Outdoor Life: 3 Tips to Help Beginner Hikers Prepare for the Trail | New

(StatePoint) Being new to anything can be daunting. The great thing about hiking is that it’s free and open to everyone, no matter where you live or your level of experience. You also don’t need a lot of equipment or education to get started.

Ready to find the nearest trail? Check out these three tips and start hiking for more fitness, wellness and adventure.

1. Find a community

The world of hiking gear, clothing, and footwear is vast, which can be a bit confusing for those new to the outdoor experience. Look for brands that make things simple. For example, KEEN Footwear is on a mission to make the outdoors more accessible by providing high-quality footwear at inclusive prices.

Some outdoor and sporting goods stores hold outdoor skills workshops and group trips to help consumers feel comfortable before hitting the trail. For example, REI offers virtual and in-person classes on topics like backpacking and backpacking, as well as lessons on everything from bear awareness to preventing common stings and bites. These classes and events are a great opportunity to meet like-minded people to share future outdoor adventures with.

2. Take care of your feet

While you don’t need a whole lot to enjoy a hike, it’s important to have terrain-appropriate shoes that are comfortable, well-fitting, and have the right tech features.

Expensive, bulky hiking boots that need to be broken in aren’t always the right answer for a novice hiker. Innovative solutions are emerging, however. The KEEN Targhee has been keeping feet comfortable on the trails for over 17 years. It’s a go-to hiking shoe for overnight stays in the backcountry and hiking in rough terrain. KEEN has created a new option that offers all the most important features of its iconic, trail-tested Targhee collection with a fresh approach and price points included. The Circadia line is a back-to-basics alternative that offers the protection and stability of a hiking boot with a lighter, more sneaker-like feel. Expect out-of-the-box comfort, all-day cushioning, and stability on any trail surface, from dirt to gravel. It’s a great choice for local day hikes and short round trips.

Another solid option from KEEN is Ridge Flex. Because this shoe requires less energy from the hiker, it is known as the “electric bike of hiking shoes” and is ideal for beginners and experts alike. This is due to the KEEN.BELLOWS FLEX technology which makes it easy to flex the boot right out of the box. Thanks to this design, this boot flexes where others can crack and weaken over time, making it a good long-term investment for hikers interested in multi-day hiking and backpacking (hiking on a long-distance end-to-end trail).

3. Prioritize safety

As with any outdoor activity, it is essential to check the weather before hiking so that you have the right clothing for comfort, whether it is heat, wind or cold. Be sure to bring extra food and water, or a way to purify water on the go, as well as a simple first aid kit and tools to start a fire. Don’t forget your cell phone, but be aware that cell phones don’t always work on the hiking trails.

It’s also a good idea to read up on the trail you plan to tackle to make sure it matches your abilities. Always tell a friend or family member when and where you are hiking and what time you expect to return.

Whether you’re hoping to spot elusive wildlife or you’re a fitness enthusiast looking to exercise in nature, the outdoors is for you. And with a few simple preparations, you’ll be ready to hit the trail with confidence.