Hiking trips: explore the world on foot
Those who wander are bound to see the world from a different perspective, opening up to their environment with each step. The benefits of hiking are many: you experience nature up close, stay active, and have time for reflection and a mental detox. Of all the vacations you could take, a hiking trip is the best bet for those needing a break from city life.
Particularly with multi-day hikes, you can leave your day-to-day life behind and immerse yourself in nature. Whether it's a leisurely afternoon walk over mountain meadows, a challenging summit ascent, or an ambitious long-distance hike, anyone can build a hiking trip that suits them.
Basically, there are five different types of hiking trips:
- Short trips: between 1 – 5 hours
- Half day trips: 5 – 6 hours
- Day trips: 6 – 12 hours
- Multi-day trips: several day trips in a row
- A long hike have a distance of about 100 kilometers or more. Long-distance hikes include pilgrimage routes such as the Appalachian Trail in the U.S. or the Camino de Santiago in Europe.
Some companies offer various multi-day and round-trip hikes where they will transport your luggage separately. Such hikes are particularly suitable for beginners, less experienced hikers, and older people. But even more experienced hikers can benefit from the convenience of being able to travel with only a small amount of equipment.
Check out our best travel deals to top hiking destinations:
What equipment do I need for hiking?
The market for outdoor equipment is huge and it can be overwhelming to navigate. For a basic day hike, you won't need much, but for a longer multi-day hike you could use a fair amount of equipment.
The most important thing to consider before starting a hike is footwear. Be sure to wear shoes that are sufficienty worn in , as hiking in new shoes can result in painful blisters. While sneakers are usually suitable for easy hikes on even terrain, the more difficult and irregular the terrain, the sturdier your shoes should be. Ankle-high hiking boots will hel[ protect against ankle injuries.
Our pirate tip: Always buy hiking boots one size big! When we walk for a long time, our feet tend to swell, meaning our normal size can quickly become too small. In addition, hiking socks are thicker than regular socks, because they are reinforced in the weak spots and provide extra protection against bruising. For this reason, it's best to try on hiking boots with the socks you plan to hike in. Keep in mind that hiking boots are considered to be worn in after about four weeks of hiking or 50 kilometers.
After you've found the right shoes, it's time to move on to proper attire. Of course, the clothes you need depends largely on the season you'll be traveling in as well as the region. But there are still a few basic rules: when hiking you should dress in three layers: the base layer, the mid-layer, and the outer layer. If you coordinate your layers correctly, you'll be comfortable no matter the weather.
- Base Layer: Merino wool t-shirts are best suited for your base layer. Unlike cotton, wool keeps you warm even when the material is wet. Synthetic fabric t-shirts are also an option, but those who are on the move for several days should be aware that synthetic fibers begin to smell faster than merino wool.
- Mid-Layer: The optimal choice is a fleece jacket with a zipper, to be worn open or closed.
- Outer Layer: Either a down jacket, a windbreaker, or a raincoat will be appropriate depending on the season and the climate.
There are plenty of practical hiking backpacks for day trips, usually with a capacity of about 20 liters. The longer the hike, the more complex and heavy the equipment will be—and the more important it is to have a good backpack. Your backpack should sit correctly on your back, not rub against you uncomfortably, and provide freedom of movement.
Our pirate tip : What good is the most expensive, quality backpack if it is not properly adjusted to your body? It's best to buy a backpack in person, so the experts in the store can give you advice on how to use the backpack correctly and adjust it optimally to your body.
The rule applies: less is more. Remember that everything that goes in your backpack will need to be carried all the way to your destination. You should carefully consider what is truly useful and what may be superfluous. Here is a list of the things you should definitely pack for your hiking trip:
- A change of t-shirt, socks, and underwear
- Rain pants and/or raincoat, optional rain cover for your backpack
- Sunscreen and sunglasses for sunny weather, gloves and a hat for cold weather
- Walking stick
- GPS, map, or compass
- Water bottle or hydration system
- Snacks and emergency food (energy bar)
- First aid kit
- Pocket knife and lighter
- Duct tape and safety pins for emergency situations