How To Get Started In Urban Exploring: A Beginner’s Guide

Exploring is a fun and rewarding hobby, but it can also be dangerous if you’re not prepared. While some people like to explore mines, caves, or abandoned buildings, the urban explorer goes into buildings that are still in use. 

Always prioritize safety and follow ethical guidelines
Research the laws and regulations in your area before exploring
Obtain permission before entering restricted or private areas
Wear appropriate gear, including sturdy shoes, a flashlight, and protective equipment
Bring a camera and capture the experience
Respect the environment and any historical or cultural significance
Be aware of potential hazards and take precautions
Have fun and enjoy the adventure!

This guide will help you get started with your own adventures.

You Will Need This Stuff!

Urban exploring is a fun hobby, but you will need to be prepared with the right gear. You’ll want to get started with a good first aid kit and flashlight for your urban exploration adventures. 

You can also find an affordable backpack at your local sporting goods store or online. A good camera like the Canon G7X Mark II is also recommended for taking photos of your exciting new surroundings!

When you’re ready to explore, make sure that you have an updated map of the city in which you live so that nothing goes wrong during your adventure!

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If you want a permit, the first thing you’ll need to do is contact your local parks department. If they don’t offer up any options, there are plenty of other places you can look: city government websites, state tourism boards, or even private companies that offer permits for urban exploring. 

Once you’ve got permission from the right people and a date set in stone, all that’s left is to bring along your gear!

The Ultimate Guide to Urban Exploring


There are a few things you should consider when budgeting for your new hobby.

Gas: If you’re going to be exploring the city, then you’ll need to drive there. Make sure you have enough gas in the tank and make sure it’s not empty before heading out. If it is, fill up! The last thing any urban explorer wants is to get stuck on an adventure without being able to get home.

Food: You’ll also want to pack some snacks or bring lunch with you so that when exploring gets intense, as it often does, there’s something tasty available for fuel (and vitamin C). A protein bar or two goes a long way when exploring urban areas because of their compact nature and high calorie count (they can go anywhere!). Plus they keep well if left out of direct sunlight or heat sources like microwaves and ovens. Don’t forget about water either—it’s important!

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Permits: Even if they aren’t required by law enforcement agencies in your area yet due to lack thereof knowledge/awareness/etcetera…you should still obtain them anyway before doing anything illegal like trespassing onto private property or breaking into abandoned buildings.”

Maps and GPS

Maps and GPS are a good idea.

GPS is especially useful if you want to find out what’s around you, since they’re often more accurate than your phone’s maps.

That said, it’s best not to rely on either of them exclusively—they’re both prone to mistakes and can be easily damaged in the field (a lot of urban exploring involves climbing over fences or crawling through tunnels). If you’re nervous about getting lost, always have a backup plan for getting home safely!

As far as finding things goes, I personally prefer maps because they give me more control over where I go and what kind of information I’m looking for. 

For example, if I’m looking for abandoned buildings within New York City limits: I’ll use Google Maps’ satellite view feature first then zoom down into street level once it gets closer.(This will also help keep track of how far away things are so we won’t get lost!)

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First Aid Kit

  • Bandages
  • Antiseptic wipes
  • Tweezers and safety pins (to remove splinters, staples, or glass)
  • Gauze pads and tape (for covering wounds)
  • Sterile gloves (for protecting your hands)

Obviously, you’re going to want a first aid kit with you when you go urban exploring. There are so many things that can happen while exploring that having the right supplies in your pack can save your life! These are just some of the basics:

Know The Rules

The first thing to know about urban exploration is that it’s not a free-for-all. There are rules and regulations you need to follow if you want to stay on the right side of the law. 

You can’t just waltz into any private property and start exploring especially if it’s a building or business. 

And even if you do find yourself in an abandoned building, there are still things that are off limits: no damaging anything or taking anything from the location (including graffiti).

Also, be respectful of those around you, whether they’re other explorers or police officers who might stop by for a visit. 

