Mosquitoes in tents and cycling in the rain: Your childhood memories of active holidays may not be fond. But for many, the pandemic has cancelled international holiday plans, leaving us to contemplate a holiday near your own home – by foot or bike.
Kathrin Heckmann, a passionate hiker who blogs about her outdoor activities, gives some tips for those not yet experienced in longer trips.
Why is hiking or biking the best way to travel for you? What I like about hiking is that you are progressing slowly, giving you time to perceive the small things along the way. That’s real deceleration.
Biking is a mix between proximity to nature and flexibility. While covering some distance, you also pass places which are not reachable by car.
What kind of clothes do you wear and what else do you always bring?I usually have a set of clothes I wear during the day, which can be washed in the evening if needed, and one for the evening. This always includes a rain jacket. I prefer light material with a 2.5-layer membrane, because you often sweat in very robust jackets.
In general, I recommend the onion layer principle: several thinner layers instead of a few thick ones.
What kind of basic equipment do you always take with you?A sleeping bag and mat are very important. It is often possible to do without a tent. A bivouac bag to protect you from cold and moisture, a tarpaulin – a tent tarp which you can put up above the sleeping bag – or a hammock are lightweight alternatives.
You don’t need much, just a few clothes and, if you want to cook, a gas cooker and pot. Apart from that, I usually bring nuts, dried fruit and chocolate bars to lift my spirits. For cooking, I’d recommend ingredients which can be infused with hot water, like instant mashed potatoes, pasta or couscous. And keep in mind that you always have to take your rubbish with you.
And what kind of unnecessary baggage do beginners usually carry around with them?Many people often take way too much stuff in the beginning. Carrying around an extra 2kg really makes a difference on long distances.
You don’t need a pillow, for example, just stuff a bag with your clothes. This requires a minimalist approach. I create an Excel spreadsheet each time and also enter small amounts of weight there.
Is there anything else which beginners usually get wrong at first?Actually, the biggest problem for most people is that they take too much stuff. Hiking boots are another crucial point. It is often said that the more robust the shoes, the better.
However, sturdy hiking boots only make sense in alpine regions. For other tours I recommend lighter, more flexible hiking boots. After all, you lift the weight of the shoe with every step. – dpa
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