Backpacking is an exciting adventure that every person should definitely give a shot. Because it allows you to delve into nature’s beauty, it’s a great way to explore hidden gems. If you’re new to backpacking, you’ll soon realize that it comes packed with its own list of rules, and things you need to consider.
Instead of learning the hard way, here are the common mistakes every rookie backpacker needs to avoid.
Not Dressing Appropriately for the Weather
One of the worst things you can do as a rookie backpacker that would really affect how much you enjoy your backpacking adventure is not dressing appropriately for the weather, especially if you’re hiking in a destination like the Rawah Wilderness. Because it’s usually on the colder side, when exploring the beauty of Rawah, you need to be fully prepared in the right attire.
However, dressing accordingly does not mean putting on bulky layers because heavy clothing makes hiking difficult. If possible, try wearing apparel that are warm and light-weight. For example; instead of wearing thick scarves to cover your neck and face, use a multi-purpose fleece neck warmer. Invest in a neck and face warmer of a trusted brand like 4inbandana. Fleece neck gaiters are silky soft, cozy, wind-proof, and water-repellant; hence perfect for hiking in glacial temperatures.
Check the weather forecast of the time you’re going, but in all cases, even during the warmer season, you’ll need to be dressed in a warm thermal base layer as it can be freezing at night. During the winter, you could even find that it’s not possible to follow the trail without snowshoes, due to the heavy amount of snow.
That’s why it is imperative that you always check the weather as well as reviews on the trail you’re heading, while also dressing appropriately.
Another mistake that most rookie backpackers tend to do is overpack. When you don’t know what the weather will be like exactly, what to expect, how long you’ll be there, or the circumstances you’ll experience, it is human nature to overpack.
However, doing this will only lead you to carry more weight on your back, making you tired easily, as well as adding pressure and strain to your back muscles. While it is very difficult to be underprepared rather than overprepared, you need to only pack the items that you most definitely will use, in order to have the flexibility to enjoy the backpacking experience.
You can do this by checking with a regular backpacker, and getting their insights on what they need.
However, it is necessary to pack essentials such as your sunscreen because not having one can cause your skin to chafe and peel, which may leave you in pain. If possible, pack some long sleeve top, along with a hat together with a face and neck cover. If possible, look for a sunscreen that is also a bug spray to minimize all the things that you need to bring and avoid overpacking.
Nevertheless, don’t forget to bring a first aid kit with you, which can consist of the basics such as pain relievers and band-aids. In line with packing, it is also important to choose the appropriate backpack because the wrong one may prove to be uncomfortable, slowing you down and causing you pain.
When it’s your first time, it’s normal to not want to invest in a specific pair of shoes, when you don’t even know whether you’ll ever do this again or not. However, hiking shoes not only make the hiking experience easier and more comfortable, but offer more safety. Hiking shoes prevent the backpacker from getting injured on slippery surfaces, and they’re designed to endure the various weather conditions a person can encounter.
Even if you’re not willing to make the investment before your first backpacking experience, pick shoes that are sturdy, comfortable, and have strong cushioning as well as non-slip soles. In addition to this, it is also important to avoid wearing new shoes to ensure that you are comfortable hiking in them. Thus, use your new shoes a couple of times before the actual event.
Not Testing the Gear before a Trip
Most people tend to buy the gear they need and keep them wrapped up in their new adventure. However, in order to ensure that they do the job appropriately, that you know how to handle them, and that they actually work, you need to try them out before you set out into the wilderness.
You don’t want to be put in a scenario where you’re in the middle of nowhere, setting up for the night, only to find that your tent is torn. Mistakes like these can be life-threatening or severely inconvenient, and so it is essential that you test out the gear in advance.
Assuming You’ll Figure Things Out
It’s nice to act cool and just go with the flow, but when it comes to backpacking and the remote locations that you could find yourself in, you always need to be fully prepared. This means that before you go hiking, you need to check the route, know what to expect, and guarantee that you have a map and that you know how to read it.
Find a place to set your camp, and be prepared with the right gear before you set out on your trip. If possible, avoid taking shortcuts or hiking off-trail because it is definitely not worth it in the end. The trails are meant to guide the hikers to figure out their way and ensure their safety so it is best to stay on the trail, instead of figuring things out yourself.
It’s also imperative that you estimate the time correctly, start nice and early and make sure that you don’t end up hiking in the dark, especially if it’s your first time. Part of being prepared also means that you fully understand the dangers you could face in that area, which may require the appropriate gear to help you handle the worst scenarios you could find yourself in, without just assuming you’ll figure things out on the spot.
In order to enjoy a backpacking experience, you need to do your research properly and know what to expect and what to prepare. You should also familiarize yourself with the location you’re headed to before you head out on your trip. While backpacking is a fun and exhilarating adventure, there are safety measures and precautions that need to be taken.