How to hike in a socially distanced world: Do it alone

Solitary hiking is a thing and it’s about to end our travel drought

If you’re anything like us, you’ve probably spent most of your time ranting about our current situation, writing your bucket list or planning where to travel once this pandemic is all over. But it looks like travel plans have to wait for at least another year. As much as we badly want to go on a vacay and get away from everything, the virus is still very much out there threatening humanity. 

This isn’t a be-all, end-all situation though. When you think quarantine is slowly affecting your mental health, try to write your feelings down, eat your comfort food or play life simulation games—anything to distract you, really. But if all of these don’t work anymore, here’s our reco: Go solo hiking (make sure to observe safety protocols and check your area’s guidelines when going out though). It only makes sense, right? At a time when you’re not allowed to even hug your friends or cry on their shoulders when you’re feeling down, find comfort in nature. Solo hiking may sound scary at first but trust us, you’ll get the hang of it. You just have to take note of a few things, especially if you’re a first-timer.

Choose a trail based on your ability

We get it, you like challenging yourself. You never do things half-heartedly. But for Christ’s sake, don’t climb a 2,000-meter trail with steep slopes on your first try or if the closest thing to exercise you’ve done is climbing out of bed. As much as possible, pick terrains that have well-established trails. Now if you’re so adamant about hiking difficult trails, we suggest consulting a doctor first. It’s always best to know your overall condition before deciding on it. (Read: The ultimate hiking and climbing bucket list)

Make sure your body is ready for it

Give yourself three weeks to three months to prepare and improve your fitness level. Create a workout routine (at home for now) that will strengthen your core muscles and legs. You may also want to incorporate some cardio exercises to keep your heart healthy.

Huawei Watch Fit from Globe

But how do you maintain such lifestyle without a trainer? Easy, you invest in a fitness watch. Huawei Watch Fit has 12 kinds of animated workout demonstration videos and 96 workout modes. It records your workout metrics, daily steps and active hours and even detects blood oxygen saturation—an important indicator of your health status. The watch also has a flashlight, can set alarms and reminders, play music and check weather forecasts. You can get P500 off when you buy Huawei Watch Fit at Globe from Mar. 19 to Mar. 31, 2021.

Pick the right backpack

First of all, your backpack should have breathable shoulder straps, hip belt and chest strap for load stability. (You wouldn’t want to roll down the trail just because you lost your balance, would you?) It should also be waterproof and lightweight.

Next, ask yourself: “How long will this hike take me?” Since it’s probably just going to take you a few hours to a full day, a 25-liter backpack should be enough. But if you plan to go on a multiday hike in the future, you may opt for a 50-liter backpack (or larger, tbh) with different access points to compartments.

Columbia Sportswear Unisex Trail Elite 55L Backpack from The Travel Club

You may also want to consider your torso length. Smaller packs are ideal for people with shorter torsos, regardless of their height. Now if you choose a bag that’s longer than your torso, your hips would be forced to help carry the load and that means saying hello to body aches. So if a 55-liter backpack is too big for you, you can look for other options at The Travel Club and get discounts of up to 80 percent on selected Columbia Sportswear items until Apr. 4, 2021.

Pack efficiently

After you’ve chosen the right backpack, it’s time to decide what goes inside it. Besides food, drinking water, a first aid kit and extra clothes, what else should you bring?

Invisible Shield antimicrobial wet wipes, 0917 personal air purifier and Amazing Thing all-in-one UV light sanitizer box from Globe

Since we’re still in the middle of a pandemic, a sanitation kit is essential. You can choose items from Globe’s 0917 Defense Kit collection so you can stay sanitized anywhere you are. The collection includes an aircross face mask, a face shield, a personal air purifier, a refillable spray bottle, a UV sanitizer and antimicrobial wet wipes.

Pay attention to your feet

Havaianas Dynamic flip flops in navy blue from All Flip Flops

While it’s highly recommended to wear good quality socks and shoes (or sandals) throughout the hike, it’s also important to let your feet breathe in between. Constricting your feet and keeping them in contact with sweat and dirt for too long may cause blisters, hot spots or other foot diseases that may result in major discomfort.

Havaianas Brasil Logo flip flops in hollywood rose from All Flip Flops

Sure, using foot powder may limit sweating but that’s not enough (not to mention overapplication may cause more irritation). So some hikers suggest going barefoot. If you’re not comfy doing that, just bring a pair of slippers. It’s best to air your feet out for about 10 minutes or until they feel better. 

Be aware of time

Adidas Originals ADH2898 watch from L Timestudio

Rest breaks largely depend on your fitness level and pace but we suggest taking at least a 10-minute break after every hour of hiking. You may use that time to replenish your energy and let your body recover. Eat, drink water or maybe even take a power nap. That said, being time aware is really important once you hit the trail—and wearing a wristwatch might be the most convenient way to do that. 

F-91WM-9A Casio watch from Time Depot

You don’t necessarily need an actual hiking watch though, especially if you’re on a budget. As long as it helps you determine time, set alarms for rest breaks and has a highly durable strap, then you’re good. In fact, you may get P50 off on the F-91WM-9A Casio watch (which has a waterproof resin strap) at Time Depot if you purchase it from the SM Malls Online app from Mar. 1 to Mar. 31, 2021.

Secure insurance

Let’s set one thing straight: We want you safe. Check the weather forecast before heading out, tell a friend or a family member your detailed itinerary, carry a trail map, never use headphones while hiking (you have to stay alert at all times) and read up on local wildlife. But it’s also best to be prepared in case an accident occurs while you’re hiking. You may want to avail a personal accident insurance from Banco De Oro that will support you through disabilities due to accidents or hospital cash assistance you may use if you get hospitalized as a result of illnesses or accidents.

Get these products without leaving home. Download the SM Malls Online app on Google Play or App Store to enjoy hassle-free shopping.

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