Sometimes in life, you come across a view so breathtaking, you never want it to end — these are the times when you want to plan a thru-hike. You could spend weeks or months making your way to the top of the mountain or set off in the woods for a digital detox. But you’re going to want to come prepared because this adventure of a lifetime is no easy feat. Here’s a plan to keep your mind and body from getting overwhelmed while navigating:
Length and Location
We’re not suggesting the best trail to set off for your very first thru-hike, but you will want to choose depending on a trail that interests you and the time you have in hand to make it till the very end. Likewise, there’s no perfect weather, and the journey is bound to get uncomfortable at one point or another. However, what you must be particular about is trail navigation; conserve your battery for as long as you can to let people know about your whereabouts.
Gear and Weight
Bad gear is going to guarantee you a bad trip, so get to defining your experience level, ability to carry weights, and the budget to shop for ultralight gear. You can last only as long on the trails as the pressure NOT felt on your body — so if your shoulders, knees, ankles, or back are starting to back up, you’ll want to make some changes. Ideally, the package you’re carrying along must not weigh greater than 20 percent of your body weight.
You’re going to need food, it’s one of the most vital components, and there’s only so much that you can carry on your shoulders to survive out there. However, it does help to know your resupply points through the track or to mail yourself some food (the U.S. Postal services are cool enough to send you a general delivery). You can’t always rely on the trail angels out there, so unless you have a solid backup of how not to starve yourself, you wouldn’t want to start the hike.
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