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I'm going to be hiking for the first time, and it's going to be in a woody mountain in the backcountry, and I'd like to have some to-dos, not-to-dos, must-carries, and what precautions I should take while hiking in forests like this.

Info that may be useful:

  • I'm a couch potato, I'm not fat but I'm not that dude who exercises a lot

  • I walk 3 to 4 miles a day (I walk to work, it's not so far away and I get to enjoy some fresh air)

  • I plan on hiking for a day, maybe two

  • I bought some gear, like a backpack for campers, some knives, survival matches, some canned food (my favorite), a tarp, an iron pot for cooking, I'm not really sure of what kind of shoes I should wear, and I'm thinking about bringing a first aid kit on me as well.

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If this is really your first time hiking, ever... then don't start out in the back country. That's like doing your first climb ever on a Grade V, or your first trip skiing on a black diamond.

I would advise the following for "first hikes":

  • Hike no more than five miles
  • Test a mile walk with your planned shoe/sock combo ahead of time
  • Eat more than you think you need. Hiking can burn a lot of calories
  • Make a written checklist for gear
  • Hike a well traveled and populated area so that you can get help if needed
  • Avoid extremes of cold/heat/weather

Unless you are going with an experienced partner, then a long/backcountry hike your first time out is a serious mistake. You have to ramp up not just your body, but your experience. You have to make sure your gear works. Start with short 2-3 mile hikes and increase distance/remoteness as you gain experience.

Adapted from: How far is a reasonable distance for someone to hike on their first trip?

Also see this related community wiki: First time camping, need advice

  • "Eat more than you think you need. Hiking can burn a lot of calories" - oh, so that's the best part of hiking then? thanks for the heads-ups and for the links – Kyle Apr 5 '16 at 14:53
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    If you're planning an overnight, don't make a long hike into the back country with untested gear. Start by sleeping overnight in your back yard, or a campground you can drive to (and drive home if it gets to be too much). Likewise, wear your hiking gear for short walks, and gradually work up to half a day or more. – jamesqf Apr 5 '16 at 18:40
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    Also, don´t start your first experience in extreme conditions. Get used to mild temperatures first before you deal with heat, snow, dehydration and so on. I recommend 15-25 °C for the first time. – Zsolt Szilagy Apr 6 '16 at 10:31

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