Be sure not to get reckless with your safety either; urban exploration can be incredibly dangerous even deadly when taken too far outside of your comfort zone. 

Finally, don’t let yourself become an annoyance; while most folks will appreciate your presence as part of their city’s history, others may not feel as welcoming toward someone who trespasses into their personal spaces without permission and doesn’t seem willing to leave anytime soon!

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Safety in Parks And Public Spaces

When you’re exploring public spaces, you’ll want to keep a few things in mind. First, stay on the trails. 

It’s tempting to stray off-path and explore hidden corners of parks or public lands, but doing so can damage fragile environments and cause conflicts with other park users (like hikers).

If there are no trails, avoid stepping into areas where your feet will leave noticeable footprints and if they do get left behind, try not to worry too much about it—just move quickly along your way!

Second: don’t disturb wildlife. While urban explorers are generally interested in seeing animals up close (and taking pictures), there are certain times when this can be dangerous for both humans and animals alike. 

Most obviously is when they’re nesting or caring for their young; as such it’s best practice not only during those times but also around any animals that live within cities themselves (such as squirrels doing so at city parks). 

If there’s an animal nearby that seems agitated by your presence (for example by running away), then move away from them as quickly as possible without disturbing them further; usually once enough distance has been put between yourself and the animal then they’ll calm down again.

Safety in Your Car

When you are in your car, there are a few important things to consider:

  • Never drive while tired! If you have been up all night exploring and it’s 3 AM, don’t get behind the wheel. This can be the most dangerous time to drive because you are more likely to fall asleep at the wheel.

Don’t drive when impaired by drugs or alcohol! This goes without saying since we all know how unsafe drinking and driving is, but sometimes people seem surprised that they can be just as impaired by cannabis or other drugs as they can by alcohol. 

Also keep in mind that even though something might not impair you immediately after consuming it (like cannabis), it may still affect your ability over time because of its long half-life (the amount of time it takes for half of the substance ingested to leave your body). 

For example: if someone smokes an entire joint with THC content of 10 mg per gram; smoked at midnight, then eight hours later drives—THC levels will still be above 5 ng/ml which may impair them enough so that we would recommend against driving until those levels return below 2 ng/ml. 

So don’t risk getting arrested for DUI or worse; stay away from driving under any circumstance where there is any chance your judgement could be impaired by it.

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I hope this article has given you a better idea of what it takes to get started in urban exploring. I know that a lot of people are interested in doing this, but they don’t know where to start or what all the equipment looks like. 

I hope that now you have some ideas on what kind of stuff you need and how much everything costs! So go out there and explore something today!

Further Reading

For more information on urban exploring, check out these resources:

6 Tips on How to Urbex Your City: A guide that provides tips on how to get started with urban exploring, including safety precautions, equipment essentials, and photography tips.

Urban Exploration Photography Tips: A guide that offers photography tips and techniques for urban exploring, including lighting, composition, and camera settings.

How to Urban Explore: A comprehensive guide on urban exploring that covers everything from equipment and safety to photography and ethical considerations.


What is urban exploring?

Urban exploring, also known as urbex, is the exploration of man-made structures and abandoned or off-limits locations in urban areas.

Is urban exploring legal?

Urban exploring can be illegal if you trespass on private property or violate any laws or regulations. It’s important to research the laws and regulations in your area and obtain permission before entering any restricted or private areas.

What equipment do I need for urban exploring?

Some essential equipment for urban exploring includes sturdy shoes, a flashlight or headlamp, a camera, and protective gear such as gloves and a respirator. Depending on the location and activity, additional gear may be necessary.

How can I stay safe while urban exploring?

Staying safe while urban exploring involves taking proper precautions such as researching the location, wearing appropriate gear, and being aware of potential hazards. It’s important to also respect the environment and follow ethical guidelines.

Can I take photographs while urban exploring?

Photography is often a part of urban exploring, but it’s important to be respectful of the environment and any potential legal or ethical considerations. It’s also important to consider the safety of yourself and others before taking any photographs.