The Biggest Hiking Trends For 2024

In this blog, we’ve laid out our picks of the most exciting hiking trends for 2024. These are the fruits of popular innovation and seasonal wisdom coming out in the mainstream.

New trends also means new trails and the world has seen many more adventurers venturing into the unknown. In the United States, for example, hikers are finding opportunities beyond the Appalachian Trail and Pacific Crest Trail. The Great Eastern Trail has been accepted as a quieter alternative.

The steady increase of hikers on less trodden routes will again necessitate new discoveries in the future. So, the cycle goes on and dotted map lines are being redrawn every day.

There will always be new trails to explore and interesting ways to uncover the secrets of the outdoors. Other examples include Georgia’s Transcaucasian Trail and the epic Te Araroa in New Zealand (you can snake all the way down the North and South Island).

The 650-kilometre Jordan Trail has also been enticing hikers and giving them a less in ancient history along the way. Whatever you’re looking for it’s likely you’ll be spoilt for stand-alone trails and bolt-on experiences – you don’t always have to travel to the Italian dolomites.

Outdoor hiker admires the view

What’s New? Social And Environmental Impact

One section omitted from our list is the change in gear that 2024 will bring. Smart technology is swooping in to be seamlessly integrated into your next hiking adventure. The popularity of lightweight materials continues to soar. While talk of durability still swirls within the community.

Hikers in 2024 don’t just want lightweight apparel that’s durable though – now, the clothing needs to adjust to changes in temperature. Of course, all this has to be achieved with one foot firmly planted in a more sustainable future.

Any brand that disregards sustainability is likely to be snuffed out by Patagonia and its closest competitors. Hiking gear is often made from recycled materials and those who deviate from this are now noticeable exceptions. 

So, the hiking community has transformed over time into a platform that challenges the conventions of the past. Social and environmental advocacy is commonplace.

It’s no longer enough to lace up a pair of walking boots and take on a difficult trail. Hikers are now tackling broader issues, like climate change and mental health awareness. Non-profit organisations like Trash Free Trails now lead the charge, mobilising hikers to care for their natural playgrounds.

Light packing for a hike

5. Fast Packing

Adventurers are more active than ever and fast-packing is a popular way to bring speed to the open trails. This is a significant trend that seems to be gaining even more momentum this year.

In short, the idea of fast packing owes its origins to the hybridised activity of hiking and running. Explorer who want to cover long distances are less inclined to carry oversized backpacks. So, a new style of adventure was needed to enjoy these outdoor experiences at a quicker pace.

Fast packers travel light and often carry no more than four or five kilos on their backs. This makes it easier to cover long distances, moving quickly over terrain that is often challenging.

Traditional backpackers seem suddenly sluggish next to the fast-packing ascenders, who rocket by in lightweight apparel, with a minimalist approach to the gear they carry. Fast packing is about more than the physical challenge though – it’s an entirely different way to take on the outdoors.

This idea has gained traction in 2024, favoured by those who seek swifter movement on the trails. It’s great if you’re less inclined to stop at intervals for long breaks as well. This kind of endurance allows lightweight hikers to cut loose and still get an active kick out of the wilderness.

Hikers stop to view mountains

4. Health And Nutrition

Trail nutrition is not a new trend, but the rise of high energy superfoods and plant-based options continues to gather momentum. Dehydrated and freeze-dried meals used to be as bland as prison food – a practical solution at the end of a hard day.

Now, these high energy meals (favoured for being so lightweight), are actually getting tasty and more nutritious. You no longer need to rely on a grazing bag packed with nuts and chocolate. While at the same time abandoning your dietary preferences in the interest of having an easier hike.

In the past, these meals were about stuffing nutrients into the most compact package. This year, it seems the evolution of freeze-dried meals will make chowing down after your exertions more enjoyable than ever.

At the same time, hikers are dreaming up their own recipes for high nutrient snacks and brining a little culinary prowess to their adventures.

3. Everyone’s Welcome

Again, inclusivity in hiking is a trend that we’re familiar with, but many hikers are still underrepresented in the community. There have been exciting initiatives to make trails accessible to hikers of all abilities. You don’t need to come from a particular background to embrace the outdoors.

More organisations are focusing on the simple joy of hiking, repackaging the activity as an option for all of us. You can go at your own pace and push as hard, or as little, as you like.

In 2024, we expect this trend to snowball as the benefits of a community linked by technology become more apparent. Our trails will be enriched by more unique tales. Different voices and faces are likely to become more familiar to us.

You don’t need us to tell you how important this is. Hiking has long been an inclusive activity and it’s exciting to think we all might step confidently into a more connected future.

Hiking at the golden hour

2. Rise Of The Hiking App

Hiking technology has become more sophisticated with the rise of handheld apps. The sophistication at our fingertips allows us to flick through offline maps and itineraries. We can also plan our routes around weather updates in real time.

Following on from our previous trend, online communities are set to flourish in 2024. Hikers have platforms to trade tips, stories and to build relationships as well.

It’s not all about connectivity though – apps that focus on safety are indispensable tools that the modern hiker has grown increasingly familiar with.

Elon Musk thinks we’re all turning into cyborgs. While that might sound unnerving, we can enjoy all kinds of benefits once we gain a more realistic view of the adventure ahead of us. You can even pick out your photo opportunities before you set foot on the trail!

Hiking into the mountains

1. It’s All About Preparation

Last up, we’ve picked out another trend that is gathering pace in 2024. The increased emphasis on pre-trail preparation is very apparent in the hiking community. Training routines are shared regularly and physical conditioning seems to be taken more seriously.

We’re sure you’re no stranger to workout videos that are specific to hiking. Regimes are being refined months before the trail adventure begins. Of course, this helps to avoid any unexpected injuries once you’re out there.

The growing numbers of trail runners is one example of why so much focus is being placed on preparation these days. Perhaps it’s true that many fast-moving hikers now see their routes as feats to be accomplished.

Meanwhile, shorter trails and more exertion is leading to a higher completion rate of hikes. This combines with the trend of fast packing we mentioned earlier. It also necessitates being more physically suited to high energy activities as well.

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