Waking up to nature is never a bad call. There is something overwhelmingly energizing about the fresh cool breeze that brushes past our faces in the mornings as we see the sun beginning to spread its rays of joy on the grounds on which we stand. For some people, this experience gets only better if they go to places that one can only access by foot. The experience of hiking overnight to an isolated area is indeed quite different from all the hikes that you may have gone for in the past. But nothing good in life comes without efforts. An overnight hike requires you to prepare and do it well. If this is going to be your first hike ever, it is advisable that you first go on a day hike to understand the nitty gritty details and basic knowledge of what a hike involves. If that is not possible, you must tag along with a companion who is also an experienced hiker so he or she can be your guide. Here is how you should begin your preparation for an overnight hike.
The packing part of it:
A hike at the night time always requires more preparation and gear than a trip during the day. Begin with buying a backpack that can accommodate all the things you want to carry easily. Also keep in mind the factor of comfort. You shouldn’t just load the backpack with everything you want and then feel like the entire trip was about dragging a heavy weight rather than enjoying and having a new experience.
The clothing part of it:
The kind of clothes you pack depends on the place you decide to go. In general, any place during the night becomes colder than in the day, so you need to have full sleeved clothes made out of comfortable fabric. However, since you will be hiking continuously, you may sweat and feel hot. So, try to carry those clothes which you can easily peel off in case if it gets too hot for you. While woolen clothes or clothes made of synthetic material are a great option, cotton clothes are a strict no-no.
Clothing for overnight ride consists of three layers:
– First Layer: It comprises of tops and bottoms. They should be made of such material that can help your body stay away from moisture. Cotton clothes lead to loss of body fluid and heat which is not something you want to lose on an overnight hike. Clothes made of polypropylene and Thermax are a considerable option.
– Second Layer: This layer is also said to be insulator layer. Wear a warm sweater, down jacket to insulate your body.
– Third Layer: Known as the weatherproofing layer, it protects you from the wrath of bad weather. Wear jackets and pants which are windproof as well as waterproof. Remember that all you wear should allow you to breathe properly as well as allow enough bodily movements. You also have to carry your backpack in addition to all these layers of clothing so make sure everything is comfortable.
The backpack is the most important aspect of an overnight trip. Choose a backpack which can carry all the gear easily. While choosing the backpack try not let the look and the style of the bag influence you but rather the comfort and the space that it has to offer. Make sure that more than 70 percent of your pack weight should be on your hips.
To choose a tent the first thing that you should know is where you will be camping, and how many people would be using the tent. The three-season tent works great as they fit well in your backpacks. To get extra protection try to bring a field trap with you. Remember that the size of the trap should be 2 inches shorter than the edges of the tent.
Sleeping bag and pads:
Hiking for the whole night will render you tired and craving for a comfortable place to sleep, and this cannot happen unless you have a good quality sleeping bag and pads. So choose them wisely. The sleeping bag keeps you insulated from the cold and any rock or roots on the ground.
First Aid Kit:
The only source of light you have at night is your flashlights which make it quite easy for you to hit the rocks, slip, scratch against rocks, fall and thereby get hurt. A first aid kid is a necessity to deal with these accidental injuries you are bound to get during an overnight hike. Remember to check that the kit is well up to date and everything in it is well inside its date of expiration.
Apart from all of this, here is a list of other essential gear that should find a place in your backpack include:-
-Map and Compass
-Knife or a Multi Tool
-Sun Screen and Sunglasses
-Water and a way to purify it
-Backpacking food or camping food: These quick and easy meals, such as our MREs, which come in all tastes, varieties and cuisines make your hike much simpler by giving your body the energy it needs.
-Sunglasses and Sunscreens
-Flashlight with Extra Batteries
Where To Go Hiking
Hiking is a great vacation activity whether you prefer an extended, advanced trip or a short, amateur weekend trail into the Wilderness. Some golden, hidden hiking trails that you may not have considered include:
Frogs Trail – Gauteng, South Africa
Located near the the Cullinan Diamond Mine on the outskirts of Pretoria in South Africa, the KwaMahlanga Frog Trail provides an average difficulty hiking experience that is suitable for most adults and older children under supervision.
The start of the 8km trail is marked by a farmhouse and includes a stroll through grasslands, stream crossings and negotiating rocky outcrops that all form part of the unique African landscape. The streams and pools contain clear water that is ideal and safe for swimming (but not for drinking). The waterfall is the best spot to take a break, have a picnic and simply bask in the natural wonders that surround you.
The environment is not all natural and fruit trees mark the trail while providing ideal shade on those hot African days. Be sure to keep your eyes peeled for small wildlife that call the Frog trail and surrounding area home. A pair of binoculars and a camera will help you spot and capture the scenery and wildlife to make the trail memorable.
Have a great trip!