a dark path into the woods

Guide to Night Hiking: Tips, and Do’s and Don’ts

Why hike at night if you can hike at daytime when the sun is still up, and there are no dangers of the darkness to get in the way of your journey? Well, who says you cannot enjoy hiking while guided by the night sky and adding to the thrill and adventure?

Hiking at night gives a different scenery, free from the sun’s scorching heat and too much sweating, and a deep connection with the outdoors. But hiking at night entails extra hiking skills, excellent night vision, and the knowledge of how to traverse the trails smoothly and safely.

a tent with a light inside, a hiker standing with a headlight and looking into the night sky

Night hiking can be your next brand-new experience!

Here are the basic tips, the Dos and Don’ts of Night Hiking

Hiking at night requires extra caution as it is more challenging and intimidating, but can also be more fun and thrilling. To make your experience more comfortable and ensure a safe night hiking, follow these basic tips.

1. Hike under a Full Moon

Check your calendar, and as much as possible, tick the date when there is a full moon to guide your night hiking. This is a beautiful way to have your first night hiking experience. The Moon’s light will help you see much more of what’s on your trail than just to depend on your headlamp.

2.  Head out for a sunset’s view

Hiking earlier before the sun sets, and catching it while it goes under the horizon is a magnificent view and a good way to motivate yourself more as you start your night hiking. You can also take photos of the sunset as proof that you have started the journey at that exact time.

3. Pick the right location

Since it will be hiking under darkness, choosing your location really matters to avoid injuries from unexpected slipping due to tricky and more rugged environment that is more demanding at night.

Hiking through dense forests needs good lighting from your lamps or headlight, and requires an excellent night vision so you can spot some nocturnal animals that show up along the way. Meanwhile, heading to a city or county park, ensure that you have checked in advance if they are open for night hiking because some are closed after dark. Choose hiking locations with open areas and reflective surfaces like light-colored rocks so that it is easier to navigate and give a great view of the sky for stargazing.

4. Start on a familiar trail

If you have been hiking for a few times already, but it would be the first time to hike at night, choose the familiar trails to so it won’t feel strange at night, and it would be easier for you to finish the hike without getting into trouble.

5. Check Weather

Besides checking the trails, it is also useful to check the weather conditions before your hiking date and during the hiking day. No matter how familiar you are with the trails, if it rains suddenly and you were unprepared, it might cause trouble or delay to you finishing the hike. Not just rain, but clouds and fog could also decrease the visibility of the surroundings and the courses.

DON’TS OF NIGHT HIKING

Don’t go solo

If you have accomplished a day hike alone, well that’s really amazing, especially from tricky and very rugged trails. Hiking at night is more demanding and intimidating, and your mind can be your own enemy when you’re out there alone.

Don’t disrupt wildlife

Be ready for wildlife by doing some research about the area where you will do your hiking. Most of the nighttime wildlife encounters are benign but make sure not to disturb them and their habitat. If you wish to take photos, be aware that some species don’t like camera flashes.

Don’t be in a hurry

In other terms-slow down! Darkness even when you’re at home really makes movement challenging, even so with familiar trail during your hike, you can never be too confident when darkness is a primary adversary in your journey. Roots of the trees and rocks can seemingly come out of nowhere to trip you up or twist an ankle. So, don’t be in a hurry, and make sure that you can safely finish the trail.

DO’S OF NIGHT HIKING

Bring all hiking essentials

Wear the appropriate hiking shoes for the type of the trail. Of course, since it will be a night hiking, bring a good headlamp like a TINMIU Rechargeable LED Headlamp Flashlight which is very convenient and flexible to use because it can be switch on and off by simply waving your hands. It is also waterproof and shock-resistant, which is very important when hiking.

Don’t forget to bring extra lights, batteries, clothing, and jackets, especially during the cold season, water, multi-tool set, a first aid kit, and an emergency kit. Also, bring a map or a compass besides using a GPS on your phone if there will be a poor connection, especially in backcountry hiking.

Keep your pack organized

It is for easy picking up things that you might need immediately, and by doing so, you can also save the batteries of your lights.

Inform someone of your itinerary

Not only for a night hiking, but also with day hikes, it is important to let someone know where exactly you are hiking, and what time will you be able to reach home, so they know when to call for rescue when you are too late than the expected time of your return from a hike.

Respect your surroundings

This includes respect and not disturbing wildlife, and being responsible with your trash, or observing trail markers and turns.