How to Keep Up Nutrition and Energy While Out Hiking in the Hills

Running low on nutrients is not something that you ever want to experience on a hike in nature. Although there are easy cures, your ability to move towards actions decrease drastically as soon as you start running low on energy. You need to be prepared to avoid this scenario happening to you out in nature.

in general, there are 2 ways to deal with the problem.

Either you bring nutrients and energy with you on your hike, or you use what’s around you in nature. Passing by some bushes of blueberries, lingonberries or other edible forest berries is a gift from nature. Don’t simply pass by the fruits. The fruits of nature are meant to be eaten by humans and every other animal.

If you happen to find a pine tree with a cut in it, you can eat its sap and pretend that it’s purified maple syrup (that comes from tree sap).

Bears eat loads of berries, honey and fat to survive the winter but you on the other hand don’t need to sleep through the winter, so berries and tree sap will most probably be sufficient unless you’re one of those furry fellas!

My main suggestion for any hiker is to learn about nature and become as self-sufficient as possible. Imagine spending time in the woods without having to bring food, now that’s the essence of life: maintaining survival without technology and other people.

Berries

Edible forest berries are great sources of nutrients and energy. Berries are usually more potent than fruits when it comes to nutrients, that’s a good thing for us hikers.

The berries to look for are the following ones:
Blueberries, lingonberries, raspberries, cranberries, blackberries, currants (black, red and white currants), cloudberries and hawthorn berries.

There might be more variations of berries available in the region where you’re going hiking, so read up on the local nature for the season when you plan to go.

Needle Tea

If you feel low on energy and that your immune system is weak, try a cup of Needle Tea.

Needle tea refers to the needles from a pine tree, which can be boiled in water to get you a shot of vitamin C in the middle of adventure time!

Though it might sound like something British, but it’s easy to underestimate vitamins and their effect on us. You need a container to boil the water in, and then you simply add a bunch of pine needles to the water.

If you are going for the exclusive needle cup, add a teaspoon of pine sap for the perfect wooden blend.

Plants

There’s an abundance of plants to eat out in nature. Some grow in valleys, some on mountain cliffs and some in deep forests.

The important thing is to look at the right places and know what’s actually edible. Eating the wrong plant can result in poisoning and/or death if the surrounding factors are working against you.

The seaweed, kelp, fireweed, dandelions, clovers and chickweed are all plants that you can eat in the wild.

Wherever you go hiking, do some research on the terrain and the nature that surrounds your chosen hiking path. The available edible plants will differ a lot depending on where you go, so make sure to do your homework.

Roots

Roots are slightly harder to discover, yet harder to recognize. You should have some experience before you start looking for edible roots in the wild.

Most edible roots have Latin names and are more unknown to the common hiker than what berries are. Roots are the anchors of plants, buried in the ground where they absorb nutrients and moisture that it gets in touch with.

Finding the right roots can provide excellent nutrition but as mentioned, you need quite a lot of knowledge before you can start locating and recognizing the right from the wrong.

You don’t want to gamble on this one.

Insects & Bugs

In a life-and-death scenario, you don’t care if 1 or 100 bugs accidentally end up in your stomach if you are in need of nutrients.

While bugs taste disgusting, they do provide great nutrition!

However, you should definitely stay away from all sorts of caterpillars, same goes for brightly coloured insects as they can be poisonous.

Before eating bugs and/or insects, you need to cook them as they might contain parasites that can kill you. Also! Remove the legs, head and wings before digging in.

Bring Energy

You don’t need to become a caveman by going on a hike since you can bring whatever food you personally appreciate eating out in the nature.

There are no limitations, except for the picking up part. Whatever you enter the forest with, should you also bring out of it. Considering how much we’ve destroyed of the planet and its species, we have a responsibility to maintain forest life and system levels of every sort.

Bring something to eat or snack on if you want to, but also know that you’ll learn nothing about edible plants by doing so.

The more self-sufficient you become, the happier you are. That’s the opinion of the greatest philosophers throughout the human history such as Nietzsche and Aristotle.

Via Ferrata – A Gateway-Hike!

