Whether we are beginner walkers starting out on our first journey or we have been hiking for years, we all make mistakes that are detrimental to not only the enjoyment of our walk but also to our safety and well-being. But which mistakes do we humans make the most when embarking upon a hiking trip? Have a read and see if you’ve been guilty of any.
1. Inappropriate Clothing
Walking gear can be expensive but unfortunately, you do tend to find that if you buy cheap you buy twice. Your clothing will be taking a pounding as you walk for hours on end through all types of terrains and weather and a common mistake is to underestimate the wear and tear on your gear. Look for trusted brands and accept recommendations from other walkers too.
2. Not Packing Enough / Packing Too Much
If you pack every single little thing that you might just need then you are going to be weighed down and are really going to struggle, On the flip side, a common mistake is to pack far too little and leave yourself without those essential items that make a hiking trip that little bit easier. Find the happy balance and you are winning. Only experience is really going to help you to realize exactly what you do and don’t need but again listening to advice from other walkers will definitely pay off.
3. Not Wearing Your Boots In
This is a very common mistake and one that could even cause you to have to pack up early and head home. New boots are super exciting yes but be patient with them, you need to wear them gradually, start around the house then build up over time until they feel soft and molded to your feet. If you dive straight in and wear them without doing this you are likely going to end up with blisters and very sore feet, and as every walker knows, blisters are the devil and will put you out of action until they are healed up.
4. Not Bringing a Trail Map
You may make the common mistake of feeling like you don’t need a trail map, it’s all signposted, right? But having a map of the route is really very useful, it is very easy to take a wrong turn or lose track of the trail markers and before you know it you’re lost in the wilderness. Phone navigation systems won’t always work if you’re in the middle of the countryside and then you’ve no way of tracking whereabouts you are and where you need to be. PACK A TRAIL MAP!
5. Not Checking the Weather Forecast
Yes, we all like to get out walking come rain or shine but if you are planning a big trip then knowing what to expect weather-wise can save you an awful lot of hassle. You’ll know what to wear and how many layers/changes of clothes to pack, which are the best shoes to take, and if you’re likely to need wet weather coats, etc.
6. Not Eating Enough
Even if you don’t feel especially hungry you need to eat a really good breakfast before setting out on your trip. Breakfast will give you that much-needed energy to fuel your walk so don’t make the common mistake of skipping this meal. You’ll also need a really good hearty meal once you’ve finished your trip to help your body recover quickly and then have a nice long sleep!
7. Running Out of Food and Water
It’s so important to have good supplies of food and water for your trip, top up water supplies at every opportunity, and pack energy bars, dried fruit, and other walkers’ favorites to pick you up during those lulls.
8. Failing to Consider the Environment
A common mistake that some walkers make is not considering the environment that they are walking in. It is your responsibility to think about the wildlife that you are visiting on your walk and to remember that you really are the visitor here so show respect just like if you were visiting somebody else home. Put campfires out properly, don’t leave any litter, and try not to leave any traces showing that you’ve been there.
9. Choosing a Trail Above Your Capability
Choosing a trail is exciting and we all at one point or another get carried away and pick a trail way above our capabilities. It’s fantastic to push and challenge ourselves but it can also be disheartening if we can’t cope with the route that we’ve chosen and have to abandon the hike. There is also the danger of getting lost in unfamiliar and dangerous terrain if we aren’t quite ready for the route that we’ve chosen, so just take steps, pick a slightly harder route for each walk, and gradually work your way up to that mountain that you’ve been yearning to scale, you’ll get there!
10. Not Taking a First Aid Kit
Many people make the common mistake of not packing a first aid kit. We don’t need to explain to you the importance of having one to hand, especially when you are out and about on an adventure. Get yourself a good first aid kit and keep it well stocked.