Guide to Buying Different Types of Outdoor Jackets

People hiking and wearing different types of outdoor jackets

Choosing the right jacket is crucial if you like outdoor activities and have an adventurous spirit. There are many various types of outdoor jackets you can choose from. Of course, you can always buy a jacket that’s suitable for numerous activities. However, if you’re a serious player, it’s better to go for a jacket that’s specifically designed for a specific activity. Believe it or not, a proper outdoor jacket will improve your activity and make it bearable and even possible. That’s why it’s essential to inform yourself about what type of jacket is best for your chosen outdoor activity. This is what we will talk about in this article. So, brace yourself because we’re giving you the ultimate guide to buying different types of outdoor jackets. Let’s scroll!

A tough jacket for mountaineering

Mountaineering can get harsh, and thus the interaction between the rock and the jacket is unavoidable. In addition, you’ll almost always be carrying a (large and heavy) backpack of some kind. That is why alpine and rock climbing jackets must be tough above anything else. This is only logical since you’ll constantly have to contend with rather unfavourable weather conditions at high elevations. And let’s not even mention the wind up there! Even if the weather is lovely at the ground level, the temperature will drop as you climb further up the mountain. Therefore, hard and softshell jackets have become mountaineers’ first choice. Other things to look for in a perfect jacket for mountaineering:

  • Proper fit and flexibility for motion. Mountaineering can be pretty demanding, so if the jacket restricts your freedom of movement in any manner, you are in trouble for the rest of the day. 
  • Good length. It would be best if you made sure the jacket was long enough. Otherwise, it will not fit well beneath a climbing harness and will ride up over it.
  • Pocket position. They should be placed a little higher so that you can still reach them while wearing a harness.
  • Helmet-compatible hood. Only if the hood is helmet-compatible can you wear it over the rock climbing helmet without any trouble. 

Therefore, when it comes to buying different types of outdoor jackets, this is what you should look for in a mountaineering jacket.

A flexible jacket for hillwalking

Man hiking
You need to be weather-prepared, and your jacket needs to be well-fitted.

Hillwalking is another demanding activity that requires a specific and different type of outdoor jacket. You should look for several features when you’re buying a hillwalking jacket, and all of them are conditioned by various factors. So, let’s see the essential elements of this type of outdoor jacket:

  • Excellent weather protection. Whether it’s heavy rain or unbearably strong wind, you’ll have to deal with unpredictable weather and always be prepared. That’s why a technical waterproof jacket or softshell jacket is what you can rely on in these conditions. 
  • Breathability. Whether you get wet from heavy rain or it’s hot, and you’re sweating like crazy, you must wear a jacket with good breathability. 
  • Toughness. Remember that you might be carrying a large rucksack. Therefore, your jacket must be constructed to handle all of that extra weight and friction and thus be strengthened at the shoulders.
  • Easily-adjustable hood. You don’t want your hood to fall off when it gets windy and starts to rain at the same time. So, make sure you can adjust it easily according to the current weather. 
  • Proper size. Choose a large enough jacket so you can wear it comfortably over a warm layer of clothes.

A functional jacket for cycling

Winds may be a cyclist’s worst nightmare, whether on the road or on the mountain. That’s why cycling jackets that flap around or fill up with air are entirely useless. Therefore it’s critical that a cycling jacket fits appropriately and is somewhat close-fitting. This is the only way to prevent blowing out like a drogue parachute at greater speeds. In addition, cycling jackets have a slightly different overall cut compared to other outdoor jackets. They frequently have an extended back, which assists in safeguarding your lower back, especially while leaning forward.

Additionally, cycling jackets frequently include a pocket on the back. This is particularly useful not just because you may keep all types of bits and bobs in it but also because they are constantly within reach. Moreover, the jacket should be as light as feasible and fitted with reflective components for all those night crawlers out there.

A cycling jacket needs to be functional above anything else.

A lightweight jacket for trail running

Trail running is an endurance sport that requires a lot of effort. That’s why you can’t overlook breathability when buying thy type of outdoor jacket. Excellent moisture management must be prioritized. The jacket should not only fit nicely, but it should also be as snugly as possible. Only then will water vapor be able to escape with the least amount of resistance.

Furthermore, every ounce matters, especially on long runs. If you intend to carry the jacket in your backpack, it should be as light as possible. Additionally, it would be best if you fit it in the smallest pack size you can. 

Don’t forget about the weather protection. Trail running jackets must be both water and windproof, depending on the weather conditions you have to deal with on the trail. Hoods can also come in handy, but you should know they add extra weight.  

When it comes to storing this type of jacket, you need to be extra careful. So, when preparing clothes for storage during winter, make sure to keep them safe and dry, especially this type of jacket. You can keep them in weather-controlled storage and protect them from bugs. The truth is, you don’t want to buy a new trail running jacket every season. 

Additional outdoor jacket features

Now that you know the essential features you should look for when buying different types of outdoor jackets, let’s take a look at the additional features that can come in handy:

  • Water bottle compartments on the inside
  • Internal smartphone pocket with access to headphones
  • Pockets for everything you intend to bring with you
  • Zippers that work with climbing harnesses
  • Secure passport pocket
   Couple in nature
You need to find a perfect jacket that fits your outdoor activity which is why buying different types of outdoor jackets is a must.

The final zip

As you can see, the jacket plays a significant role in your outdoor activity. It can determine its overall quality. It would be best to consider plenty of factors when choosing your next outdoor jacket. Anything from weather to flexibility should be on your checklist. With this guide to buying different types of outdoor jackets, you’re ready to make an educated pick. So, what are you waiting for? It’s time to buy the perfect outdoor jacket!

Most Common Hiking Injuries and How to Treat Them

Nothing compares to feeling the sun on your face, the breeze in your hair, and being closer to nature. This is what hiking can provide if you give it a chance. Don’t worry if you’ve never hiked before; everyone (even families with children) can do it. Of course, whether you’re a novice or a seasoned pro, you should always exercise caution. But remember, regardless of how much preparation and prevention, sometimes accidents happen, and injuries can occur. Here are some of the most common hiking injuries and how to properly treat them.


Blisters are one of the most common hiking injuries that even the most experienced hikers can suffer from. They are caused by friction between your skin and your socks and/or footwear. There are several ways you can prevent this type of injury, such as keeping your feet dry by

changing socks if necessary, making sure your socks do not slip down as you walk, and investing in suitable hiking footwear. Also, make sure to break into your shoes before hiking!

Do not fret if this injury happens. You may easily treat it with simple medical tape, blister tape, or even duct tape. If the blister becomes too painful to tolerate, use a sterilized needle to burst it and administer antibiotic ointment to the affected area.

A person sitting with their legs stretched in front of them on the edge of a cliff.

Reliable hiking shoes will be a lifesaver if you wish to avoid some of the most common hiking injuries.

Cuts and scrapes

Cuts and scrapes can occur at any time and for numerous reasons. They’re challenging to avoid, but they’re usually harmless. The best way to prevent them is to be wary of your surroundings, avoid branches, and be cautious on uneven ground. Additionally, always chop away from you and remember to place sharp objects safely in your bag.

When it comes to minor cuts or scrapes, you should disinfect the area and cover it with a bandage of your choice. However, the treatment is different if the cut is deeper and won’t stop bleeding. To stop the bleeding, wrap a belt or piece of cloth around the area and apply gauze from your first-aid kit. Once the bleeding has stopped, secure the gauze by bandaging the area.

Joint Injuries

Hikers (like runners) may be more susceptible to joint injuries than others. Those who have had a previous injury, have weaker leg muscles, ill-fitting footwear, or traverse difficult terrain are at a higher risk. Even if these factors aren’t present, you may get joint injuries or inflammation from the stress imposed on the joint when hiking. It is critical to find information on what type of trail you will be heading on. So if you’re, for example, looking for hiking spots while in LA, remember to check if these trails are tamed or not. Untamed trails, when visiting an area for the first time, can be difficult on your joints. So, when you’re hiking down some of the most popular destinations near LA, remember to be careful since your joints will be put under a lot of strain.

