Seeking the unknown and unraveling the mystery of what lies ahead is something that makes hiking and trekking all the more adventurous.
Taking the road less traveled is an in-born trait among us hikers
However, because of the very nature of hiking, there are dangers involved. Some small some big.
Therefore, it’s needless to say, that to be able to enjoy hiking to its fullest you got to be prepared for all the kinds of things that come your way.
Many hikers are always seeking new places to explore, and in their quest for adventure, make some hiking mistakes that could lead to danger or even injury.
Whether a newbie or an experienced hiker, at times we tend to get complacent and overlook small details.
Below is a list of the top 9 hiking mistakes and how to avoid them.
Some of these points may seem simple and common sense, but that’s probably why we sometimes tend to overlook them.
So why not be smart, be safe, and of course enjoy your hikes to the fullest without any worry.
Top 9 Hiking Mistakes And How You Can Avoid Them
These are broadly classified under four major categories:
- Preparation and planning
- Hiking kit and equipment
- Adequate training
- General mistakes
Preparation And Planning Hiking Mistakes
1. Not giving enough thought to planning
This, of course, is the first major mistake that you should avoid.
When you are planning to go on a long duration trek or hike you need to find out everything about that place like the type of terrain, weather, local languages and help points, police, first aid centers, doctors, etc.
This is more applicable when you are going out of your own country.
When I went to Everest basecamp, I thoroughly planned and researched and I still wasn’t prepared for the long hard trek ahead.
If you want to know more about my experience check out this post I did on how hard is Everest base camp.
2. Over-packing or under-packing
Depending upon the length of the trek, the number of days you will be out, and the type of weather conditions, you need to work out your requirement of clothes and other items of kit that you have to take with you.
If you are traveling many miles you cannot afford to be carrying too much weight, especially with stuff that you are not going to use.
Take everything you need but nothing else.
3. Overlooking the essentials
Anything can happen at any time and hence you being ready for all eventualities is very important.
Therefore do not forget to carry the basics like adequate water, emergency food, supplies, survival knife, lighting, and provision for shelter if going out in the wild and of course, the basic first aid kit.
I know I said not to overpack in the last hiking mistake, but some of the things I’ve just mentioned are essential if going on a long hike.
Hiking Kit and Equipment Hiking Mistakes
4. Selection of boots
Firstly don’t wear brand new hiking boots on a long hike without having worn them in.
If you don’t wear them in, you will probably get some serious blistering! Trust me, it kills if you do.
I did this post on blister prevention when hiking if you want to check it out.
Next, make sure you have chosen the best hiking boots for your hike. Check out this post on low cut vs mid cut hiking boots to know what’s best for you.
If the shoes are not fitting well, besides making you uncomfortable while walking, this can also lead to several problems like blisters, cuts, sore ankles, etc.
Therefore it is very important to have a worn-in shoe you that’s comfortable throughout your hike.
5. Selection of the backpack and other-equipment
Your backpack should become an extension of your body and therefore should fit you well without any hanging or dangling parts.
It should also have some compartments to enable you to carry your items in an organized manner.
Depending on the length of your hike you might need a small 30L backpack all the way up to a large 65L.
I like the larger ones as they carry more but feel more sturdy with hip straps.
This article I did on choosing a backpack for Everest basecamp might be helpful if you are planning any long hikes or treks.
Training Hiking Mistakes
6. Inadequate physical fitness
You don’t need to be an athlete to go hiking but you need to fit enough.
It is important to work out regularly and make sure that your body can take the strains and pressures of hiking.
If you have weak knees or ankles that are prone to rolling then make sure you wear knee support straps and use hiking poles.
Working out regularly doesn’t mean smashing the gym 7 days a week. More like getting out and walking often and moving that body.
It’s surprising how sedentary some of us are with our office jobs, cars and lack of activity.
7. Not having GPS or a map
As you expand your horizons and move out of your comfort zones into new territorys it’s easy to get lost.
If you get lost and it turns to night you could get in a spot of bother.
I presume most don’t have map reading skills and aren’t proficient navigators so make sure you have some form of GPS with you.
Phone GPS works even without cell signal because they work from the satellite systems.
Alternatively, you can buy a GPS device specifically for hiking and trekking.
Just make sure to fully charge your device and carry a power bank for back up.
General Hiking Mistakes
8. Going solo or not going with an experienced partner or a group
Hiking solo isn’t really a mistake but it could be if you are very inexperienced and hiking in unknown territory.
You may find this post helpful in which I answered is it safe to go hiking alone?
Also if you are doing a serious trek or hike with someone or a group and you’re not experinced then you want to make sure they are.
When I did the Everest base camp there’s no way I could have done that trek without the help of experienced guides that took me and my friends there and back.
Essentially, you know if you’ve got the experience or not to hike where you are going. Just don’t take unnecessary risks.
9. Lack of communication
When you go out on a hike it is very important to let your family and friends know your whereabouts throughout your hike.
This could potentially save your life if you get into some difficulty and need help.
No matter what preparation you or I make we’ll always fall short. Just try your best to be prepared for all eventualities and you should be ok.
You know that saying … if you fail to plan, you plan to fail.
So there you go. The 9 basic hiking mistakes and how to avoid them.