7 Common Mistakes in Hiking and How To Avoid Them
If you’ve decided to go on your first hike, and want to make sure you don’t make all of the basic rookie mistakes, then we have a great list for you below.
We’ll go over all of the most common, but lesser-known mistakes, so you really know what you’re getting yourself into. These tips should make sure you make it home unscathed. Did you know wearing brand new hiking boots is a no-no? Neither do most first-time hikers!
Below we’ll highlight the most common mistakes in hiking and how to avoid them below.
Tackling Too Much, Without Realising It
When it comes to the great outdoors, each and every one of us is motivated to challenge ourselves and do our best, particularly when it comes to camping and hiking. However, away from the comfort of our homes, what constitutes a challenge can be hard to figure out.
You might see a long scenic trail, or find a campsite that’s a few kilometres walk away and think it’s going to be a breeze to get to. Though you might soon discover you’ve indeed bitten off more than you can chew!
Our advice to avoid this mistake is to always start off on smaller, beginner trails which will help you gauge what your level of expertise is. From there you can build outward and go on more difficult hiking trips.
Wearing New Hiking Shoes
Fantastic hiking shoes are essential, but that doesn’t mean you need brand spanking new hiking boots for your hike. If you’ve ordered some new shoes and the walk will be the first time you’re wearing them, then you can expect two things – blisters and pain.
To make your hike memorable, in a good way, you should have your hiking boots for a few weeks before you set off. In these few weeks, wear them every single day around your house for a few hours. You’ll soften the soles and the collar and that way you won’t be dealing with blisters.
Choosing to Wear Denim
We suggest saving your denim jeans for the mall or dinner with friends, as this material is going to be a menace the entire time you’re on your hike. Denim jeans won’t dry from sweat or rain quickly, they don’t stretch, and you’ll feel like you’re trapped after just half an hour.
Avoid denim at all costs and opt for wind pants, stretch pants or even yoga pants. These are versatile, dry quickly and are going to be worlds more comfortable than denim.
Starting a Hike Before 9am
Of course, you’ll agree that hikes are best enjoyed during the day. With that said, you’ll want to start your walk so that you have plenty of daylight, especially if you’re not camping! That said, you should make sure you enough sun left to get you back to the car.
We suggest having your hike begin at 9am at the latest and also take with you a flashlight and loads of batteries for emergencies. If there’s one thing you don’t want to be doing, it’s scaling a hillside or cliff face in the dark.
Forgetting at Least 2L of Water
When you go on a hike, water should be your top priority. Not your pack, not your outfit and not your hat. The thing on the top of your mind should always be, ‘do I have enough water.’ You’ll need more than one bottle, that’s for certain, so be sure to have plenty of spare backpack space for water bottles.
We suggest packing at least half a litre of water for each passing hour. If you expect to walk all day, then you’ll need to carry at least 2 and a half litres. If you’re concerned you don’t have enough space for this much water, take a water filter with you and collect water on the trail – or carry an extra pack for water.
Ignoring the Weather Forecast
You often see stories on the news about hikers who ignored their local weather conditions or figured the forecast was just a guide. Don’t do this! If there’s rain, hail or even a blizzard expected, you need to adjust or cancel based on this forecast.
Additionally, if you’re out on a trail and it starts bucketing down, you’ll have more to worry about than getting wet. There’s the chance of rising water, rivers bursting their banks and slippery paths. If you’re not following the forecast, this could be a recipe for disaster.
Leaving Snacks at Home
Most people don’t realise that hiking burns a tonne of calories, and you’ll need something to replenish these calories with. Trail mix is aptly called that for a reason, consider buying half a kilogram of trail mix from your local supermarket for just a few dollars and you’ll have plenty of calories to get you through part of your day hiking. Plenty of grains are essential too, so pack a few sandwiches.
A rule of thumb is to remember that the average person burns upward of 500 calories per hour on a hike, so food is essential.
And Off You Go!
Now that you have an idea about some of the most common mistakes in hiking, and also how to avoid them, you can set off on your next outdoor adventure without the worry!
Engage in some excellent activities like bird watching with your trusty monocular, nature drawing, and even journaling to make the most of your next hike. But remember, be sure to take nothing but pictures and leave nothing but footprints.
Emma Lewis is a loving mother, a devoted wife and a part of the team supporting Spacer – a company helping you find storage space whenever you need it. Emma is also a staunch supporter of the sharing economy and often mentions its benefits.