If you are hiking and feel pain in your joints, do not disregard it; you must treat the joint right away. Depending on the pain, you can rest, loosen the load, ice the area, take painkillers, or walk using trekking poles. If the pain persists even after the hike, get medical assistance as soon as possible.

A woman sitting on the floor and holding her aching knee

Knee pain: the most common hiking injury that can occur in the joints.


Dehydration is one of the most common hiking injuries, but it’s also one of the easiest to remedy. To prevent it from ever occurring, you must have enough water on hand. You can bring water with you in many ways, whether in a bottle, flask, or bladder. Also, pay close attention to how you’re feeling. The initial sign of thirst indicates that you have been without water for some time. Thus, you must drink some water immediately.

To treat dehydration, use the same actions as you would to prevent it. Take a break in the shade, sip some water, and observe the beautiful environment around you. If needed, consume some rehydration salts, and you’ll be good to go. However, if you have severe dehydration that has not been treated promptly, you will require immediate medical attention before the situation worsens.


Summer is a terrific time to go hiking in many places. However, the weather can often present as many obstacles as opportunities, significantly so when the temperature rises. Hyperthermia (aka hot injury) is a common hiking injury that can happen when exposed to high temperatures. This injury causes your body and many of its essential processes to malfunction. Wearing hiking clothes made for higher temperatures, using sunblock, and staying hydrated are just some of the ways to prevent it.

However, if you have hyperthermia symptoms like nausea, vomiting, headaches, or cramping, you should stop and try to cool down. When taking a break, eat high-energy foods, drink electrolyte water, and do whatever is needed to cool down, such as pouring water over your head. Seek medical attention right away if you develop more severe symptoms, including dry skin, quick pulse, disorientation, or seizures. Heatstrokes are uncommon, but they can happen when hiking, so be prepared to act quickly if these urgent symptoms appear.

A man drinking flavored water while holding a cold rag next to his neck while trying to cool down

Pressing a cold rag onto your skin can help cool you down so you may continue on your hiking adventure.


On the opposite side of the coin, there’s hypothermia (cold injury). This is one of the most severe hiking injuries where your body’s core temperature lowers to dangerous levels. Frostnip and frostbite are more common and much milder injuries that you should be aware of, too. To ensure safety during a winter hike, you must wear insulated clothing, keep yourself dry and only go on short expeditions in such harsh temperatures.

The majority of these most common hiking injuries could be avoided with proper preparation. Nevertheless, be cautious if you lose some sensation in your skin or if it turns white, waxy, or hard. These are some of the first warning signs of frostnip and frostbite. For mild cases, you must immediately try to raise your body temperature. You can do so by drinking a hot beverage or finding shelter. Call for immediate assistance for harsher symptoms such as confusion, fumbling hands, or drowsiness. While waiting, do whatever you can to raise your temperature until help arrives.

Knowing the most common hiking injuries and how to treat them will help you prepare for your next hiking adventure. It will also ensure you stay safe and have adequate supplies if something unfortunate does happen.

10 Best Hikes in Europe

Europe is abundant in beautiful landscapes. It is possible to explore high-peaked mountains, magnificent coasts, or flowery meadows. In Europe, you will find practically every sort of terrain you might want, and almost all of it is accessible. Also, you can choose to go on a one-day hike or take a tour of multiple hiking destinations. Furthermore, some hiking trails are excellent in the winter, while others are ideal in the summer. Therefore, to help you choose your next hiking destination, we made a list of the ten best hikes in Europe. So prepare your hiking gear, and let’s explore the beautiful landscapes of Europe.

Plitvice Lakes, Croatia

For some of the best treks in Europe, you must visit Croatia. It is a beautiful country with many fantastic places to visit that display incredible nature and history. However, the Plitvice Lakes National Park is the best spot to visit. It has been on the UNESCO World Heritage list since 1979 because of its outstanding landscape features. For instance, there are 16 lakes distributed throughout 300 square kilometres, several spectacular waterfalls, and majestic woodlands. Eight hiking trails lead you throughout the region, each with a different level of difficulty and time. So pack your rucksack and head to Croatia for an unforgettable trekking experience.

Retezat Mountains, Romania

The Retezat mountains in Romania are a less popular hiking destination. The mountains are in the Retezat National Park and include 20 peaks, the tallest of which is 2,509 metres. The area is also UNESCO protected, and it is a small piece of heaven. The Peleaga summit, the tallest in the region, offers breathtaking views of the landscape below, such as glacial lakes. You don’t need a permit to trek in the Retezat mountains, but you will have to pay a small fee for entering the reservation. Also, here you will find designated camping points where you can set up your tent and mountain huts where you can spend the night. However, keep your eyes open for bears, lynx, and birds, or you might miss them.

Mount Triglav, Slovenia

Mount Triglav is close to the capital Ljubliana, and it’s one of the best hikes in Europe. The mountain’s summit is 2,864m high and accessible via two routes. One of them starts in Bled and implies going on a via ferrata, which are protected climbing routes along the Alps. Also, you can choose to go on this hike alone, or you can have a guide. We highly recommend having a guide if you are not an experienced mountaineer or don’t have the appropriate equipment. The paths can be pretty narrow, and the hike might take you longer than expected.

View from a mountain peak.

Triglav mountain offers some of the best hikes in Europe.

Doolin Cliff Walk, Ireland

Many must-see destinations in Ireland are worth including in our list of ten best hikes in Europe.

But, here we want to present to you the Doolin Cliff Walk. This hike is along the sharp cliff edges on a narrow path that overviews the Atlantic Ocean. It is also called the secret passageway and takes you to the Cliffs of Moher. The starting point is from the village of Doolin, and it’s the best way to reach the cliffs by avoiding the crowds. On the way, you will be able to admire stunning views for around 13 km. However, you should be careful when hiking on this trail. There can be strong winds that can make the hike a bit harder and more dangerous.

Via Dinarica, Balkans

The Balkans are the best place to experience tasty food, good music, and historical sites. And the best way to experience all of them is by going on the via Dinarica. This trail crosses through the Dinaric Alps and the Shaar Mountain range. It passes through eight Balkan countries, and it’s 1,930km long, taking you through more than 120 stages. However, if you do not want to make a longer journey by following the entire trail, you can divide it into smaller sections. For example, you can make an eight-day trip from Croatia to Bosnia. Or, you can start with the easy parts and raise the difficulty gradually.

Norwegian Fjords, Norway

The fjords of Norway are a hiker’s dream come true. There are so many beautiful scenes to be seen that you just wouldn’t believe it. For instance, you can walk through lush woods, admire glacier lakes, and view beautiful snow powdered mountains. Also, there are hikes of varying difficulties for all types of hikers. And the best part is that in Norway, people are aware that hiking can boost the quality of life and the benefits it can have on health. As a result, they have the Allemannsretten, which represents the right to walk freely on Norwegian lands. So if you want to wander around the Norwegian fjords, you can do so free of charge.

The Norwegian fjords, one of the best hikes in Europe.

Norwegians appreciate the importance of hiking and encourage people to explore the lands.

Tour du Mont Blanc, Switzerland, Italy, France

This hike is one of the most popular and best hikes in Europe. Unfortunately, it can be dangerous for those that don’t prepare for such a hike. You must have excellent navigation abilities, a high level of stamina, and a lot of tenacity. The whole tour is around 170 km, takes you through three countries, and takes about ten days to complete. You can stay overnight in mountain refuges or look for accommodations in the picturesque Alpine villages. Also, you can start the trail from any of the sides in France, Italy, or Switzerland. Wherever you choose to start from, rest assured that you will see some of the most beautiful views in Europe.

