It’s natural that hiking mistakes are made at one point or another in anyone’s life, whether they’re new to hiking or have been hitting the trails for years. What’s important to remember though, is that while some hiking mistakes are good learning experiences and quite minor, others can have serious, even fatal consequences. Here are the top 10 hiking mistakes commonly made that you should never make yourself.
1. Buying Cheap EquipmentIf you’re preparing for a long, multi-day hike, you should not be buying your gear at a cheap retailer. You don’t need all the state of the art equipment, but you should be using gear that is tried and true and you know will hold up on the trail. Do some research and speak to the experts at your local outdoors equipment store.
2. Not Packing Properly
You don’t want to find yourself packing too much and having to carry way too much unnecessary weight on your back. At the same time, you don’t need to be ultra-light and risk running out of food, water, or warm clothing. Think about what you really need and do some short practice hikes with that weight on your back.
3. Not Testing Your Gear
As mentioned in the previous point, you want to test your gear on shorter hikes before taking it on a long, multi-day hike. If you’re completely new to hiking, practice setting up your tent, starting your stove, and packing your bag the right way. Most importantly, break in your hiking boots by wearing them around the house for a few weeks.
4. Not Leaving Your Site How You Found ItGregory Yang, a lifestyle writer at Paper Fellows and Australian Help, says that “it’s important to leave no trace behind when you’re hiking and camping. We want to preserve the natural environment for generations to come, which means no trash on the trails. More than that, it means you should know what to do with your soapy water, your personal waste, and how to ethically clean your dishes.”
5. Not Drinking Enough WaterWhen you’re hiking big distances, you need a lot more water than when you’re not active. Research how much water you should be drinking and have a plan for water access. Look at the water points on your trail, and carry a well-reviewed water purifier.
6. Not Sharing Your PlansMany people suggest not hiking alone, and it’s true that hiking long distances alone can be riskier than with a partner, especially for beginners. At a minimum, you should be sharing your exact plans with loved ones and getting a GPS tracker or satellite phone to check in regularly.
7. Failing to Store Food ProperlyAs Miranda Dunstan, a travel blogger at PhD Writers and Academized explains “it’s important to store your food properly so that you’re not attracting wildlife, including bears, but also so they don’t eat things that are potentially bad for them. Look into ways to keep food away from wildlife by using things like bearbags, canisters, and such.”
8. Lack of PlanningYou definitely don’t want to start your first major hike unprepared, so research the permits you need to get, the rules and regulations of the areas you’re hiking through, and get an idea of your trail plan. Share this information with family or friends and make sure you all know when to check in with each other. Have a plan for every eventuality on the trail so you know what to do in the worst case scenarios.
9. Forgetting to StretchSo many people that hike every day don’t stretch before and after, and that’s a recipe for disaster. Your muscles will be working in overdrive and in different ways than you might be used to at home, so stretching greatly reduces your chances of injury.
10. Disregarding Weather Information
Weather has such a critical impact on your experience on the trail so it’s important to know what’s in store and be prepared. Share information with hikers coming the other way and check the weather forecast as often as you can.
By knowing these ten common mistakes made by hikers, anyone can hit the trails safely and enjoyably, whether it’s your first hike ever or you’re a seasoned pro.
Ellie Coverdale is a travel writer at Essay roo and Management assignment help. She writes articles to encourage people to get out of their comfort zone and travel abroad. An avid hiker, she shares her experiences and outdoor suggestions at Boom Essays service.