As you are probably aware, I am a little bit of a fan of hiking. Over the years I have picked up some hiking tips and tricks to pass on to you. Hiking is a fun, easy, accessible hobby that isn’t limited to the super fit. Anyone can hike but you still need to be a bit savvy.


Hiking and happiness go hand in hand or foot in boot.

Diane Spicer


Top 11 Hiking Tips and Tricks

Always tell someone where you are going

This is probably one of the most important things that you need to do before you go hiking. If something happened, you got lost or the weather turns, someone needs to know where you are and what time you are approximately expected back. It is unlikely that something will happen to you but it is better to be safe than sorry. Anything can happen when you go bush.

Check the weather before you go

The weather is very changeable, you may start the day in blinding sunshine but come lunchtime you may as well be in a different season. With the abundance of weather apps at your fingertips, there really is no excuse for not knowing what weather may be in store. Take it with a grain of salt though, the weather forecast is right only approximately 34% of the time.


Pack a backpack of supplies, even if you are only going for a short time

Chuck in some water, snacks, map and compass, GPS, a change of clothes, extra socks, a small first aid kit, some loo paper (you know, just in case), hat, sunscreen and the kitchen sink.

Pretend you are a boy scout, be prepared.

Read More: What to pack on a day hike

Research where you are going beforehand

Research how long the hike is expected to take, the terrain, fitness level, distance, access and if there is anything you need to be aware of, such as hunters in the area etc. The more you know about your hike the less likely you will be unpleasantly surprised by something unexpected.

Plus if you are super unfit you don’t want to be trekking up steep hills for hours on end. Even if you did want to challenge yourself.

Read More: Hiking mistakes I made so you don’t have to


Wear appropriate gear

A good pair of hiking boots is one of the best investments you can make. No one likes manky, blistered feet. Breathable clothing is a must. You can quickly overheat when walking and cool down just as fast when you stop. Plus who like pooled sweat sitting on their bodies unable to go anywhere? Wear layers that are easy to peel on and off.  Dress for the weather but pack extras just in case. You may need that raincoat or those waterproof trousers after all. (One of my latest hikes I forgot my waterproof jacket and it bucketed down).

Read More: How to choose the perfect pair of hiking boots


Make sure your phone is charged

If you are anything like me you will want to capture the mountains of beautiful scenery nature has to offer. Yes, the pun was intentional. Not even sorry. Plus, even if you don’t get reception your phone will always reach emergency services (well, in NZ, I’m not sure about other countries) in case you need them. You don’t want to be checking your Facebook, emails or texting your mates while you’re out stomping through nature though. That’s just bad hiketiquette.


Be present in the moment

Leave your phone in your bag, unless it is to snap a photo. Be present in nature, listen to the birds. Wonder in awe of the beauty around you. Smell the earth and the trees. Feel the texture of the leaves and the bark. If you are hiking with someone, give them your attention without distraction. Unless it is the distraction of the birdsong or another one of natures offerings.

Stamp through the Autumn leaves if you inner child wishes. Sit on the rock and gaze at the view.


Take nothing but photos, leave nothing but footprints

This is a classic hiking saying and for a very good reason. You wouldn’t like it if someone came to your house, took your flowers then buggered off, would you? You wouldn’t like it if someone came to your house and left their empty water bottles on your lawn? Well, Mother Nature feels the same about her garden. Treat nature with respect yo.

Read More: The leave no trace principle

Get local advice on track and weather conditions before setting out.

This probably comes under the research heading but this way, it looks like I have more tips to share. Plus it is still a pretty important tip if you know a local. Locals know the area better than anyone. They will know if there are any detours in place that aren’t yet on the internet, they will know the weather patterns. Locals will also know the best way to tackle the track, if it is a loop you have a choice of which way to go first, hit up a local to learn their hiking tips and tricks.

Topographical maps and a compass are essential.

Many of the open tops are unmarked and should only be crossed in good visibility.

Lots of tracks are unmarked or very poorly marked, as in you need to be a psychic to understand what the person putting up the markers intended. Common sense will get you pretty far but if you don’t know the area well a map is a worthy investment.

If you are hiking somewhere like Dartmoor, England, a map and compass are essential. You won’t get far without them. Well, you will get far, but you won’t be able to get back again without a lot of luck.

Read More: How to read a topo map

Be aware of park boundaries to avoid trespassing onto private land

No one wants to be chased by an angry farmer.


So there you have it, my top 11 hiking tips and tricks.

Have I forgotten anything you would add to the list? What are your top hiking tips and tricks?



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top hiking tips and tricks, conventional and unconventional. Hiking should be a fun, enriching experience, here's how to do it safely and mindfully.

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16 Comments on 11 top hiking tips and tricks to make the most of your trek

  1. I’m a hiking fan too and there are some great tips in here to be prepared. It is amazing how the weather can change quickly and if you don’t have the right gear or know which direction you are walking with low visibility then big problem. Great article!

  2. This post is very informative for travellers planning to go for hiking especially the first timers like me. I’ve plans of going for a hike on my next trip and these tips and hacks will be very helpful. I’m saving the page for future reference. Thanks for sharing! 🙂

  3. Additionally I would keep ready to eat stuff, which can then be put in plastic bags to be disposed at the end of the trip. You have covered most of the essentials. I also feel, its important to know one or two local people to ask for help while on the trek, for emergency purposes.

  4. Wow I love that guide and tips that you’re sharing with us, my favorite part? is the photo your map and that Haribo (hahah my favorite) I think getting advice from locals is really ideal. Locals are the important persons whom we can count on when it comes to trekking, why simply because they know more about the place.

    • Haribo was a staple when I was hiking in the UK! Here in NZ its dinosaur jellies haha. Yes, the locals know so much about the land around them so it’s a great idea to get their advice

  5. Oh ! What a great list. It’s a must if you are looking for a pleasant trip with or without challenges. I recently read about two women travelling from Hawaii to Tahiti. They assumed it will take them 2 months to reach their destination by sea but it actually took them 6. They got off track and lost in the middle and finally managed to reach shore with the help of a Taiwanese ship. What helped them survive this long was a working water purifier and enough dry food for 6 months. So yes will remember your points next time we are hiking. Thanks !

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