El Caminito del Rey, Spain

The King’s Little Pathway is located in Malaga’s Gaitanes Gorge and provides breathtaking views of the Andalucia area. This well-known yet risky hiking trail is located 105 metres above a river and can take up to four hours to complete. It is eight kilometres long, but you can exit at different locations to make the hike easier. After all, you will want to admire the scenery of the gorge, canyon, and river below. But, if you are afraid of heights, you might want to reconsider going on this trail. Specifically, there are two portions of the route that you should avoid. One section is made of a glass floor, while the other is a high-altitude wire suspension bridge.

Rennsteig Trail, Germany

This German trail is the most popular in the country, being walked by around 100,000 people each year. The route is 170 kilometres long and has breathtaking views. Also, the Rennsteig path is in Thuringia, which hosts the unique Thüringer Winterspiele Olympics. This German state is known for its love of outdoor activities, and the Rennsteig trail is 700 years old, being the oldest in the country. However, if you want to hike on this trail, you should prepare for a long walk uphill. You will need proper hiking boots and all the equipment for such hikes. Also, the trail will require you to have at least a moderate level of fitness.

Deer in a forest.

On the Rennsteig Trail in Germany, you have a high chance of meeting the wildlife.

The Gap of Dunloe, Ireland

This route starts in the Killarney National Park, at Kate Kearney’s Cottage. You can choose between a short 11km trek or a round trip that begins and ends at the cottage. The tour can take you up to five hours, but it will be worth your time. On the way, you will be able to admire impressive mountains, five beautiful lakes, and the famous Wishing Bridge. Legend has it that the wish you make while standing on the bridge will come true. So, even if this route takes your breath away, literally speaking, it will also reward you with beautiful views and maybe even a wish come true.

Final thoughts

If you want to have the perfect hiking experience, choose one of the ten best hikes in Europe as your destination. You will be able to have a fantastic hiking experience while passing through stunning landscapes with gorgeous flora and fauna. Good luck and remember to have fun!

8 Best Navigation Apps for Hikers

Sophia Perry

Every hiker will tell you that, to have an adventure in the great outdoors, you’ll need more than just the desire to go for a hike. The modern hiking enthusiast has a wealth of technology at their disposal, so why not use it? Here are our picks for the 8 best navigation apps for hikers.

The importance of apps

Realistically, nothing can replace a compass and a traditional paper map. They never run out of batteries or glitch out when you need them the most. However, a lot can be said about the functionality and convenience of modern apps that can assist you in your travels.

Not only do smartphones have more computing power than the average user needs, but they also come equipped with a GPS, which is an enormously helpful tool for hikers. Simply put, smartphones lower the barrier of entry for beginners. However, when loaded with the right navigation apps for hikers, smartphones become an invaluable tool, which even seasoned trackers can put to good use.

Here are the 8 best navigation apps for hikers:

Woman hiker looking at phone app to help with navigation.

Ever wondered what peak is on that mountain?

1. PeakVisor

We recommend PeakVisor for those of you who are adventurous and like to make up your route as you go. If you’ve recognized yourself in that sentence, then you’ve also surely been in the situation where you have just discovered a beautiful viewpoint – only to have no idea of what is in front of you.

PeakVisor can help you identify the mountains and peaks in your vicinity. What’s best is that it can also find the hikes that take you to those peaks. You just need to make sure you are in good enough shape to make it there. Another cool feature of the app is that it can analyze pictures and then tell you about the peaks you visited in your previous travels.

2. Star Walk 2

Night owls will get a kick out of this app, as Star Walk 2 lets you map out the night sky and identify which constellations are currently above you. If you ever plan to go out and watch a comet or a meteor shower – this app can point you in the right direction. It can tell you where in the night sky you can find stars, planets, and constellations. It even includes year-round tips for what you should look out for in the night sky.

The app uses augmented reality to overlay a virtual view of space. If you have ever wanted to get into stargazing, this app is a fantastic way to start, since it can tell you precisely what you are looking at. That’s something my astronomy textbook couldn’t do.

Starry sky during a night in the woods.

The best place to look at the stars is away from the light pollution of urban areas.

3. AllTrails

AllTrails currently features 1733 different hiking trails in Ireland, so it should keep you occupied for a while. If you are the loner type who doesn’t like running into other people when you hike – you can browse trails by activity and go for the less frequented ones. Trails are also ranked by difficulty and suitability for those who plan to bring a bike, stroller, or even a wheelchair. That feature alone makes this app the perfect companion for hikers with disabilities. You can even read reviews from other users and see what their recommendations are. The app also has a lifeline feature that shares your progress with an emergency contact of your choice, because it’s always better to be safe than sorry.

4. Green tracks

When you are going off the beaten trail, you’ll want an app that functions well even without mobile data services. Unfortunately, the interface of Green tracks is a bit cumbersome and looks a little outdated, to say the least. However, if that didn’t put you off, then you are in for a treat. There is an enormous library of free offline topographic maps for you to download. You can import .gpx files and transfer them to your phone. Just be sure to test the app before hitting the road. It also features the standard live data for hikers, such as distance and elevation.

5. Google Earth

Most of the available hiking apps have 2D maps, and that’s where Google Earth stands out. Here you can choose a 3D display, which can be helpful for scouting the area you plan to trek across. Of course, there are additional features like calculating elevation and plotting out your route. There is also a nifty dice randomizer, which can select the next destination for you. Most importantly, hikers will enjoy the ability to add a hiking trail layer that can be combined with the 3D display. This allows you to superimpose your path on the realistic-looking three-dimensional terrain.

6. Gaia GPS

With Gaia GPS, you can search for nearby trails and save your favourite hikes on your phone. It features topographic maps and contour lines, so even seasoned hikers will find it useful. If you are ambitious about longer hikes that can take up the whole weekend, the app can help you find camping spots. Unfortunately, the offline maps feature requires a subscription. However, users with a connection to the net can enjoy live data while they hike, with real time speed and elevation information.

Smartphone with navigation apps for hikers on a tree stump in the forest.

Campers sometimes need help selecting the perfect spot to put up their tents; luckily, there’s an app for that!

7. is a lightweight, free-to-use smartphone app. We are including it in our list because it has a fully functional offline mode. Just download the map for the country you plan to explore, and you are set. You don’t need to worry about things like Google storing maps only for a limited time and deleting your data. Honestly, sometimes even experienced hikers can get lost, and having an offline map can be a great safety net to fall back on in situations when there is no reception.

8. Pokemon Go

You might be wondering why we have a game on our list of hiking apps, especially when there are other outdoor activities that are fun and don’t require digital assistance. After all, you choose hiking to enjoy the sights and sounds that Mother Nature has to offer. Hiking is fantastic because you get to move your body, climb that faraway mountain, and breathe fresh air while doing it. Well, the truth is: some of that stuff is hard, and it can be challenging to find the right motivation. People achieve better results when they gamify any activity. As an augmented reality app, Pokemon Go will get you off the couch and hiking in order to catch all of those rare Pokemon.

The bottom line

That was our list of the 8 best navigation apps for hikers. Now it’s up to choose the right one for you. In the end, it comes down to specific needs and personal preferences. Go ahead and download your favourites and start hiking ASAP!

5 Best Training Exercises for Hiking

written by Sophia Perry

Hiking is not just a not-so-leisurely stroll through the woods. It involves scenic routes, stunning views, and an escape from the hectic buzz of the city. However, to enjoy all these perks, you have to be in shape. You have to agree that you can’t fully appreciate the beauty around you if you struggle to catch your breath and feel worried about the journey back. Many believe that training for hiking only involves, well, going on hikes. However, that’s not all it takes. While you definitely should do that, you should introduce some exercises into your routine that can help tremendously. Therefore, to help you get in shape and relish everything that nature can give you, we have prepared the 5 best training exercises for hiking. Also, we will provide you with a quick overview of what to focus on when training to become a strong hiker.

How to train for hiking

While hikes have a lot to offer, you will hardly enjoy them if you simply wake up, throw on some hiking shoes and find the nearest trail. Unless you are highly active already, you will have to prepare for a hike. 

And the reason for that is pretty evident. Hiking trails are not flat surfaces you regularly walk on. They are uneven, there is often some elevation, and you will likely encounter some obstacles. The good news is that training exercises for hiking won’t require hours at the gym. So, here is what you will have to focus on.

  • Strength. You must strengthen the major muscles hikers use. These are your leg and core muscles. If these are strong, it will be easier to support the load you carry. And you will be able to hike for longer.
  • Endurance. Hiking can take all day. Therefore, you have to build endurance in those muscle groups you use the most: legs, core muscles, shoulders, lower back. 
  • Balance. Since you will have to navigate uneven terrain, you need a more stable base.
  • Cardio. It would be best to complement your exercise plan with a form of cardio workout. Choose an aerobic exercise you enjoy, for instance, running or cycling.
Two people hiking towards a snow-capped mountain
If you want to enjoy your hikes you have to be ready and healthy.

Important tip: Before you begin training, consult your doctor and a certified trainer. It’s imperative you ensure you are in good health. Also, if you don’t know what you are doing, you can easily get hurt performing different exercises.

Training exercises for hiking

Now that you know what your focus should be when preparing to become a hiker, here are the best exercises that will help you get there. You could soon be exploring different hiking trails around the world. And believe it or not, after seeing some places, many people have decided to move. For example, New York is a popular destination for hikers, and those who live in Brooklyn often enjoy hiking tours. Besides being one of the most beautiful, it is also a very family-friendly neighborhood. So, if you decide to make Brooklyn your home, you won’t lack activities to enjoy with your family, and you will undoubtedly have many trails to tackle.

1. Goblet squats

This exercise is essential for hikers as it helps strengthen all of your major leg muscles (quads, hamstrings, and glutes). These are also the muscles you will use the most on your hikes. 

A woman performing goblet squat

Goblet squat strengthens all your leg muscles.

How to: Take a dumbbell or kettlebell and hold it between your hands near your chest. Your feet should be hip-width apart. Stand so that you place your weight on your heels. Slowly start descending into a squat until your thighs are parallel to the floor, and your legs are bent at a 90-degree angle. Also, make sure your knees don’t bow inwards but try to keep them right above your feet. Sit back into the squat so your knees don’t go over your toes. When your thighs are parallel to the floor, start going up, pushing from your heels. Once standing fully extend your hips and squeeze your glutes. As you progress, gradually increase the weight of your dumbbell or kettlebell.

2. Downhill lunges

Lunges, in general, are an excellent exercise for hikers. It strengthens your leg muscles while improving your balance. But downhill lunges do you one better. Many hikers think that going up is the challenging part. However, the descend will actually lead to pain in your quads. Thus, downhill lunges will prepare you for this, even more strengthening your balance and core.

Two girls doing lunges, one of the best training exercises for hiking

Lunges are an excellent exercise for hikers as they strengthen leg muscles and improve balance.

How to: Find a downhill. Stand keeping your upper body upright. Relax your shoulders, back, and your chin. Step forward with your leg ensuring your core is engaged and lowering your hips until your knee is at a 90-degree angle. Again, your knee must not go over your toes. Keep them right above your ankle. As you start standing up, keep your weight in your heels and step forward with your back leg, placing it next to the other leg. Then do the same with the other leg.

3. Deadlift

The deadlift is another excellent exercise for hikers as it strengthens the hamstrings. You will use these muscles a lot on your hikes. Also, it is a complex exercise that engages many muscles. 

A woman doing a kettlebell deadlift

Another excellent training exercise for hiking is the deadlift.

How to: Start with a lighter kettlebell until you are confident in your form, then begin increasing the weight. Align your feet with your hips and hold the kettlebell with both hands between your thighs. Your spine must be in a neutral position as you hinge at the hips. Stick your bottom out a little as you bend forward, paying attention to keep your back straight. Then, slowly squat until you touch the ground with the kettlebell. On your way back up, hinge at the hips and squeeze your glutes.

4. Hanging knee raises

This exercise will strengthen your core, which will help you support your heavy hiking backpack while you overcome various obstacles. 

How to: Find a bar you can safely hang from. Keep your arms fully extended and your legs straight. Slightly roll your pelvis backward. Raise your knees until they are at a 90-degree angle with your torso, and roll your pelvis up a bit. Hold for a second and slowly lower your legs back to the initial position.

5. Any form of cardio workout

A woman stretching

Stretching is an essential part of every workout plan.

You have to develop some stamina if you don’t want to be huffing and puffing your entire way up. As we have mentioned, you can do whatever you enjoy. Speed walking, jogging, swimming, and even dancing are solid options as long as they increase your heart rate. Getting your heart rate up will build your lung capacity and improve your endurance.

Don’t forget to stretch

No workout plan is complete without stretching. Stretching is a must because it reduces the chances of injury and ensures quick recovery. At the beginning of training, do some dynamic stretching to warm up (a light jog, jumping jacks, high knees, etc.). 5-10 minutes is enough to prepare you for the strength training. Once you have finished training you should do 5-10 minutes of static stretches. Static stretching implies holding one position for some time and are suitable when your body is warmed up and flexible. It will also reduce the risk of injury, speed up recovery, and improve flexibility. So, after the workout, stretch all those big muscles you have used – quads, hamstrings, glutes, back, and core. 

Now that you know what some of the best training exercises for hiking are, you can begin preparing. If you are a beginner, you will be more than ready come spring. But if you feel confident, you can enjoy some winter hiking tours. Just make sure you take some precautions, so you stay safe.

How to Ensure Safety During a Winter Hike

written by Sophia Perry

Hiking in the winter is not for everyone – it can get cold, wet, and very slippery. But between the snow-covered treetops, frozen lakes, and the glittering sun, the views are stunning. So start looking up the best winter trails in the area now because you don’t want to miss out on spending this beautiful season in nature. However, before you put on your hiking boots and jacket, remember that hiking in the winter is most definitely not the same as hiking in the summer. Even for experienced hikers, it can be risky. That’s why you need to learn how to ensure safety during a winter hike, or your pleasant day outside can quickly turn sour.

The importance of ensuring safety during a winter hike

Every time you go on a hike, you take a risk. Typically, this risk isn’t major – you might fall and get scraped up, you’ll probably get a few insect bites, and on rare occasions, you might twist an ankle at worst. But winter weather brings different dangers.

Hiking in the winter is very different from hiking in the summer.

Cold is the obvious one. Prolonged exposure to low temperatures can affect you physically, making it harder to breathe, move, and even think clearly. This is why a wild camping adventure should be relegated to another season – spending a few nights outside in the winter is only for the most dedicated among us. Decreased visibility and difficulties with navigation are other things you need to prepare for. Even on a clear day without snowfall, it can be hard to find tracks when they are covered in snow. This can easily lead to getting lost in the wilderness. So how do you enjoy your favorite hobby and avoid these dangers at the same time?

Tips for increasing safety during a winter hike

It is perfectly possible to minimize risks and enjoy one of Ireland’s best winter hikes safely if you know how to prepare. So follow these tips:

Get an early start

You don’t get a lot of daylight in the winter, so use it wisely. Look up must-see destinations near you, so you don’t have to travel far, pack the night before, and start your hike early in the morning. No matter how weak, the sun will make it warmer while it’s out. The visibility will be better too. So don’t wait until later – when it comes to winter hiking, the early bird gets the worm every time.

Keep it short and sweet

The longer you stay outside, the more exposure you’ll experience and the higher the risk of something going wrong. So during the winter months, plan shorter hikes. How short exactly depends on your skill level. For some experienced hikers, a whole day in the mountain is not a problem, even during the colder months. But if you’re going with a less fit or less experienced group, and particularly if the group involves children, you’ll want to contain yourself to a couple of hours of outdoor activities at most. For example, kids love to do things outside, so you may want to make hiking a family affair. That’s a great idea as long as you keep in mind that children can’t regulate body temperature as well as adults. So you’ll need to stick to shorter trails during the winter as a safety precaution.

