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Things you should know before going on a day hike, backpacking and long-distance trail!
Find out everything about bushwhacking and enjoy hiking through the most beautiful, wild areas!
Ten essentials – list of essential equipment required for hiking!
Learn how to treat environment while on hiking – Leave No Trace philosophy!
Tips for handling dangerous hiking circumstances: losing the way, inclement weather, hazardous terrain and much more!
Hiking is an outdoor activity which consists of walking in natural environments, often in mountainous or other scenic terrain. People often hike on hiking trails. It is such a popular activity that there are numerous hiking organizations worldwide. The word hiking is understood in all English-speaking countries, but there are differences in usage.
In the United States and United Kingdom, hiking refers to walking outdoors on a trail for recreational purposes. A day hike refers to a hike that can be completed in a single day - not requiring an overnight camp. Multi-day hikes with camping are referred to as backpacking. In the United Kingdom hiking is usually called rambling, which resulted in the hiking organization named Ramblers. Bushwhacking specifically refers to difficult walking through dense forest, undergrowth, or bushes, where forward progress requires pushing vegetation aside. In extreme cases of bushwhacking where the vegetation is so dense that human passage is impeded, a machete is used to clear a pathway. Australians use the term bushwalking for both on- and off-trail hiking. New Zealanders use tramping, walking or bushwalking. Multi-day hiking in the mountainous regions of India, Pakistan, Nepal, North America, South America, and in the highlands of East Africa is also called trekking. Hiking a long-distance trail from end-to-end is also referred to as trekking and as thru-hiking in some places. Examples of long-distance trails include the Appalachian Trail (AT) and Long Trail (LT).
In Czechia and Slovakia, tramping (Czech: tramping, tremping, word borrowed from English) is a combined culture of hiking, backpacking, scouting, woodcraft, music, with the characteristic flavor of American culture, especially Wild West.
The equipment required for hiking depends on the length of the hike, and according to the source. Hikers generally carry water, food, and a map in a backpack. Hikers often wear hiking boots to protect their feet from rough terrain. Some outdoor organizations, such as The Mountaineers strongly advocate a list of equipment for hiking, such as the Ten Essentials. This list includes items such as a compass, sunglasses, sunscreen, clothes, flashlight, first aid kit, fire starter, and knife. Other sources suggest additional items such as insect repellent and an emergency blanket. Nowadays a GPS navigation device is a great help especially in weather conditions with low visibility or when hiking in unknown territories.
Proponents of ultralight backpacking claim that long lists of required items for multi-day hikes increases pack weight, and hence fatigue and chance of injury. Instead, they recommend a goal of reducing pack weight in order to hike long distances easier. Even the use of hiking boots on long-distances hikes is controversial among ultralight hikers, due to their weight.
Hiking may produce threats to personal safety. These threats can be dangerous circumstances while hiking and/or specific accidents or ailments. Diarrhea has been found to be one of the most common illness afflicting long-distance hikers in the United States. Noxious plants that cause rashes can be particularly bothersome to hikers.
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