From the weather to the Band-Aid: we take everything into account so that an exciting journey does not turn into a survival lesson.
Determine the difficulty level
To determine the complexity of the hike, you need to consider the following parameters.
- Duration and mileage
- The height difference
- Landscape features and weather conditions
- Make a route
- Define the route points
- Choose a place to spend the night
- The camp itself must be set up
- Make a backup plan
- Add spare days
- Check the weather forecast
- Take everything you need
- Dress properly
- Think about security
- Learn the lessons of survival
1. Duration and mileage
Find out how many days it will take your camping trip. This will determine the details of the route and the speed at which you will need to go.
At the same time, you need to calculate your strength correctly: it is important to understand how many kilometers per day you can go if you move at a comfortable pace.
You can also go from the opposite: decide first what you want to see, and then determine how many days you will need to do it.
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2. The height difference
The mileage is also strongly affected by the descents and ascents on the route. The more of them and the more difficult they are (longer and steeper), the more tedious the hike becomes. This means that the more difficult it will be to overcome the same distance.
3. Landscape features and weather conditions
Features of the landscape are not only mountains, forests, and rivers, but also mud, sand, swamps more. All this is noticeably exhausting, even if you do not have to climb anywhere. Rain and gusts of wind also take time and effort.
The speed of movement is also affected by the weight of the backpack and the length of rest between transitions. It is worth considering that in the first few days it is usually harder to walk than later when you disperse and get used to it.
It is not so easy to say exactly how many kilometers a day a beginner will be able to walk: everything is very subjective. But in any case, you should not immediately go on long hikes with difficult obstacles. If you are relatively fit, then you can start with a measured walk of no more than 15 kilometers a day with a gradual rise of no more than 1,000 meters. The route without altitude differences can be increased to 20 kilometers.
If you are not ready to determine all these parameters yourself, it is better to contact the tourist organizations that organize hikes — there are most often tours of different levels of complexity.
You can sign up for one of the proposed routes — the organizers have already calculated everything for you, it remains only to decide whether this is suitable for you. This way you will gain experience and an understanding of your capabilities.
4. Make a route
Those who decide to make their route should be able to read the map (as well as use a compass and GPS navigator). This is necessary even if you are walking with someone who knows the area well: if you fall behind or get lost, it is important to be able to find the way yourself. GPS-navigator is also not a panacea: it can break or run out of battery.
You need to determine the schedule for each day in advance: it is important to know at least approximately what exactly awaits you to minimize unforeseen circumstances and correctly calculate your strength.
5. Define the route points
Decide what attractions you want to see, and measure the distances you will travel on the map. When determining the mileage, remember that the map gives an error: it does not take into account all the subtleties of the terrain. The numbers you get when measuring should be slightly larger: increase them by at least 10-15%.
6. Choose a place to spend the night
If your hike lasts longer than one day, plan where and how you will spend the night. You may have the following options:
- A hotel or shelter – If they meet you on the way. Please specify in advance what is included in the price.
- Camping – This option provides either a place for your tent or a bungalow. There may be additional amenities, such as a kitchen, shower, grocery store. Find out what you have and what you will need to pay for.
- Tent camp – Alternatively, it can be broken down at the cars that you arrived in (for example, if it is a circular route-a detour around the territory with a return to the starting point). In this case, you need to find a place where you can leave your transport.
7. The camp itself must be set up:
- On a dry and wind-protected area (not in an open area);
- At the site without stones sticking out of the roots and knots;
- With protection from possible rain:
- On a flat surface, if it absorbs water well, or on a gentle slope or a small hill, so that the water flows down (lie down with your head up, so that there is no headache due to increased blood flow);
- Not in a narrow place;
- not too far from the water source, but not directly at the reservoir (if it rains, it can overflow the banks, and besides, there are always more annoying insects);
- Not in the lowlands (there will be fog and midges), but not too high, so that lightning does not strike in a thunderstorm;
- Not far from the source of firewood, but at a safe distance from dry trees that may fall from the wind.
Consider the size and number of tents — the area should be large enough for everyone to fit.
It is also useful to find out in advance whether it is dangerous to put up a tent at the point you have chosen —for example, because of wild animals or the likelihood of mountain collapses and rockfalls.
In all cases, when you organize a place for an overnight stay, do not forget to prepare:
- A tent, taking into account the features of the landscape;
- A sleeping bag that can withstand the temperatures that await you on your journey (manufacturers usually specify the temperature range for which the product is recommended); a
- Travel foam or a mattress under the bag;
- Warm / change clothes for the evening and night, if necessary.
8. Make a backup plan
If there are difficult areas on the route (forests with windbreaks, mountain passes, streams, and rivers, etc.), think about detours in advance: what if you can’t overcome the obstacles? Mark the places where you can shorten the distance in case you are delayed somewhere or something else goes wrong: the night should not catch you where you can not make camp.
Think about unforeseen situations.
Make sure you know how to get off the route in an emergency if necessary. Mark the places where you will pass near cities or settlements. Check if there are any emergency points on the way and mark the nearest ones. Try to remember bright landmarks that will help you get back to your starting point if you get lost.
9. Add spare days
If the trip is long, decide when and where to arrange days of rest from the transitions. Add a few spare days in case these breaks are not enough or it will take longer to cover some sections than you expected.
10. Check the weather forecast
A lot of things depend on whether during a hike:
- How much water you need to take — the hotter it is, the more you need it;
- Which clothes and shoes to choose from;
- What kind of sunscreen to choose;
- How to prepare for an overnight stay;
- Do I need protection from the rain?
