What, when, how: a beginners guide for hiking

What, when, how: a beginners guide for hiking

By Tine Ewé Jensen

Many ask me ‘how?’. “How do you plan the hikes, how do you find the trails, how do you know what to pack?”. I have experienced that you’ll learn something new on each trip. Every time you go out on a hike you’ll find out if you need any specific equipment or if you need to pack fewer things or something else.
But let’s start from the first question:

#1 how do you plan the hikes?

For me it depends on a couple of things:
Who am I traveling with, how much time do I have and what kind of nature do I want to experience?

You can start by asking your self:

#1 For how long do you want to hike?
#2 How do you want to sleep (if it’s more than a day hike)?
#3 What kind of nature do you want to hike in?

Living in Denmark means that we need to drive a bit to reach the mountains, but if you are searching for beautiful nature, both north Germany, South Sweden, and even Denmark has some great adventures waiting for you. It is important to think of how you want to travel: Do you want to sleep in tents or shelters or do you want to stay in cabins. This depends on how much you want to carry of course, your budget and of cause if you want to sleep outside.
In Norway, you can buy a subscription for DNT (The Norwegian Trekking Association), that besides having marked routes and ski tracks, has over 550 cabins across the country that their members get discount on. There are three types of cabins with accommodation: Staffed lodges, self-service cabins, and no-service cabins. You can read more about DNT on their website.
It can also be an idea to check out if there are any shelters on the hike. Shelters are normally free to use, and there are often firewood and toilets on the campsite. Especially in Denmark, you need to check if the shelters are available because some places you can book the shelter in advance.

If you want to stay in tent, you need to check up on the rules for camping in the given country. In Norway and Sweden, they have ‘Allemandsret’ or right to roam in English. The right to roam entitles everyone to go almost everywhere in nature (and camp). The general rule is that you must be careful with nature and show respect for humans and animals. You can always check up on the rules on the countries webpage (visitdenmark etc.).

 

#2 How do I find the trails?

Josefinelust, South Sweden

When you know which area you want to hike in, then you can find out which trails there are. In the States, I used the app ‘Alltrails’ which worked really good, because you can see the level on the hikes, distance and what to see on the route. I am always a fan of the more analog because you can’t always be sure that there’s connection on the hike, so I would always suggest that you buy a map for the hike. Maps can be bought at gas stations, information stands or a map shop (For the Danish readers, I normally use Nordisk Korthandel)

 

#3 How do I know what to pack?

Packing depends (of course) on the climate you are hiking in. Because I, in most cases, hike in the northern countries, I have to pack warm clothing and equipment. But take a look at the list of some essentials for a hiking trip. Use it next time you are going on an adventure:

  1. Underlayers and baselayers
  2. Down Jacket
  3. Shell Jacket (or rain jacket)
  4. Waterproofs (because.. it always rains in Scandinavia)
  5. Hiking boots or a great pair of sneakers (depending on the season)
  6. Flipflops for the evenings (To relax your feet!!!)
  7. Sleep mat (Warm and self-inflatable)
  8. Sleeping bag (Check for which temperatures it works for)
  9. Extra socks (And fx. sports socks that support the foot when hiking for many hours)
  10. Blister patch
  11. Sports tape (to put over the blister patch so it sticks for the whole trip. Don’t take it off until you are home)
  12. Trangia – with gas. After I have traveled with Trangia for clear alcohol for many years, I’ve just experienced the wonder of using gas. It goes so much faster and you don’t end up with food tasting of alcohol. For a three days hike, we brought 300 ml. (for 4 persons)
  13. Knife
  14. A big water bottle (1 liter) so you don’t have to fill your bottle all the time
  15. And of course a good backpack – there are many different to choose between, so my suggestion is to ask in the outdoor shop because they are very good at giving advice on these things.

I always bring too many clothes on my hikes but I’ve experienced that when I find a good pair of clothes, then this is what I wear most of the trip – so give yourself some extra space in the backpack (a make it lighter) by packing half the clothes you thought of.

And then it’s just putting on your hiking shoes and start hiking. See you out there! ✌🏼

Kullen, 2018

 

 

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