiking at the Pacific Crest Trail’s beginning will require you to use different gear than for the Sierras and Northern Cascades. You should test everything you use. It may be a pleasure to not use a tent in the desert. If you are hiking the Pacific Crest Trail, be aware of how much space a bear canister takes up in your pack. Comfortable rain gear is essential for the Appalachian Trail. The Continental Divide Trail is a more difficult trail to map. Sharpen your skills by using the Continental Divide Trail. Remember to treat any clothes that you have to be treated with permethrin while hiking.
You should have access to your money. Remember that not everything will cost you less than what you think, but there will still be plenty to spend your money on especially in trail towns. You’ll want to indulge in restaurants, warm beds, and other items that will drain your wallet when you reach a town. If you’re lucky you might be enjoying the pace and feeling of the trail and want to get away as soon as you can. Many hikers have a debit or credit card that they can use to pay for their expenses. Don’t forget to leave some signed checks behind. Your support person should be able help you pay your credit card. Many hikers have a phone card that has a lot of minutes. It’s always a good idea to have cash in case a credit card doesn’t work.
Even if you don’t usually take a journal or camera on short hikes, it might be a good idea to have one. You can use both to record one of your greatest adventures. Journals of fellow hikers can be a great way to prepare for your hike. This will help you get motivated for your hike, and also provide valuable insight.
Planning for resupply points is an important part of any planning. You can learn from others. You can Google the trail name to find a list with resupply stations and how they work. Some stations may not be convenient for you. Some of these are post offices, while others are in resorts or stores. Other resorts and businesses have agreed to become resupply points. Weekends and holidays will see post offices close. Some services may be limited in small towns. Send packages that include an approximate date of arrival as well as a return address.
Although it may seem difficult to hitchhike to certain towns, asking for rides at trailheads or campgrounds might not be as difficult as you think. People love to hear stories about long-distance hikers and other hikers. It’s a good idea to wash up and keep some deodorant with you at all times. Female hikers have the option to ask for a ride when you are still close to the trail. This allows them to be more selective when choosing rides.
Long-distance hikers often don’t want to take all their food with them to resupply points. It is possible to enjoy the flavor of something during your hike, but then you may get tired of it. It is costly to freeze dry food. You might be able to save a lot of money by learning how to make your adventures more affordable. It is very costly to send heavy packages to each resupply station. You could easily buy a lot of food with the money you pay for priority mail. This is another reason to try new foods before you go hiking. Learn how to shop in both small and large grocery stores. Learn more about what hikers did. Although you may be carrying more weight, you can still leave each resupply station with what you choose, not what you planned months in advance. Be realistic. It’s possible to be part of a group that doesn’t hike the entire length of the trail. You might be able to think clearly, but your knees could be weak. You can be sure that you will be able to purchase food if you have a debit or credit card. You may lose some resupply items if you send too many, even though you or your support person do a great job.
You have the option to eat the most perishable and heavy foods first, or you can resupply later to keep your food balanced and your pack light. For hiking, some hikers prefer cereal and powdered milk as a breakfast to get them up and moving quickly. Zip lock bags can be one of your items that you mail ahead in your “bounce-ahead” box. This allows you to measure the meals. Some hikers do not like to stop for lunch so they carry snacks and energy bars. Although energy bars can be used for other meals, they aren’t always as healthy or balanced.
When you are through-hiking, it is important to eat a balanced diet. If you don’t eat a balanced diet, your body won’t be as strong. Your ability to endure can affect your outlook and your energy levels. It may seem like you want ice cream once you get to a trail town. But if you have been feeling hungry and are lacking in vegetables, it might be time to have a salad or a veggie platter. It’s less important to eat a balanced diet on weekend hikes. When you return home, you can make adjustments. You can adjust your weekend hike to be a bit more restrictive and eat less calories than you have burned. You will need to adapt when you go on long-distance hiking trips. Make sure to eat plenty of healthy, nutritious foods. You’ll likely burn more calories than usual. You’ll need to drink plenty of water and not stop drinking when you feel thirsty.
You should plan to send any personal items that you might need, even if they are not on your usual backpacking gear list. To prevent your socks from getting worn out, you will need a pair nail clippers. You’ll need tape, a felt pen and postage to send the box ahead to your next resupply station. You can free forward a priority mail package that you don’t want to open. It’s quite affordable to send it forward if you have to open or return a package.
These are the pieces of gear you might need to resupply or change while hiking. If you are hiking north or entering the fall season, you may need to replace your sleeping bag. You could use a sleeping bag liner to provide warmth and send it to one your first cold-weather stops. People change their stoves when it gets colder. It is always easier to locate denatured alcohol than to find butane/propane carts. They cannot be mailed. As your hike progresses, you may switch to different water purification methods. As you go north, you may use iodine tablets (or nothing at all) as a starting point.