1. CAREFULLY SURVEY THE WEATHER FORECAST
Before each outing in the mountains, it is important to study the weather in detail. A clear blue sky at the start of your hike can turn into wet weather on the way. To complete the basic data dealing with the ups and downs of the weather (rain, fog, wind, etc.) and temperature, cast an eye over the sunrise and sunset times.
By the end of August, the days are getting shorter and night falls much sooner than you might think, so you need to plan a route that will get you home before dark, or be equipped accordingly. So, even if you plan to be home before the sun sets, always take a headlamp in your bag.
There's no reason why you shouldn't go on an outing at the suggestion of friends, but make sure that they are in similar physical shape to you, or you might be putting yourself in a difficult situation.
- Before leaving, assess the difficulty of the route by checking the distance to be covered and the elevation gain, the altitude and any challenging sections along the way.
- Also cast an eye at the rating of the hike to make sure that it matches your level of ability.- At the same time, make sure that your route includes places to stop, mountain refuges, accommodation, etc., so that you have a place to stay for a few hours or spend the night depending on your needs. By preparing these stops along your route in advance, you will be able to manage your effort more effectively.
- Are you hiking with children? Do not overlook the fact that until adolescence, children have trouble managing their effort. They are therefore likely to tire quickly and to be less cooperative on the way back. Make sure that they have regular breaks and adapt the duration of the hike to the youngest.
More than the distance to be covered, it's the elevation gain that makes a hike difficult. A long hike on flat terrain will be less difficult than a shorter hike with a significant elevation gain. So beware! The shortest route is not always the easiest. If you are planning to hike for several days and sleep in a mountain refuge, cottage or on a campsite, make sure that these are still open. What's more, some mountain refuges are quite rudimentary once the summer season has passed. In this case, you will need to have your own equipment, making it all the more important that you make enquiries in advance.
Finally, if you are hiking with children, prefer terrain that is not too slippery or rough. Think of the woods, which will enable you to be less exposed to rain and fill your mushroom basket as well!
2. LEAVE WITH THE PROPER GEAR
Never leave without having at least a map and a compass with you, or a GPS or tracker app for hikers on your smartphone; especially since the signposts are not always in good condition in autumn or winter, and that they can be concealed by rain or fog.
As for your equipment, it must be suitable for the weather forecast and location of the hike. You will sometimes have to tackle wet terrain and rainfall, for which a pair of shoes with lugged soles is preferable for the superior grip they provide. You will also need breathable, warm clothing and something to cover you in bad weather. A pair of poles can be useful, especially to help keep your balance on slippery ground or to probe swampy terrain.
Finally, remember to also bring the following: lamp, survival blanket, water and granola bars so that you never get caught unprepared. Read our article on the essentials you need to put in your bag to make sure you don't forget anything. And, of course, if you make a short stop, make sure that you leave the place as you found it. The next hikers will also be able to enjoy the beauty of the location and animals will not be disturbed by materials that are not part of their environment.
TO MAKE SURE THEY'RE WELL KITTED OUT:
ALL ABOUT HIKING AND CAMPING
It's true that when we start hiking, we can sometimes have some apprehensions. What are your thoughts about hiking? How do you set up a campsite? What do you need to bring? What do you eat? How to hike safely What about the children, how do you keep them occupied?
This is why we created this guide on hiking and camping. Here, you will find the essentials you need to explore the paths freely, while taking care of nature.