When we talk about tactical hiking, it’s all about mindset and purpose. Hiking is a fun activity that presents you with a variety of challenges. It just so happens that these challenges involve outdoor survival, orienteering, resource management and physical endurance—all of which you need to develop in practicing a tactical lifestyle.
What Is Tactical Hiking?
Tactical hiking is not exactly any different from the popular hobby of hiking. We call it tactical because you do it with a specific purpose in mind: to train your tactical skills, and maintain those skills through regular outdoor workouts.
While there are other ways to train such skills, hiking has the advantage of being healthy and fun. That’s a great reason to get into it. You’re building yourself up physically and cognitively. You get to enjoy outdoor adventure and the wonders of nature. Hiking also provides mental health benefits. It can be a form of therapy.
Being Part of the Hiking Community
While you can go hiking on your own, we suggest that you connect with groups that are into the hobby. That will make it possible for you to experience teamwork, another skill that you need to develop. Most tactical operatives belong to a team, after all, and have to learn communication, collaboration, task division and group coordination. Joining a hiking community will open up great opportunities for you to work on these skills.
The tactical and adventure hiking hobbies tend to intersect, and you may find others in the outdoor community who share your interests. You can also try speaking to people about your tactical lifestyle. It’s highly likely that some hiking fans will be convinced to get into tactical training.
How to Find Tactical Hiking Groups
You can find hiking groups in your town. Try going to an outdoor adventure store and asking about hiking clubs. Someone is sure to help you connect with a local group!
You can also ask about outdoor community forums and websites to check out. The store’s staff are sure to know one or two. Or you can ask people you know who have hiking experience.
Many hiking clubs have a social media presence. Try searching for groups on Facebook, Meetup and other popular online platforms. You may be able to find tactical hiking groups to join on these social sites.
Essential Gear for Tactical Hiking
The 14erTactical Resources Blog has helpful articles on hiking for beginners, including:
- How to Pack a Tactical Backpack for Hiking
- Can Tactical Gear Improve My Camping Experience?
- A Guide to Hiking in the Rain and Tactical Gear Essentials
- How to Pack a Tactical Gear Bag for an Outdoor Workout
Let’s have a quick overview of what tactical gear you should prepare for your outdoor adventure. First off, be sure to equip yourself with a durable tactical backpack. You’ll need a reliable pack in which to carry all the outdoor essentials. And of course, you’ll want to use a backpack designed with tactical thinking in mind.
Other hiking essentials include outdoor clothing, shelter (a tent and sleeping bag), water, food, navigation tools, communications, and items for personal protection (such as sunscreen, insect repellent, sunglasses, hat, etc.). For the sake of tactical preparedness, you should also bring an Individual First Aid Kit that you can deploy in an emergency.
Being New to the Outdoor Community
If you are a beginner to the adventure hiking hobby, then we advise you to do research on the skills and equipment you will need. Here are a few pointers to get you started.
After choosing a good backpack, the next step is picking out the right clothing for you. Hiking boots are important and should be chosen for fit, comfort, traction, durability and resistance to outdoor conditions. Ideally, your backpack, boots and outerwear should be water resistant and tough—capable of standing up to punctures and rough handling.
Choose clothes designed for outdoor endurance activities. You’ll want to get several tops, to enable layering in case you need it. An ideal top provides comfort and allows moisture wicking, so that you aren’t bothered by dampness after perspiring. A jacket is essential. Pack it near the top so that you can easily draw it from your bag.
Hiking for Beginners: Our Best Tips
Tactical hiking demands physical endurance. You need to get in shape by walking regularly. Climbing stairs will help you develop the stamina to manage outdoor treks, which can last for hours.
Use trekking poles or even a simple hiking stick—you can pick one up on the trail. Find a sturdy length of wood, cut it into shape with a knife if you need to, and you’ve got a solid hiking aid.
Do your research before going on a hike. You’ll want to know how long the trek will take, what kind of terrain you will cover, and how challenging the trail will be. If you are a beginner, make sure to take on a challenge that you can safely handle. Find out the expected weather conditions you’ll be encountering on the day of the hike. You’ll want to be as well prepared as possible.
Hiking Community Etiquette
If you’re hiking with a group, you should know the etiquette expected of you as an outdoor adventurer. Don’t mess up—you don’t want to give tactical hiking a bad name!
Attitude is everything. High morale can get you through the tough physical challenge of a nature trek. One good way to maintain morale is through a sense of humor. Slap a bunch of funny morale patches on your pack—they’ll get you smiling when you need it!
“Leave no trace” is a mantra held by adventure hiking and tactical fans alike. Take it to heart. It’s a tactically smart move, and it’s vital to maintaining the beauty of our natural surroundings. Don’t dump trash in the environment. Be sure to bag it up and dispose of it properly somewhere else.
Good luck on your next hiking adventure! We hope you’ll find a good outdoor community to join. Get out there and build up those tactical hiking skills!