Don’t spend too much time outside when it’s cold; short hikes are safer and can be just as satisfying.

Don’t go alone

Hiking alone means not having anyone to rely on in case something does go wrong. During the winter, this can be an especially serious problem. Even a minor issue will turn into a crisis if you end up stranded on the trail without the possibility to contact anyone as the temperatures steadily drop. So it’s best to hike with others, especially if they have more experience than you. Not only will you be safer, but you’ll also have more fun!

If you insist on going alone, alert someone of your plans. Better yet, set up a check-in system where you contact them every so often to confirm everything is okay. If they don’t hear from you in a while, they can call for help in your stead.

Stay hydrated and eat well

Poor hydration and nutrition will only make your hike physically more demanding and more dangerous. So make sure to take sips of water whenever you stop and bring some nutritional snacks to eat when you get hungry. Warm drinks like tea and coffee are not a bad idea either; just remember that they are not a replacement for regular water. A water bottle is still one of the most important things to have during a hike, regardless of the season.

Dress for the occasion

One of the best ways to protect yourself from hypothermia is to wear the right shoes and clothes. You’ll want to dress in layers so you can maintain body heat and adjust your clothing in case the weather changes. Your outer layers (including footwear) should be waterproof, while the inner layers should be something that keeps warmth close to your body, like wool such as a great quality Helly Hansen Jacket or a Trespass Fleece. Depending on the difficulty of the hike, you may need snowshoes or crampons. At the very least, however, wear boots with a good grip and use trekking poles.

Proper clothes and gear will make all the difference and ensure safety during a winter hike.

Always take emergency supplies with you

Winter hikes typically require more equipment than summer ones. With all that you need to pack and strap to your back, you may be tempted to leave behind some emergency supplies. After all, what are the odds you’re going to need them? The truth is – slim. But you should still never leave emergency supplies behind when going on a winter hike. A proper first-aid kit, navigational items, and communication tools could literally save your life if something goes wrong. Thus, find the space for them in your rucksack!

Develop the necessary skills in advance

Simply having the right gear is not enough – you need to know how to use it. So before you go on a hike, test out your abilities with the tools you’re bringing along. Take your winter gear out for a spin, make sure you know how to navigate with a compass if something happens to your technology, and brush up on your first-aid using the supplies in your kit. On the off chance that something happens, being able to use your gear quickly and without thinking can make a huge difference.

Preparing for a winter hike

Preparation is vital when it comes to hiking in the winter. Not only does it ensure safety during a winter hike, but it can also make the whole experience more pleasant by eliminating stress and uncertainties. So the night before or even the morning of your hike, make sure to read up on the trail conditions, look at the weather forecast, and check that you’ve packed everything. Knowing what you’re getting yourself into is crucial; it’ll impact how you pack, how you plan, and even whether you should take the hike at all. So keep yourself safe by being well-prepared.

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The Ireland Way: My Struggle, Experience and Decision to Keep Walking

I’ve been walking the Ireland Way trail for the past few weeks and just recently passed the halfway point. It’s been a very challenging and interesting walk but mostly for reasons which I did not expect. That is to say, I expected this walk to be rather “easy” compared to my previous trips and largely focused on the places, landmarks and culture that I might encounter along the way. Instead, I’ve really struggled with anxiety and loneliness and the motivation to continue!

In this post, I would like to talk about some of these issues and my experience on the Ireland Way.

– My feelings at the beginning of the trip.

– some early thoughts/opinion on the Ireland Way.

– Highlights of the trip so far.

– My experience with hiking and camping gear.

– My struggle with anxiety and decision to continue walking the Ireland Way.

– Making videos, going viral and getting recognised on the walk.

How it Felt to Begin an Adventure After a Year of Uncertainty

The start of every adventure is filled with a mixture of nerves and excitement. But it’s a long time since I took a long distance trip and this left me feeling especially anxious up near the Giants Causeway. We’ve also endured an incredibly weird year of uncertainty and I did very little exercise or preparation for this walk. As a result, this did nothing to alleviate my growing sense of fear and anxiety.

However, even with 25lbs of weight on my back, I noticed a certain weight lift off my shoulders in those first few steps. It sounds rather silly but everything feels different on the move. I felt a great sense of purpose return as the sound of the ocean replaced the noise of a fast-moving world.

It stayed like this for the first week. I was still quite nervous about looking for suitable wild camping spots each night but the absence of stress and noise was notable with every passing day.

MSR Hubba Hubba NX 2 Person Backpacking Tent

Some Thoughts from the Halfway Point of The Ireland Way

The Ireland Way connects two long distance trails that run from the top to bottom of Ireland – the Beara Breifne Way and the Ulster Way. Most hikers walk this trail from south to north but I decided to walk in the opposite direction so that I could finish in West Cork. While it’s possible to stay in guesthouses the entire way, I couldn’t afford that option and wanted to wild camp along the way.

Although the very first section (the Causeway Coast trail) was almost entirely off-road, a very large portion of the Ulster Way consists of road. I’m used to quiet country roads since my walk around Ireland two years ago. It felt like many parts of the Ulster Way were more suited to cycling as opposed to walking. Signage on the Ulster Way is also really bad and I was delighted to have the Hiiker app for company throughout this section. That said, there were several highlights including Downhill Forest, the Sperrin Mountains and Little/Big Dog in County Fermanagh. The people were lovely at every turn and the towns were nice but many shops seemed to be closed down (COVID).

After some long road sections, the Cavan Way was an absolute delight when I crossed over from Co. Fermanagh. This was followed by an equally impressive trail, the Leitrim Way, and both of these trails were mostly off-road and extremely well signposted. I also really enjoyed the Suck Valley Way but took an alternate route across Roscommon which saw me miss the hugely popular Miners Way.

And you know what I found most challenging?

Being alone with my own thoughts for so long. But more on that in a moment.

Derek Cullen Outdoors on The Ireland Way trail.

Highlights of Walking the Ireland Way (So Far)

The stretch of coastline near the Giants Causeway is truly spectacular. I genuinely believe County Antrim is one of the most underrated counties in terms of both scenery and places of interest. Dunluce Castle is an awe-inspiring sight and sandy beaches come thick and fast all along the north coast. Downhill Forest near Castlerock feels magical and the Sperrin Mountains have a kind of rugged and lonely beauty that reminds me of parts of Mayo. The lakes near Little/Big Dog in Fermanagh were a lovely surprise and the Cavan Way is one of the most interesting trails in Ireland. In fact, for whatever reasons, the trails have been much more impressive and well-maintained over the past week which leaves me hopeful for a big finish as I near the mountains in County Cork.

About My Experience with Hiking and Camping Gear

Firstly, the MSR Hubba Hubba NX 2 is the best backpacking tent that I have ever come across. It’s extremely light and surprisingly durable/strong for such light fabric. It stood up reasonably well to a night of heavy wind and rain and there’s so much space inside – more than enough for two people.

I’ve been using the same socks (1000 Mile Socks) as my previous long distance walk but this was my first time to use a pair of Merrell Moab 2 GTX hiking shoes. I now understand why the Moab 2 GTX are one of the most popular hiking shoes in Ireland. They are very sturdy and watertight and not heavy like a boot which is one of the reasons I most often wear trail runners on my long walks. I got a very bad pinch blister in week two but this is due to my slightly deformed toes and not the shoe.

I’ve also been using an APG stove which is similar to the Jetboil and very impressed by its’ performance. Similarly, it’s my first time to use a Vango Cobra 400 sleeping bag which is extremely comfortable and packs down really small. I recommend carrying a sleep liner and a trespass Fleece for extra warmth.

My favourite accessory? My colourful Buff hat which you can buy here.

