While preparing for my Jordan Trail solo hike, I found most blogs and videos lacking real, in-depth tips and experience – and even the extensive Jordan Trail Association website could use some more information in specific areas. Luckily, I got into contact with quite some other hikers – some via Instagram (read my post about that), others while telling friends and family about my plans, who would bring me into contact with others that had hiked the trail. Here are the best Jordan Trail tips I got from other hikers (also, read my full story as well as my tips and learnings).
The best Jordan Trail tips I got from other hikers – acknowledgments
The Jordan Trail will be a life-changing experience – the views will be amazing as well will the people . But do not underestimate the task ahead: the Jordan Trail is a very tough hike.
Incredible amounts of thanks to the hikers on the trail that were kind enough to share their tips.
- Leif, who was the first hiker I got into contact with on the trail. You can support him by buying one of his breathtaking prints from his website.
- Anna, who is remarkably frank and honest about the highs and lows on the trail and who makes the most amazing pictures of the Jordan Trail. Find more on her website or on her Instagram account.
- Richard who had one amazing trail experience – something that radically changed the way I approached the preparation of the Jordan Trail; I will link to his post as soon as it is live.
- And even the W hotel in Amman.
So, without further ado, here are the best Jordan Trail tips I got from other hikers:
The best Jordan Trail tips I got from other hikers – the red thread
I guess the red thread between the tips was – prepare well and do not underestimate the Jordan Trail. In the words of other hikers: “Don’t underestimate the altitude change/trail difficulty” (Leif), “One of the hardest and most rewarding adventures I have ever had.” (Anna).
On the bright side, everyone is raving about the scenery: “the scenery is absolutely spectacular, never seen anything like it, it’s stunning and will blow your mind” (Richard). And all had amazing experiences with the people on the trail: “The people are also some of the nicest people I’ve ever met, they are very genuine and very kind and compassionate. (…) I took up the invite from a Bedouin one day to sit and have tea under a juniper tree with him, he gave me a few cups, spoke a bit of broken English and even refilled my water bladder and didn’t ask for anything in exchange, was lovely experience, you’ll have plenty of those I’m sure.” (Richard)
Or, as Anna (see some of her amazing Instagram photos below) summarized it “it is absolutely worth it. One of the hardest and most rewarding adventures I have ever had, physically and mentally! My partner and I have never felt healthier or happier despite the grime, sweat, and struggle”.
The best Jordan Trail tips I got from other hikers – key challenges
- “For us, the biggest challenge so far has been the steep climbing/descending with 21kg/27kg backpacks and the large amounts of water needed. In one day of 25km (actually our maximum distance in one day), I used 5,5l of water and was still quite dehydrated at the end of the day.” (Leif)
The best Jordan Trail tips I got from other hikers – tips
Some of the best Jordan Trail tips I got from other hikers (again – thanks Anna, Leif and Richard):
The best Jordan Trail tips I got from other hikers – general
- “Learn some basic Arabic, just 20 phrases gets you a long way :)” (Leif – I created my list of Arabic words based on Leif’s tips)
The best Jordan Trail tips I got from other hikers – trail
- “Don’t underestimate the altitude change/trail difficulty – I also did the Fimmvórduhals with 20kg and for me, the climb between Wadi Malaga and Wadi Fayd was worse. Maybe because of the heat (30C+ and sun), and our 27kg backpacks, but still…” (Leif – I myself did the Fimmvörðuháls as well and saw it as an extra warning)
- “Expect to go about 20-30% slower in the sand.” (Leif)
- “Not sure how much desert hiking you’ve done before, I had only experienced the sierra nevada and even then was just some day hikes and late season so not particularly hot. The jordanian desert is an extremely harsh environment, the sun from 11am – 4pm is oppressive, when i started out at Dana on my first day at 1300m elevation, it wasn’t so bad, but then going down to sea level and descending into the Wadi, it became incredibly harsh, and then once taking off from Wadi Malaga it was really hard. Sunrise is 6am sunset is 6pm more or less, I would highly recommend being prepared to set off at first light to take advantage of the morning cool as much as possible, so rising at 5am start hiking at 6am, so even in very open places with no shade you will have a good 3-4 hours to get the bulk of the hike out of the way.” (Richard – I am planning to start hiking everyday at civil twilight)
