Anyone who has gone backpacking or for extended hikes has made mistakes. Often, they are simple silly mistakes that you laugh about later but are easily overlooked at the time. When you go backpacking for an extended period of time this mistake can create bigger problems, but even on shorter hikes they can ruin your time.
I remember when I was going for a hike and it had rained the day before, not thinking much of it I went out to enjoy nature. About halfway through the hike there was a muddy area and I had the bright idea of going right through it. Well it turned out to be a bit deeper than I was expecting and I ended up with mud halfway to my knee. Fortunately, we were only there for a shorter hike, had it been longer this could have been a problem.
We here at dominate outdoors have made plenty of mistakes, to help you avoid these mistakes when you go hiking, we will take a look at 10 mistakes to avoid.
- Packing too much
This is one of the biggest mistakes new backpackers can make. You are at home testing your backpack and seeing how it feels weight wise and if its comfortable and everything seems fine. You go out on your trip and that is when you realize that the backpack is heavier than you remember. Its one thing to stand there and another to be on the trail. Keep your backpack light and get the most out of what you bring. Common items that are overpacked are clothing and extra cooking tools. Pack smart when you head on the trail
- Using gear that you have not taken for a test drive
Always test your items before you head out. You want to avoid being out in the woods when something with your equipment goes wrong. If your gear has sat around for a bit testing it makes sure its ready to go before you get out there and you are not carrying deadweight. This is even more true when brining new gear. You want to make sure that worked before getting out there and know how to use it.
- Watch the weather
The weather can change without notice and not preparing for the worse could be deadly. On top of this watching the weather days before you head out can give you an idea of the current conditions. Ultimately being prepare is important should the temperature change rapidly. Always be prepared for the worse it could save your life
- Skipping planning
One of the less glamorous parts of backpacking is planning. No one want spend time on this, but it can make your trip go a lot smoother. Planning gives you an idea of what you need to bring, so you do not under or over pack and could end your trip before you even get going. You might need a permit to head out or have certain requirements to backpack in the area. Do not let your trip fail before you even get there.
- Getting your sleeping bag wet
No one wants to sleep in a wet sleeping bag. Its not fun but seems to happen to the best of us. It usually happens when the rain starts falling and you forget to get that bag inside a waterproof container. You do not need anything special to keep it try you could use a heavy-duty trash bag or find something that is big enough and seals tight. Your backpack might be waterproof, but we always recommend having a second layer of protection for your sleeping bag.
- Cooking inside your tent
Its wet and cold outside and your ready for dinner. You do not want to go outside your tent so why not cook inside it should be find. A few problems with this, is you need ventilation, or the carbon monoxide fumes could poison you or you burn down your tent. Shelter is extremely important if the weather turns and burning it down would be a problem. If you need cover to cook and this is only if you must do it in the vestibule and make sure you have lots of ventilation.
- Shelter placement
You found the perfect spot for your tent its flat and should be easy to setup. You get it all setup and enjoy the rest of your day. You go to sleep and the next thing you know your tent is flooding. When picking a spot make sure to consider where the water will pool if it rains. Generally, try to camp away from water sources and avoid low spots in valleys will help reduce this.
- Skipping navigation abilities
Brining a map and compass are one thing, knowing how to use them are another. What happens if you get lost, will you have a map and compass which is great, but how are you getting out of the situation? You want to maximize your chances of being found and know how to use the tools can help with this. Learn the basics as the consequences could be life or death
- Easy meals for animals
Not properly storing your food could result in you having uninvited guests for dinner. Feeding animals such as bears can change their eating habits and result in them needing to be put down in the future. Additionally, you could end up with no food and that is a big problem. There are plenty of ways to store your food securely so find what is best for you and do it right
- Blisters on your feet
You will be walking a lot and the friction of your feet can cause blisters. They can be very painful, and you do not want to spend the rest of your trip with foot pain. Find the right shoes for your feet are important. Even if you can manage the pain during your trip the following days can be brutal. Spend the time finding a good pair of shoes that work for you.
No matter how much you plan mistakes they will happen so learn from them and avoid them on your next trip. Do not let a problem stop you from going out on your next adventure.
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