Top 10 Beginner Hiker Blunders
Hiking is the activity that involves rigorous walking on trails preferably on a hill or countryside. The walk is done on trails that have been made by walking over grass or soil to create a small path like a way that leads into the forest or up top a hill. It further includes staying over in the cradle of nature for a night or more. The night is spent in tents as well as on Hammocks. The main purpose of hiking is to exercise as well as the pleasure of walking close to nature. This is also done as people often get fed up with the constant noise in the city and want to get away from all that for a while. The thought of living without electricity and public transportation also ignites a sense of adventure in people and propels them to go on such hiking trip.
Hiking was famous in US, Canada, and some European countries but with the spread of information from one place to another in no time, people in other parts of the world have also started to go on these trips. However there are many incidents and accidents as well as people going on hiking for the first time make some usual mistakes which often puts them in the way of danger as well as removes the fun from the activity. If these mistakes are kept in mind and avoided at all cost then there is a surety of the hike being a super fun one. Some of the usual mistakes made by beginner hikers are listed below.
Here are Top 10 Beginner Hiker Blunders
1. Going on a hiking without much research.
Let's are honest about one thing, hiking is nowhere as easy as it looks in movies and TV shows. It is a very tough activity that requires a knowledge of trails and a good stamina to conquer it. Many newbies, however, have a misconception that hiking is just getting up in the morning and going to a random place in the forest. This misconception often lands them in very bad situations which sometimes gives hiking and hikers a bad reputation. Hiking, on the other hand, is nowhere as a careless activity that it seems like. It's actually the exact opposite of it. Hikers have to be careful about every single step they take. Not only then have to navigate through unknown territories but also they have to be judicious with their use of the resources. Amateurs often find themselves in bad situations after using all the food and necessary resources just a few hours into the hike which forces them to either leave the hike or starve themselves. Many times new hikers forget to take the basic gears needed for hiking and end up slowing the whole group down due to their amateur behavior. Doing proper research should be the utmost priority for a beginner to get himself in the groove of hiking. It can be done by reading many hiking stories on the internet as well. In doing so the hiker could learn a thing or two about facing challenges and could work accordingly when faced with similar challenges on his/her hike.
2. Wearing gears without breaking into them.
It is a well-known fact that gears such as boots, jackets and such things need to be worn for shorter duration of time before using it on a proper hike or trek. This is true for all the gear such as riding gears, hiking gear, playing gears etc. A beginner hiker is devoid of this information which leads him to wear a new boot and track pants for the first time ever on his big hike. Although it feels fresh and new for the first few minutes but some time into the hike the boots start to bite and at this point, there is no way to get another boot or have an extra pair of it. This often results in the hiker removing the shoe and walking barefoot which further causes bigger problems. It should be always kept in mind that breaking into your gear is one of the most important aspects of any physical activity that requires wearing gears. This could be avoided if hikers follow the first rule and do a bit of research before going on a hiking trip but most people don't and end up blaming someone else for the mistake that the shouldn't have done in the first place.
3. Not having good quality tent and hammock.
Hammock and tent are a necessity when going for hiking and staying for the night or two. A good quality hammock should be the top priority of a hiker who doesn't want a sleepless night. Cheap tents and hammocks are bound to break and give you a headache that will make the rest of the only painful, to say the least. Along with the quality, proper way to use them should be known to the hiker. Hammocks are being used for sleeping for many centuries now. It's better than a tent because it is further from the ground and it is thus safe from insects and snakes that crawl the ground. Hammocks are preferred over tents because tents have to be laid on the ground that means the uneven ground is the bed which makes for a very uncomfortable night. Hammocks, on the other hand, are suspended in the air and are very comfortable to sleep in. Hammocks are also lighter than tent which is a very big advantage over a tent and speaks for its use while hiking. Hammocks are great for use but it has its own disadvantages as well. The biggest of which is a lack of privacy. Tents are covered from all sides that mean the person sitting inside can't be seen from outside same however can't be said about hammocks. Every hiker should at least test the tent or hammock that he/she is about to carry at least once. It gives an idea of what is to be expected while on the hike. Also if there is any fault it could be replaced. However many new hikers tend to forget this step and take their new hammock to hiking and at night they find that it has been broken all along and can't be used for sleeping.
