Before you go on big family adventures, you need to conduct a bit research about the areas that you want to go hiking in. The skill level of each hiking trail varies drastically depending on area, terrain and equipment. So it’s super important that you evaluate your family’s hiking ability before picking a destination.
It’s very wise to begin with shorter hiking trips to see how well everyone copes. Bring enough supplies to keep you going if you get lost, as it’s easier than one think to get lost from the track. Getting lost requires survival skills as many factors can become life-threatening in the blink of an eye.
You need to be able to navigate in order to get back to civilization within a reasonable timeframe, if not – you need to find ways to still your hunger and thirst without getting sick and drifting too far off from the original path.
Having camping experience is a big plus when hiking, mainly because you develop a deeper understanding about nature by spending more time there, especially if you’ve experienced to live off the natural environment rather than bringing food supplies from the city.
Hiking requires a lot of understanding about the terrain which can often be unobtainable from the internet and word of mouth. Practice makes perfect, so start off easy and slowly work your way up. Rome wasn’t built in a day. Try to go on several beginner hikes before you take on an intermediate hike.
There are different ways to measure the difficulty of a hiking trip.
You can measure it by length, terrain, elevation gain/loss, altitude, packing, etc. It’s important to start off easy to discover your limits before you move on to the harder hiking trails.
Apart from the listed factors above, the hiking trails for experts also consists of loose rocks, rock hopping, snowy parts, etc. Make sure that you read up on all the hiking routes that you want to try.
You don’t have to go on all hikes, but you should definitely be sure that your family is able to survive the hike without breaking any bones.
Going on a beginner’s hike with your family is recommended if you plan on bigger hiking paths in the future.
The beginner hikes shouldn’t be longer than 10km long and should take less than a couple of hours to complete. These hiking routes do regularly not have a big range of elevation gain/loss as that too will affect the difficulty of the said hiking route.
The terrain in beginner hikes are usually restricted to forest trails, pavement, sand and packed dirt – allowing you to complete the hike without falling due to loose rocks. However, there will always be exceptions to confirm the rule so make sure to be cautious regardless of what hike you take.
Many expert hikers have fallen on beginner/intermediate hikes so never take anything for granted. Each hike is unique and able to cause new injuries each time you take the hike.
These hikes are perfect for hikers who possess a basic level of wilderness travelling and been camping a couple of times in nature.
These hikes shouldn’t take longer than a day to finish although the hiking distance is longer. The elevation gain/loss can be quadrupled in these hikes and there will definitely be a slightly tougher terrain to navigate through.
The trails are usually slightly poorer here than in the beginner hikes and you’ll probably notice snowy parts as well as loose rocks. Beware! Especially with your family around you.
Expert hikes indicates that you’ll be spending more than one day on your hiking trip. There will likely be narrow trails, bushwhacking and rock jumping involved on this hike.
Trust me, you don’t want to bring your whole family on these hikes. I’ve completed several hikes of the intermediate skill level but I still struggle to complete a hike at expert level.
Ice is not uncommon in these hikes and many parts of the hike usually lack a marked trail.
Expert hikes are usually higher up in mountains where the terrain is a lot steeper and thus more dangerous.
Experienced hikers are able to complete these hikes, and it’s worth mentioning that many hikers have come into trouble on hikes below their skill level.
Camp before Hike
It’s very wise to spend time out in nature before you head off to hiking trips. Camping teaches a lot about picking up what we leave behind as well as navigating in nature.
By camping, you are supposed to teach your family some basic knowledge about bushwhacking – surviving and living off the wild.
These skills are extremely valuable as you start hiking in nature and it also increases your survival skills in any kind of accident out in nature.
Try to spend more than a day camping (otherwise it’s effectively a picnic!).
Via Ferratas are a type of guided hiking paths with clear trails where iron and rope has been installed along the way to assist you forward.
Some via ferratas are very easy while others are just as hard as an expert hike. “Via Ferrata” only refers to the fact that the hiking path is guided with iron parts and assisting rope.