Common Hiking and Backpacking Mistakes To Avoid
The day I have started regarding backpacking as setting out to explore the world with a bag stuffed with immediate necessities has changed my life. Several years ago, I came up with the idea that backpacking and hiking are as much an art as cooking or writing are.
Just like any other activity, backpacking has its unwritten rules and tricks. Not being aware of them may prove detrimental to any trip. In this post, I have put together several common hiking and backpacking mistakes that beginners (and expert backpackers) should avoid on and before outdoor trips.
1. Lack of Proper Planning
Forgetting or not bothering to plan the trip is perhaps the biggest mistake a backpacker can make. It is nothing less than forgetting to switch on the oven while baking! With various constraints that usually pop up once you set out for the trip, make sure you are aware of the weather conditions, rules and regulations, warnings, hazards, trail blockades etc. Nobody likes to realize he or she got stuck in a snow storm while climbing up the Gannett Peak! If you plan well for the trip, you can enjoy a pleasant and hassle-free backpacking or hiking experience.
Extreme sports, backpacking, and hiking put a huge strain on your body. It goes without saying that adequate nutrition is something you really need while backpacking and hiking. Try to get food items that can give you immediate energy. Try to avoid packaged chips and other junk food items. Along with keeping the body hydrated, it is also important to have frequent snacks throughout a day. Stuff the backpack with easy and delicious ready-to-eat foods. When you feel tired after a long day of hiking, you wouldn’t want to cook time-consuming and elaborate meals!
3. Carrying Too Much
Do you really need two bar soaps for five days? Or multiple pairs of hiking shoes? The entire concept of backpacking rests on surviving on the bare minimum. Because else, it would be a luxury holiday! Hence, it is crucial to carry only the things that you will actually need. Double-check the backpack to avoid packing mistakes. Remove all the things that aren’t essential for survival. You will be surprised to see how much you can cut down on.
4. Not Being Prepared For Swimming
Water adventures are good as long as it last. You might encounter luring ponds, lakes, and rivers during the trip, which may be too tempting to resist. However, once you are done with the swimming endeavors, you will have to carry the wet clothes that will make your backpack much heavier and complicate things. In order to avoid this, carry swimming clothes and be ready for some swimming.
5. Not Charging Your Mobile Phone
Although a network reliability in the trekking region is a matter of luck, it doesn’t hurt to be prepared. Charge your mobile phone and get power banks well in advance. Turn on the airplane mode whenever you don’t need the phone, in order to conserve the battery.
6. Being Unprepared for Medical Emergencies
On a backpacking trip, you might encounter sparsely populated areas. Who will you call if your leg got stuck in a pothole? Always carry a first aid kit with you every time you go backpacking to remote areas. It is better to collect prior information about the hospitals in the region so that you can ask for help if required. Better safe than sorry.
7. Attracting Wild Animals
Just like humans, food attracts all other living creatures. Make sure not to leave any food remains in the campsite. If you do, wild animals like bears, antelopes, monkeys, and raccoons will flock to your campsite posing a threat to your tent and belongings.
8. Not Choosing Your Clothing Appropriately
Hiking means the less you carry the lighter your backpack is and this implies less clothing as well. While using cotton may sound like a comfortable option to stick to, cotton clothing easily absorbs sweat and moisture, causing a smelly odor. Polyester and woolen clothes can be useful in such a scenario because they dry quickly and can withstand bad weather. If you are hiking in colder areas, you should bring tents, coverings, and blankets as well. In addition, refrain from carrying heavy blue denim. Trust me, you don’t need them!
9. Not Being Familiar With Your Gear
You must familiarize yourself with the way of handling the gear you carry well before you hit the road. Once in the remote areas, you won’t have an opportunity for reading the instruction manuals! Test your stove before starting the trip. You should also try putting up the tent at least once before embarking on a journey. If it starts raining while you are in the wilderness, you won’t want to mess around trying to figure out how to fix a tent! This common mistake usually causes the most part of the troubles to me since there are always some new hi-tech gadgets that I should have tested before setting out.
10. Leaving Traces
No matter what our parents told us in the childhood about making a contribution, but you really don’t need to leave any traces while camping. This is particularly important because your activities can significantly affect the plants and wildlife in the region. Make sure you extinguish all the campfires properly and clean up the region before you go. Leave no plastics, tin cans and containers you have brought. Maintaining the rawness of nature is possible only if you make an effort in reducing your ecological footprint.
11. A Bit of Common Sense
Frank Lloyd Wright once said, “There is nothing more uncommon than common sense.” Some small things that, if you pay attention to, can help you avoid making severe and common mistakes while hiking and backpacking. Inspect the surroundings where you plan to camp. Make sure it is not swampy and will not be flooded if it rains. Similarly, don’t camp very close to the river. This is to avoid becoming a meal to crocodiles or flooding the tent if the weather changes. In addition, do not cook inside the tent since it can catch fire and ruin not only your tent but also the entire vacation!
While these important moments are dedicated to making any trip safer, it is also crucial that you enjoy the adventure!