These paths started out as simple iron handles and steps (in Austria, 1843) but they have become more and more modest nowadays, allowing hikers to use new and steady equipment on a majority of all Via Ferratas.

It is very natural to start off with a Via Ferrata hike before setting out to experience the real deal – hiking without protected routes.

Most hikes do not have Via Ferratas available, although it might be favourable for the newbie hikers since it requires less skills, although you need to bring equipment.

What is Via Ferrata?

 

“A Via Ferrata hike is a hiking path with some cheating involved”

Well not really, it’s more like a simplified hiking experience which basically everyone can partake in and complete.

If you ever considered hiking/trekking in some mountains, a Via Ferrata is one of the best ways to get started on your hiking journey. It is a play-version of the real deal. This article will go through every single aspect of Via Ferrata hikes and what you should expect from your first Via Ferrata experience.

How to get started with Via Ferrata hiking?

Getting started with Via Ferrata is quite easy, but you do however need some equipment to get going. The most essential items in a Via Ferrata kit are 3 basic items; the Via Ferrata harness, helmet & lanyard. Apart from that, you probably need some durable gloves and boots to avoid freezing and hurting yourself as you progress along a Via Ferrata route.

The routes can head downwards as well as going steeply upwards in the weirdest places imaginable.

Once you have the gear, you are good to go! But make sure to start off with an easy Via Ferrata route.

The difficulty of Via Ferratas are rated with 3-6 grades, A-C or A-F so it’s worth looking up what rating system is being used in the region where you plan to go for a Via Ferrata hike.

History of Via Ferrata

Via Ferrata means iron road in Italian and originates from WW1 when Italians built accessible paths on mountain walls using iron and rope.

However, it is believed that similar inventions have been used earlier than the 20th century. One of the first known places where a Via Ferrata was being used is the Austrian mountain Dachstein in the year of 1843.

During the First World War, Austrians and Italians were fighting for control over the Dolomites, a mountain group which is the main reason to the huge amount of Via Ferrata trails in the alps between Austria-Italy.

Apart from creating Via Ferratas, multiple tunnels were created in attempts to rig mines against the opposition’s transporting tunnels. Although the Italians and Austrians fought over a mountain territory, the harsh weather conditions were an enemy of equal significance to both sides.

A successfully detonated tunnel could give a vital edge against the enemy as food and/or fire power easily could become a casualty of an explosion.

The Via Ferratas from the Austria-Italy regions have been maintained throughout the years which means that you still can access these alps from Via Ferratas (protected paths).

Although Via Ferrata is an Italian word, it was for sure invented in Austria. Multiple Austrian mountains had Via Ferrata paths 20 years before the First World War. Austrian mountains like the Grossglockner, Zugspitze & Dachstein had Via Ferratas 50 years before the WW1 broke out.

Dolomites Via Ferratas

A majority of all Via Ferratas have been built and installed for touristic purposes, but history explains the intentions of this invention as it served as tools to maintain control over high mountain areas.

The Dolomites is the mountain group where the Via Ferratas have had a massive significance in the history of humans. If you are a history fanatic, you should definitely combine education with physical activity by visiting the Dolomites in the North-eastern Italy.

If you want a climbing experience up in the sky, check out the Mount Kenya Via Ferrata. Located 4985 metres over sea level – you are able to see elephants, leopards and even rhinos when doing the Via Ferrata along the mountain walls.

The mountain is actually an extinct volcano just like Mount Etna volcano, so the scenery around is remarkable and the wild life has been very affected over hundreds of years.

Via Ferrata in Switzerland

One of Austria’s neighbours, Switzerland, offer you the possibility of hiking the Aletsch Via Ferrata which indeed is a long hike with the longest suspension bridge throughout the whole alps.

However, this Via Ferrata is quite difficult so you should only go on this Suisse hiking experience if you are an experienced mountain hiker.

An Exciting Via Ferrata

The Sacred Valley Via Ferrata is one of the coolest experiences that you can have as a hiker.

Once you get up there, you can choose to use a zip line down instead of climbing and hiking for hours. The most awesome part of the Sacred Valley Via Ferrata is that you can actually spend the night in a transparent capsule which is hanging off the mountain wall.

