#ProTips: How to Hike Like a Boss

I recently wrote about my favorite places to hike in Kansas City and I would be remiss to not provide insight to ensure you have a perfect day in nature.

If you're new to hiking, or need a refresher, here are a few tips to get you started:

Make a Plan

  • Pick your park
  • Plan your route and be sure to choose an appropriate difficulty level
  • Check the weather and prepare accordingly - heat, cold, rain, snow and ice all create unique situations that need to be addressed before you leave
  • Wear weather-appropriate clothing and pack your belongings - see below 
  • Let someone know where you'll be and when you'll be back

Wear the Right Gear

  • Hiking shoes and wicking socks
  • Appropriate clothing for the weather (avoid cotton) - dress in layers
  • Hat and/or sunglasses
  • Identification of who you are 

Be Smart: Bring With You

  • A Camelbak or another way to carry ample water (a good rule: bring more than you think you need)
  • Bug spray in warm weather
  • Sunscreen
  • Bring food (same rule as water, bring more than you think you need)
  • Watch (GPS is a bonus!)
  • Map
  • Electrolytes 
  • First Aid kit
  • Headlamp if you'll be out after dark

Hike Like a Pro

  • Drink frequently 
  • Eat often
  • Pop an S-Cap (per directions, of course) if you are going to be out longer than an hour
  • Recover afterwards: Drink plenty of fluids and eat healthy carbohydrates

Play by the Rules: Be a Cool Hiker

  • Leave no trace: Stay on the trail
  • Pack out what you pack in: Don't litter
  • Leave nature where you find it: Don't pick the flowers
  • Yield: While on foot step off-trail for mountain bikers and horses
  • Be kind to wildlife: Don't scare them

Most of all, enjoy the quiet, space, and freedom and learn as you go. Every trip should be a mini adventure.

What did I miss? Comment with your #protips below.