A lonely hut in the mountains in the middle of groving meadows with small rocks in the background the dense cloud cover and a small mountain lake


Trekking tips for beginners: the call of the wild

The best tips for your perfect outdoor experience
Trekking and hiking are undergoing a true boom lately, with activities ranging from week-long, remote adventures – like the ones we’ve heard about from the Canadian friends, Hailey and Hilary – to smaller-scaled trips in Europe or hikes just outside the front door. The latter are often suitable for beginners with their easily managed and contained trails. Whether it be Scandinavia, Southern Europe or even the Alps: there are many popular destinations.

Longing for nature

Panorama of a lake with mountains at sunset

Trekking is not only an adventure, but it is also the fact of being in touch with nature that is lacking for many people living in big cities. And the mountains, lakes and hiking trails that are discovered while trekking are often particularly clean, clear and untouched. To keep things this way as long as possible – especially in times of global growth – it is popular to not only plan beautiful tour routes, but also those that are sustainable.

Runa (22) and Franz (27) did exactly this. The two sports aficionados from Jena (Germany) love being under an open sky. Both of them manage to do five or six exercise sessions per week. Franz is a rugby player and a passionate runner. Runa is a medical student, former handball player and considers almost all types of endurance sports as her hobby. It comes as no surprise that nature and fresh air are an integral part of their lives. Even when going to work, Franz likes to make a small detour through a nearby animal enclosure to put him in a good mood for his long day at the office.

Kungsleden in Sweden: finding peace of mind

In summer 2019, the two took a three-week tour over the famous “Kungsleden” (‘King’s Trail’) in northern Sweden, one of the largest and most popular hiking trails in all of Europe. At a height of about 300 to almost 1,200 meters along a 450-km stretch, this trail has a long history and offers endless open expanses, challenging stages and unspoiled nature. It passes through swamp areas, over mountain passes and through small lakes that can be crossed using the boat service or by wading through the knee-deep water.

The landscape around the Kungsleden is barren and untouched and is dotted with small mountain cabins where hikers can spend the night every 20 km along two-thirds of the route. For Runa and Franz, however, they were just points of orientation. The two only slept in their tent, either surrounded by beech trees and blueberries or on open grasslands. For the 22-year-old Runa, being ‘away from civilization’ is very relaxing. She describes the trip as being focused on the small things, like the cookie snacks or a view from the nearby hill. For Franz adds that the seldom changing yet particularly impressive natural scenery allows his mind to calm down. One of the highlights of their trip was the large, bare hilly landscapes of Barturtte and the vista from Skierffe, a mountain that is almost 1,200 meters high and looks out onto a picturesque river delta.
The pristine nature of this region has become rare in Europe. When we are mindful of our surroundings and ourselves, the pleasure is the greatest. Which is why it is all the more important to be very careful when it comes to planning and avoid, for instance, unnecessary trash.

Frau sits on a rocky lead and looks into the distance towards mountains and lakes

Trekking far from civilization: proper planning and equipment is everything

Man with a hooded jacket sits in front of a tent in a landscape in front of a blue sky

The question is: how exactly does such a tour need to be planned? What does one need to pay attention to en route? It took Franz and Runa weeks to prepare for their trip to Lapland. Maps, reports of other experiences, food, emergency plans for bad weather had all been taken care of long beforehand. Because experience has shown: anything can happen on a long trip. Being prepared for any possibility is key to ensure safety and, with that, also a relaxed tour.

However, there were a few things that the outdoor fans did not want to do without. Trekking poles, good camping mats, comfortable backpacks and warm sleeping bags are indispensable. The longer the tour, the more essential these relatively simple pieces of equipment become. You also need to have the right clothing – not too heavy, functional, sturdy. In general, the two looks for high quality and are prepared to spend more money if needed or, as with Runa’s tent, have things given to them as a birthday gift. But that is not enough for Franz. He always checks the origin and trade conditions as well, for instance, labels for organic cotton, fair trade or ‘Made in Germany’.

Trekking tips for beginners: don’t push yourself too far and stay relaxed

If the great impressions of the Swedish Kungsleden make you want more and inspire you to seek out nature, Franz and Runa offer the following trekking tips:

  • Look for short tours of three to a maximum of five days, especially at the beginning, for example, a hiking route that goes from cabin to cabin. You will not need to take as many supplies along and will have a fixed goal every day.
  • Stay close to civilization at first. That keeps provisions and help in an emergency close at hand (e.g. the German alps).
  • Look for a group that you feel comfortable with. You want to have fun together, for one, and for the other, you want to be at a similar level of performance and/or ability. As an alternative, you could also plan your first tour with people who have already made a tour or two and can show you the ropes of trekking, for instance, a mountaineering center.
  • Consider failure as part of the tour. Especially at the beginning, it’s possible to not reach a goal, to injure yourself or to reach the limits of your muscles’ performance. Even the weather can upset your plans. There’s a lot that can happen. But don’t let that make you lose your confidence, just stay relaxed.

Franz and Runa rely on the following Bauerfeind Sports products for their athletic and outdoor adventures: