Being a minimalist hiker is easy. You need to choose your gear wisely and carry only the most essential items. Bring water purification straw instead of gallons of water, and dried food instead of cans. And remember – Don’t pack for your fears!
Hiking is a favorite pastime for many people and becomes more and more popular over time. It is one of those hobbies that will never be outdated.
Every day various individuals go for hikes since it has numerous benefits. Being in the outdoors, breathing in the fresh air, and taking a break from our busy schedules will leave you feeling refreshed.
You will also get a reprieve from some of the lifestyle diseases that living a sedentary life brings. However, when you go for a trek, you need to carry as little luggage as possible.
Here are other tips on how to be an effective minimalist hiker:
Benefits of Minimalist Hiking
Minimalist hiking has several advantages when you compare it to other types of walking or hiking.
When you carry less and wear less clothing, you tend to walk faster and go further. Your body is less strained, so you get to relax each part of it, and you can walk for longer.
Generally, when you walk for long periods in a relaxed and serene, natural environment, you will acquire the following benefits:
- You will get improved body balance and awareness. It ensures that you can control your body better, and your body movements will also be better and defined.
- Enhanced coordination between your body parts improves with the walks. It also leads to better foot mechanics concerning the torso, rear end, knees, and hips.
- Your leg muscles and lower back region will become sturdier due to the walking.
- You will be able to build stronger leg muscles and other body ligaments. Therefore, your body will be more versatile.
- You will be able to maintain an improved motion of range in your ankle and foot joints. It will also promote stability in the ligaments that exist in this area.
Going for minimalist hiking will relax you. Additionally, it will aid in better and longer sleep. It is because your stress and anxiety levels will decrease after the walk.
Regular hikes will ensure that your immune system is enhanced. Research has proven that going for long nature walks increases your red blood cells and decreases your white blood cells.
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The minimalist hiker can never suffer from headaches or tense muscles. For women who suffer from menstrual cramps, this is a proven way of eliminating them.
Being in the outdoors will guarantee that you will never suffer from sore muscles that may occur when you work the whole day at a desk.
Minimalist hiking will reduce the risk of getting heart disease by decreasing any clumped cells and the thickness of your blood.
Choose Your Hiking Gear Wisely
Ideally, a minimalist hiker has to select the gear they use during the walk wisely. The foot gear should be a top priority in this list. Some people prefer walking barefoot during hikes, and this has several other benefits as compared to wearing chunky shoes
You can choose to wear minimalist shoes that don’t interfere with the natural movement of your foot. These shoes can also be called barefoot shoes, and they are flexible.
They don’t have stability features; they have a low heel, a minimal drop of the toes, and stack height. The gear also includes what you choose to wear when you set out for your expedition.
Carry a spacious bag that is waterproof and light.
The fact that a minimalist hiker chooses to carry as little gear as possible doesn’t mean that they will not have to bring hiking essentials.
You should bring along items such as maps, spare clothes, compass, sunglasses, matches, first aid kit, and a fire starter.
To cut back on some of this luggage, you can select minimalist packs and ultralight gear in general. For example, instead of gallons of clean water, you can carry a filter straw that purifies volumes of water from any source.
To make your water safer, you can bring a hydration backpack that will make it effortless when you connect it. Or you can even opt for a mini water filtration system.
Instead of carrying a huge bag to the minimalist hike, bring a compression bag. It will assist you in making essentials such as tents and sleeping bags smaller and portable. The bag is necessary for a long hike because it drastically reduces the bulky luggage.
Clothes made out of wool and cotton material are a perfect choice for spare clothes. It is because the woolen clothes will never stink because they don’t retain sweat.
Just one pair of extra clothes that include a pair of trousers, a t-shirt, and a pair of underwear will save a lot of space in your pack. During cold weather, make sure you carry a button-down coat.
Further, make use of dry bags mostly during the wet season or winter. These will come in handy when you want to ensure that your food, spare clothes, and sleeping bags dry. Make sure that you purchase flexible and thin bags that can accommodate any commodity you plan to bring along the hike.
Food and Water
Even if you’re going for a minimalist hike trip for a day, you have to ensure that you carry adequate food and water. Before the expedition, make sure you have eaten nutritious food around one to three hours before the journey.
Additionally, it should have lean protein and complex carbohydrates that will boost the energy levels you need for hiking.
Generally, the drinks and food that you eat during the expedition should contain enough electrolytes. It includes items that are rich in sodium and potassium that will assist you in re-hydrating your body.
Additionally, carrying a flask of a hot drink should be beneficial to you.
Nutrition experts recommend that a hiker should drink approximately 500 ml of water every hour during average weather. So you should bring two gallons of water per person per day ( read more ).
However, the more you increase the intensity of your actions and as temperatures soar, the more you may have to increase the intake of water.
A person who is rapidly walking under high altitudes and heat will be required to drink up to one liter of water every hour.
Carrying several bottles of water is a bulky way of hiking. Therefore, make sure that there are adequate water points along the trail that you will be walking. We already mentioned the filter straw, but you can use water purification tablets as well.
You can use a hydration bladder to assist you in drinking the water through a tube that you can connect through your bag to your mouth.
When it comes to carrying food, you need to be very careful while you transport it. Throwing the foodstuff in with the rest of your stuff will not help you in a minimalist hike. Pack the food well and save space in the process.
Some of the foods that are safe to carry in this kind of expedition include dry foods, oatmeal, nuts, granola bars, whole fruits like apples, pre-cooked foods, among others.
Bring items along with quinoa, rice, pouches of tuna salad, energy bars, cream cheese, pasta, and noodles if the hike will take long.
They should be the kind of food that will be able to stay fresh for the duration that you will be hiking. One of the key points is to ensure that your vacuum seals all your food with suitable bags.
During the hike, you can use the vacuum bags to heat or conveniently cook your food. You can also use dry bags to carry the food. It will ensure that it stays fresh in its natural state.
Always Plan Ahead
Although going for a hike is a perfect expedition to bond with nature and relax, you should always keep in mind that you are going to a place where current assets of convenience may lack.
Therefore, for you to fully experience the benefits of the trip, then you will need to prepare adequately. Moreover, going for a minimalist hike means that you should carefully consider what you will carry.
Remember that your bag is not a mini apartment, so pack only essential items. However, don’t forget that you will need enough water and food to replenish the energy that you will use on the nature trail.
Find out the amount of water that you will need to carry so that you don’t end up suffering dehydration. The exact length of the nature trail will come in handy as it will point out the total amount of water that you require.
The number of food items that you carry should be concerning the trail and the energy you might use. Calculate the daily calories that might be consumed daily and bring suitable foods to fulfill it.
You can find out all these details by carrying out adequate research on the area that you will be going for the hike.
Enlighten yourself about the weather of the area during the period that you will be going for the expedition. It will assist you in knowing the kind of gear that you will dress in and the spare clothes that you will carry.
The type of weather and climate also dictates the amount of food and water that you will need. You should also bring a handheld GPS device if you have one.