This post is here to inform you about the 6 mistakes new hikers make on trails. If you are new to hiking or you just want to learn more about hiking, this is a great post to read.
Your First Mistake – The Wrong Clothing
When you start to catch the wanderlust bug your main concern is just to go and do what it is you want to do. This can end up hurting you in the long run because you were not properly prepared. You may think, well I will throw on a shirt, jeans and a pair of tennis shoes. The problem with this is that a lot of clothing is made from cotton. Cotton likes to absorb moisture and sweat which can make changes to your body temperature. This isn’t good if the sun starts to set and the temperature drops as you will start to get cold because your cotton clothing absorbed your sweat. This is why it is good to invest in some hiking clothing and pack your trail bag with extra layers.
Hiking clothing is meant to wick away moisture and help regulate your body temperature. This is very important because it acts like a form of shelter. If you far from your car along the trail your clothing will protect you in the elements. This also means a good pair of hiking shoes and socks. A lot of heat can escape through your feet so if you have cotton socks an they are wet from sweat and that is never a good combo when your out and about. So remember to invest in some great hiking clothing because its always better to be safe than sorry.
The Second Mistake – Getting Yourself Lost
Getting lost in a new place or even a place you’ve explored before is very likely when you get cocky. You may think to yourself that you will know your way back and you’ll be fine to venture off the trail for a minute. But lots of people have gotten lost this way and it can put you in a life or death situation. I recommend having a gps, paper map or even a map on your phone that works offline on you at all times when your out on a trail. It is always good to stick to the trail! Trying to bushwack your way through a trail can get you lost quick as well as taking a shortcut!
I always tell a family member what trail I am headed to and when I should be back. Informing someone close to you can end up saving your life! If you find yourself lost, don’t panic. Take a break, figure out your surroundings and start retracing your steps. If that doesn’t work, pay attention to what time it is so you can prepare to build and shelter. Go through your trail bag and take an inventory of everything so you can be prepared for whats to come.
The Third Mistake – Not Understanding, Leave No Trace
In order to leave our trails in tip top shape, we need to understand leave no trace. When you go out in nature it is good to make sure that whatever you bring with you goes back out with you. Leaving trash, cutting down healthy trees or just messing with wildlife are disrespectful to our planet and some people don’t know the proper etiquette. It is good to inform others on leave no trace so our trails can be clean and untouched for future use by everyone to enjoy.
The Fourth Mistake – Time
A big mistake a lot of hikers make, is time. It is good to research your trail that you will me taking. Understand how long the trail is, how many breaks you will need to take, time spent at the end of the trail if its a waterfall or viewing area and take into account the vertical gain. There is nothing worse than thinking a trail is 3 miles and you end up walking 7 or 8 miles to the end or it taking longer than expected due to the difficulty of the hike. Getting caught in the dark on a trail can be a freighting experience so make sure to do your research. This is also where a gps will come in handy if you have one.
The Fifth Mistake – Not Knowing Your Skill Level
You have your eye on that beautiful picture you keep seeing on Instagram. You do some research on the trail and it describes how difficult it can be but you ignore the facts and decide to do it because you think you can. So you venture out on the trail and a quarter of the way through it, it starts to take a toll on you. You become exhausted or get hurt and you’re not prepared. Knowing your skill level can save you in the long wrong. If you want to improve, take on little hikes and build up your skill level until you can. The best part is when you accomplish the trail you’ve been waiting to take for awhile after you build up your skill level.
The Sixth Mistake – Not Packing Your Trail Bag with the Right Gear
Another beginner mistake is not packing your trail backpack with the right gear. Understanding the trail your taking and what gear is required is essential. Packing the right bag can mean the difference from a pleasurable trip to a dangerous trip. So be prepared , know your trail and pack the right gear! I always like to pack two items that can start a fire if anything happens. These are the items I bring on every trail I take no matter what trail I take! Bear mace might seem a little crazy to bring on every hike but you never know what you may encounter.
- Trail Backpack
- GPS or Map
- Life Straw
- Pocket Knife
- Bear Mace
- First Aid Kit
- Waterproof Lighter
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