Where would you go in a million steps? Every one of us has his or her own idea of the perfect hike. However, a great hike also needs some preparation. As part of the KEEN Hiking Sweepstakes, we asked some of our European Ambassadors for tips to consider before embarking on a hiking adventure…
From a practical angle, British adventure photographer Nadir Khan recommends the ‘LIGHT is RIGHT’ principle because EVERYTHING weighs something when it comes to carrying your gear on a hike. Make sure to look at the weather forecast; if it’s not going to rain then just bring a windproof, not a hardshell. Do you really need to carry all that water? Maybe there’s a stream you can fill up at after a few miles. How much food do you really need to carry for the trip? Did you eat all of the stuff you carried last time around? Probably not. “Most people carry too much. Think about what you need, and then think again!” says Nadir.
To capture some unforgettable hiking moments, it doesn’t necessarily demand heavy, expensive camera gear. According to Nadir, great pics of your pals and the landscape are possible with cameras weighing as little as only a few hundred grams. “But don’t keep it in your rucksack! Have it in a pouch on your harness or across your shoulder. And if you see something that you think looks great, even when you’re tired, get the shot! It may be the only time that particular association of light, cloud, shadow etc. will happen and you may never get the chance again.”
Same goes for your hiking footwear, of course. Although it seems like a simple advice, French long-distance hiking specialist Sylvain Bazin recommends really making yourself aware of the right shoes for the right route: “If you’re going for a long way, start with solid, well-built shoes that can endure the trip. If you’re going for a small city walk, light hikers are more than fine!”
You have chosen the right gear, the weather looks awesome and you are set to go. Just one more thing: choose your company carefully, as photo artist Mandy Barker comments with a smile. “Don’t take anyone who needs a vanilla latte with hazelnut syrup and caramel drizzle topping with an extra shot of blonde roast half way!”
A slightly extreme tip should you get really tired on a mountain hike comes from Swiss Crossover Athlete Ueli Kestenholz. “Always take a small and light mountain paraglider along, it will bring you back to the valley effortless. Hiking down the mountain anyway only leads to sore muscles…”
You can also do your bit by keeping your hiking playground clear. Mandy Barker, known for her photo installations made of oceanic plastic debris, said, “On my beach hikes I always take a bag to collect debris especially to protect the many unusual species of animals and birds that live there.”