Careless hikers are more likely to poke a diamondback rattler, fall off a cliff or get in trouble in another way – in fact, there are plenty of ways a hiker can get into trouble – Family Funtures lists a few to be aware of. And truth be told, the world needs more outdoorsy people and not less. We recently stumbled upon a great adventure site My Sweet Adventures who advocate for living life for the adventure. We couldn’t agree more.
Anyway, back to hiking:
Hiking is an amazingly fun activity that many folks, including me, love to indulge in. It is an activity that allows one to exercise as well as get away from the hustle and bustle of modern life so that they can bond with friends and family. If you have ever spent time in the woods, chances are you have made some epic blunders, some of which make you laugh. I will admit I have made a few mistakes on occasion and they have only made me a better hiker.
I have learned my lessons and now understand that no matter how bad the slip-ups, the good trail always outweighs the bad. When starting out, it is easy to make mistakes that transform what was supposed to be fun to a painful and frustrating experience. The good news is that careful planning and knowing the common hiking mistakes made by beginners can help prevent some of the blunders.
Cooking in your tent
Cooking may seem like a good idea especially of the weather is cold and wet. There are, however, serious consequences that you need to be aware of before lighting up your stove in an enclosed area.
For starters, a burning stove produces carbon monoxide fumes, which if inhaled excessively can kill you. Even a seemingly extinguished BBQ will produce lethal fumes. There is also the risk of your tent burning down, which at a minimum would suck. Of course, there are some scenarios, like camping on mountain tops or in winter, where shelter will be needed when cooking.
If you must cook, consider cooking in the vestibule of your tent. Otherwise, cook outside. It would be best if you packed store-bought foods that don’t need cooking of course.
We all love denim, but if you are hiking, the last wardrobe choice you should choose is denim. Because it’s made of a heavy cotton, it’s a poor choice especially in cold or wet weather.
I wouldn’t recommend cotton for hiking because rather than wicking away moisture like other fabrics (like polyester and wool fabrics), it absorbs water and takes a long time to dry out. If the skin is in contact with wet clothing, the body heat isn’t syphoned away through convection and in no time you’ll find yourself shivering.
This ultimately increases the risk of hypothermia. Denim is the worst kind of cotton because when exposed to temperatures below freezing point, it can ice up. Unless you are hiking in the summer where the risk of getting chilled is zero, jeans are a bad choice.
Choosing a trail, that’s above your capability
Many hikers have this inner desire to make their hike a workout, and rightly so. In any case, hiking is all about pushing the body the limit and seeing what you’re made of. It’s, however, important to understand that if you are a beginner, putting your body under too much stress can be dangerous.
This applies in particular if you aren’t physically prepared and you’re out of shape. To make your hike more enjoyable while staying safe, start small with short hikes over easy trails then gradually increase the intensity and difficulty of your hikes.
Many parks and hiking areas often publicize the difficulty ratings of trails and it’s important that you don’t ignore them. With additional exercise and a little bit of experience, you will be able to increase your intensity levels over time.
On the other hand, trying to increase your intensity level too quickly may mean you’re putting yourself in danger on the hills.