10. If the hike is not a loop or there are several loops interconnecting along the way, take a map along with you. Better to know where you are on the trail than to wander around needlessly for several hours.
9. Don’t forget the camera. You are bound to see one or two things you want to photograph so be sure to take a light weight camera with you so you won’t be disappointed in coming back with no images.
8. Check the weather before leaving. This is always a good idea, but it is a must if you are going to be out for several hours. During the spring and the fall it is easy for a shower to pop up and if you are not prepared you could get awful wet and maybe pretty cold while you are away from camp.
7. Take a hat and some sun screen. This is the flip side of worrying about rain. During the warmer months your biggest concern is going to be staying hydrated and not over heating. A hat and sun screen should help you from getting light headed.
6. If it is going to be hot while you are hiking always remember to wear light colored clothing that will reflect the sun and keep body heating to a minimum. Taking a bandana to wet down will also be useful when it is hot.
5. Know how much longer you have before it gets dark. If you are getting a late start you should know how long the hike will be and how long it will take you to get back to camp. You don’t want to get stranded a mile from the end of the trail when it is dark. Taking a light weight headlamp with you could be helpful if you are getting a late start.
4. If you are taking a back pack, don’t over pack it. For a simple day hike you might want to take a high energy snack and some water and just a few other things. That pack will get heavier and heavier with each passing mile so pack only what you need.
3. Drink plenty of water. It always is a good idea to drink water before leaving the campsite and to take bottles with you.
2. Learn the terrain. This is especially the case if you are taking the kids or Granny with you. The last thing you want is somebody getting distressed out on the trail because they are not up to the change in terrain.
1. Companies make specially designed boots and shoes expressly for hiking. If you are going to be on rugged terrain it is much better to wear some foot wear that is made for hiking. Your feet and your ankles will thank you for doing so later that night.