8 Things You Can Do At Home to Prepare for Hiking
Hiking is, of course, is an outdoor activity but there are so many things you can do at home. At the time that I’m writing this, there is so much going on in the world and our lives have been uprooted and basically turned upside down. If you’re an outdoorsy person like me now stuck inside trying to figure out what to do and how to navigate this stressful situation, just know we’re all in this together.
Although hiking is an outdoor activity, there are a couple of things you can do inside to prep for getting outdoors. In this blog post, I cover eight things that you can do now while stuck indoors so when this is over, you’re ready to hit the great outdoors again.
1. Train for hiking
Just because you can’t be outside right now doesn’t mean you need to let your strength go! It might be harder if you can’t be outside and without a gym, but there are so many workouts you can do with just body weigh. Or you can buy simple equipment like dumbbells and a resistance band.
For cardio, you can run outside, thankfully this is still allowed as long as you maintain distance from others. You can also have a solo dance party in your living room or backyard, jump rope or even get an indoor cycling bike.
If you’ve used the excuse before that you don’t have time to exercise, well being at home now you have time! Devote at least 40 minutes every day to moving your body. By moving your body, it will also help you relieve stress and feel more like yourself during hard times.
2. Organize your gear closet
Personally, I think this one is so much fun. But that might just be me. I love when my gear closet is organized so I know what gear I have, know that I’m taking good care of it, and the best part is when it comes to actually packing for a trip, it makes it so much easier! Everything is organized so grab and go.
This can be done no matter where you live and how much space you have. If you have space in a garage to have an entire section dedicated to gear, spend some time doing this! I’ve seen some amazing gear organizational designs. Or if you live in an apartment or condo with less space, you can still get creative with storing gear. Maybe find a closet you can devote to gear, or pack things into plastic storage bins. Pinterest is a great resource for getting creative with this.
3. Review your packing list
This is a great time to sit down with your gear and what you bring on day hikes and backpacking trips and review everything.
What can you leave at home? What do you actually need with you that you don’t have? Where can you lighten your pack? Can something be multi-use?
This point also takes me into number four!
4. Decide what gear needs upgrading
This is a great time to figure out what you need to upgrade for the coming year and spend time researching. Choosing gear can be so intimidating, there are so many bells and whistles, every company is different and our personal choices also play a role. Usually, this takes up a lot of time just figuring out what you need, but while you’re re-watching the same Netflix show for the tenth time, you can also be researching the ins and outs of sleeping bags, sleeping pads, tents, backpack, hiking clothes, hiking shoes, and so forth.
5. Research new trails, permits and trip logistic
I always feel like researching trails, permits and figuring out logistics is a full time job in itself. If you’re hanging out at home, this is the perfect time to research!
You have so many resources right at your fingertips for researching and planning. Pinterest, blogs, Google Maps, AllTrails, and even physical maps like the National Geographic ones!
I usually start with searching on Pinterest and Google for things like “Prettiest backpacking trips in X location.” Then I start a Google Map to mark all the locations I find and get a National Geographic map and start planning. I use the NatGeo maps to look for other trails that might be in that area, get an understanding of how far each trail is from the other, how the trails are connected in the backcountry, look for cool things like glaciers or alpine lakes to explore and so forth.
I use blogs and AllTrails to research those trails I find on the maps further. Look at the distance, elevation gain and what the views look like. Then from there decide which trails are logistically possible, how many days can I go there, which days can I go there, where do I need to camp or stay during the trip and research permits.
Even with uncertain times and when you don’t know if you’ll actually be able to do that trip this year, it doesn’t hurt to research! So whether you get to do it this year or in the next few years, at least the hard work of researching the destination and trail will be done. Create a Google Doc or Word Doc and save everything you find so you can always go back and have that information.
6. Learn the ins and outs of hiking
Yes hiking is putting one foot in front of the other outside, but there’s still so much we can learn! You can research new gear, research how to navigate, how to read a map, about wilderness first aid, different SOS and GPS devices, and so many more skills!
There is so much to hiking so this is a great time to just soak in all the information! You’re stuck inside behind a screen anyways might as well use the time to learn something.
7. Work on your mindset
For many of us, hiking is a form of stress relief. It gives us an opportunity to clear our heads and reconnect with ourselves. But during times we can’t get outdoors, we need to look for alternative ways of managing stress and working on our mindset.
Our mindsets dictate our reality. Even when being outdoors, hiking is as mental as it is physical. Especially on long and hard trails when your whole body hurts and you still have miles left to get to the car or camp.
This is also true when we’re going through a hard time personally. Whether it’s something that the world is going through, something you’re going through at work, or in your personal life. Stress affects all of us, but by working on your mindset, you can help transform the way you behave and react during stressful situations.
Journaling is a great way to manage stress. Do a brain dump. Get everything you’re sad and stressed about out on paper and know it’s ok to feel the way you feel. Once you got all of that heaviness off of your chest, focus on re-framing the negativity around you. So how do you do this?
Write down what you’re grateful for. Do this daily and you’ll start to feel a lightness come up instead of the heaviness.
Catch yourself thinking negative thoughts, before you spiral down the stress and negativity, catch it. Cancel that thought and reframe it with something positive. This is hard to do. Our brains need to be trained but stick with it. At first, you might feel like you’re lying to yourself or feel uncomfortable to reframe that negativity, but stick with it. It will get easier and you will notice a shift in how you show up, in your thoughts and how you feel.
Ask yourself “Is this a thought I need to be thinking right now?” If not, cancel it and re-frame it. By re-framing your thoughts, I mean take those negative thoughts and change them into positive and more empowering ones.
As an example, this isn’t hiking related, but my little sister keeps saying that she’s bad at math. When I was in high school I said the same thing. But I explained to her by saying that she’s bad at math, she’s keeping herself stuck as someone who is bad at math. There are facts, like her math grades might not be the best. But then there is the mental aspect. Can she improve in math? Of course! Will she need some help to improve her math grades? Of course! So what’s the first step? To stop telling yourself that you’re bad at math. Because then you will always identify as someone who is bad at math and be stuck. So I told her to re-frame that thought and to tell herself that she is someone who is good at math but needs a little extra help.
Her first response was that she would be lying to herself. Which is exactly what that feels like at first. Because change is uncomfortable. That’s how our brains respond to the unknown. Our brains like knowing the outcome, and that’s why we keep repeating patterns even if they don’t serve us and we want to change. Change starts with the mind. It’s uncomfortable because it’s unknown. But like working out is uncomfortable but it forces your body to get stronger, same goes with the mind.
So start thinking about what you’re grateful for and re-framing negative thoughts.
A great book that really helped me with this is Everything is Figureoutable by Marie Forleo. While you have time at home, you can also grab this book on Amazon and start reading!
8. Research other outdoor activities
There are so many activities we can do in the outdoors. Maybe not while we’re stuck inside, but when you’re able to get outdoors again.
Indoor and outdoor rock climbing, stand up paddleboarding (SUP), kayaking, rafting, mountain biking, cycling, mountaineering, snowshoeing, snowboarding, skiing, cross country skiing, fishing, canoeing, and so forth.
There will be so much to learn with a new outdoor sport, so being stuck inside is a great time to research something new you want to try. Perhaps what you need? Everything about the equipment/gear? Where can you rent? And so forth.