Are you also an avid hiker? Hiking is one of the most beautiful things you can do. Being one with nature, relaxing and enjoying beautiful places. In addition, short or long walks are also very good for your health. Read the useful tips below to make hiking even more enjoyable.
Tip 1: Make sure you have good walking shoes
This tip is number one for a reason. Hiking with good shoes is really a must. Therefore, footwear is definitely not something you should skimp on. Although it is not true that the most expensive shoes are always the best. Often the shoes are divided into 4 categories. I think this certainly makes the search for the appropriate pair easier.
- Category A: light walking shoe
Suitable for almost any walk in the Netherlands. Light, flexible shoes. The sole is especially suitable for asphalt, they also wear out less quickly than other shoes.
- Category B: mountain hiking boots/trekking shoes
Many hikers choose shoes from this category. They are just as flexible as Category A shoes, but of heavier quality. Because they are sturdier, they provide more support while walking in the mountains. Often the shoes are breathable and water resistant.
- Category C: heavy trekking shoe
These shoes offer more ankle support. If you regularly go off the beaten path, these shoes are a good choice. The leather is a bit stiffer. Together with the extra stitching, this gives just a little more support to the ankles. The stiffer sole provides more grip.
- Category D: crampon-proof alpine shoe
Indispensable for real climbers. Thanks to the very stiff sole, you can easily attach the crampons. The stiff and rigid leather also gives a lot of support while climbing. The comfort is less and the soles wear out very quickly on ordinary roads. If necessary, put on other shoes first.
A few more general tips to get you started:
- Don't try on new shoes at the beginning of the day.
- Buy the shoe that fits what you will be doing.
- Take plenty of time to try on well and get expert advice.
- Waterproof shoes are definitely recommended.
- Before you try on, pick out good hiking socks and try on the shoes with these socks.
- Take shoes with a good tread. This will give you enough grip on both wet and dry surfaces.
Be careful of your shoes. Pamper them regularly with proper maintenance. With the right treatment, your shoes will last almost a lifetime. Once you have shoes that are comfortable to walk in, maintain them well. Good shoes increase the pleasure of walking considerably. Read my extensive blog on shoe maintenance. You will find numerous practical tips. For cleaning and impregnation I recommend Outdoor Gear Protector.
Tip 2: Good hiking socks
Often people think that for hiking you can just take socks out of the closet. The shoe gets a lot of attention, but socks sometimes far too little. Characteristics of good socks:
- No or almost no seams.
- Close-fitting, elastic fit.
- Take men's or women's socks specifically.
- Material with moisture management properties.
- Reinforced areas under the foot.
- Extra protection at the heel.
Tip 3: Prevent, treat and heal blisters
Blisters while running are very annoying. Unfortunately, everyone can have to deal with them at some point. How do you run the least risk of blisters?
- Wear a good walking shoe that fits your type of foot. It is important that the feet do not slide around. There should also be enough room left for the toes.
- Wear a well-fitting hiking sock. Seamless is best.
- Keeping nails short.
- Take good care of feet, remove calluses regularly.
- If you already have sensitive spots, use special plasters. Watch out for ridges, as this will increase the risk of blisters.
- Apply talcum powder before hiking. This will make you less likely to suffer from sweaty feet.
- Build up the walking distances. Feet that never walk are much more likely to get blisters.
Do you get a burning sensation while walking? Chances are this means the beginning of a blister. How do you treat a blister? There are several methods, all with their own pros and cons. I list them for you.
- Piercing. This treatment is especially effective for large blisters. Always wash your hands first and sterilize the needle. Alcohol is my preferred method. Disinfect the blister and the skin around it with alcohol, betadine or iodine and then prick the side of the blister. Using a gauze pad or clean handkerchief, push as much fluid out of the blister as possible. Finally, tape the blister. The disadvantage of this method is that there is always a chance of infection.
- Taping. If the blister is still very small or does not bother you very much, choose to tape it. Use special blister plasters for this. These contain a substance that attracts moisture so that the blister is emptied. Also, the plasters usually have a slight analgesic effect. These plasters will come off by themselves after a few days, so you don't have to pull them off.
Tip 4: Choose the right hiking clothes
Shoes and socks are the most important, but clothing is also no small matter. You don't want to get too hot, but certainly not too cold either. So take a sweater, cardigan or sweatshirt with you, just to be sure. Layers of clothing are useful because you can take something off or put it on at any time.
