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Hiking at Night – A Beginner’s Guide

Thinking of attempting your first night hike? We wouldn’t blame you. Whether it’s spotting nocturnal wildlife or stargazing that interests you, there’s something magical about heading out under the light of the moon.

Walking is one of the best ways to connect with nature and enjoy a sense of freedom and wellbeing. Approaching the trails at night is sure to give you a fresh perspective on the outdoors, turning that already well-known path into a landscape filled with mystery - an experience that will likely stay with you for a long time.

We have put this short guide together to shed some light on preparing yourself for your first adventure out underneath the night’s sky.

~Know your trail

Know the trail

Hiking can become a real challenge very quickly if you’re unsure of the route. After dark, you’ll want to trek a trail that you’re familiar with. This way you’ll understand what type of terrain to expect.

Keep in mind, hiking in the darkness can make navigating over terrain more challenging. When you hit the trail, it’s a good idea to keep the pace slow, stick to the tracks and be more observant of your environment. Let your eyes naturally adjust to the darkness and force your other senses to help you along the route.

If you do plan to explore new territory in the woods or mountains, head out in daylight before embarking on a night-time adventure.

~Know your trail

Buddy up

It’s all too tempting to let your sense of wonder take the reins, but keep in mind that night hiking can be dangerous. Even if you’re the most experienced hiker, it’s a good idea to ‘buddy up’ and take a group of friends out on the trials with you.

We’ve all heard of the saying ‘two heads are better than one’, so why not share these memories with a friend and support each other along the way?

~Group hike

Climate Control

Ahhh the unpredictable Great British Weather…. When it’s forecasted to be dry, you guessed it; it’s probably raining! Be prepared, always pack for the unexpected. Before heading out into the wilderness check the local weather forecast for the area and bear in mind that weather conditions can rapidly change.

As nightfall comes, temperatures can sharply plummet. Coupled with torrential rain it could make for a long, cold night ahead. Ensure you thoroughly prepare for whatever the weather throws at you along the way.

Opt for an effective base and mid layer to keep you insulated and regulate your body’s temperature. A waterproof shell, hat and gloves, along with a dry change of clothes and emergency shelter will make sure you’re prepped for if Mother Nature decides to take a turn for the worse.

~Mapping your route

Organise essentials

We’ve all been there… we need something out of our bag and it always seems to be in a hard-to-reach place at the very bottom.

As with any hike, preparation is key. Use your rucksack’s departments for different supplies. Storing your essentials like water, torch, energy bars and emergency first aid kit in easy-to-reach sections of your rucksack will only make them easier to get your hands on when light is limited.

~Man hiking with backpack

Light it up

A torch or any other form of illumination is the most crucial piece of kit to take with you. Head torches have the added advantage of leaving your hands free and will light up whatever direction you are looking at.

Having a red light on your torch will help protect your night vision compared to that of a standard bright white setting. Don’t forget to opt for one that offers various brightness settings to switch from low to high light for reading map details and spotting trial markers along the route. Keep in mind that higher levels of brightness will mean the battery life will be shorter, so it’s a good idea to take extra batteries out with you. 

~Trekking at night

Mapping your route

Day or night, it’s always wise to let someone know that you are planning a hike and when you’re expecting to return, just in case something goes wrong. Tackle a route that is easy to navigate and take a phone with you to let your friends and family know how you are getting on along the way.

These are just some tips to bear in mind before heading out under the night’s sky. Always take the necessary precautions before embarking on any hike and remember night hiking is not the time to take risks. If it doesn’t feel right, turn around.

If you need a little boost to get out in nature, make sure to check out our range of walking gear to help you experience for yourself the majesty of hiking under the night’s sky. Enjoy exploring!

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