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Tips for trying out tramping

Now that the days are warmer, how about trying tramping as a fun and healthy way to get into the great outdoors? Check out these top tips from the experts before you hit the trail.

Put your safety first

Ask your doctor whether tramping’s right for you, and visit the Department of Conservation website to learn about safety in the outdoors.

Get the right pack

Choose a pack that fits you well and is the smallest size you need to carry your maximum load. If you’re buying one, ask the store for professional advice; if you’re borrowing one, ask an experienced friend to check it. YouTube has videos on how to adjust the straps so that the pack fits you well.

Lighten the load

Take only what you need while making sure you have the right safety gear. Reduce the load by sharing the cooking equipment, stocking up on dehydrated meals and putting stuff like sunscreen and insect repellent in small containers.

Get the footwear right

If you’re tramping a well established track that’s suitable for beginners, hiking shoes (or even running shoes) may be the most comfortable option. If you’d like some advice on the best footwear for your tramp, contact the Department of Conservation.

Support yourself

Hiking poles can be your best friend, as they help you to balance (especially going downhill) and reduce strain on your knees, calves and ankles. Do some practice walks to see if you prefer one or two poles, and learn to adjust them to suit your height and the terrain.

Take your time

Depending on the difficulty of your route, plan a rest day or two along the way. More active trampers can go for side trips, while those needing recovery time can stay put and rest up at the hut or campsite.

Top-up your energy levels

Keep up your energy and hydration levels by taking regular snack and water breaks. Have some dried fruit and nuts in your pocket to munch on while you’re walking.

Keep improving the experience

Use your experience to make improvements for the next tramp, such as stopping more often, carrying less weight, wearing sturdier footwear, being fitter, starting later and having a different pack. Get it right and you’ll enjoy one of the best experiences the outdoors has to offer!

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