Wild Camping spots on the Ireland Way

Making Videos and Getting Recognised During My Walk

Making videos on the trail is one of the most challenging thing about the walk. I’ve been carrying power banks to keep everything charged but it takes a push to edit and upload videos after a long day of walking. Interestingly, these videos mean that I am sometimes recognised by locals. It’s always lovely to meet followers but if I’m honest, it’s also an incredibly bizarre experience and one that often leaves me feeling rather bewildered. I had a waiter buy me coffee in Dungiven and another lovely man give me £20 for lunch roadside in Derry. The thing that really strikes me about such interactions is that people will “give” something without expectation of receiving anything in return – even my time.

Going Viral on Facebook and a Wave of New Followers

I recently posted a video on Facebook that went viral. It was just a short morning update for my trip followers to tell them about a farmer that caught me camping on his land. There was no home/building/farm nearby and nobody around when I pitched the tent so I used this opportunity to ask permission. He was a lovely man and perfectly fine with the situation.

Anyway, this particular video received a lot of attention (1.5 million views) after the Facebook algorithm decided to pick it up. To be honest, there was a number of very abusive messages. However, I’m delighted with how this video brought thousands of really positive, like-minded people into my online community.

Staying positive on the Ireland Way Trail

My Struggle with Anxiety and Decision to Continue Walking the Ireland Way

I had what you might call a successful year for both personal and professional reasons. After all, this time last year, I was working at a supermarket and sweeping floors in a warehouse and now here I am back working as an adventurer. I also spent a lot of this time ignoring the news, reading about spirituality and planning for the future. With this in mind, I was expecting an enjoyable and worry-free walk along the Ireland Way and not the anxiety issues that encompassed week three of the walk.

I was feeling somewhat lonely and anxious at times but this anxiety became more and more apparent in the third week. It got to the point where I felt overwhelmed and decided to take a few days away from the walk. This worked and I felt great (back to normal) for three full days but then as soon as I returned to the road, I felt that same anxiety rising back to the surface. I could have stopped the trip at this point and it did cross my mind, but only for a day or so.

It’s been a crazy year for everyone. In my own instance, I either ignored or miscalculated how much this strange period has impacted on my mental health. In fact, I don’t believe I would have encountered these problems or come to this way of thinking without walking the Ireland Way. This journey has made me feel deeply uncomfortable at times and brought forward a range of suppressed feelings and thoughts from which I am easily distracted in my every day life.

As for why I decided to continue my walk, I believe that some of the hardest questions are best answered in the dark. Turning my back on this uncertain journey would be to ignore the very path that might reveal why I’m feeling this way and how I can make everything right again. I’m also privileged to be healthy and able-enough to take this walk – another reason to do anything in life.

Hiking on a Budget? Check Out this Gear by Rock N River

I’ve been trying out different types of gear lately and it strikes me that most of my hiking and camping gear comes from the same brands. But the best brands really do produce some of the best value gear. I personally like to stick with MSR and Vango for my tent and sleep system. I’ve also favoured Osprey backpacks down through the years and Black Diamond for my hiking poles on long distance trails. However, my recent review of Rock N River budget hiking gear has opened my mind to new affordable brands.

I know that not everyone can afford Osprey backpacks or a set of hiking poles by Black Diamond, Leki, or one of the other big names. With this in mind, I recently acquired some hiking gear from Rock N River with the intention of testing this gear out and then doing a giveaway with my followers on social media.

This post outlines my experience and some thoughts on budget hiking gear:

My Experience with the Budget Hiking Gear by Rock N River

Rock N River AirTrek 35 Backpack

I’m a little obsessed with backpacks and the comfort of Osprey bags in particular. For this reason, I was pleasantly surprised to find such impressive (and effective) padded straps and ventilated back system on the AirTrek 35 by Rock N River. If you have never experienced this type of back system, I can assure you that hiking with a backpack will never be the same.

The straps and hip belt fit snug to the body which is probably the first thing you’d hope to find with a hiking backpack. But the ventilated back system with mesh makes this an absolute joy to carry and noticeably different from carrying a standard backpack. The mesh pockets on each side are useful for water bottles and there are also two fixed loops on the back for hiking poles. With plenty of space inside and a pocket for a hydration bladder, it’s the ideal bag for day hiking at the very least.

It was my favourite item by Rock N River. Mostly because of the ventilation system, which I really didn’t expect for a hiking backpack in this price range!

Rock N River AirTrek 35

Rock N River Carbon Superlight Hiking Poles

Okay, I cannot recommend these hiking poles enough – they are amazing! But can I quickly tell you why I’m such a big fan and advocate for hiking poles in general?

It took me six weeks of recurring injuries on the Pacific Crest Trail to realise the importance and practicality of hiking poles. Until that time, I just didn’t believe they were necessary and that they looked rather silly! But every other hiker was using them (even the kids). These hikers were mostly without the kind of persistent injuries that I was incurring time after time. There were a lot of big climbs on that trail and I was naive in terms of the general strain and heavy load that comes with multi-day hikes. This strain is caused by the inevitable pounding of one’s feet on the ground, while the extra weight brings untold pressure on the body – especially the knees, feet, and ankles. Anyway, once I began using my Black Diamond poles, the injuries went away and every climb/descent was suddenly a lot easier.

But do you really need to invest so much money in hiking poles?

Carbon hiking poles are so much lighter and worth the money and I believe this is especially true with the Rock N River carbon super-light hiking poles.

I ended up losing my Black Diamond poles (don’t ask) and picked up a cheap replacement in Asia. It was to my surprise that my new/cheap hiking poles were just as good in terms of performance – albeit much heavier than my previous set of poles.

With all this in mind, I was amazed to find such an incredibly light and durable set of hiking poles as this set by Rock N River. I’m just as amazed with the cost, for this standard of hiking poles often comes with a hefty price tag. Aside from the cost, the poles are lighter than any of my previous hiking poles and with all the same features.

I was actually sorry to be giving them away on social media…lesson learned!

If you need a set of hiking poles for walking the Camino or any of the trails on our doorstep, I fully recommend picking up this wonderful set of super-light poles!

Rock N River Carbon Superlight Pole

Rock N River 2L Hydration Bladder

I began using hydration bladders on my year-long bicycle ride through Africa. They were the easiest means of carrying water and I never did like the idea of using one disposable bottle after another. But convenience and functionality is the main reason for using a hydration bladder. You can fill, filter and drink from a bladder much faster than a standard water bottle.

Fill – You can dunk a hydration bladder into a river easier than a bottle. I also find it easier to wash/clean the inside of a hydration bladder.

Filter – Some water filtration systems work better with a hydration bladder because you need to squeeze water through the system. It’s also somewhat easier for this process because you don’t need to stand it up or hold it still like you do with a bottle.

Drink – The Rock N River hydration bladder comes with an attachable tube which makes it really easy to drink at any time. I find this not only more convenient but also more practical because you never need to wait, stop or stretch anytime you wish to re-hydrate.

In short, there’s a lot to be said about using a hydration bladder for hiking, and the Rock N River model is just as good as any other model at a lesser cost.

Rock N River 2L Hydration Bladder

Rock N River 4+2 LED Head Torch

I have quite a few head torches at this stage and count this as an essential piece of hiking gear. It’s an emergency item that you should keep in your backpack at all times. They’re obviously useful for rustling through your backpack or hiking in the dark.

The Rock N River 4+2 LED Head Torch has everything you could really need and features four different modes. There is a flood and spotlight mode and then also two red-light options which you might use for reading maps after dark etc. I think this is best suited to anyone but especially young scouts or those who might be new to hiking.

Also, while I often suggest the Petzl Actik Core or Ledlenser MH5 to other hikers, I always recommend carrying a backup light like this nice little head torch by RnR!

Rock N River 4+2 LED Head Torch

Some Thoughts about Using Budget Gear for Hiking in Ireland

When I first got into hiking, I ran into several safety problems that could have been avoided. I also experienced the same persistent injuries (mostly knees/feet) on my long-distance trips and a general issue in terms of overall comfort while hiking.

For Example, I got heat exhaustion on a trip through Namibia and this was mostly due to not using a water hydration bladder. On my first long walk in Ireland, my gear was soaked through because I didn’t have a waterproof cover for my backpack. During my hike on the East Coast Trail, I used a rather old backpack that didn’t have the same kind of support or comfort that you find with modern backpacks. My lack of hiking poles on the Pacific Crest Trail almost brought an end to my entire hike.

