OST hiking refers to hiking on the Outward Bound Study Trail (OST) in Singapore. The OST is a 36 km long trail that passes through the Central Catchment Nature Reserve and MacRitchie Reservoir Park. It was developed in the 1990s by the Outward Bound Singapore organization as part of their outdoor education programs.
OST hiking provides an opportunity to challenge oneself physically, learn about nature, and appreciate Singapore’s green spaces. The trail caters to both novice and experienced hikers looking for a half day or full day hike close to urban areas.
What is OST Hiking?
OST hiking refers to hiking on the Outward Bound Study Trail (OST) in Singapore. The OST is a 36 km trail that passes through the Central Catchment Nature Reserve and MacRitchie Reservoir Park. It was developed in the 1990s by the Outward Bound Singapore organization to support their outdoor education programs. The trail allows hikers to experience Singapore’s tropical rainforests, diverse wildlife, and scenic landscapes.
Key highlights along the OST include the TreeTop Walk suspension bridge, MacRitchie Reservoir vista points, and historic Jelutong Tower. OST hiking provides an opportunity to escape the city, challenge oneself physically, learn about nature, and appreciate Singapore’s green spaces. The trail is suitable for novice and experienced hikers looking for a full or half day hike close to the city.
OST Hiking Gear
- Hiking shoes or boots with good ankle support and traction are recommended for OST trails. The terrain can be uneven and slippery when wet. Waterproof shoes may be preferable during rainy season.
- Lightweight, breathable clothes are ideal. Bring extra layers like a jacket in case the weather gets cool.
- Wear clothing that dries quickly if it gets wet. Avoid cotton.
- Long pants help protect against insects and abrasions.
- Bring a lightweight backpack (20-30L capacity) to carry essentials.
- Waterproof cover or pack liner is useful in case of rain.
- Carry 2-3 liters of water, more if hiking in hot weather. Hydration bladder systems allow frequent sipping.
- Electrolyte tablets can replenish salts lost from sweating.
- Pack high energy snacks like nuts, dried fruit, energy bars.
- Consider ready-to-eat meals that just require hot water.
- Whistle, headlamp, power bank, first aid kit.
- Trekking poles provide stability on steep/slippery sections.
- OST trail map. Some trails are not well marked.
- Compass and GPS device/app if route finding skills are limited.
OST Hiking and Outdoors Legit
OST Hiking and Outdoors Legit is a hiking group based in Singapore that organizes guided hikes on the Outward Bound Study Trail (OST). The group was founded in 2018 by outdoor enthusiasts aiming to promote appreciation for Singapore’s natural spaces through hiking.
The core activities of OST Hiking and Outdoors Legit include:
- Organizing weekly group hikes on the 36km OST loop trail. Hikes range from 3 hours to full day.
- Providing trained hike guides to lead groups safely through the OST trails. Guides share insights into flora, fauna and history.
- Curating themed hikes like bird watching, night hikes and photography hikes to cater to diverse interests.
- Collaborating with partners like NParks and OUTWARD Bound Singapore for specialized hikes and navigation workshops.
- Maintaining a community of hiking enthusiasts through social media groups and post-hike gatherings.
OST Hiking and Outdoors Legit aims to promote healthy living and connect people with nature through OST hiking experiences suited for all levels.
The Benefits of OST Hiking
Hitting the trail provides far more advantages than just scenic views and fresh air. Studies show hiking can improve cardiovascular health, build muscle strength, and boost bone density. Walking uphill engages the lower body, leading to toned legs and a lifted bottom. Trekking poles get the upper body involved too for a whole-body workout. The heart rate rises during aerobic exercise to improve heart health over time. Blood circulation increases while lungs become more efficient at delivering oxygen throughout the body.
Mentally, being among greenery and away from urban noise reduces stress hormones. Natural scenery elicits positive emotions to lift mood and relieve anxiety. A study in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found a walk outdoors boosted vitality and enthusiasm more than indoor physical activity. With life’s distractions left behind, hikers can fully immerse themselves in the present moment. Companionship with others fosters social bonds and support. Solo hikes allow quiet introspection. Both provide opportunities for self-growth.
Gearing Up for the Outdoors
Having proper hiking gear and supplies can make or break your outdoor experience. Use the checklist below as a guide when preparing for a day hike:
- Sturdy, broken-in hiking boots with ankle support and good traction. Waterproof models for wet terrain.
- Breathable socks (wool or synthetic, not cotton) to wick moisture.
- Quick-dry hiking pants and shirts to avoid chafing. Choose bright colors for visibility.
- Weather-appropriate layers like windproof jackets and fleece.
- Hat for sun protection and warmth.
- Sunglasses to shield eyes.
- Trekking poles for stability and to absorb impact.
- Day pack to carry supplies. Look for chest and hip straps for comfort.
