If you want to try a long-distance hike for several days, especially for thru-hikes, you want to get in shape so that everything goes well. Here are 8 tips to prepare yourself for a long hike and have fun on the trails!

Start your physical preparation early

Ideally, you should start preparing physically well before the start of your hike. Experts advise starting working on your endurance at least 6 months before your departure. Good physical preparation is essential because long hikes are demanding for the body. This will prevent you from being exhausted and demoralized from the first stages!

Communication and Navigation Gear in Mountains

No matter where you hike, safety is always the priority. To be always on track and stay connected to your friends, it is essential to carry personal GPS trackers for you and your team members because your phone may be out of cell service coverage. With personal tracking devices, everyone can share real-time location on the phone app even when there’s no cellular service. 

If you encounter an emergency, you can send SOS signals to others without cell service. GoFindMe is one of the best GPS tracking devices for personal use. The battery lasts as long as 72 hours, and the tracking range can reach up to 5 kilometers. Besides, there’ s no monthly subscription fee for this tracking device. moreover, it can be used as a car GPS tracker, which is added value.

Improve your daily physical condition

To improve your fitness and endurance over the long term, you need to develop good habits. Take it into account… what place does physical exercise hold in your daily life? Do you often walk? How do you get to work? Do you walk to go shopping?

It is daily that it will be good to improve your physical condition, by promoting travel on foot, by bike, or by taking the stairs rather than the elevator. To prepare for your hike, for example, you can challenge yourself to try to walk at least 40 minutes a day to get to work or to the races. And even better, take the opportunity to bring your purchases home in your backpack!

Gradually improve your endurance

To prepare for your long hike, don’t forget to work on endurance! You must practice physical activity for at least 2 hours per week to be able to really notice an improvement in your endurance. These 2 hours can be divided into three sessions of 30 to 40 minutes each.

Watch your heart rate. The ideal heart rate should be between 60 and 80% of the maximum heart rate (FCM). You can use a heart rate monitor to determine the intensity of the exercise. As a general rule, you must reach at least 60% for exercise to have an impact on endurance.

It’s easy to calculate your maximum heart rate. Just do the following calculation: 226 – your age for women, 220 – your age for men.

Go for day hikes

The best way to prepare for your long hike… it is obviously to hike!

Each type of sport activates the different muscle groups in a specific way and contributes to providing specific endurance. Day hikes can not only help you prepare your body for a longer trip, but they will also help you improve your orientation and walking time assessment skills. In addition, day hikes will also help you reduce stress and allow you to reconnect with nature.

Train with a load

To best prepare for your long hike, why not try to reproduce the real conditions … and train yourself to walk with a load!

The weight of a backpack greatly increases the level of physical demands of hiking. Therefore, it is worth investing in comfortable and durable equipment. Choose a backpack with good carrying comfort. The carrying system is more or less sophisticated depending on the brands and types of bags. The best is to take one with adjustable straps and flexible frames that will ensure a good transfer of weight on the hips.

Test the weather conditions

Good preparation also means familiarizing yourself with all kinds of bad weather, as you will come across it during your long hike!

On the roads, you will be exposed to all kinds of weather conditions over the hours. And bad weather can bring its share of small problems … Wet business, discomfort, or low morale … it is better to know what to expect and prepare accordingly! We, therefore, advise you to go out for a walk in all weathers, or even for example, to do a day of hiking in the rain! This will provide you with an experience that can approximate the actual conditions of a multi-day hike. And even better, it will allow you to test the hiking equipment in which you have invested, or even make some changes before the big start!

Be positive!

In addition to physical fitness, don’t forget to work on your mind to prepare for your long hike!

In the field, you should be able to be flexible in the face of unexpected situations. A positive attitude and a solid mind will help you overcome all the little hassles and reach your goals when hiking!

By being positive, you will enjoy the path much better. You will stay motivated and open to new experiences. The long hike will also give you the opportunity to get to know yourself better. By facing different situations, you will become aware of your strengths but also of your limits. And above all, you will learn one essential thing: to be able to count on yourself.