I think it’s most important to buy gear that will keep you safe and warm. However, I am finding more and more affordable gear by brands that produce high-quality items. I found this to be true about both the camping and hiking gear by Rock N River this week and I regret having to give away some of these items which I actually need!

The Moral of the story: There’s a difference between cheap gear and budget hiking gear and Rock N River hasn’t sacrificed quality in their quest to offer such low prices.

Final Thoughts

I’m always happy to use budget hiking gear if it does the job. Now, that’s not to say I’m cheap (even though this might be true). But rather I look for value and try not to buy over-priced items that I might be able to get for less. If you are new to hiking or looking for some low-to-mid priced gear, I think you will notice and appreciate the quality and performance of this hiking gear by Rock N River. This is also an Irish brand that helps support and supply the scouts which can only be a good thing!

What to Expect and How to Prepare for Hiking the Kerry Way

The Kerry Way is one of the most popular hiking trails in Ireland that starts and ends in the busy town of Killarney. It traces a loop around the Iveragh Peninsula and features a nice mix of quiet country lanes and rugged trails through the mountains. In fact, the Kerry Way is best known for being home to some of the tallest mountains in Ireland. Its awe-inspiring peaks really do validate its nickname – “The Kingdom”.

For tourists, Kerry itself is a chance to visit idyllic towns in Ireland. But the surrounding countryside is the real jewel in the crown. The Kerry Way is well-marked with a lot of food and water re-supply points along the trail. You will also find great infrastructure for hikers and great campsites and towns to enjoy the occasional rest day.

But that’s just part of the story…

What to Expect in General on the Kerry Way?

Hiking the Kerry Way is by no means easy. This mountainous terrain is a proper physical endurance test for most hikers. It can feel rather remote in places. This is certainly true if the wind and rain shows up as you navigate the higher section of the trail. Some sections of the trail pass through open farmland, while others follow quiet roads. But, there’s little to no traffic in comparison with the main roads around Kerry.

As for water, you can source and filter water quite easily. The towns are fairly reliable for picking up food supplies. Most stages/sections involve 20km+ hiking per day. But the Kerry Way is easy to follow with regular signposts from start to finish.

What’s the Best Time of Year to Hike the Kerry Way

The summer months are always best for hiking the Kerry Way. Expect campsites and accommodation to be busier during the peak months. I don’t like to fear monger but sections of the Kerry Way would be rather dangerous during the winter months and campsites etc will be closed.

At the same time, the weather in Ireland is always unpredictable. You should always pack sufficient warm gear and rain-gear for the Kerry Way such as Helly Hansen Jackets or Trespass Clothing. I personally like to hike these trails in late May or June. There are less people on the Kerry Way and a reasonable chance of some sun!

📷 @climbersinnglencar

Where to Start and Finish the Kerry Way

The Kerry Way starts and finishes in the same town – Killarney. However, it’s recommended to hike this trail anti-clockwise as it’s easier to follow the signs in this direction. I also think it’s best to start with the section between Glencar and Killarney as it’s good for camping. Either way, it’s really easy to reach Killarney from just about anywhere in Ireland. You literally start walking from the town on day one. If driving, I recommend staying at Flesk Caravan and Campsite as it’s located near the beginning of the trail. They have great facilities and staff that give you advice of where to leave the car while you are hiking.

Wild Camping Versus Guesthouses on the Kerry Way

The Kerry Way is lined with a host of guesthouses and the occasional hotel or hostel. There are also campsites and I was really impressed by the standard on my last outing on the Kerry Way. As for wild camping, it’s quite easy to find secluded spots on many sections. The tricky part is finding a spot that’s not overly exposed. It may be necessary to hike a bit further some days in order to get down from a a mountainside and closer to a lake or sheltered area. The Climbers Inn is a handy spot to camp in the middle of nowhere. It has a small shop and lovely rooms if you’d like a shower and bed for the night.

Food and Water on the Kerry Way

I carry between two and three days food at all times on the Kerry Way. This allows for the option to wild camp each night. Otherwise, it might be necessary to hike on to the next town in order to find more supplies. Either way, you should find the towns are well stocked. It’s only really the valleys (eg. the mountainous section between Glenbeigh and Killarney) in which you might not see a proper shop for more than one day. But make sure to have a water filter in your backpack at the very least!

📷 @Climbersinn

Day-to-Day Itinerary for Hiking the Kerry Way

Killarney to Black Valley – 22km

Black Valley to Glencar – 23km

Glencar to Glenbeigh – 18km

Glenbeigh to Caherciveen – 28km

Caherciveen to Waterville – 29km

Waterville to Caherdaniel – 13km (Coastal Route)

Caherdaniel to Sneem – 18km

Sneem to Kenmare – 30km

Kenmare to Killarney – 24km

About Hiking Sections of the Kerry Way

Maybe you don’t have time to hike the Kerry Way in full? In that case, it’s still worth hiking a section or two of this amazing trail. I’ve mentioned the section between Killarney and Glenbeigh a few times already. This is because it’s my favourite part of the Kerry Way. After climbing up over Torc Waterfall, the scenery is some of the most spectacular in the country. The same can be said for Black Valley shortly afterward. Either way, it’s always possible to pick out a section or two of the Kerry Way and then take a local bus back to your starting point in Killarney.

Navigation on the Kerry Way

The Kerry Way is remote in places and climbs up around the mountains next to Carrauntoohil. This means you are hiking in the middle of the MacGillycuddy’s Reeks which is the highest mountain range in Ireland. Now, I don’t say that to dissuade anyone from hiking the Kerry Way but rather to highlight the importance of navigation and staying safe on the trail. More specifically, I’m trying to say that it’s crucial to carry the right maps on trail and use a form of GPS as backup. It’s true, the Kerry Way is well-marked but these maps and GPS will not only provide peace-of-mind but also ensure you will not end up in trouble when it comes to navigation. As always, you should do your own due-diligence on the Kerry Way. Make sure to study the maps and day-to-day itinerary before setting off on the hike.

What Gear to Pack for the Kerry Way

It’s important to pack sufficient hiking boots, warm and wet-weather gear and to know the mountains can experience all kinds of weather – even during the summer months. You will need to carry everything on your back, from your tent and sleep system to clothing, food and water. So, make sure to pack your gear with all of this in mind. I highly recommend hiking poles and believe that every hiker should carry and use them on the various climbs. But for more information on what to carry on this trek, check out this packing list for a multi-day hike in Ireland.


Pros and Cons to Hiking the Kerry Way


Incredible scenery from start to finish.

Well-marked trail at all times.

Great towns and infrastructure for rest days.

Big wide open spaces on the trail and never feels overcrowded.

Some sections are really suitable for wild camping.

Possible Cons

Busy campsites on occasion and may need to book ahead of time.

May not suit beginners due to remote and mountainous nature of terrain.

Very exposed terrain for some sections and weather can change really quickly.

Final Thoughts

I believe the Kerry Way is one of the top three hiking trails in Ireland. It offers a nice stretch for those who might have ten or more days at hand. However, while most hikers will find a comfortable hiking experience on the Kerry Way, it’s much more than a walk in the hills. You will need to prepare for all weather conditions and be ready to hike up the side of some very remote and exposed mountains. If you don’t have any wild camping experience, I suggest making a day-to-day itinerary with set distances and places to stay. That is, it might be best to reserve beds, rooms or campsites instead of having the added pressure of wild camping for the first time. I also recommend carrying more food, snacks and water than you might need.

6 Steps to Help Plan Your First Multi-Day Hike in Ireland

I took my first steps as a backpacker on the Wicklow Way. It was quite the learning curve and rather painful but interesting enough that I wanted to take another hike.

But why was it painful and what did I learn?