- Water (at least 1 liter) and high-energy trail snacks.
- First aid kit with bandages, gauze, OTC medications, etc.
- Mirror or whistle for emergencies.
- Headlamp if hiking at dawn, dusk or dark.
- Insect repellent, sunscreen, knife, fire starter, toilet paper.
Proper footwear, clothing, and hydration/nutrition will let you hike further in comfort. Don’t overpack the backpack; heavy loads strain the body. Layering and multi-purpose items streamline your kit. With the right preparation, you can focus on the splendors of the outdoors!
Why Leave The House?
There are many great reasons to get outside and go hiking! Firstly, hiking is a great form of exercise. It works your whole body – legs, glutes, core, and more. The variation in terrain also adds a balance challenge. Hiking hills and mountains really gets your heart pumping too. Plus, being out in nature provides vitamin D from the sun, which is great for health.
Mentally, hiking is calming and stress-relieving. Getting away from the busyness of regular life and technology allows your mind to recharge. There is also a sense of accomplishment from completing a hike. The natural scenery is beautiful to appreciate as well.
Socially, hiking is a fun activity to do with friends and family. Enjoying the outdoors together and having meaningful conversations really bonds people. Joining a hiking group is also a great way to meet new people who share common interests.
Hiking allows you to explore and discover new places you wouldn’t see otherwise. It takes you away from man-made elements to experience nature in its raw, unfiltered form. Each hike is a new adventure waiting to happen.
OST Hiking Safely
While the health benefits of hiking are plentiful, exercise carries some risk. Proper precautions minimize the chance of injury on the trail.
- Research your route ahead of time. Know the distance, elevation gain, terrain and estimated time. Pick trails within your fitness level and experience.
- Check weather forecast and pack accordingly. Avoid hiking during electrical storms.
- Tell someone your exact route and expected return time.
- Stay on marked trails. Follow signs and stay on designated paths.
- Hike with a companion. Groups of 3 or more are safest.
- Bring a map, compass, GPS device and/or trail app to avoid getting lost.
- Walk at a pace that isn’t too taxing. Take regular breaks to rest and refuel.
- Stay hydrated! Drink plenty of water before, during and after your hike.
- Watch your footing. Wear appropriate footwear and use trekking poles for stability.
- Be bear and mountain lion aware. Make noise in wooded areas, keep dogs leashed.
With the right preparations, hiking can be enjoyed safely. Always listen to your body and don’t push beyond your limits. Avoid traveling in the dark when possible. Staying alert and hiking within your abilities will keep you safe on the trails.
What Gear Do You Need for Off-Track OST Hiking?
Here is an overview of some important gear to have when going off-trail hiking:
Navigation – Topographic/trail map and compass at minimum, GPS device preferable for more accurate positioning when off-trail. Knowing your route is essential.
Footwear – Sturdy and ankle-supporting hiking boots with good traction. The terrain will be uneven and ungroomed when off-trail.
Pack – Daypack with enough capacity to carry extra layers, food, water, first aid, and more. Water-resistance is ideal.
Clothing – Breathable and moisture-wicking clothes. Bring extra insulation like a jacket. Avoid cotton.
Illumination – Headlamp or flashlight even for day hikes in case you get caught out at night.
First Aid – Mini first aid kit with bandages, gauze, tape, medications, insect repellent.
Multi-tool – Useful for minor gear repairs,removing obstacles, cutting bandages.
Fire starter – Waterproof matches, lighter, fire starter block in case you need an emergency heat source.
Shelter – Emergency blanket or tarp in case you cannot make it back by nightfall.
Food and Water – More than enough for the duration of your hike. Water filtration or purifiers are useful.
Signaling – Whistle to signal for help if injured. Satellite communication device if in remote areas.
The exact gear brought should be tailored to the specific off-trail hike and conditions expected. But having the essential navigation, safety, and survival items is key when leaving maintained trails.
Choosing a OST Hiking Trail
From rocky ridges with panoramic views to lush green forests next to waterfalls, hiking trails showcase nature’s splendor. With over 150,000 miles of trails across America alone, how does one choose? Consider the following to find your perfect route.
Trails are graded like ski runs according to relative challenge:
- Green Circle or Easy. Relatively flat and short (under 2 miles). Ideal for families and beginners.
- Blue Square or Moderate. Some incline and between 2 to 5 miles long. Previous hiking experience recommended.
- Black Diamond or Difficult. Steep grades, uneven terrain and extended distance (5+ miles). For experienced hikers in good shape.
- Double Black Diamond or Very Difficult. Near vertical ascents, demanding conditions. For expert hikers only.
Consult trail guides or park websites for ratings. Assess your skill level and fitness honestly. Don’t bite off more than you can chew. Build up gradually to greater challenges.
