Hiking is a hobby that has bewitched the masses, but it’s only a select few that will hike during the evening. Nocturnal exploration is an incredible experience, and an opportunity to see nature and wildlife in a new light (literally) and to challenge your abilities without the comforts of a full day ahead of you. Beyond this magic, there are some serious implications if you are not prepared for some an expedition, so we have discussed some tips and considerations in this guide to nocturnal exploration to make sure you get the most out of your hike.
Acquire a reliable torch(es)
Your light source is going to be your lifeline out there hiking in the dark, and so you don’t want to buy a cheap one that is going to let you down when you need it most. LED Torches in Australia are the preferred option for savvy hikers, and this is for a number of reasons. LED torches actually shine brighter and have greater longevity, ultimately making them more cost-effective than the older style torches on the market. LED light uses an incandescent light and technology, and is more hard-wearing than other torches, making them shockproof. This is, of course, critical when hiking, as it’s a physical exercise and anything can happen and you want a torch to handle the bumps and stumbles that are inevitable at night.
Plan and research your route almost incessantly
When the sun sets, you won’t have the luxury of exploring an alternative route if it takes your fantasy. Instead, you should be meticulously planning your route and setting some mental signposts so that you can stay on course, whatever happens out there. Knowing your route inside out will allow you to take in some of the incredible nighttime hiking views, and have you interacting with your surroundings and watching the wildlife. Otherwise, you will keep your eyes on the map and won’t have the confidence to take a look around. As a rule of thumb, you should have a digital and paper-based map and keep them securely safe until you need to familiarise yourself with them.
Carefully select your outwear
A hiker has a number of outfits and clothing articles that serve different functions – keeping you warm, keeping you cool, keeping you agile and keeping you protected. For nighttime hiking, you are exposed to temperature drops as well as insect life awakening as it gets darker. You want to choose hiking outwear that is going to be thick enough to provide warmth and protection, but don’t compromise on weight as you still need to be active throughout the hike. Hoods and neck protection are another priority, and if you are doing this hike with friends, try and choose different colours from one another so that you are visible. You should also do a dry run of your hiking wear during a day hike to gauge whether it will be suitable.
There are a number of reasons why you hike, and photography is a real driver for some. Nocturnal photography elicits some of the greatest shots, with the sky acting as the ultimate canvas with no lights around to take away from the stars and activity happening in the sky. You don’t have to have a lot of kit to achieve great photos, but you do need the night time photography essentials. If you are headed to an area that has occasional showers, keep this in mind as your equipment might not be able to function in the wet.
Nocturnal exploration is one of the most exciting expeditions you can plan, and there is so much to see in whatever city or country you live in. Above all else, you should be safe and measured in what you do as the risks can multiply when you are on your own and in the dark.