Hiking, Camping, Backpacking

Different Terrains and How to Hike on Them

Hiking is a catch-all phrase for all kinds of exploration and climbing, which is why it may surprise amateur hikers to know that there’s a lot of variation in technique depending on the terrain.

Make the most of your hiking trips and stay safe by ensuring you’re ready to make it through the roughest trails with your ultralight hiking equipment in tow.

Rocky Trails

Rocky trails, especially in and near mountains, are tricky terrain. Talus, the stones that are big enough to step on one at a time, and scree, the gravel-esque tiny stones, can be disbalancing for even pro hikers. Hiking on a terrain like this requires shoes with plenty of grip and a strategy for testing.

You should take your time around the talus and make sure the rock is secure before shifting your full weight onto it. Planning ahead and charting a trail in your head is important too. Balance is the key here since you may have to take longer steps to avoid unsteady rocks.

Hiking Downhill

Downhill hiking is less strenuous on the legs and lungs, but that doesn’t mean it’s absolutely safe. Downhill hiking places stress on your feet, knees, and ankles, especially if the slope is steep.

Useful ways to navigate this is to ensure you have balanced packs with you that aren’t pushing you down, as well as shoes that will keep your ankles and feet secure as you hike. You should also take short steps, controlling your pace and stepping lightly to reduce the strain on your feet. Trekking poles can also help stabilize you and decrease stress on joints.

Navigating Ice and Snow

Ice and snow are tricky to deal with, which is why you should be cautious around them and keep equipment with you. Solid ice will require an ice ax or crampons. However, what’s key here is understanding how the snow and ice will react to differing day temperatures.

For example, slopes that face north are less likely to have softening snow during the day because they get less sun compared to ones that face south. You should also be aware that while softer snow is easy to carve into, it can also be less secure. Solid ice, on the other hand, is easy to step on but harder to stay steady on.

Forest Hikes

Bushwhacking, or hiking through a forest, is probably the most typical kind of hike (and also the easiest). Although most people like to call forest hiking “bushwhacking,” that’s the exact kind of technique not to try. Swatting branches and vegetation out of the way is tiring, as opposed to finding a river/stream and follow it to avoid fatigue.

Proper trails are the key, as well as ultralight hiking gear and lightweight backpacks for hiking, like the ones available on our website!

At AARN USA, you can buy the best lightweight backpacks that have been designed for gender-neutral use and help balance your body as you hike. Order yours today.

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