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These best night hiking tips are for the insomniac hikers amongst us.
You know who you are!
You're either too exhausted after a long exciting day on the trail to fall asleep, or you're a night owl by nature.
Don't stare at the ceiling of your tent or bedroom.
Go for a night hike, using these how to hike in the dark tips.
Or hike at night when you're doing some hot weather hiking and want to avoid the brutal UV rays.
The other possibility?
You're just curious about what hiking in the dark would be like.
Regardless, let's get started!
There are two big reasons why hiking in the dark is something I recommend that you try at least once:
If you have never settled onto your back and let out a huge sigh of contentment as you gazed up at the stars and moon, you've deprived yourself of something beyond description.
Perhaps you haven't realized how we are losing the dark.
This video with that exact title will open your eyes (yes, a pun).
And it's not just the night sky that is mind blowing.
It's amazing how your night vision kicks in and you can navigate without your binocular color vision.
If you enjoy a night hike with an open view of the sky with other humans, you will experience a connection that again, is beyond description.
Being in the dark together strips away a lot of barriers and separation between us, and unites us in feeling very, very small beneath the night sky.
Hiking in the dark in a group is also an excellent way to build trust and support.
Taking a hike at night is not recommended if you're a beginning hiker.
You need to find your trail rhythm first:
Tip: Think you're ready?
Find a full moon hike sponsored by a local park, to get a taste of what night hiking is like.
If you've been at this hiking thing for a while and feel comfortable on the trail, give these night hiking tips a try.
Select a well known trail with no hazards.
You want to focus on the night sky, not boulders or water crossings.
If you can travel, go to the darkest spots on the map.
Dress in layers and be prepared for moisture (dew) and cold to settle into your bones.
Establish, and then don't ruin, your night vision.
Use your peripheral vision, rather than looking at something straight on.
Don't rely upon your normal depth perception.
Make a little noise!
Avoid panic when Big Foot shows up.
Humans used to sleep under open skies, enjoying the dark inky blackness filled with twinkling lights.
Now that we're safely boxed up and have light at our disposal 24/7, we've forgotten what it's like to hike in the dark.
Night hiking can open up a deep understanding of your place in the universe, or at least teach you a new way of relating to a hiking trail.
Use these best night hiking tips to dip your toe into the fantastic world of hiking in the dark.
Happy Dark Night Skies!
If you have photos of your night hikes, or great night hiking tips, please share them here!
Best Night Hiking Tips