Distance & Elevation Gain
The trail’s distance and cumulative elevation gain indicate how strenuous it will feel. Long trails or big climbs require more endurance. Check stats before choosing a hike. A fitness tracker can display elevation in real-time. Remember that going downhill can impact joints. Plan trail options suitable for your abilities.
Do you prefer coastlines, canyons, mountains or marshes? Seek out landscapes that energize your spirit. Those with national or state park status offer pristine environments. Research visually stunning vistas along your route. Popular hikes may require early starts to beat crowds. lesser-known trails provide solitude. Decide what environment and ambience will enhance your hike.
Factor in how far the trail is from your home, and what drive time or transit is required. Look for hikes within a region, or plan a trip to access premier parks like Yosemite or Acadia. If traveling, research accommodation options nearby. For day hikes, arrive early to secure parking. Some trailheads require entry fees or prearranged shuttles. Consider accessibility when picking hikes.
With an abundance of trail options, select hikes based on your ability, desired challenge and natural scenery. Consult guidebooks like Lonely Planet’s Best Hikes and Trails series for suggested routes. Online resources like AllTrails also showcase popular hiking paths worldwide.
Top OST Hiking Trails in the United States
From the soaring peaks of the Rockies to the lush valleys of Appalachia, America is filled with scenic trails. Here are 10 of the top hiking destinations across the U.S. to add to your bucket list:
The Grand Canyon, Arizona
This natural wonder has steep trails descending over a mile down colorful stratified rock. High clearance required.
Yosemite Valley, California
Waterfalls, granite domes and alpine scenery abound on trails of varying difficulty. Permits required for overnight trips.
Zion National Park, Utah
With towering sandstone cliffs, hanging valleys and narrow canyons, Zion offers awe-inspiring beauty. Shuttle required on some routes.
Mount Katahdin, Maine
The endpoint of the Appalachian Trail culminates with rugged terrain and panoramic views from Baxter Peak.
Franconia Ridge, New Hampshire
A strenuous climb over rugged mountains and across narrow ridges. Spectacular above-treeline scenery.
Angels Landing, Utah
Ascend this exposed, narrow rock fin via chains to breathtaking views of Zion Canyon far below. Not for the faint of heart!
Kalalau Trail, Hawaii
Spectacular coastal views along the rugged Na Pali coastline. Requires permits for overnight camping.
Glacier National Park, Montana
Ramble through alpine meadows, by glacial lakes and below towering peaks. Watch for bear and mountain goat sightings!
Great Smoky Mountains, North Carolina/Tennessee
Meander through old-growth forest with lush flora and fauna. Abundant waterfall hikes.
Lost Coast Trail, California
Backpack along wild Pacific coastline, crossing beautiful beaches and headlands. Permits required, tide schedules essential.
From day hikes to week-long treks, these trails showcase the USA’s scenic diversity. Consult guidebooks or park sites to select the right route for your ability and interests.
OST Hiking with Kids
Hiking with younger children opens their eyes to nature’s wonders. Starting kids early also fosters a lifelong love of the outdoors. Keep these tips in mind for a successful family hike:
- Choose kid-friendly trails that are relatively short, flat and loop back to the trailhead. Out-and-backs can seem endless.
- Let children set the pace. Make frequent stops to rest, explore or play games.
- Bring nutritious kid-approved snacks and lots of water. Time walks near mealtimes.
- Have kids wear broken-in shoes and moisture-wicking socks to prevent blisters.
- Use hiking sticks, scavenger hunts or nature bingo to make the walk engaging.
- Take binoculars for animal spotting. Let kids carry and use gear to feel involved.
- Always pack extra layers, rain gear, first aid supplies and emergency communications.
- Teach leave no trace ethics and have kids help pick up litter.
- Celebrate accomplishments! Cheer finishing the hike and achieving viewpoints.
With reasonable expectations and preparation, hiking with children creates priceless memories. Nurture their curiosity and developing powers of observation. Foster their confidence tackling new challenges. The experiences will enrich their young lives.
OST Hiking Gear Guide
Hiking gear improves comfort, safety and enjoyment on the trail. Invest in quality products suited for your needs.
The right hiking boots provide traction, stability and impact absorption. Look for waterproof leather/nylon construction, ankle support and stiff midsoles. Light hikers or trail runners suffice for easy to moderate day hikes. Backpacking requires heavy-duty boots. Break in before tackling long treks to prevent blisters. Replace worn out boots.
Adjustable poles transfer work to the upper body to spare the knees on descents. They improve stability on rough terrain. Get collapsible poles; choose shock-absorbing tips suited for surface. Use wrist straps. Adjust pole length for upright posture.
Day packs should have hip and chest straps for comfort and pockets to organize gear. Look for ventilation and rain covers. For backpacking, choose an internal frame pack sized appropriately for your torso length and load. Take basics like food, stove, tent and a sleeping bag.
