The 10 Most Common Hiking Mistakes that Newcomers Make
You have a big hike coming up and you’re looking forward to seeing everything that nature has to offer.
But there’s a problem.
You’ve never hiked before.
Many newcomers make some critical mistakes that make their hikes less enjoyable. Here are ten to avoid to make sure you have a great hike.
Mistake #1 – Getting the Wrong Boots
Buying cheap is the most common hiking mistake that there is. Even if you don’t think you’ll hike regularly, you still need to invest in a good pair of hiking boots.
Remember that you’ll tackle some tough terrain during the hike. You don’t want boots that fall apart at the first sign of trouble. You also need to ensure that they’re waterproof.
Do your research and pick a pair that are up to the task.
Mistake #2 – Not Breaking Your Boots In
The hike isn’t the first place that you should wear your shiny new boots. You have to break them in before taking them out for a really long hike.
Put it like this. You don’t want to spend the entire hike nursing blisters. Wear the boots around the house and make sure they’re comfortable before you set out on the trail.
Mistake #3 – Wearing the Wrong Clothes
Light and airy is the way to go with your outdoor clothing. Avoid anything that’s made using cotton. These materials become heavy when they’re wet, plus they don’t do anything to protect your body from the moisture.
Wear waterproof clothing at all times. If you’re hiking in cold weather, make sure you layer up. A good base layer and a fleece will keep you comfortable during the hike.
Mistake #4 – Taking Too Much Equipment
How much equipment you take really depends on the length of the hike. You’ll need camping gear if you’re spending a few days on the trail.
The temptation that many novices fall into is to take more than they really need. Don’t pack as though you’re going on a holiday. Make a checklist of every item that you think you’ll need on the hike. Boil it down to the essentials and don’t pack anything else. If going with others consider sharing gear.
Mistake #5 – Not Knowing Your Limits
The key to a good hike is to know what your body’s capable of. You may want the accolades that come with taking on a tough trail. But an inexperienced hiker will run into difficulties if they bite off more than they can chew.
Research the trail beforehand and ask experienced hikers if it’s suitable for your level. Start small and work your way up. The trails aren’t going anywhere.
Mistake #6 – Going it Alone
There’s something romantic about exploring the great outdoors solo. But there are dangers for a new hiker as well. If you run into problems, you’ll have nobody to rely on to help you out.
Try to recruit a few experienced hikers for your first journey. They’ll keep you out of trouble and will offer valuable advice throughout the hike.
Mistake #7 – Not Telling Anyone Where You’re Going
It’s still possible to run into issues, even when you’re in a group. If that happens, you’ll need to rely on people back home to help. That’s especially the case if you’re hiking somewhere that cuts you off other people.
Tell somebody about where you’re going and how much time you expect to be on the hike. They can then raise the alarm if they don’t hear from you at the appropriate times. If you’re going more remote, or are going alone - consider buying a PLB like the Ocean Signal RescueMe PLB1 Personal Locator Beacon or SPOT GPS Satellite messaging device. These devices go a long way to helping add a safety net to your adventures.
Mistake #8 – Not Bringing a Trail Map
Some new hikers think they can forget about the trail map. After all, they’re hiking on established trails, so what’s the problem?
The fact is that it’s easier than you think to get lost on a hike. One wrong turn could leave you with no idea where you are.
Always bring a trail map, even for the simplest of hikes.
Mistake #9 – Failing to Stretch
Hiking is a physical activity. You may find yourself climbing over objects and navigating some tough terrain.
Yet many beginners don’t warm up before they start walking. Carry out a few stretches and stop to take regular breaks. Pace yourself and keep your body limber.
Mistake #10 – Not Checking the Forecast
For something that only takes a couple of minutes, many new hikers forget to check the weather forecast.
You need to know the forecast so you can prepare appropriately. Bad weather can make even a simple trail treacherous. Make sure you know what you’re letting yourself into.
Avoid these mistakes and you’ll have a great hike.