SO YOU'VE FINALLY DECIDED TO TAKE THE PLUNGE on a multi-day backpacking trip.
With enough preparation, it's entirely possible for a beginner to pull off a great backpacking trip.
We've listed popular backpacking mistakes for you to avoid. Read on:
Mistake No. 1: Neglecting your feet
The mistake is the cardinal sin of hiking. Failing to guard your feet from blisters can cause enough pain and discomfort to put the brakes on your entire trek. Hiking boots are specifically designed for the stresses of walking long distances, and the specifications can vary widely for different intended uses. If your hikes are likely to be rainy or involve stream crossings, you may want to invest in waterproof boots since moisture can also cause blisters.
Mistake No. 2: Carrying too much weight
Every extra ounce you pack will feel like an extra pound after a few hours of carrying it. Consider reducing the amount of water you need to carry if you expect to encounter a good number of streams or rivers on your route. Opting for freeze-dried meals can also significantly reduce weight, and having a hot meal available after a long day of hiking is an added benefit.
Mistake No. 3: Setting unreasonable mileage goals
Take the typical number of miles you're able to run or walk in one hour, and cut that in halves or thirds. Carrying a heavy pack will fatigue your legs and feet more quickly and you may find that you want to take breaks every few miles. Slowing down your trek will also allow more time to observe wildlife and shoot better photos. Be sure to take the sunset into consideration too-setting up camp in the dark is no fun.
Mistake No. 4: Not packing for the forecast
The best way to avoid this situation altogether is to monitor the forecast closely before your trip and plan. Even if there's a very small chance of rain, it's always wise to carry a lightweight, highly packable rain jacket and use pack liners to protect the contents of your backpack from moisture-just in case. If chilly temperatures are in the forecast, layers will allow you to regulate your body temperature most effectively.
Mistake No. 5: Not having an emergency plan
Even the best laid plans sometimes go awry, and if you're a worry-wart like me, imagining terrible scenarios comes easily. Keep in mind that most of the best backpacking destinations are remote and rarely have phone service. What you put in it will depend on the challenges of your destination, but some examples are matches and tinder, a space blanket, band-aids, compass, pocket knife, duct tape, anti-inflammatory medicine, and an extra stash of calorie-dense snacks.