There are many great hiking trails through different countries, and much of the hiking is comparable to that found in the United States. With that being said however, I am not a hiker that spends time camping on the Appalachian Trail (although I do like to camp occasionally), so I am not talking about Europe-style hiking trails. I am talking about the cross-country, day-hiking type that is found in much of Europe.
The best known of these types of trails in Europe are, of course, the various loop trails through the French countryside, which myself and my family have done on numerous occasions. These trails, although most often navigated by car, have sometimes been navigated by horseback as well. Most of these types of trails are fairly flat, although there are some areas with very rough surfaces. Generally the loops are not very wide, as with the United States, and have a very gentle, flat terrain. The landscapes are very varied though, and include everything from secluded streams and lakes through to extensive woodlands, pine forests and even desert terrain.
My favorite trails are located in the French Alps- these are trails that I have navigated on numerous occasions. They are wonderful and take you through areas I have never seen before. The scenery is breathtaking especially when you’re at high elevations. These are the same trails that are found in the Alps in Europe. They are generally not well-marked, so a map is definitely recommended. It is always great to have a map when hiking, because you never know what you will run into or what you might need to be aware of.
Another favorite among my backpackers is the trail up to Perch Apple. The trail is off of the main road and winds along the side of a dried up stream. The views are jaw dropping and the hike is quite rewarding. Keep in mind that this is a very strenuous trail and has a lot of steep climbs. It is not a 100% hiking trail, but that is usually where I go to hike. I also use this trail when I go to wash clothes, as it is a bit too far away from the main road to do so.
Toilet paper is also a must when hiking. Never judge whether or not you will be able to find a roll on the ground; it is not worth getting wet and will definitely leave you wet. Bring at least two gallons depending on how long you are staying. Water is something that you want to bring very, very slowly. If you are going to be out for a longer period of time, you definitely want to bring a lot of water with you. I use a battery operated water filter because I can always filter water on the trail for the best results. Water purification tablets are great to have as well, but you can also bring some water purification tablets with you. Just make sure you know how to properly purify them.
Your snacks and fluids are extremely important as well. The best way to be satisfied is to actually try and eat well. You might be out for a very long time and not be able to have a nice meal, but doing so would be a lot tastier. Starving yourself is not a necessary method of surviving, but it would be very enjoyable to do so.
Finally, clothing is something you want to make sure you do not forget to bring. Bear in mind that you will be carrying these items on your back. Make sure you pack them in a sturdy backpack. Bring items that are lightweight, even if you are not going to be backpacking. These items also prove to be very useful in the wilderness. I always carry a pair of lightweight running shoes when I go out. Too far gone the days of hopping from place to place for camping and hiking. Now I mostly wear a pair of comfortable shoes instead.
As you can see, there are a number of things you will need to know before you go on your trip. The first thing is that you will need to determine exactly how much you will need to carry. The next thing to figure out is what type of trip you are interested in. The type of trip you are interested in will determine the type of backpack you should be considering. If you are going to be mostly on the beach, you won’t need a huge pack, but if you plan on hiking a long path, you’ll want to choose a backpack that is more rugged and durable.
If you are planning on a more lightweight backpack, you’ll want to consider the following: size, quality, expected use and comfort. When choosing your backpack, pay attention to where you are going to use it.