Hiking is fast becoming a popular sport. Many people are realizing the need to have some time out in nature.
And it’s totally understandable. You do want a break from the everyday life.
But it can get easier only when you are aware of the mistakes to avoid, especially if you are a first-timer.
To help you onto a great start, here are seven common hiking mistakes you should absolutely avoid.
A map you don’t understand
It’s common knowledge that you need a map along on your hike. But not just any kind of map will do. As a newbie, you may think a road map will be of use on your trip, but that’s not the case. It even gets worse if you want to rely on the map app on your smartphone. Maps are not created the same. Topo maps are the ideal in hiking. You can’t go wrong with them as they are tailored to lead you on a specific area, with clear illustrations of your trail system.
This might seem surprising to a newbie but it is not to an experienced hiker. No one is being dramatic but wearing cotton for your hiking trail can lead to hypothermia. Hypothermia is when your body temperature drops abnormally low, leading to disorientation, shivering, and occasionally death. Now this is not the aim, right? Nowadays, outdoor manufacturers offer “wicking” fabrics which transfers your body sweat as you hike away from your skin to the outside of the clothing layer.
Brand new boots
Your hiking boots are very important. This is why you should go for unproblematic ones that are not brand new or have never been used. Use your hiking boots well before going on a trail. Let your feet get used to the boots – wear them everywhere first.
It is not advisable to start a trail in the afternoon. This is especially if you are hiking above the tree line. If you want to take on mountainous areas, do so in the morning and be off the trail by noon.
This is a mistake that you should totally avoid. Don’t litter the trail while hiking. This includes food wrappers, toilet paper, and food scraps.
While it’s understandable to want to go on a trail with a lighter backpack, it might be a costly mistake if you are not experienced in the essential items in contrast to the ones you can leave behind. While starting out, you should carry everything you will possibly need. This is until you have enough knowledge to determine the essentials from the nice-to-haves.
The downhill trail is the most-anticipated as hikers try to get through the climbs. But hiking downhill is where you should pay most attention to as this is where you can easily make a mistake. Be careful and don’t speed downhill. As American alpinist Ed Viesturs puts it: “Getting to the summit is optional; getting down is mandatory”, you don’t want to get injured because you are very excited about hiking downhill.