Our Guide to Getting Into Hiking & Adventure Post Covid-19

One of the silver linings of the incredibly difficult time we find ourselves in right now, is that around the world, many people have remarked to us just how much they have been enjoying walking and exercising more in this time of lockdowns and stay at home orders. We’ve had people tell us that they’ve never really even walked before and now, going out for their daily walk is the thing they look forward to the most. This has really excited us, especially because we’ve openly had people tell us that they’re starting to connect the mental and physical benefits of being outdoors. As well as this, we’ve had people say to us that they’re really excited to continue this further and start looking at integrating adventure, hiking and trips that involve much more hiking and exploring to their lives. So, we wanted to write an article all about the logical next steps for a life more adventurous post Covid-19 to help you make the most out of this and have fun exploring what feels meaningful and expansive to you.

For us, getting into adventure actually started out in the way that most people are experiencing a love of walking now. It began a number of years ago as a means to get fitter and we started going for urban walks after we finished working for the day. We started out small and before long, we began cherishing our evening walks – walking further and further until we were regularly walking between 10 and 20km at least four times a week. It was when we decided to get a car and explore a little bit more of what England had to offer that we really were bitten by the hiking bug. Our first hike, we can remember it well, was in The New Forest National Park. Those 17km’s were wonderous – we spent our time feeling connected, in the moment, alive, happy and spent the next few days eager to plan out our next hike. Soon we were climbing mountains in Snowdonia National Park, The Lake District and it wasn’t long before we decided that we wanted to take our first hiking holiday – which was to the Alpi Apuane in Italy. We went incredibly cock sure into that trip and were certainly beaten down a notch or two, but it didn’t matter because we loved it and were hooked. As they say, the rest is history and four and a bit years down the line, we travel for projects and adventures throughout the year and normally spend more of our year out in the great outdoors than we do at home (current situation removed). We’ve made so many mistakes and developed and learned so much about ourselves along the way.

One of our first hiking trips was to Lanzarote in the Canary Islands - and we saw it in a way that most people don’t even know exists…

One of our first hiking trips was to Lanzarote in the Canary Islands – and we saw it in a way that most people don’t even know exists…

Getting into hiking and adventure can feel quite daunting. You only have to look online to see the myriad of incredible adventures that everyone in the world seems to be having except you. You start to think ‘I don’t compare to that’ or ‘I’ll never be able to do anything like that’ and so you stop yourself in your tracks and never actually scratch that itch that you have. You see, adventure doesn’t have to be this incredible thing that is completely superhuman. It can be a real and raw experience for you. You don’t have to do anything you don’t want to do. If you don’t want to stay in a tent, you don’t have to (although you might like to give it a go a couple of times and see if you like it). If you don’t want to do a crazy multi day hike into the wilderness, you don’t have to (although you might like to give it a go to see if you enjoy it – do you get the picture here?) The fact of the matter is, that whilst there are people out there doing some truly amazing things and pushing their bodies to the max, there are also a lot of people who that just doesn’t appeal to and are quite happy with weekend hiking and heading off on holidays that have some elements of adventure in them. You could fit in there anywhere from a once in a while nature hiker to becoming a high-altitude explorer and wherever you fit in there is totally OK – living a life authentic to what you want without comparison is where it’s at. The fact is though, unless you let yourself try it out, you’ll never know. It doesn’t matter where you fall on the scale, what matters is that you enjoy it. Personally, we’ve found that the more we got into adventure, the more we wanted it. Now we would categorize ourselves as all terrain explorers as we absolutely love (and are skilled in) many different terrains.

We spent a lot of time over the last couple of weeks thinking about all of the useful hints and tips that have helped us along our way to hopefully give you a head start with your exploring and discovery.

Look at what is in your local area and a little further afield

You’ve most likely been kept within a really short distance of your house for a while, but start to look at a map of the country you live in. What do you have within an hour of you, within two hours of you and so on. Start to look at the areas of green on a map and look up the names of the places you see – this is something we love to do, and it is such a joyful experience. Start looking up any areas you like to see what hikes are in the area. There are loads of resources online for this (be sure to look up some of ourhiking guidesas well, in case we have something that covers the area you want to visit).

