Novice hikers learn a lot through trial and error, but they’re not on their own when it comes to making mistakes. Even the most experienced hiker can let their guard down, take things for granted, or take one chance too many. In no particular order, below are the top 7 hiking mistakes. Make sure you avoid them on your next outdoors trip.
#1 Ignoring The Basics
A first aid kit, emergency gear, enough food/water and proper equipment ought to be among the first items a hiker packs. Nevertheless, there’s other essentials that can get overlooked. Sunglasses, lip balm, a hat, warm socks, mini tools, extra fuel and an emergency plan might not be the first things on your mind when packing, but they’re all crucial in their own way.
Don’t forget to pack the less obvious items, either. Sunscreen and insect repellent are two items that should be in every hiker’s backpack. Although they don’t always seem vital, a sunscreen and insect repellent will serve you well all year round. The sun's rays are present throught the seasons, and you're more exposed as you climb, and insects like ticks are a constant threat to the unprepared hiker.
#2 Choosing The Wrong Clothing/Materials
That cotton shirt or denim jacket is great for everyday life, but these materials simply won’t stand up to a rigorous hike. You’re much better off with natural fibres that are water resistant, insulating and adaptable, like alpaca. And it’s these properties that could explain alpaca’s increased popularity among hikers.
Another of the advantages of alpaca clothing is its lightweight. This makes alpaca easy to layer, allowing you to adapt your clothing to suit the conditions. Alpaca is also light to wear and carry on your hike, which means it won’t weigh you down as you walk
#3 Neglecting Your Feet
When out on the trails, it’s not just sprains and strains that are a potential issue. Chilblains and blisters are common among hikers and can lead to severe discomfort, which could have been avoided. To lower your risk of chilblains:
- Wear warm, thick socks made from natural fibers
- Don’t expose your feet to extremes of temperatures
- Pep up your circulation with exercise prior to your hike, and don’t sit still for too long.
To reduce the chance of blisters:
- Wear properly fitted shoes
- Break shoes in prior to a hike
- if your feet start to get uncomfortable take a break and check them over for the early signs of a blister.
4# Getting The Water/Food Balance Right
The balance between packing too much food and water or not enough is a fine one. It’s common for hikers to take more food than necessary, just for it to end up wasted. And it’s just as usual to take too little. However, there are some useful tools online that will help. Here, you’ll find an online calorie counter, while the hydration calculator gives a basic guide to water requirements. For emergenices, as a guideline it’s advised to take enough spare food/water for an extra 24 hours.
5# Poor Time Management
Time management is key to a successful hike. Good time management will allow you to finish the trail and make your way back before darkness falls. Before you head out, have a good idea of the time your hike will take and have a plan to keep you on schedule.
6# Forgetting Navigation Tools
Detailed research prior to a hike won’t take the place of a good set of navigation tools. These days, a lot of hikers turn to their smartphone to download the related apps for maps and navigation, or they use a GPs. However, don’t rely on technology entirely. On a hiking trip, there’s few things more reliable than a regular compass and map to keep you on track.
7# Not Taking Your Limits Into Consideration
A lot of us like to run before we can walk but pushing yourself too hard on a hike could lead to serious consequences. We all have different limits and we aren’t always going to be able to keep up with the next person. Respect your restrictions and work within them to limit your chances of injury or illness.
Many of the top hiking mistakes are easily avoided. It just takes some planning, and of course, you need to take your own limitations into consideration. By avoiding the above mistakes, you’re giving yourself a much better chance of having a memorable, enjoyable hike that is safe for everyone involved.
Woop! Wear specializes in the sale of alpaca activewear clothing for outdoors lovers. To find out more about our range, to order an item, or to ask us a question, visit the Woop! Wear website today