Hiking is an easy activity to pick up: Just lace up your shoes and find a trail. For beginners, there’s plenty to think about when preparing to go out hiking and often they fall into the trap of making simple mistakes that can become major problems once out on the hills. Some mistakes made are easy to learn from and are fun to look back on and laugh at, while others can be dangerous and put an end to your hiking (or living) career.
7 hiking mistakes commonly made by new hikers:
- Not bringing first aid kit
Many novices forget to bring a first-aid kit or carry too many medical aids in their kit. Make sure you give your first-aid kit as much thought as your clothing and that it’s appropriate for the length of your trip, size of your group and your medical know-how. If you don’t know how to use an item, maybe you shouldn’t carry it. Packing obscure supplies in place of additional bandages and painkillers makes no sense.
- Packing the wrong gear
When preparing for yourself for a hike, don’t choose an item just because of the price tag,. Not to say you need to buy top-of-the-line, expensive equipment, but you should have a certain amount of trust in your gear to get you through the thick and thin.
Do some research and check out your local hiking gear store to get a good idea what gear is right for you. Remember, if something breaks down when you’re on the trail, Amazon will probably not be able to find you.
- Ignoring The Weather
The weather is the biggest factor of and where you are going to hike. You probably wouldn’t book a flight to a destination that’s about to get hit by a tsunami or hurricane, right? So why would it be any different on the trail?
Listen to what other hikers tell you about conditions ahead, and check the forecast whenever possible. Avoid days with a high chance of rain, hail, snow, and lightning. Just remember, weather forecasts are never 100% accurate and weather on the trail can change in an instant.
- Not bringing enough water
It’s common to see new hikers carrying far less water than they should. And so they end up thirsty, uncomfortable, and dehydrated. A good rule of thumb is to drink roughly one liter of water for every two hours of hiking. Keep in mind, however, that could be more or less based on your personal needs, the humidity or heat of the day, what you’re eating, and other variables. The more you hike, the more you’ll learn what your body needs.
- Skipping breakfast
Never skip breakfast, it’s the most important meal of the day. It will energize you, get your metabolism going, and get you ready to take on a mountain. Choose something that’s full of fiber, to keep you full, and protein. Yogurt with fruit and granola, eggs, or even a smoothie are good examples.
- Leaving it too late to set out
Hiking is much more enjoyable in the daytime. You’re able to see your surroundings clearly, snap some great photos, and enjoy the sunshine once you reach the top. A lot of beginner hikers start their hike in the afternoon, which really is too late to begin. You want to get going as early as possible. Starting around 9:00 am is usually a safe bet – you will begin your hike in the daylight and end it in the daylight. There is nothing more terrifying than climbing down the mountain in pitch dark (especially if you don’t have a flashlight), so rise and shine and get going!
- Playing music aloud on the trail
You might like hiking to music and there’s nothing wrong with that, but not everyone else is into your tunes. Many prefer to just listen to the mountains around them. Avoid blasting your music for everyone to hear and stick to headphones as much as possible. Graduated to camping? Some music is OK in camp, but make sure it’s quiet enough no one else can hear it outside of your immediate area.