(a 8 minute read)

Hiking by boat is a relatively unknown mode of adventure travel. Prepare for your first trip with planning advice, packing tips, and suggested locations.

Hiking By Boat

Guest Post by Matthew Young

You live for your next adventure.

You want to make the most of your time away from the office, but you don’t want to come anywhere close to signing up for anything that screams “mass tourism.”

You want to go by the way-less-traveled. You want to create your own path, let spontaneity carry you across oceans and to foreign countries and cultures that bring you to places that take your breath away.

You want to see the world, but you want to do it alternatively.

Two of my absolute favorite ways to see the world are on foot and by boat. Both of these things, your feet and the sea, take you to territories that are often untraveled and remote. The thrill of laying my eyes on something that most of the world has never seen before is exhilarating, and I want to discover all these hidden gems, precisely because not many have.

If you want to explore your historical roots and get back to nature, then there is hardly a better place to do it than beneath open skies, in nature, on the water, and with a great balance of adrenaline and peace.

Hiking By Boat

Sailing on a lake

Before getting deeper into this, we need to make our terminology clear. In sailing, hiking describes “the action of moving the crew’s body weight as far to windward as possible, in order to decrease the extent the boat leans away from the wind.”

What we are talking about in this article is hiking on land, so this is an adventure trip combo that begins with sailing followed by a hike on foot.

If you are more adventurous, you could even go camping while you’re at it!

Getting Started

Before embarking on any trip it is important to know what you are getting yourself into and a little bit about the places you are about to enter. Before setting sail or jumping on that hiking trail, consider the following:

How do you want to travel?
Will you captain your own ship, or are you more comfortable hiring someone to navigate for you? Do you want to volunteer on board and boat-hike (like hitchhiking, but on a boat) and offer your services as compensation for your room and a free ride across the waters?

Sailing Solo 
If you are hoping to sail solo, you will have to adequately prepare before embarking on your adventure. Mapping out your sailing route, learning about the tradewinds, storm patterns, favorable seasons for sailing, and much more are all part of your responsibility.

Apart from your main agenda for vacationing, sailing and hiking, there are many other side trips you can take if you are still itching for another excursion and more sightseeing, such as snorkeling and scuba diving, free-climbing, mountain biking, and whitewater rafting.

Best Sailing & Hiking Locations

Greece - an ideal destination

The world is your playground when it comes to exploring land and sea by boat and by hiking, but some places seem to be more perfectly suited for this combined adventure trip than others. Here are a few ideal international destinations for such trips:

  • Greek Islands 
  • Las Palmas de Gran Canaria to South America (Every November, hundreds of ships gather in Las Palmas Pier and prepare to cross the Atlantic when the tradewinds are favorable. This is one of the best times to boat-hike if you are hoping to catch a ride and tag along for an unpredictable adventure.)
  • Australia

Hiking by Boat Recommendations

Hiking and trekking across the trails

Travel Together
Traveling in groups is always a safer bet. More people means less responsibility for each one, and it means that if a problem arises, more minds can work to fix a situation. If you are new to traveling or are trying a new type of adventure traveling, it is important to travel with people who have more experience than you. They will be able to show you the ropes, teach you a few things, and pass on some confidence to you so that you can set out in certainty next time.

Educate Yourself.
Hiking by boat can be a fun adventure, but it is definitely challenging. You need to be prepared and educate yourself about what you are actually about to do. Consider everything from mapping out your sailing and hiking routes in great detail, to knowing how to read a nautical map, and performing basic first aid procedures. Bring a GPS and a compass, and take a crash course on celestial navigation which can be helpful for navigating when you have no tools except the wind and the ocean current to guide you.

A group of total beginners should never go on a sailing and hiking trip without preparing. Before heading out on your hiking by boat trip, inform yourself and all members of your party about all of the basic responsibilities, and create a shared, tentative agenda. Get everyone on the same page. Role play what to do in emergency situations, and talk about accident prevention techniques.

Physically, it is also necessary to prepare being setting out. Plan ahead by exercising and strengthening your body months or weeks in advance so that you are not stressing out your body with new challenges.

Safety First
You must do everything in your power to ensure your safety before and during your hiking by boat trip. Always be aware of changes in weather and know the upcoming forecast. Once you are on the water or in the woods on a remote trail, access to safety and medical resources become drastically reduced. When traveling with kids, parents should err on the side of caution and be attentive to their children at all times.

Act Responsibly
More so than mainstream travel adventures, it is important to take extra caution when setting out on an adventure travel experience. Adventure challenges require you to exercise your mind, your body, and your intuition, which means that you will always have to be on your toes.

Body Care
It is important to listen to your body. Make sure you are getting enough sleep, drinking enough water, eating well-balanced meals, stretching and taking care to not over-exert any muscle groups. Being physically healthy is one of the basic steps to a successful and enjoyable adventure trip.

Stay Connected
Having a laptop, smartphone, or tablet with an internet connection is extremely useful and can help with navigation, weather, and communication.



Hiking by boat will require a unique packing list. Some things to keep in mind:

  • Hiking? A sturdy pair of boots to support your ankles and provide traction and support are essential for your safety.
  • Clothing should be lightweight and quick-drying, like merino wool. It is essential to stay dry and warm when spending a night in the woods.
  • Sailing? Avoiding sunburn and excessive exposure to the sun’s strong rays is important. Long linen (or other lightweight material) pants and shirts are a must
  • Waterproof containers are an invaluable part of sailing.
  • Pack lightly! Space is limited on a boat, and you will carry everything you have on your back when you are hiking.
  • The same rule applies for food. Bring items that are high in nutrients and protein, like dehydrated meals and dried fruits and vegetables.

Benefits of Adventure Travel

Couples that sail together - hike together

Adventure travel activities, including hiking by boat, offer countless advantages:

  • Active travel takes you to locations most people never visit and gives you the opportunity to explore in a completely unique way.
  • It is cheaper than an all-inclusive 5-star resort.
  • Sailing combined with hiking is an ideal group holiday. It is great for couples, friends, and families.
  • There are numerous health benefits to active travel. Sailing and hiking are great and fun physical challenges that can not only help you stay in shape, but can also bring balance to the mind and body.
  • You get to meet incredible people and immerse yourself in local and cultural customs and traditions.

We Would Love to Hear From You

We enjoy dialogue with our readers, especially when they share off-the-beaten-path destinations and useful travel tips. Have you ever been on a hiking by boat adventure? If so, we would love to hear about your experience. We invite you to leave your comments and questions below, and we always respond!

Pin this Post!

Hiking By Boat-4

Helpful Links

Hiking (sailing)

Single-Handed and Solo Sailing Tips

Learning the Basics of Sailing

7 Ways to Get Fit for Hiking in Just 10 Minutes a Day

11 Ways to Stay Safe While Hiking: What Every Hiker Should Know

Real GPS Unit vs. Smartphone GPS Apps

Fitness on Toast: The Benefits of Sailing

Hiking by Boat: How to Create the Perfect Adventure 1
Matthew Young is an automotive reporter from Boston. As a freelance journalist with a passion for vehicles, Matthew writes about everything on 4 wheels, be it racecars, SUVs, vintage cars, you name it. When he is not at his desk writing he can be usually found helping his dad in the garage. You can reach Matthew at mattbeardyoung@gmail.com.