I’m excited to announce a contribution from freelance writer and mother of two, Jenny Holt. She loves nothing more than getting away from it and taking her pet Labrador Bruce for long walks, something she can do a lot more now she’s left the corporate world behind. She has written a post for us today about how to avoid some common hiking mistakes. I hope you enjoy her article!
Hiking is one of the best outdoor activities around. It’s easy for just about everyone to participate in, providing excellent opportunities for family days out or isolated getaways. There were over 44 million hikers in the USA in the spring of 2016 alone, and with all those people hiking, it’s important to know exactly what you should, and shouldn’t be doing when you’re on the trails.
Essentials for Your Hike
Firstly, you’ll need to make sure that you’ve got appropriate footwear for hiking. As recommended by the American Hiking Society, this means you should wear trail shoes, which are perfect for shorter hikes or ones that don’t involve carrying a heavy backpack. If you’re completing a more strenuous hike, then hiking boots are recommended. Next, you’ll want to make sure you have both a map of the trail you’ll be following, and the surrounding area, as well as a compass to help you navigate. While nowadays we have cell phones and GPS, it is always good to know how to do it the old-fashioned way, just in case modern technology fails you along the way.
Carrying a pack will allow you to pack in extra food and water, as well as a way to purify it. This is in case of an emergency, as well as helping to avoid things like dehydration and illnesses such as altitude sickness or hypothermia. Your pack should also include clothing for the rain, and extra layers. This will allow you to adjust your clothing depending on the weather by using layers, and if it rains, you’ll be protected.
Common Hiking Blunders
We’ve covered what you should be doing on the trail, and now you’ll need to know what you shouldn’t be doing. When you go hiking, wearing the right kind of clothing is necessary. Wearing jeans is a mistake, for example, as they will hold water if they get wet, meaning you’ll get cold quickly. Also, jeans won’t keep you warm on the trails, and sometimes the denim will actually draw the heat away from your legs.
People often forget to break in new purchases, especially shoes. If you wear your new hiking boots straight out of the box on a hike, then it’s likely that you’re going to be in severe discomfort very quickly. Make sure you wear your shoes before going on any hikes; your feet will thank you later.
Starting your hike later than planned can be disastrous, too. If you lose your sunlight before reaching the end of the trail, you could end up lost, and be tempted to take cross-country routes. This is not advised, as you will likely be unable to find your way back, especially in the dark.