Your bags are packed, and you’re ready to set out on a hiking trail. You’ve got all you need for a fun-filled adventure, including extra changes of clothes, food, water, and emergency supplies.
That’s a good start! We’ve got a question for you, however. Do you know how to use your emergency supplies? That compass sitting in your pack won’t do you much good if you don’t know how to use it.
Not learning your equipment is one of the most common hiking mistakes that people make. We have an entire list of things you should avoid doing during your first time on a trail. Keep reading to learn more.
Reduce Your Carrying Weight
You’re going to be camping while you’re hiking on the trail. That means you’ll need a pack with the proper equipment. You’ll have to have quite a bit to comfortably stay in the great outdoors, but make sure you don’t overdo it.
Carrying a huge 60-pound bag will do a number on your bones and joints. You may end up injuring yourself on accident. Not only that but carrying that much weight is going to drag you down.
While cooking with a cast-iron skillet makes delicious meals, you should leave it at home until you’ve been through a few hikes and think you can handle the weight.
Fuel up and Hydrate
Hiking up a mountain is going to take a lot of your energy reserves. If you aren’t careful, a pleasant trek is going to turn into a disaster.
If you don’t eat regular meals and snack throughout the day, you will make yourself sick. We recommend bringing along at least a single liter of water for a short hike and two liters for a long one.
As far as food goes, pack stuff that you can use for quick energy. We’re talking nuts and sandwiches. Salty snacks aren’t a bad choice either.
They can help you replenish the salts that you lose as you work up a sweat on the trail. Leave the canned foods at home. They’re non-perishable and will fill you up, but they’re too heavy to carry around on a hiking trip.
Take It Slow
We know you want to be able to jump straight into conquering Mount Kilimanjaro, but that’s a bit too ambitious for your first hike. Going that hard while you’re still a beginner is a good way to injure yourself.
Go on a few baby hikes first to build up your stamina. Once you have some successful trips under your belt, you can take on the big boy trail.
Another thing to note is that you need to pace yourself. This is true no matter if you’re taking on a more difficult trail or not. If you go too fast, you’ll tire yourself out in a hurry.
If you must kick things up a notch or two, do it while you’re still on flat ground or going uphill. Trying to book it while you’re going downhill is killer on the knees.
Wear the Right Clothes
Whenever you see people going hiking in movies, they’re wearing thick leather boots. In reality, they’re restrictive and not too comfortable. What you need is a pair of breathable sneakers.
Stay away from cotton shirts. It’s an okay material to wear for a short day hike, but for anything longer than that, it’s not advised. For one, cotton traps in odors.
For two, it doesn’t dry that fast. You’ll be in for a bad time if you happen to run into a downpour. Jeans are a no-go for the same reason.
The last thing you want is to come back from your hike with a horrible sunburn. Protect yourself by wearing a hat and shades. Don’t forget to pack the sunscreen as well.
Check Your Weather App
Trying to hike through the pouring rain can be dangerous. Always check your weather app before you set out on a hike to plan around big storms.
You’ll also want to pay attention to the temperature. You’ll need to do a little more planning to stay cozy in freezing temperatures and vice versa for the heat.
Plan For Emergencies
When hiking, you shouldn’t count on having a bunch of amenities nearby. There may be no place to get food or refill your water bottle. You’re not going to run into a gas station with a bathroom.
Nature is going to be your bathroom. That means you’re going to have to pack a few additional supplies. You should also make an emergency plan that will cover you in the event someone is injured while on the trail.
Learn How to Use Your Gear
There may come a time when you need to use a map and compass to navigate your way around. Having these tools at your disposal does you no good if you don’t know how to use them.
You may want to take a few classes before you head out. Doing so may save your life if you find yourself in a pinch.
Common Hiking Mistakes to Avoid
Hiking is a great way to kick stress to the curb and be one with nature. A fun trip can quickly turn into a nightmare if you make a bunch of hiking mistakes.
There’s nothing worse than trying to carry a pack full of stuff up a mountain. You also need to choose your trail wisely. Stick with a beginner’s hike at first.
You have to learn how to use your gear and always prepare for emergencies. The last thing you want is to get caught off guard.
For more tips that will get you through any hike, visit the World section of our blog.