Hiking can be an incredibly fun thing to do with friends but if you aren’t careful it can also be incredibly dangerous. Believe it or not, plenty of careless hikers have fallen off a cliff, provoked a rattlesnake or done other things that got themselves into a lot of trouble. However, instead of discouraging people not to go hiking, we should be informing and educating regarding the outdoors so that more people will spend their time outside in nature and getting fresh air instead of cooped up scrolling through their phone. You should know about the different between light hiking boots and other adventure shoes as well as how long you should hike for and where, depending on your experience. Here are a few typical mistakes that beginner hikers make to and how to avoid them.
Sure they might wear them in the movies, but in real life, wearing denim is a huge mistake. The reason is that denim is cotton and cotton retains moisture. So, if you are hiking in rainy or cold weather or where there are water crossings, you’ll be miserable. Denim takes forever to dry out and will only serve to siphon out your body heat, leaving you to shiver in your walking boots. Try wearing synthetic materials that are better able to keep you dry.
Using a Road Map
You might need that make to get to the general area where you can park your car at the beginning of the hike but that road map will not serve as a reliable source when you are out on the trail. The reason being is that while a road map may mark the trail itself (but sometimes doesn’t even do that) it will not have the need to know basis such as rivers, bridges, peaks, etc. Local book stores and tourist centers will usually have pamphlets and maps that are much better able to help you navigate a trail.
Misunderstanding First Aid Kits
If you don’t know how to use a suture kit, then just simply don’t bring it. Your first aid kit should only contain the things that you know how to use such as adhesive bandages and alcohol wipes. The amount that you bring should match the size of your group. Don’t take up room in your backpack with random supplies that you’ll never need or even know how to use if you did need it. Besides bandages and alcohol wipes you could bring an allergy medication, pain medicine, antibiotic ointment and medical tape.
Going Ultra Light Before You Are Ready
If you only ever have done regular backpacking, or worse- have never hiked before, don’t attempt to go ultra light. Ultra light hiking means carrying no more than 10 to 12 pounds of gear not including light hiking boots, clothing and water. While it may seem quite tempting to not have to carry a lot of weight while you are hiking, this also means that you aren’t going to have a very big safety net if something goes wrong.
Not Breaking in Boots
Whatever kind of trail walking shoes you get, be it light hiking boots or waterproof shoes, you need to make sure that you break them in well ahead of time. Don’t start a big trip without testing your shoes. If your feet get shredded up then you will be miserable the entire time. Break your light hiking boots or walking shoes in while you are mowing the lawn or walking the dog so just general going out and running errands. Basically any time you are going to do a good amount of walking, you should wear your boots. Good athletic wear will being to conform to your feet after you break them in which makes them incredibly comfortable but it might be after a few blisters.
Starting Too Late
Starting early is one of the main rules of hiking. You do not want to end up out on the trail when it gets dark. Besides the freezing temperatures, there are also wildlife to consider. If you get started late, you’ll have to change your plan in order to shorten your hike so you can get back before dark.