Pro tips for first-time hikers

Keen on tackling a trek but don’t know how to prepare? Environmental explorer Tim Jarvis has all the expert tricks to flip you from “no” to “go”.

Learn how to conquer the world's greatest trails.
  • Rachel Gray
  • February 2019

If there are some great hiking trails at your next destination, don’t be afraid of getting active just because you’re not a regular hiker. There are ways to get yourself ready for a walk and it can be well worth the effort – just think of the views of Hong Kong from Lion Rock or traversing ancient rainforests in the Daintree or Tasmania. We chatted with Tim Jarvis – an ambassador for adventure brand Kathmandu – to find out how to get started. Here’s what he had to say…

Start with shorter walks

Most cities have walking routes you can try closer to home so do some research. The key is to find a walk that is interesting and makes you forget about the fact you’re training to get fitter.

Get fit

Slip on your sneakers, put the treadmill on an incline and just start walking or step on a stair climber to level-up your fitness and flex those hiking muscles. Get outside in the great outdoors and maybe even beat bumper-to-bumper peak hour traffic by walking or cycling to work.

Work hard on your fitness level before setting off.
Work hard on your fitness level before setting off.

Keep in touch

Tell someone where you’re going and what time you expect to get back if you’re heading to a remote track. It’s always best to hope for the best conditions but plan for the worst.

Dress right

Layer your clothes so you can adjust them to suit your body temperature as you work up a sweat; you don’t want to be too hot or cold. Make sure you have good footwear and your shoes are broken in before setting off on a long walk.

Dress for comfort rather than style.
Dress for comfort rather than style.

Eat like a hiker

I eat nuts and dried fruit as snacks because they give you energy over a longer period. For longer hikes, make sure you take enough carbohydrates such as noodles or pasta. Include protein and isotonic drinks that contain sugar and salt in the right proportions to prevent dehydration.

Psyche yourself up

Think about what you have done to motivate yourself in the past when attempting to do something challenging and use those same mind games when you find yourself getting tired along the way. Break the total journey down into manageable pieces and motivate yourself through them, one at a time.