Hiking as a hobby: How to start hiking
I have been doing longer hikes for many years now. Only recently I started doing shorter day hikes which I now do on the weekly basis throughout the year. Day hiking has definitely become one of my favourite hobbies.
Day hikes are a great way to detach from work stuff and spend time outside in the nature.
For a long time I would ignore smaller hiking spots around my local area and would only focus on doing longer hikes somewhere further away.
As I started missing hiking between my longer hikes I started to think of ways to do hiking on a more regular basis.
Now, after a couple of years of day hiking throughout the entire year, day hiking has become one of my favourite hobbies, if not the favourite.
I really started missing hiking between my longer hikes to remote places and decided to start exploring hiking spots around my local area.
Almost anyone can do day hiking
The beauty of day hiking is that almost anyone can do it. As nature is present in almost anywhere you are in the world it means that in high certainty there can do some hiking.
I can’t say for the rest of the world but here in Finland there are at least some sort of nature spots and paths pretty much everywhere. Some spots are bigger some smaller. Day hiking can take place in National parks, real wilderness or in the suburbs of major cities.
In Finland, many hiking spots even take accessible people into consideration and have built easy to use paths to some great nature spots.
Depending on the hiking spot, not much gear is needed to do some small day hikes. Good shoes are essential when doing even the smallest day hikes and if you are planing a little bit longer day hike, let’s say more than 5 hours, you might need some more gear as well.
Why day hiking is the best hobby
There are many things I love about day hiking but here are some of the biggest reasons for me:
Nature & outdoors
I love spending time in the nature and outdoors. It is a great way to forget about work stuff and just enjoy walking around in the nature.
Finding and exploring new places around the nature is very exiting. Whenever I would go to even a tiny hiking spot there is always that excitement to explore a completely new place and get a completely new experience.
Walking around doesn’t feel like much of an exercise or at least I don’t see it that way but I can tell that after a good day hike my body can definitely feel that something has been done.
As someone who is quite competitive by nature I love that day hiking completely eliminates the competitive side of me and puts me in a very relaxed state.
Spending time with loved ones
Day hiking is such a great way to spend time with family and friends.
My best hiking buddies are my wife Anette and my dog Isku.
How to start day hiking hobby
Not much is needed to start day hiking. Depending on your location and nearby hiking spots you need some kind of transportation to go do hiking. Here are other things you might need as well to start day hiking hobby:
The first thing you want to buy when doing any type of hiking is get a good pair of shoes. Depending on what type of hiking spots you want to explore there are different types of shoes you should consider. Here are three types of shoes I personally use depending on what type of hiking I am doing:
- Hiking shoes: I have used my Lowa hiking shoes for almost five years now and I love them. I use them in some rougher terrain and for longer hikes. When purchasing real hiking shoes like Lowas it is good to take care of them regularly so they will last for a good decade.
- Trail running shoes: I use Merrel trail running shoes when doing some day hikes in not so tough terrain but still inside forest. I also use them for trail running purposes as well and I love them as much as I do my Lowa hiking shoes.
- Running shoes: When really doing an easy day hike to a pretty accessible spot I just use my running shoes.
Your build and physique also play a role in what type of shoes you should get. For example my Merrell trail running shoes are not recommended for someone with weak feet and angles and I can just barely use them safely without injuring myself. Good hiking shoes like my Lowas are a very safe choice for almost anyone!
Any type of hiking requires you to move your feet so the next piece of gear you want to have is good pants that you are comfortable in walking. I have been using my Haglof’s pants for as long as my Lowa hiking shoes with proper maintenance.
When you go hiking you most likely will carry some essentials with you so you need to have a backpack. I have three kind’s of backpacks from 70 litters down. The 70 litter one I rarely take to day hiking and it is mostly for longer hikes. I then have a couple of smaller ones depending on what kind of day hike I am going for.
You should carry around some water with you when going hiking. I have two types of water bottles with me in all of my hikes: my Nelgene and a camel bag.
Day hiking doesn’t require you to purchase a lot of gear when starting out.
That is pretty much all gear I would consider as the most important ones. There are a lot of essential gear you can and sometimes should buy but is definitely not required. Some of my favourite hiking essentials are:
I never use regular socks when doing any type of hiking. Good running socks or hiking socks are a good to have but not required.
Sometimes when doing longer hikes or planning to do some cooking out in the forest it is good to have a good set of equipment for that as well. I have used Trangia for a very long time now and it is still in use when cooking in the wild.
Compass and a map
I like to be old school in that way that I do not rely on my iPhone when going hiking. I almost alway want to have a paper map and a compass with me when hiking. Reading a map is a very good skill to learn.
I usually never go out hiking without have a paper map and a compass with me.
Whenever you are buying a new piece of equipment for your hiking hobby, try to make it worth it. Hiking gear can last a long time if purchased correctly the first time. Not buying the cheapest piece of equipment could potentially save some money in the long run.
Again I would say that if you are just starting out and are looking for ways to start doing hiking getting a good pair of shoes is enough. Then just find a good spot and go enjoy the outdoors!