4. Hiking alone.
This has to be one of the biggest mistakes that new hikers make. Going on a hiking alone is never a good idea even if you're an experienced hiker. A buddy is always needed in situations when you can't do certain things alone. New hikers here decide to go all alone and end up in very bad situations. The stats show that hundreds of hikers have been found dead on their first hike because they dared to do it all alone. The biggest challenge faced by a solitary hiker is in times of injury. Hiking is very physical and so injuries are bound to happen. In these situations, a person needs another person to help him get through the journey but many new hikers forget this and go all alone which in most cases turns out to be a very bad decision. People who go on hiking alone don't have anyone to learn from and so it turns out to be a very bad experience which in most cases forces them to leave hiking at all. It has also been seen that people who go on hiking together develop a deep sense of belonging which deepens their relationship as well. This, however, is not experienced by the beginner hikers who go alone and don't have anyone else to share the way with.
5. Packing less or too much.
Weight distribution among the group is one of the most important aspects of a hiking trip. The balance between stamina and weight of the backpack is very critical part of hiking which is often gotten wrong by beginner hikers. They often pack either very heavy or remove everything including the necessities for the hike. Hiking requires walking which is a very tiring activity in itself and if it has to be done while carrying a heavy bag on the back it becomes even more tiring. This is the reason why proper management of the backpack should is done in order to walk to the destination in a good state. However making the bag lighter can't be done at the expense of removing the necessities. This balance between weight and stamina is often gotten wrong by the beginner hikers and they end up either falling short of a tent or are unable to complete the trip and be a nuisance for the rest of the hikers in the group. So packing properly should be given importance as it is one of the aspects of hiking which could make or break the whole hiking experience.
6. Undermining the weather forecast.
Hiking is fun when the weather is nice and a little warm and this is the reason why weather forecast is given emphasis by the experienced hikers. However, the beginner hikers either forget to check the weather forecast or just plainly reject the outcome of it. This is when they get which later ends up making their hike a very bad experience. With the advancement in technology, it is now possible to get a perfect weather forecast for more than a week in the future. This technology should be taken full advantage of as it would not only mold your plan accordingly but also you would know what to expect while on the hike and be prepared for it. The beginner hikers, however, tend to forget the importance of it and are later found to be hiding beneath a tree, all wet and accusing heavens for the act of betrayal. This, however, could have been avoided if the hiker could've seen the forest in before going for hiking. It takes just two minutes to check the forecast so to forget an important thing like this would cost the hiker in one way or the other. Also, the modern technology is of no use when adverse situations are faced and so hikers should be ready to use the old kits available and work angle.
7. Not using the trail map.
A trail map is a fundamental kit for a hiker. A trail map is a specific map designed for trails and shows the user different routes in forests and hills. This helps the hiker finds his way through the trail as most of the devices don't work in those areas. Beginners being the beginner, they forget that there are certain places where cell reception is not present and in the times it needs to go old school. Having a trail map is the most important aspect of hiking and it is given top most priority while doing so. It is taught time and time again to always keep a map of some sort that could lead you out of danger when needed. This is the worst mistake a beginner hiker does when going on a hike. Forgetting the map and wandering around in circles could remove the fun from hiking and it would be of no use if it's done without following a proper route through the forest or on a hill. Some people even make the mistake of hiking using a road map. Roads are often very different from trails and that is why there is another map for trails. Trail maps are very easily available at any bookstore and should be at the very top of the priority list of any hiker. Beginner hikers depend upon technology and end up way out of their planned route which makes their experience bad so say the least.
