Hiking is a pastime that millions of Americans enjoy each year. They go camping across the country and they love to abandon their campsite to explore the surrounding area. However, this exploring journey may not end well for some of them. There are a few hiking mistakes that are a common occurrence for the inexperienced camper.
As hours go by, people decide they had enough exploring for the day. They go back to camp following the familiar surroundings. However, everything seems familiar out here and people end up getting lost. This may not be a problem at first, but if you add up the other hiking mistakes listed below, things can get really serious.
You don’t have to be a survival expert to enjoy nature and you don’t have to carry everything with you to make sure you survive. Being able to survive in the wilderness is a matter of knowledge and preparation, and both can be achieved without struggle. When planning your next journey, keep in mind to have a solution for the following.
Hiking mistakes to avoid:
Lacking enough hydration
People fail to calculate how much water they should bring. They just bring a water filter and think everything will work out. People forget that water is life and not everyone can find a water source in the wild. If you want to stay hydrated, you should bring more water than you need. You can’t go out into the woods hoping you will find a water stream along the way. That’s just wishful thinking and the wilderness doesn’t work like that. Bring water with you, unless you know for sure there’s a river or lake ahead and you know how to find it.
Not using all their senses
When it comes to exploring the outdoors, this is one of the most common hiking mistakes. Traveling through the wilderness requires for you to learn how to use all your senses. Understanding that hearing and smell should also be exploited when exploring the great outdoors is a must. The more you learn to merge these three senses, the more you will be able to enjoy the environment, but also make it safer when navigating through. Most people only use their eyes, even though sometimes they have a restricted range of sight.
Understanding trail difficulty
Beginners tend to act like children when exploring the great outdoors. They often overrate their hiking abilities and physical condition. Don’t make the same hiking mistakes as them and research the trail before you hike. A general rule states that one should start on an easier trail until he or she can work their way up. Don’t try difficult trails at first because you might not make it back.
Related article: Wilderness Survival: Respect the Sacred Order
Failing to prepare for the journey
This is a general rule for every preparation you make. As far as hiking mistakes go, failing to prepare for the hike is preparing to fail. It may look sunny and the weather may seem warm, but that can change in a matter of minutes or hours. Do you have the proper clothing if the temperature drops by 20 degrees or more? Accidents happen all the time in the wild and twisting an ankle is the most common injury. If that happens, do you have enough supplies with you until help comes? Do you have everything you need to signal for help?
Grabbing everything in sight
This is another one of the common hiking mistakes that people end up regretting big time. People are careless when traveling through the wilderness and they aren’t paying attention where they put their hands. Most of them instinctively grab hold of branches to steady their balance when moving through rough terrain, but they don’t look at the branch first. Besides the fact that some branches may appear stable and firm, but can be dead and brittle and you could stumble when they brake. They can also house snakes and other biting insects.
Having a lone wolf attitude
This is one of the hiking mistakes that get people killed. I never understood why people hiking solo never let others know where they are going. You’re not an explorer and there’s no glory people can steal from you. If something happens, rescue parties will never be able to find you without a starting searching point. At least carry a personal locator beacon with you to make things easier for everyone. I do understand the need for solitude and pleasure of enjoying a beautiful scenery by yourself. However, people should be aware of where you are heading and when they should expect you back.
Personally, I’ve wandered off-trail many times, but I’ve never done it without taking some precautionary measures. Most times, we’re doing so in a party of two or more and we have all the supplies we need to make it back. What bothers me the most is that beginners chose not to follow the marked trails. They tend to explore their surroundings by going off-trail without the proper gear. No matter how you look at it, this is one of the hiking mistakes that have only one outcome. People get lost or injured and they aren’t prepared for the consequences.
Being unaware of the surroundings
People tend to forget that nature is still wild and it doesn’t play by their rules. They don’t even bother to do a little reading about the area they intend to explore. They assume everything will be ok and that there aren’t any unknowns that could surprise them. For example, you should pay attention to the game trails and keep your distance, unless you’re out there hunting and you know what you’re doing.
A game trail could lead you to water or game, but they can also lead you to a merry-go-round. Read about the weather and what you should expect. Avoid making the same hiking mistakes most people make and try to gather as much information you can about the area.
A last word
In this modern age, hiking mistake continues to happen and people end up dead. Knowledge is power and if you know how to avoid these hiking mistakes, you will make it back home. With this in mind, always plan before you go on a camping trip. Every outdoor experience should be a pleasant practice that brings you closer to nature. It takes time to develop the skills needed to survive in the wilderness, but you’re not out there to become a survivalist. You just have to make sure you avoid those hiking mistakes if you want to enjoy your camping trip.
Other Useful Resources:
Survival MD (Knowledge to survive any medical crisis)
The LOST WAYS 2 (The vital self-sufficiency lessons our great grand-fathers left us)
US Water Revolution (A DIY Project to Generate Clean Water Anywhere)
Bullet Proof Home (Learn how to Safeguard your Home)