You’ll find a bed inside as well as small storage containers which are built-in on the inside of the capsule. On top of the adrenaline zip-line ride, you can also try out a bungee jump if you got enough guts.

6 Essential Items to Take on Your Next Hike

Hiking is super fun, as it’s supposed to be. But(!) It can also be extremely dangerous to go hiking.

The list of pros about hiking is endless but like everything else in life – it comes at a risk. The risks will vary depending on where you go hiking and the difficulty level of the hiking path.

However, some things can’t really be taken into consideration before you leave, such as wild animals and nature itself.

There are however things that you can do in the form of proactivity, I have listed 6 things that you simply can’t afford to leave behind.

Experience

Practice makes perfect, so they say.

I however don’t believe in the word “perfect”, or I do a bit. I consider “perfect” a state rather than a product. A table can’t be perfect, while the craftsman can make perfect work by using 100% of his focus. That does however not mean that the craftsman is perfect in any way.

My point is, experience plays a huge difference if you currently are in your perfected state of mind but you are not a perfect product in your idle state. Make sure to bring your experience in your most perfected state-of-mind.

Mood

 

You need to be able to resort to a positive way of thinking in order to complete many parts of a hike, at least if you go for an intermediate or the expert hikes.

Listen to your body, if you feel like you are under the weather – you are probably not supposed to go on a hike this very day.

A good mood will help you find innovative solutions when/if you get stuck while a bad mood can really beat you down mentally. A great mood will always take you further than the hiking path, de facto.

The mood can vary depending on your hiking company, so only bring those who you feel good around.

Frustration can easily occur if you’re stuck on a mountain with someone that you don’t like. Don’t do it. Bring a good mood and make sure to do what’s necessary to maintain your mood along the way.

Extra Clothes

Clothing is extremely important on a hike. First of all, make sure that you don’t use cotton socks as these traps moisture inside your boots. Use extra big shoes so there’s room for a pair of thick socks too!

Apart from the shoes, you need to be aware of the concept of hypothermia. Falling partly or completely into a stream or river will quickly make you shiver without any possibility of regaining your heat – unless, you brought a pair of extra clothes.

Ask your company to bring extra clothes too, since your extra clothes have a good chance of becoming equally wet as the clothes that you are wearing.

Having fun is really important but surviving weigh more than a laugh to most of us. Bring extra clothes.

Firestarter

I’m your Firestarter, a twisted Firestarter! However, I need matches, lighter or a Ferro rod in order to start a fire. You too, need to be prepared for the scenario of being in dire need of heat at any point of your hike.

Fire can be used for multiple purposes; drying wet clothes, gaining body heat and preparing warm food/drinks. If you would feel cold on your hike when you are out of food, it’s wise to boil some snow/water with pine needles to make a cup of hot forest tea.

Although there are no caffeine levels, you’ll notice what wonders a hot drink can do to your body during these hikes.

Besides, the pine needles provide a fresh taste and contain up to 5 times more vitamin C than what lemons have! Bring (preferably 2) sources of fire and stay warm.

Navigation Tools

There are different ways of navigating. Most adventurers make their way by using a compass and a map while hiking while others only bring a map and use the sun as a natural compass.

Some hikers have spent months or years in certain areas/regions, these hikers usually don’t need map nor compass to navigate as they know their routes better than they know their neighbours.

If you always stick to the hiking path, you are very unlikely to ever need a map and/or compass. But(!) You bring these items for the same reasons that you bring your smartphone to a friend’s place – you won’t necessarily need it but sticky situations might occur and that’s when you’re happy to have brought your phone. Same thing goes with the map and compass.

You don’t necessarily need it, but if you get lost – you’ll thank me.

Water & Nutrition

It doesn’t really matter how long you’re planning to go hiking, you should definitely bring something to digest and provide energy throughout the hike.

You bring water and nutrients for the same reason as the map and compass; you won’t need it hopefully but bringing it might save your life or simply save you from a heavy energy dip that would have set you back for hours.

Water can usually be found in most mountains through streams and/or rivers, but make sure to filter or boil the water before drinking it.