8. Overestimating their ability.
At the beginning of any trail, it seems very easy and the thought of just walking over some humps and tree trunks seems very easy and fun to do however as the hike progresses it becomes very difficult because the hiker starts to lose stamina over time. Hiking is an endurance activity and storage of energy while hiking should always be at the back of the mind as the stored energy would help the hiker get past the last few challenges in the hike. Beginner hikers often underestimate the challenge of a hiking route and often do the mistake of choosing a tough hike later regretted as they are not able to complete the said route. Every hiker should have his/her ability in mind and choose a route which is best suited for her skill set and stamina. Overestimating the skills often lands the hikers in bad situations. The whole purpose of hiking is to enjoy the trail at your own pace and if a very difficult trail is chosen enjoying would become very difficult. Hikers who are new are often the most enthusiastic and it often leads them to many accidents as well. Doing something rash on top of some adrenaline rush should be avoided at all cost in order to make the hiking experience a memorable one.
9. Not packing the necessary food and drink.
It has been observed in many cases that most of the amateur hikers repeat a common blunder, that is, not preparing and packing the required enough food as well as water which they will need in their journey. Water is one of the most important commodity while going for these hiking trips and it is very important to keep yourselves hydrated in order to remain energetic during the hiking period. Keeping yourself hydrated during the hiking trip should be considered as the number one priority irrespective of the climate of the region, altitude or any other factors. Drinking water is also very important to prevent yourself from dehydration and water also plays an integral role in metabolizing the food intake which in turn energizes our body. Proper and necessary care should be taken while determining the amount of water to be taken along with you and it should be planned according to the different climate factors, terrain, and altitude of the place. Another important factor which should be considered is the need of an individual and how much water he requires. Along with water, carrying enough food is also an integral part of the planning process. Hiking requires a lot of calories and a lot of energy and exertion is required during a hiking trip. Carrying food items which provide energy and helps to fight fatigue is a must. It is also necessary that you pack enough to help you sustain the whole hiking trip and all the food you pack should be helpful in providing you energy to hike. Another important criteria to keep in mind is that no matter how much food or water you decide to take, it should adhere to the limit of weight you are ready to carry that is, it should be light enough to not cause too much burden during hiking. The energy gained from food and water helps in ensuring that an individual can endure the mental as well as physical challenges which they come across during hiking.
10. Not beginning the trip at the right time.
It is one of the most important rules while going for a hiking expedition to adhere to the time decided during the planning time. Deviating a lot from the time of the beginning of the trip can prove to be a very wrong step on your part. The best advice to any new hiker will be to make sure that you start your trip on the time decided previously or if starting late than to shorten the distance you are going to hike. If this is not done, there are high chances of getting yourself in the risk of danger. Another problem with starting later than planned is that you do not reach your destination before the dark hours and this may lead to you being lost or subjected to any accidents. Therefore, even if you are starting late, it is very important that you take a route which ensures that you reach the desired destination before dusk. It is also important to keep your calm if you find that you have not reached your destination and it is quite late. The thing to remember is to avoid any shortcuts or risky turns during dark hours and pack headlights and flashlights for these situations. Apart from the danger factor, starting too late for your hiking trip also leads to you ending up losing the opportunity to enjoy the road and hiking trip in daytime. Hiking during day ensures that you are able to see the wonderful trails and surroundings you visit and even take memorable pictures of your expedition.
Hiking is becoming popular day by day among youth as well as in veterans. This activity often leaves the hikers with a great peace of mind after the hike and which also reflects in their day to day life. This, however, is not an easy activity such as morning jogging, it is far more challenging than that and that is the reason why many hikers face problems in their first hike ad they are not used to the challenges posed by a hike. The beginner hikers have the most number of problems as they are strangers to the concept of it. Problems such as listed above are heads up for whoever wants to consider hiking. If all the above mistakes are taken care of hiking could be a very fun activity and could transform the person from inside out. The confidence boost that the person gets after achieving the final destination is out of the world and one hike pushes the hiker in search of another limit that is very beautiful and satisfying to be a part of. It is easy to see why this activity is popular and is growing at a very high pace all around the world. It, however, needs special workshops for new hikers to be done under the experienced ones to make it even better for the future first-time hikers.