- “Everything in the desert is super spikey, bushes, rocks, trees, everything, i got a lot of minor scrapes without even noticing so, try to avoid spikey things on hte ground” (Richard)
The best Jordan Trail tips I got from other hikers – navigation and communication
- “If you find yourself scrambling up a hill on all fours with loose rock risking to kill you, you’re off trail ;). So far, even though it’s not always easy to see, the path has never required actual climbing. We’ve done that mistake twice now …” (Leif)
- “Get Gaia GPS or equivalent + Jordan trail GPX for navigation.” (Leif – I use Gaia GPS as a backup for my Garmin 64s)
- “A satellite phone is recommended. We carry the Garmin InReach mini.” (Leif – I carry both a Personal Locator Beacon and a Garmin InReach Mini)
- “I had two phones, one of which I put a Jordanian sim card in which I picked up at the airport. There was a small Orange network stall at arrivals at the airport, I think it was about 30 dinar for a 20gb sim, and I’d highly recommend getting that.” (Richard)
The best Jordan Trail tips I got from other hikers – food and water
- “Eat at Hashem in Amman and Al Arabi in Wadi Musa :)” (Leif)
- “Bring lots of power bars/dextrose for quick boosts” (Leif – I packed at least 3 per day)
- “My recommendations would be, ensure that you have hydration / salt tablets with you, and at the first sign of weakness or dizzyness, take one. Make sure you’re consuming enough calories, (…) the Huel food system I was using provided me with about 500 calories per meal, of which i was having 4 per day, (…) So, definitely make sure you’ve got lots and lots of calories, and with this, make sure you’re replacing your electrolytes” (Richard)
- “Bring more water than you think you’ll need.” (Leif – I created a specific day water planning partly based on his tips)
- “If you’re solo hiking, as I mentioned yesterday, I’d just ensure that you have enough capacity in your weight to carry enough water, i.e possibly having to do extended hiking and ascent with over 20kg on your back, in the blistering sun.” (Richard – I carry over 9 liters of water capacity and created a separate water planning)
- The W hotel in Amman even gave me concrete tips: “Nuts (Smoked Almonds, Shelled Pistachios, Peanuts), Bread, Pasta, and Grains (Loaf of Bread, White or Wheat, Dried Pasta, Minute Rice, Instant Oatmeal, Triscuits, Animal Crackers (probably the least worst snack food)), Toppings (Peanut Butter, Jam, Honey), Fruits (Fresh Bananas, Fresh Apples, Raisins, Dried Fruit Mix), Dairy and Protein (Block Cheese, Beef Jerky).”
The best Jordan Trail tips I got from other hikers – gear
- “Bring a powerful torch (min 1000lm) – we had to descend a treacherous path in the dark and our 1300lm + 12000lm lights really helped.” (Leif)
The best Jordan Trail tips I got from other hikers – health
- “If you’re prone to ankle rolls, use a lot of sports tape to support your ankle.” (Leif)
- “The only other things I can think of are making sure you have plenty of plasters with you and some bug spray. There were a surprising amount of flies and even though they don’t bite, they were annoying. I didn’t come across any scorpions, fortunately, but that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t always check when sitting on a rock or something, as they are about.” (Richard – I packed a mosquito/fly head net and prepared for snake/scorpion bites)
The best Jordan Trail tips I got from other hikers – weather
- “There were also flash floods in the north of the country when I was there, a school bus was swept away and 18 children died. A local guide to came and visited me in the hospital when I was there said they were trying to get everyone out of the valley that day due to the potential for flooding, so that’s something to bear in mind, and keep an eye on the weather in the whole region where you are.” (Richard – I made a special post about this and I had to cut my hike short due to floods in Petra)
Looking back on the best Jordan Trail tips I got from other hikers
Every single one of the tips I got from other hikers proved valuable in hindsight (also read my tips and my full story of the trail). If you’re planning to hike the Jordan Trail (or parts of the Jordan Trail), I urge you to contact other hikers via Instagram (read my post about that), contact me and/or the Jordan Trail Organisation to get as much tips as possible.
So, again, incredible amounts of thanks to the hikers on the trail that were kind enough to share their tips.