How to Prepare Physically and Mentally for a Long Distance Hike

Hiking is one of those activities that with the right training and discipline, people of a variety of ages and skill level can enjoy. It provides you with an opportunity to get outdoors, take in beautiful sights and sounds, become one with nature, and really leave all that hustle and bustle, as well as the everyday stress, at home. It’s an escape that is beneficial for your entire body, both physically and mentally.

Now, just because you enjoy the activity doesn’t mean you’ve taken it to the next level and embarked on a long-distance hike. Preparing for a long-distance hike is obviously quite different than just a short little afternoon hike, for example. You need to be very aware of what to pack for a multi-day hiking trip and anticipate the various conditions and issues you may run into along the way. There is a physical and mental preparation that should take place.

To help you plan, organise and pack, we’ve put together this helpful guide meant for those embarking on a long-distance multi-day hiking journey.

Start with a List

Just about everyone out there can attest to the fact that at any given moment they have all kinds of things running through their head that they are trying to keep track of and remember. What this means is that things can also be forgotten.

It is essential that your very first step is to make a multi-day packing list with all the items you will need to take with you. By writing it down, you won’t have to worry about trying to remember items, plus it can help you visualise the size of bag you need, and check if anything is missing off the list. As each item is packed into your bag, you can cross it off the list.

Don’t Leave Packing Until the Last Minute

Another tip is not to leave the packing until the last minute. Racing around at the last-minute shoving everything in your pack and trying to stay organised will typically end in disaster. Not only will you likely end up forgetting something, but this rushing around at the last minute just ends up causing stress. That’s no way to be starting off what is supposed to be an enjoyable journey.

Train for Your Adventure

It doesn’t matter if you’re new to hiking or you’ve been hiking for quite some time. If you have never embarked on a multi-day hiking journey, there should be a training process you follow. What this does is start to prepare your body for the challenge ahead so you will be better equipped to handle it. You can follow a marathon walking training schedule if you’re searching online for examples. Just find one that matches the same distance you will be hiking. Take into consideration on your hike you will encounter hills, uneven surfaces, and be carrying a backpack, all of which adds to the challenge.

Any type of aerobic exercise is beneficial to your training process
. This means things such as walking, dancing, kickboxing, and spinning.

There is a Mental Training Aspect as Well

It’s not just your physical being that can benefit from training; it’s also your mental state. You need to get into that ideal mindset that will push you through the challenges you will encounter and really get over those humps you will feel. There will be times you will feel tired, sore, hungry, and thirsty, but you will need to keep going. It’s just as much a test in mental endurance as it is in physical endurance.

One tip is to focus on short-term goals rather than the whole big picture. In other words, focus on getting past that one hill that is currently challenging you rather than making it to the day’s pit stop. Breaking it down into short-term goals can make it less intimidating and, therefore, easier to handle mentally.

A Rewarding Experience When You Take the Proper Preparation Steps

A long-distance hike can be an incredibly rewarding and memorable experience as long as you take the right steps to prepare yourself mentally and physically. It’s one of those journeys that if you allow it to be, is a real-life lesson and meaningful experience.


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Photo credits: Imgur


Tommy Hilfiger


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