Hiking is my favorite way to get closer to the wilderness and get away from the stressful city life, but for a hike to be truly enjoyable one has to be well prepared.
Here are some of the most common hiking mistakes that you easily can avoid;
1. Choosing The Wrong Hike
The first thing to consider before your hike is where you should go hiking. Key factors to consider are distance and the type of terrain. Many beginners make the mistake to choose a too long and difficult route. You want to find a walk that is long enough to be a bit challenging but not so long and difficult that it will exhaust you completely.
2. Carrying Too Little Water
To stay hydrated is during a hike is fundamental. If you are going to hike in the wilderness where you think you will not be able to find water taps, make sure that you bring enough water to stay hydrated for the whole hike. Make sure that you consider the weather conditions and pack your water accordingly. I would rather carry some extra weight than walking around thirsty for hours.
3. Wearing The Wrong Shoes
When you plan to walk for hours, wearing comfortable shoes is key. Pick your most comfortable walking shoes that has a sturdy sole that can withstand some puddles and dirt. Function always trumps looks when you’re in the wilderness. Remember to not go out for a long hike wearing your new and untested shoes. You have to break in your new shoes several weeks ahead of your first hike so that you feet gets used to wearing them, or you might get some serious blisters.
4. Ignoring The Weather Forecast
TV and internet leaves you little excuse to not be well prepared for your hike. You can (and should) go online and check the weather forecast for the area where you plan on go hiking. The weather has a big impact on what and how you should pack your hiking gear.
5. Wearing The Wrong Clothes
Layering your clothes is one of the best ways to make sure your hike will be a true joy. The good thing about layered clothing is that it allows you to make quick and easy adjustments when you get warm or the weather changes. Sun suddenly came out? No problem, just remove one layer. If the weather forecast predicts rain, make sure you bring a waterproof jacket as your top-layer. Remember to also consider the climate when choosing between different clothing materials. Cotton and other natural fibres are the go-to material in heat. The wicking ability of natural fibers is important to pull the sweat off the skin and give it a chance to evaporate. Man made fibres struggle in this regard and are somewhat of a barrier to evaporation making for a very muggy sticky hike.
6. Starting Too Late In The Day
Many beginners start their hikes in the afternoon, which could be problematic in case your hike takes longer time than you had expected. As a beginner you really want to avoid starting out too late and trying to find your way back when it’s dark outside. If you happen to start out later than you intended, make sure to check your map for shorter routes in order to get back before sunset. Best of luck on your next hiking adventure!