I had all the wrong gear and did very little research before my first couple of trips. That’s why my shoulders were ruined and my backpack was the size of a small car!

It’s true, I didn’t really enjoy my first few trips. I spent most of these hikes lamenting the weight of my backpack. Also, I was dealing with far too much uncertainty. This was the result of failing to research and plan my trip properly. As for “what did I learn”? I’d like to share some tips with you in terms of planning a multi-day hike in Ireland.

Here’s a quick overview of the points I will discuss:

– Narrowing Down Your Choice of Trail

– What to Consider About Your Intended Route

– Planning for Your Safety and Emergency

– What to Consider about Food and Water on the Trail

– What Gear to Pack for a Multi-Day Hike

– A Final Word about Wild Camping on the Trail

How to Plan Your First Multi-Day Hike in Ireland

1. Narrowing Down Your Choice of Trail

It’s important to know and think about the key parameters of your trip. The following questions should help give you an idea of what I’m talking about:

How many days can you afford?

Do you want to stay off the beaten path and camp all the way?

Are you wanting to hike between towns and stay at a bed & breakfast each night?

What’s your comfort level when it comes to wilderness or hiking in remote areas?

As you can imagine, no two trails are the same in Ireland. Some are rather remote, while others consist of some rather big climbs. Take the Bangor Trail in Mayo, for example, this trail passes through a large wilderness area.

If you live in Dublin, the Wicklow Way is an obvious choice and a great one too. For those in Cork, I’d take a look at Sheeps Head Way for a camping-only trip. The Kerry Way is another beautiful trail with lots of accommodation in between.

📷 @hiiker_

2. What to Consider About Your Intended Route

The Distance

You should know the precise distance between the starting point and endpoints of your hike. Ideally, you will also know the distance with which you are comfortable hiking every day and the amount of time/days you can afford to spend on the trail.

For instance, the Wicklow Way is 127km and many hikers take between five and seven days to complete this trail. This means you might need to hike 19km on average over seven days or 25km over five days, so good hiking boots are important. The length of each section is slightly different so you should never assume or only use averages as a guideline.

One of my great mistakes was to underestimate how much longer it takes to cover distances with a heavy backpack. Similarly, if you hike in the mountain or through boggy areas, you can expect to cover a lot less distance than a path-like trail. My general advice is to take as much time for your hike as possible. Otherwise, you might end up needing to rush in order to reach certain destinations or finish on time.

The Route

It’s worth taking a look at your maps every evening and knowing how many kilometres until the next camp/stop. But also take note of any water sources along the way and any significant climbs that lie ahead of you. While I try not to plan every last detail of my trips, it’s better to know this kind of information before setting out every morning. It saves you hours of guesswork and wasted time thinking about where you might stop or what time you’ll arrive.

3. Planning for Your Safety and Emergency

Tell Someone About Your Trip

Unfortunately, in the case of many fatal accidents and serious injuries, the hikers have failed to notify a friend or family member about their trip. It only takes a few seconds so make sure to drop someone a message. Ask them to check that you’ve “checked in” or returned safely from your hike.

First Aid Kit & Emergency Blanket

If you don’t want to buy a first aid kit, it’s easy to make one of your own. I also recommend packing an emergency/space blanket. Knowing that I have one of these in my backpack is something that brings me great peace of mind. You can use these blankets for extra insulation in very cold weather but also in times of emergency. I was grateful for my own emergency blanket one day when my sleeping bag slipped into a river. Without that blanket, I’m not sure what I would have done to keep warm that evening.

Paper Maps and Downloads for the Trail

There’s a number of apps that you can download to help with navigation on the trail. I recommend picking one but it’s also crucial to carry a paper map and compass. Just so you know, I recently wrote this post about how to use a map and compass.

Mark Down Exit Points on Your Map

Many of the waymarked trails in Ireland will take you to remote places in which you need to be careful. This means paying close attention to navigation, taking care with your footing, and keeping an eye on the weather. There’s always a possibility that you will need to get off the trail. This can happen due to injury, extreme weather or maybe even running out of food or water. Either way, it’s important to know at all times exactly where and when you can exit the trail.

Charging and Re-Charging Your Gear

I always make sure to charge my camera and phone in each town. However, you might not reach a town every day. Regardless, I believe the powerbank to be a necessity for hikers in case of emergency. My personal favourites are the 20,000amp powerbanks by either TP Link or Anker.

LifeVenture Thermal Blanket

4. What to Consider about Food and Water on the Trail

Planning for Water on the Trail

Dehydration is a common cause of illness and exhaustion on the trail. I always urge others not to use their water “sparingly” – unless necessary. In other words, you should try to carry sufficient water so that you can drink whenever you want. It’s also a risk to assume that you will find a water source on any given day or rely upon rivers, lakes, etc which might not be suitable for drinking. With this in mind, try to fill up your water bottles in towns Then make sure that you carry a water filter for stocking up on the trail. I’ve had giardiasis twice over the years – once on the Pacific Crest Trail and once on my walk around Ireland. It’s a sure way to end your trip but easily avoided if you invest in a decent water filter.

About Food Preparations on the Trail

I used to take far too much food on my backpacking trips. Although, it’s better to have too much as opposed to not enough. Needless to say, you’ll need breakfast, lunch, and dinner for each day and snacks for in between. If you are new to multi-day hiking, you’ll discover that snacks are not a luxury but rather a necessity. After all, these snacks account for the fuel your body will need to keep hiking every day!

While many hikers focus on the easiest meals to cook such as instant noodles, my own school of thought is that you should bring whatever food you enjoy the most. Now, that’s not to say you should bring frozen chips and onion rings. I’m just saying there’s no reason to suck the enjoyment out of your trip by sticking to instant noodles only. Instead, I recommend you get creative. Think about things like porridge with fresh fruit, bagels with cheese or tortillas with chili in the evening.

Here are some foods which I find work really good for long-distance hiking:





Fruit slice/cake or similar

Peanut butter

Denny veggie sausages

Cliff bars

Knorr pasta sides

It’s also worth remembering that you might want to eat in town or grab a takeaway some evenings. I love nothing more than grabbing a takeaway and heading for the hills to set up camp with my bag of chips, battered onion rings and curry sauce!

5. What Gear to Pack for a Multi-Day Hike

You need to think carefully about what gear to carry on a multi-day hike in Ireland. Weather conditions change very quickly and you should always have both warm gear and rain gear at the ready and a good pair of hiking boots. I wrote this article recently in which I outline my own packing list. 

Here’s a quick word on some of the most important items:

Backpack – Only consider a hiking-specific backpack. These backpacks are specially designed to carry heavy loads and offer a lot more comfort in terms of fit.

Tent – Strike a balance between size and weight. For a multi-day trip, I usually take my Vango Banshee Pro 200 because it’s reasonably light but also highly durable.

Jacket – Make sure to have a jacket with sufficient warmth and one that can withstand the harsh environment here in Ireland. A good rain jacket such as a Helly Hansen Jacket is ideal for wet conditions.

For more information on what to pack – click here.

Vango Banshee Pro 200

6. About Wild Camping on the Trail

You won’t have to think about this one if you plan on staying at hotels or B&B’s every night. I wrote a post recently about wild camping in Ireland which should help if you are new to camping. I don’t wish to create any fear here (I love wild camping). However, if you lack camping experience or you’re not yet comfortable with the prospect of wild camping, you might not enjoy your first multi-day hike. For this reason, I just wanted to encourage you to learn more about camping before you get out there. Maybe experiment by taking a quick overnight camping trip somewhere familiar before you start a multi-day trail.

And here’s a few encouraging things to keep in mind about wild camping:

– Wild camping is generally safe if you do research and take the right precautions.

– There are no real dangerous animals in Ireland.

– Axe murderers do not live in the mountains or forested areas.

– The absence of other campers creates solitude and this is a wonderful thing!

– Wild camping is free and will help you save money.

  • There’s nothing like falling asleep in the wild and waking up with nature.

Anyway, that’s all for now – See you on the trail!