Tip 5: Hiking equipment
Of course, what you need while hiking is very different. Will you be walking 8 kilometers through the forest or going on a brisk hike in the mountains? For your convenience, a comprehensive checklist so you don't forget anything.
- Hiking boots
- Seamless hiking socks
- Waterproof backpack
- Walking map
Tip 6: A fine backpack when hiking
You probably only rarely hike without a backpack. Where else do you leave your poncho, your sunscreen, something to eat and drink? Which backpack is comfortable? Some tips:
- The distance of the route determines the size of the backpack. For a short hike, a waist bag is often enough.
- Try on the backpack in the store. It is important that the backpack is comfortable to wear.
- Take a backpack with a good number of smaller compartments. Always handy for things like money and the phone.
- Does the backpack have sturdy hip straps?
- A waterproof backpack is nice. An alternative is a hidden rain cover that you pull over the backpack during a rainstorm.
- If you are taking a hut trip or other long hike, take a touring backpack.
Packing tips backpacking
It may seem like a detail packing the backpack. Yet this is one of the most indispensable hiking tips. How annoying it is when you have to empty your entire bag for the hiking map! Note the following:
- Heavy things as close to your back as possible so that the center of gravity of the backpack is above your hips.
- The things you need on the road, such as rain gear, water or a map, should be quick to grab.
- Don't hang too many items on the outside of your backpack. It seems convenient, but often you have more inconvenience than convenience from items dangling from your bag.
Tip 7: Use fun and helpful hiking apps
If a map with hiking routes used to be indispensable, nowadays you can find everything on your phone. Which apps are super handy?
- Wandelzapp: over 800 routes throughout the Netherlands. The app was developed by the website "Wandelzoekpagina". Convenient to this walking app is that the length of the routes vary greatly. For example, you can find very short routes of only 4 kilometers. If you want to try this app, you can do so for free the first time. After that it is possible to take out a subscription.
- Abellife: an app that offers walking routes as well as cycling and sailing routes. The nice thing about this app is that it not only shows a route, but it also pays attention to nice details along the way. For example, regional products or a small chapel that you might otherwise overlook. Surprising and fun are also the sound clips. For example, you can hear the songs of birds that occur in a particular area. A number of routes are free of charge and the prices vary considerably.
- Vitens: this walking app is completely free. The name says it all, these walks tell you all about the source of our drinking water. You walk through the nature and water catchment areas of the Netherlands. Small disadvantage is that there are quite a few routes. On the other hand, this app is of course completely free.
- Nature routes: completely free and developed by Natuurmonumenten. You will also find cycling and sailing routes on the app. If you are hiking with children, it is nice to know that this app also offers special children's routes. Routes are easy to find by searching on place name.
- Nature in the Netherlands: a somewhat limited app for the lover of specific landscapes. There are only 16 routes on the app, but they are all free. Along the way, through the app, you get a lot of interesting information about the landscape you are walking through.
Tip 8: Hiking with children
Most kids really like hiking. Don't yours? If so, read the tips below and chances are your kids will be cheering when you grab the hiking gear from now on.
- Geocaching, hiking in search of a treasure. What child doesn't find that exciting?
- Let the children participate actively by using the tracker app. At the same time educational too.
- Don't make the walk too long, just make sure it stays fun for them.
- Choose a route that is especially suitable for children. They are usually just a little shorter and there is occasionally something fun to see along the way.
- If the children are still small, bring a wagon for when they are not able to do it anymore.
- Have the children look along at the map or have them walk ahead and see where the route is going.
Tip 9: Book a hiking vacation
Are you considering a walking vacation? That's something different than a one-day hike. Hiking for a week or more is wonderful and relaxing. Make sure you have good shoes and clothing, especially for hikes of several days. You can map out walking routes yourself, but there are also organized walking vacations available.
Tip 10: Hike through beautiful hiking areas
The possibilities for hiking in Europe are enormous. We are also discovering new hiking areas all the time. Here are some real recommendations:
- Ireland; an Eldorado for the true hiker. Idyllic landscapes, green nature, countless streams and then also the rugged coast in the West.
- Madeira; the walking island par excellence.
- Austria; endless opportunities for hiking. Clear rivers, clattering waterfalls, high mountains and romantic streams.
- Scotland; great hiking in the Scottish Highlands.
- Algarve; almost always walking under a cloudless sky. In the inland you can make wonderful walking trips.
- Pieterpad; highly recommended if you are going to walk in our own country.
I wish you much walking pleasure!