Drinking unfiltered/unboiled water can make you sick quick so bring your own water or a small container to boil any water you find along the hike. Proactivity is the best activity.

How to Choose the Right Pair of Walking Boots Article Copy

Camping is an awesome thing to experience, but picking the can be harder than you thought. There are different kinds of terrain wherever you go camping; some require wet resistant clothing while other hikes might require warm winter boots.

It is wise to be prepared for any scenario, but whatever you do – don’t pack two pair of boots. You will need as light equipment as possible while exploring the area where you decide to camp. So, with all these different options, what do you choose?

Well, it’s never a given choice. Ultimately, comfort and functionality beats every other factor. The boots need to keep water and cool weather outside, other than that – they should be comfortable.

Online < Outdoor Store

While it might be financially wise to order boots online, you miss out on a good opportunity to try out the boots before heading out in the wild. You can search the web and read up on different sizes depending on where you order boots from.

Some online shops offer an open purchase, allowing you to regret your purchase if you for some reason would be dissatisfied with your product. Those are worth trying out, but time might be precious!

Check out your local store before ordering anything online. That way, you can try out the boots and walk around in them before paying up.

Shoes that are too big

…are actually not too big! You are actually supposed to pick a pair with extra space for your socks.

No walking boots should fit perfectly as you always need to have extra space for thick socks to keep you warm while walking. This is another reason to why it’s wise to go to a physical store instead of ordering boots online.

If you have lots of time until you go hiking, feel free to order online if the web shop allow you to send back the product if you aren’t happy with it. Lots of online shops doesn’t allow you to send back products if you are dissatisfied with them, so double check that before you order anything online for your hiking trip.

Wear double socks!

Wearing double socks comes with perks. First of all, make sure that you aren’t using cotton socks as they entrap moisture inside which make your feet colder than they need to be.

Using wool or a synthetic blend can increase the temperature of your feet by several degrees. If you still get cold, try to air the boots and socks occasionally to get rid of moisture.

Moisture can easily cause blisters to appear on your feet from all friction inside your boots. You should try to wear two different types of socks, one should be a slim sock but you also need a thicker (preferably) wool sock too.

This 2-sock combination allows you to use the internal friction to stay dry and to generate additional heat.

Fjällräven – A Brand of Wildlife Quality

If you plan on ordering online, check out Fjällräven; a very trustworthy brand from Sweden – a country where survival equipment is as vital as food and water. These wildlife experts offer products for any scenario in the Scandinavian wilderness.

Even the Sami’s, the Swedish Inuit’s, are using equipment from Fjällräven. Their undisputable reputation is a reassuring confirmation that they can provide you with practically any kind of equipment to complete your trekking experience.

With 50 years in the business, they have the sturdiest solutions for every hiking enthusiast. I can remember hearing grandparents and family friends speaking about Fjällräven products as a necessity in the ice cold wildlife of Scandinavia.

Thick & Resistant

Thick boots are important, but the resistance is actually more important.

Even the biggest boots will be able to absorb more water than small boots due to volume. So whatever boots you choose for your trip, make sure that they are resistant against both water and cold. Protection against the cold might seem super important, but the water will definitely give you ice cold toes if it manage to get into your boots.

If your feet or boots do get cold, you can quickly warm them over a fire. Wet boots is a much greater setback than cold feet since cold feet is usually a symptom from wet feet.

Thick can be important, but being water resistant is extremely vital if you are planning on staying in the woods for more than a day or two.

Walk your boots in

It’s super important that you feel comfortable on your trip, in as many ways as possible. Your feet and head are two of the biggest heat generators on your body, so it’s very important to stay dry and warm throughout the journey.
Your new boots might actually cause your feet to be chafed, which could set you back as you will probably lose speed and blood circulation which makes you colder in the long run.

Take your new boots for a proper “warmup” walk and see how they feel before you take them out for the real deal. If you can, try to go hiking for a few days, there is probably a good place to go from where you live to try them out.

Make sure to find out how water resistant your boots really are.

How to Go Hiking Safely with Your Family

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.

Hiking Difficulty

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.
Beginner Hikes

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.
Intermediate Hikes

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

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 a effectively a picnic!).
Via Ferrata

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.