Hiking for Beginners on a Budget
- 1 Hiking for Beginners on a Budget
- 2 What is Hiking?
- 3 How To Find Hiking Trails Near Me?
- 4 Prepare For a Hike
- 5 What to Take on a Hike?
- 6 Hiking On A Budget
There’s not much that compares with the beauty and solace of being outdoors and getting in tune with nature. For many people, outdoor adventures have become their way to unwind from all the stresses and worries that everyday life can bring about. If you’re searching for a way to spend more time in nature and unplugged, hiking may be the answer you’re looking for.
Before you head to your local outdoors store and purchase all the top name hiking necessities, know that it doesn’t have to be expensive when you’re just starting out. While you will need a good pair of hiking shoes, they don’t have to be top of the line – just yet. Keep reading as we dive deeper into hiking for beginners on a budget.
What is Hiking?
For starters, we must answer the question: what is hiking? According to Wikipedia, hiking is a long, vigorous walk, usually on trails or footpaths in the countryside. Mostly, hiking is mostly just walking and is accessible to pretty much anyone as long as they take their time. There are varying distances you can hike and trails all throughout the United States. Some hikes may last a couple of hours, while more enduring trails can last a week or more! They commonly refer to longer hiking programs as trekking and typically include spending the night in tents, camps or mountain huts. The type of trail you choose depends on your fitness level, interest and the experience you’re searching for.
How To Find Hiking Trails Near Me?
One of my go-to apps when I’m searching for a hiking trail is AllTrails. You can install the app on your phone and search your area to see trails near you. Besides seeing the trails in your area, you can also see items like trail difficulty, pictures from other hikers, tips from other hikers, reviews of the hike, dog friendly trails, family friendly trails and more.
You can also try Komoot – which is like AllTrails. You will enter your zip code and have access to trails near your area. Of course, you can always do a Google search to find local hiking trails, too.
Prepare For a Hike
Unlike a walk around the neighborhood, a hike is something you will have to prepare for. Simply heading out the door without the needed items could make your trip a lot less exciting. Here are some tips to help you prepare for a hike.
Have a Plan
Always have a plan and share your plan with someone. If you are going hiking by yourself, let someone know where you are going and when you will return. You should also know where you want to begin your hike and where you want to end. For example, will you be doing the entire trail or just half? Is there a specific site that you’re wanting to view? Having a clear plan will help ensure you make the most of your trip.
Which hiking trail are you going to? What’s the weather going to be like? Are there restrooms or water stops along the trail? As a beginner hiker, one of the greatest mistakes you can make is to avoid doing any research. Be sure to check the weather (this is a must) and read some reviews on the trail to know what to expect!
Take the Proper Gear
The right gear for your hike will depend on where you’re going. You may need to dress in layers if it’s cooler, or if it’s warmer, you will want to wear shorts. It’s never a bad idea to pack a raincoat – just in case mother nature makes the day more interesting! A compass is always a good thing to have, too!
What to Take on a Hike?
Of course, every hike is different and will require unique items. Chances are you won’t need nearly as much on a 3-mile hike as you would a 10-mile hike. Here are some items to consider bringing on your hike:
- A fully charged mobile phone, in case of emergency
- A hat
- Basic hiking clothes (raincoat, extra shirt, etc.)
- Bug spray
- Hiking boots
- First aid/Survival kit
- Camera (if you want to get some pictures or are into photography)
- Binoculars (if you are interested in bird watching or want to see wildlife)
- A map
- A compass
- Toilet paper (if nature calls…and biodegradable if possible)
- A backpack (to store all of your necessities)
Hiking On A Budget
Now that you’ve got the basics down, it’s time for the 411 on hiking for beginners on a budget. It’s no secret that hiking gear can be pricey. But that doesn’t mean you have to invest your life savings to get started. Before financially committing, try hiking with some of these budget friendly tips:
Ask Family and Friends
There’s a good chance that someone you know already has some of the hiking gear you need and they will let you borrow it. Shoot a text to family and friends, or post on your social media pages to see if there’s anyone who can help you out.
Go Thrift Shopping
That’s right! You don’t have to go directly to REI or Academy to purchase hiking gear. Thrift stores are a great place to find gently used hiking gear like raincoats, backpacks and thermals. The best part – it’s a fraction of the cost of new items!
Head to Your Local Dollar Store
The older you get, the more you appreciate the dollar store. Trust me when I say this – that hiking trail you are going to doesn’t care about your name brand gear! When gearing up for a hike, the dollar store is a great place to go to search for deals. You can typically find socks, first aid kits, hats, matches, ponchos and much more for just a few bucks.
Wait For Big Sales
Before going out and paying full price for your hiking gear, watch for big sales. Most retailers will have big sales when seasons are about to change. Buy winter gear when it begins warming up and summer gear when it is cooling off. Holidays are also a time for big sales. Memorial Day, Prime Day, Labor Day, Cyber Monday and Black Friday are when big savings can usually be found.
Another hiking for beginners on a budget tip is to rent gear. A lot of parks have hiking gear available that you can rent on arrival. Of course, only rent until you decide to commit yourself to the hobby. Renting can add up quickly! So it may be best to purchase your own gear after the first couple of trips.
Use Your Mobile Device
Luckily for you, we are living in a digital world. This can make hiking easier on the wallet in terms of gear! That smart phone you have in your hand probably already has a compass, ability to access an offline map and an emergency communication app. This means that you can ditch the expensive GPS accessories and use the one that you already have!
Save Money on Food
While it may be tempting to purchase “hiking food,” you can put the money away and spend it on food that’s much cheaper. More than likely, you have food in your kitchen that will be perfect for the outdoor adventure. Grab some nuts, fruit or a sandwich from your pantry and be on your way!