Opt for moisture-wicking and quick-dry fabrics. Use zip-off leg panels for versatility. Pack synthetic or merino wool base layers for insulation. Outer shells and waterproof jackets shield from wind and rain. Have insulation like fleece and down.
Carry topographic maps and a compass. Learn routefinding skills. Bring a handheld GPS device for longer trips. Smartphone apps like Gaia GPS facilitate navigation. Have a portable power bank and emergency communicator. Know how to use them.
Choose gear that enables you to hike comfortably and safely. Research product reviews and ask outdoor experts for advice. Field test gear before relying on it for remote hikes. Invest in equipment suited for your specific hiking needs.
Hiking Etiquette and Ethics
To maintain access to natural areas, preserve their beauty and show respect for other users, please follow hiking etiquette:
- Stay on marked trails to avoid trampling vegetation and causing erosion. Walk through muddy spots to widen treads rather than widening trails.
- Leave no trace. Pack out all trash and belongings. Avoid loud noises and behaviors that intrude on the experience of others.
- Keep dogs leashed, pick up all pet waste, and control excessive barking.
- Let faster groups pass. Alert others before you pass them.
- Respect wildlife and plants. Observe from a distance. Never feed or follow animals. Leave only footprints.
- Give horses and pack animals the right of way. Stand on downhill side and move off trail as far as possible.
- Be considerate when passing through gates, over streams, and in other tight spots. Communication is key.
- Know regulations about campfires, trail use, and other rules. Always follow posted signs.
- Be prepared with proper gear and knowledge of the area. Don’t rely on others to bail you out.
Hikers depend on others acting responsibly to preserve our right to enjoy nature. Tread lightly and leave every place better than you found it. Lead by example. Your actions make a difference.
How Do You Pick the Best Trail for Your OST Hike?
Here is the information formatted in a table:
|Length and Duration
|– Consider how long you want to hike – a few hours, half day, full day?
– Pick an OST trail section that matches your preferred duration and fitness level.
– Check trail length – OST ranges from 3km to 36km routes.
|– Choose easier trails if new to hiking, look for intermediate or advanced once your fitness improves.
– Check elevation gain – some trails have more ascents/descents than others.
– Avoid rocky or slippery sections if you have mobility concerns.
|Scenery and Landmarks
|– OST has coastal, reservoir, and inland forest areas to hike through.
– Pick trails with scenery or landmarks that interest you most.
– Research viewpoints and rest stops along the route.
|– Consider how to get to/from the OST trail head via public transport.
– Some trail heads have more amenities like toilets and parking.
– Avoid closed trails or reserve permits if required.
|– Match distance and difficulty to your current fitness and experience.
– Start with shorter and easier OST sections to build up over time.
– Check if there are alternate bail out points along the trail if needed.
|– Pick a day with favorable weather – cool and dry ideal.
– Monitor forecast for storms, heavy rain or hot sun.
– Avoid sections prone to flooding if heavy rain expected.
How can I start hiking if I’ve never done it before?
Start with short easy trails close to home. Bring comfortable shoes and water. Work your way up to moderate hikes under 5 miles. Join group hikes for camaraderie. Take classes if desired. Build skills gradually.
Do I need to be in good shape to hike?
You can begin hiking at any fitness level. Just match trail difficulty to your current abilities. Hiking improves fitness when done regularly. Listen to your body and don’t overexert. Take breaks often and work your way up.
What should I eat before a full day hike?
Fuel up with easy to digest carbs, protein and healthy fats. Good choices are oatmeal, eggs, whole grain toast, nut butter, fruit, yogurt. Hydrate well the day before. Avoid heavy greasy foods.
How do I avoid sore feet and blisters when OST hiking?
Wear broken-in hiking boots that fit well with thick padded socks. Use moleskin or second-skin bandages over hot spots. Lubricate rubbing areas. Take boots off during long breaks. Bring extra socks. Keep toenails trimmed.
Why are trekking poles useful?
Trekking poles absorb impact, reducing strain on knees and hips, especially downhill. They improve stability on rough terrain and aid endurance by involving the upper body. Adjustable poles work for all heights. They collapse to stow away when not needed.
What should I do if the trail is closed or conditions are more hazardous than expected?
If a trail is closed, flooded, washed out etc., respect closures. They are for your safety. Choose alternative routes or return another day if conditions exceed your abilities. Don’t take risks. Your safety comes first.
The great outdoors is an extraordinary place that offers countless adventures. With myriad benefits to body and mind, hiking provides a journey into nature that rejuvenates the spirit. From coastlines to canyons, easy rambles to challenging climbs, there are trails suited to every interest and ability. With proper preparation, respect for the environment, and awareness of your limits, a world of discovery awaits. May your hiking journeys take you to breathtaking vistas, expand your horizons and deepen your connection with our beautiful planet. The next trail adventure lies ahead – seize the day!