All hikers start at the beginning and will learn from their own mistakes.
It’s important to be properly prepared before hiking. You should always think about what you need and what you should take care of beforehand to avoid common hiking blunders.
Everyone is new to hiking at some point in time. Learning ahead of time can spare you the mistakes that teach you the hard way.
Starting off, travel with other hikers or buddies until you are really familiar with what you are doing. Buy proper clothing and footwear; pack important items in case you land in a bad situation. Always bone up on any and all information regarding the trail you will be hiking down.
Here are some of the most common mistakes every beginner hiker has fallen into before becoming wise:
Always Have Enough Water
Without water, survival time is measured in hours depending on the conditions. Unless you know for a fact that you will run into water along the trail, make sure you have two or three liters of water for your hike. Obviously this is even more important when hiking in hot weather.
This is a big one! There are people that think sandals or flip flops will be fine!
If your feet do not have proper protection and support, not only will you have a miserable time, but you can scratch up your feet, get blisters and even worse, step on something that could harm you.
Even if you are wearing the proper footwear, you must also wear the right size. You can do serious damage to your feet with toe nail damage, rub your feet raw or even freeze them in colder weather.
Leaving must-have gear at home can present a variety of challenges on a hiking trail. This issue is mostly avoided with proper preparation and using a hiking checklist.
Get in the habit of checking the backpack’s contents before setting out and this should ensure you have everything to stay safe on the trails.
Hiking Too Far
Hiking too far and beyond the fitness level is certain to lead to a variety of problems. Plus, there are safety issues. In certain situations it is a must-have requirement to turn back because of fading light, low water or food supplies, or a turn in the weather.
Avoid most problems by setting a time to turn around at the start of the hike. This should be followed even if it isn’t possible to reach the intended destination.
Know Where You Are Going
It’s always fun to do a little exploring while hiking; it’s a plus for hikers. But, if you have not gotten your hands on the published information about the trail you are hiking, you could turn upside down.
You should always gather this information and research it before heading out. These informational items will give you a heads up about various obstacles or areas to steer clear of. You will also know where you will find water and many more items to make your hike a fun and productive experience.
Mentally Somewhere Else
If your thoughts are miles away, you are missing out on the whole reason you chose to go hiking to begin with. You are losing out on the surrounding beauty and even coming across some very interesting critters!
This is also the best way to get lost! Talk with the other hikers in your group, pay attention to landmarks as you move forward, be aware of where you are going and do not become literally lost!
Not Letting Others Know
Writing out a trip plan might seem a waste of time to some, but in the event of an emergency or straying off course and getting lost it is essential for being rescued as soon as possible.
Not Paying Attention to Weather
Before ever heading out on a hiking trip, check the weather so you can anticipate whether there’s a chance for poor weather moving in and if this is the best time to hike.
Thunderstorms, flash floods, a sudden drop in temperatures, blizzards, etc. These are hazards that could put you in a great deal of harm if not heeded.
If you will run into colder weather, you need to layer up and make sure your pack is properly protected from rain or wetness. Always have clothing available in case weather does turn against you, because you just never know. It’s better to be prepared than in a bad situation.
Your choice of clothing is your first line of defense if the elements turn against you.
Even summer days can turn ugly in a heartbeat and if that temperature drops quickly, this could be dangerous, especially if you are wet or without proper protective gear.
Matt Green, is an avid hiker and lover of the great outdoors. He is always planning his next big trip or hitting the trails for a solo hike.
He’s traveled extensively to many remote regions and has plenty of experience exploring various terrains, and stories to tell.