Hiking in Italy - our first high altitude experience

Hiking in Italy – our first high altitude experience

Work up to walking and hiking further

If you don’t have much hiking experience and aren’t a keen walker, but have just discovered you love it, working up some miles and stamina is going to be really important, but it isn’t as daunting as it might initially sound. When we first started hiking, we started adding a couple of extra km every week. You can reasonably (and without any risk of injury) increase your distance by about 10-15% each week. This gives your body times to build new muscle and increase blood supply. This will also stop you from getting put off by things like blisters, sore spots and being too exhausted. It is also a great idea to try and start doing some of your distance build ups in the hills and mountains if you can, as this will start to help you adjust to the different ways you will walk on differing terrains. It also gets you walking up hills, in the elements which is always going to be fantastic training.Don’t let this put you off, your first couple of hikes may well be massive learning curves, but you’ll also absolutely love them.

If you’re going to invest in anything, make it changing from runners to hiking shoes and boots. But don’t wear them on a hike without wearing them in

What you wear on your feet is going to be one of the most important things for your hiking experience. If you are thinking about your feet all the time, it takes away from the enjoyment of the hike so think carefully about what you decide to wear. Most injuries in the outdoors come from improper equipment and footwear is at the top of that list. They don’t need to be expensive, but its best to think about where you’re planning to go. If you’re planning to head to the mountains, a pair of B1 boots could be all you need, and in some circumstances a pair of hiking trainers. We generally have a selection of different shoes we wear for different things. We have sandals for desert and B3 boots for winter mountaineering and snowshoeing and everything in between. It doesn’t need to be that complicated though and one pair will get your started. It is so important to wear in new hiking shoes before you wear them on a long hike. Try wearing them in for a few days in your local area to see if there are any pinch points.

Exploring in Ibiza - an amazing experience to hike and swim in hidden coves!

Exploring in Ibiza – an amazing experience to hike and swim in hidden coves!

Try and think outside the box with your next holiday

One of the key ways we started hiking in different countries was by thinking which locations we could use for different things. Locations that allowed us that ‘beach rest’ experience as well as hiking and driving in the mountains were top of that list at the start. This can be especially important if you’re going on holiday with other people who are perhaps not as excited about getting out for a hike and an adventure as you are. If you choose somewhere that suits everybody’s needs, then you can head off and enjoy what interests you as well as having time to spend with the other members of your group too. This takes a little bit of thinking and looking, and this is where point one in this guide can come in handy (and is the fun bit of wondering at all of the beautiful things you’ll likely find that you never knew about). If you’re feeling ready for it, you can even start looking at planning trips solely around hiking and adventure – and with this in mind, the world is your oyster!

Dip your toes in and try new things

Like we said earlier, there is so much around adventure that seems to stop people actually giving things a go. Our response to this, especially when you are in the early stages of your adventure journey is working out what it is you actually like, and the only way you’ll work that out is if you try new things. There have been various things that we’ve tried that we thought we were going to absolutely love and haven’t and vice versa. Always try to give things a go a couple of times if you can (camping and through hiking is a good one for this) as your first experience might feel clunky and not amazing, whereas the second and third can feel a little easier once you’ve got your ‘wings’. If you’re feeling resistive to something, sit down and ask yourself why, are you scared or worried? This is completely normal, and it means that the idea of what you want to do is pushing you out of your comfort zone – a brilliant place for you to grow (we all get it, promise!)

It doesn’t always need to be intense

Lastly, for now, and one of the most important things is that hiking doesn’t always need to be intense, and it is no less of an adventure if it isn’t pushing you to your very limits. In fact, a lot of the joy can be stripped out of events like this, especially when we compare what we are doing to other people. Look at how your body feels and push yourself to where you want to go, do what you want to do and remember to always stay true to why you wanted to get into this to begin with – for the benefits that you found through a difficult time.