Experienced hiker and professional guide, Amanda, has picked up many helpful tips and tricks over her years of hiking. Getting out on the trail should be such a wonderful and fulfilling experience, but Amanda has noticed sometimes inexperience can inhibit us from fully enjoying our time in the wilderness. With a few small hiking and camping tips, you can wave goodbye to rookie errors and feel more comfortable and prepared while out on the trail, no matter how much of a newbie you are.

Just starting out hiking? Here’s a few things I’ve learnt over the years.

I’ve had the absolute pleasure and opportunity to hike a lot of different walks around the world. I’ve got some incredible memories, some epic photos and most importantly, my soul has been enriched beyond measure.

Have I learned a few things about myself over these hikes? For sure!! Have I learned a few things about hiking? You betcha!

Hiker in the Tasmanian wilderness

Photo by Jed Collard

Here’s 11 things to ponder that will help you ENJOY rather than ENDURE your journey. Things that I wish I was more aware of when I started.

1. Enjoy the journey rather than be focused on the destination.
Sometimes we forget to stop, look, listen and feel the path under us and the living nature that surrounds us. We can focus on tiredness or that first meal into camp, but quite often you may not be back where you are for a long time. Savour every step.

2. More kms per day doesn’t mean more enjoyment.
Yes there are days we just need to put in a big effort and get a long way, but most times we can control our distances and our speed to get there. Never underestimate a more manageable day and, I say again, savour the journey.

3. Use walking poles or sticks whenever possible.
These are not just for old people or people with balance problems. They take a lot of of effort off the knees, the same knees you want working when you’re older.

4. Start your investment with your shoes and your pack.
Correctly fitted footwear as well as a pack, and ones that are right for the journey you are on, can make or break a hike. Do your research, consult the right people and invest wisely. Everything else you can build on later. The best shoes are the ones that fit YOU best, don’t just buy what works for your friend, find out what works for you. For more info on finding and fitting your perfect pair of boots, you can check out a blog on it here, and for finding your ideal pack, you can check out our blog here.

5. Read blogs and stories about other people’s experiences.
But don’t let it cloud or colour your own experience. I like biographies about an area like the new book Bewildered by Laura Waters. I also enjoy Facebook groups too where you can ask questions and follow threads. For example, Hiking Australia is a group I enjoy being apart of. Or check out the many adventure and gear articles located on this blog.

6. Learn to do without.
Things you may start off thinking as ‘essentials’ may very well be bumped down the list to ‘luxuries’ or even ‘can do withouts’ when you’re carrying your life on your back. It may be as simple as only taking one spoon instead of a cutlery set. For example I love the Wildo Spork as it has everything that I need incorporated into one utensil. Or it may be more like leaving your hair styling products at home!

7. Learn how to digitally detox.
It sometimes takes a little while to get in tune with your surroundings. Having ear buds in or using social media a lot can hamper this even further. Practice using your phone only for photos or for an emergency back up. Put your phone on air plane mode so it won’t distract you when you hit some reception (this makes the battery last longer too). Aim for longer and longer periods completely digitally free. I’m always amazed how much stronger my eyes are after this too, and what sounds I can hear.

8. Try solo hiking.
Often as a female this can sound daunting. However the sights and sounds and experiences are so different when going quietly and thoughtfully alone. You do need to be confident in your navigation, ability and gear, but the rewards are great. I personally like walks where I may meet other campers at night to have shared experiences but can walk alone during the day. For example the Great Ocean Rd track was great for this.

9. Save and add quality gear to your stash rather than focusing only on budget items.
We all know you get what you pay for. More often than not when you are relying solely on your gear, (whether for warmth, safety, shelter or for keeping dry), you will always be glad you got the best quality you could afford. Sometimes your life may depend on these things, most often it’s your enjoyment of the journey that rely’s on them.

10. Treat the earth with respect.
Acknowledge the land you pass over, don’t take it for granted. Mother Earth wants to give you what you need, accept it gratefully. You may sense a theme hear of being ‘in tune’ with nature. I guess why else would we be there?

11. Take a spare bag and collect rubbish along the way (except tissues and sharp objects).
Leave the trail better than your found it. This of course is part of respecting the earth. If everyone did just a little bit, our trails and national parks will be better for us being there.

I hope you are now feeling a little more informed, confident and inspired to get out into the wilderness and hit the trail. Don’t stress if you make some mistakes along the way, that’s what learning is all about. I hope that you enjoy rather than endure, your next hike.

Hiking tent in the snow under a starry night

Photo by Jed Collard

If you are looking for some more guidance in terms of hitting the trail and fitting out your hiking kit, the experienced Paddy Pallin staff are able to help. Head into your local Paddy’s and have a chat to the staff, they always love to talk about getting outside into the wilderness and are more than happy to share their own tips. Find your local store now!

hiking along a remote trail and enjoying a campfire in the evening

#ExperienceIsEverything | #PaddyPallin 

About The Author


Amanda has been working as a professional guide for many years. Her love for the outdoors has taken her on treks around the world, and over Australia. She also work at our Parramatta Paddy Pallin, so next time you are in the area drop in and say "Hi", she is always up for a chat, especially when the topic is the outdoors.

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