If it’s going to rain on a hike, you need a raincoat, and warm clothes, probably you will have to stop for a while. It is not necessary, for example, to go through riverbeds or easily flooded areas. Here everything depends on the territory and the duration of the rains. At the very least — you risk getting wet and flooding your belongings. And there are more serious dangers: in 2018, TEN YOUTH DEAD IN SOUTHERN ISRAEL FLASH FLOODS people who went on a campaign under the pre-war training program were killed in the riverbed in Israel — they were swept away by water.
Do not forget to check the weather not only for the day but also for the night: the temperature difference can be quite sharp.
11. Take everything you need
Here’s what you need to prepare for the hike:
- High-quality hiking backpack.
- Water. There must be enough of it: it is better to take a little more than you need than to get into a situation where it ended prematurely. We not only drink water, but also wash the wounds with it, and also cook food on it. It is convenient to carry it either in a bottle (flask) with a handle, or in a hydrator-a special waterproof bag with a tube (it will lie in a backpack, and the tube will be brought out and attached to the strap of the backpack).
- Meal. One that won’t go bad on the hike and is easy to cook. You can take nuts, dried fruits, canned food, cereals, chocolate, hard cheese, dried meat, cookies, lollipops, and the like. If you take something perishable, eat it in the first place.
- Matches, lighter. If you think that there may be a problem with fuel (rain, rocky, mountainous terrain, and so on), take it (firewood, if possible, or a gas burner).
- Cap. It will protect not only from the sun but also from insects, such as ticks.
- Sunscreen. Even if the sun is not aggressive, it is worth protecting your skin if you are exposed to it for a long time.
- Cream against mosquitoes and ticks, if necessary (for example, for walking in the woods).
- Personal hygiene
- Tent, sleeping bag, and foam/mattress.
- Hiking sticks. There are pros and cons to using them, but in some cases, they can help a lot.
- A gas burner and camping utensils (if necessary and it is possible to carry) or a thermos.
- Wipes (dry and wet hygienic) and hand cleaning liquids.
- A compass and a paper map. They will not be superfluous, even if there is a GPS-navigator on batteries-suddenly the equipment will fail?
- A hatchet. To take or not to take depends, of course, on the situation. It can be useful, for example, for preparing firewood.
- Strong rope. You never know where it might come in handy.
- The mirror. If necessary, they can be signaled.
- A camera with charged batteries. If you are sure that it will not interfere.
- Powerbank. Don’t forget to charge it and your phone before hiking.
Think carefully about what you must take, and what you can leave at home, depending on the specifics of your trip. Do not forget that you will have to bear all this on yourself. You can even try to pack a backpack in advance and walk around with it for a while to make sure that it is not too heavy.
12. Dress properly
We choose comfortable clothes that do not squeeze or rub anywhere. It should be easy to put on and take off. It is worth considering the rule of three layers: underwear removes moisture, clothing for warmth, and the top layer for protection from precipitation and wind.
Shoes should be comfortable and durable. You should not wear light urban sneakers: they can tear, and you go through the whole hike barefoot (it is not always possible to immediately leave the route). It is better to choose either special hiking shoes or sandals or good trekking shoes. They are stronger, breathe better, and hold the foot, the sole does not slip so much. You can choose waterproof options that also reduce the amount of sand and pebbles that get into your shoes.
On a long hike, it is good to wear special trekking socks — you can even take several pairs at once (two or three). There are different types for different conditions. They wrap more tightly around the leg, remove moisture and breathe better. Professionals do not recommend wearing cotton socks — they easily give creases and rub your feet. It is better to leave them overnight.
13. Think about security
Do not forget to pack a first aid kit for the trip. Some pharmacies sell ready-made products. If you will collect it yourself, make sure that you put the entire minimum of necessary drugs:
- drugs for poisoning;
- antispasmodic medications;
- anti-allergic drugs;
- bandages, cotton wool, plasters, elastic bandage;
- medicines that you need for your health reasons.
If you go to the forest, it will be useful to read the list of poisonous mushrooms and find out what they look like. These include, for example, the pale toadstool, the smelly fly agaric, the fringed galleria, and many others. Pay attention also to the dangerous double mushrooms, which are very similar to some edible ones.
Make sure you know how to behave when encountering wild animals.
Inform the Ministry of Emergency Situations of the details of your trip, if the path lies in a difficult area: these are not only mountains, forests, and caves, but also just poorly visited territories, remote from civilization, where there is no mobile communication. This must be done at least 10 days before the start of the trip. It is not necessary to submit such an application, but for your safety, you should not neglect this.
It is not superfluous to inform your relatives and friends about where you plan to be. Tell them the travel plan with dates and coordinates, phone numbers of other participants of the trip. Agree on the time of communication to clarify the location.
14. Learn the lessons of survival
If something goes wrong while camping, you will need survival skills while waiting for help. It would be good to learn in advance:
Light a fire without matches. Option: Focus the sunlight through any convex glass, such as the bottom of a bottle, or even a plastic water bottle.
Create a place to stay for the night from improvised materials. Option: make a shelter from long branches and sticks (you can lean on them, for example, on the trunk of a fallen tree) and tightly cover with foliage, brushwood, and everything else that you will find on the forest floor (you need to overlap the material). The more tightly you lay it, the better the roof will retain water.
Way out in the woods. Learn not only to use a compass but also to determine the direction of the sun, stars, and wind.
To get water. For example, from plants: fill the bag with branches and leaves for three-quarters (just make sure that you do not choose a poisonous specimen) and place it under the sun’s rays. The plant will release moisture, which will be collected in the bag. Or you can even take your waterproof headphones with you so you can enhance your experience to the fullest.