Planning for a group hiking trip can be tricky, whether you’re hiking national parks or local mountain trails. There are many moving pieces (and people). You’ll want a way to stay organized and ensure your trip will live up to the high standard you have for it. Articulating and communicating your hiking plan is essential. With that in mind, here are eight essential steps to organizing a group hiking trip.
Pack The Right Equipment
It seems obvious; pack the equipment you’ll need for your hike. But you’d be surprised how many experienced, and novice hikers alike forget their most essential equipment pieces when the day comes for their big hike.
See if the trail you’re going to has an essential equipment list, and be sure to pack everything they suggest. Think about packing some extras as well, as accidents happen, and you always want to be prepared for anything on the trail.
Hire an Experienced Guide
An experienced guide can make your group’s hiking trip a breeze. “Along with bringing local knowledge with them, they’ll be able to minimize any risks facing your group,” says Wild Bunch Desert Guides, an Arizona travel company that specializes in Scottsdale hiking tours.
You can guarantee you won’t get lost and if you stumble into unknown terrain, your guide can safely get you back on the hiking path. It’s also helpful to have an experienced guide when hiking with a group, as group hikes typically are made up of hikers with different levels of experience and interest.
Your guide can also ensure everyone has a great time and gets what they want out of the hiking trip. Whether you want extra rocky terrain or the best bird-watching path, an experienced guide will be able to provide it for you and your group.
Communicate Clearly and Efficiently
Communication is key when organizing a group hiking trip. You’ll want to ensure everyone is on the same page about timing, activities, what to pack, and where to meet. Think about having a buddy system when you’re on your group hike and plan it out ahead of time. This way, everyone has someone they can ask questions to and voice concerns before departure, as well as rely on when you’re out on your adventure.
Research Your Route
Take the time to research your hiking route. You’ll find out the best times to hike, the most important items to bring, what to wear, and most importantly, you’ll be a little more aware of the space when you get there with your group. Researching your route can help ensure no one gets lost, as you can send out maps ahead of time and keep everyone in your group aware of any spotty parts of the hiking trail. You can easily google hiking trails or download an application like AllTrails to get all the information you’ll need.
Take An Outdoor Wilderness First-Aid Course
It might be worth taking an outdoor wilderness first-aid course before heading out on your group hiking trip. The beauty of hiking is that it takes you into nature and away from the rest of the world. That can also be a frightening reality if an accident were to happen while you were out there. An outdoor wilderness first-aid course can ensure you’re ready for any obstacle you or the group may face.
Test Out Any New Equipment
If you or anyone in your group purchases new equipment, be sure to test it out ahead of time. Test out any clips, gloves, shoes, walking sticks, or ropes to ensure they work for you. The last thing you want is to be halfway through the first leg of your hiking trip to discover your hiking shoes aren’t worn-in properly.
Pack Lots Of Water
Plan to pack more water than you and your group will need when organizing your group hiking trip. Water is essential to sustaining life, and in case of an emergency where you become stranded, you’ll want to ensure you and your group have enough water for the group to use comfortably. Some new hiking tools filter ponds and lake water that may be worth investing in as well since they take up less weight and space than carrying extra jugs of water.
Have Back-Up Plans
Remember that as well-planned your group hiking trip may be, you’re venturing out into nature which is unpredictable. A rainstorm could crop up out of nowhere, winds could change your course, or you could run into wild animals. It’s important to expect the unexpected and have a backup plan for your group hiking trip. Look into local rest stops, restaurants, and hotels.
Talk to an expert about what to do if you face poor weather on the path. Think about investing in bear spray if you know you could come across a bear. Remember that it’s better to be over-prepared than underprepared and act accordingly during your organizational period.
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