Ever since the pandemic and the subsequent lockdowns, outdoor activities have become increasingly popular pastimes. All kinds of people, from couch surfers to adventure seekers, have been flocking to local trails for a bit of reprieve from the stress and anxiety of the uncertain global conditions.
Unfortunately, while hiking might seem like a safe activity to enjoy while social distancing, it can also lead to injuries and other kinds of issues on the trail. Challenging factors such as weather, physical strain, and nature have led to an increasing number of injuries being reported on trails all over the country, especially among novice hikers and climbers who have taken up hiking during the pandemic.
The good news is that most of these injuries and accidents on the trail can be avoided with some simple prevention and safety steps. Here are some of the most common blunders backpackers are guilty of, which can lead to bigger issues on the trail:
Packing The Wrong Gear Or Overpacking Your Backpack
One of the most common mistakes novice hikers make is overpacking their backpacks with non-essentials or packing the wrong gear. Filling your backpack is an important task, and it’s essential to pick the right gear and backpack according to the trail you have chosen and what you might need while hiking. Giving in to impulses and overfilling the backpack with things that you probably won’t need will result in you lugging around a heavy backpack and getting fatigued before you are even halfway through your trek. Fatigue is one of the most common reasons why people make mistakes on the trail and end up getting injured.
Wearing The Wrong Clothes
Experiencing a wardrobe malfunction while on the trail can ruin the whole trip and make you feel uncomfortable and unable to enjoy your time in nature. Going outside means you are at the mercy of the elements, so it’s always a good idea to wear layers and be prepared for sudden weather changes. Opt for wool or polyester fabrics as they don’t take too long to dry out compared to cotton. Avoid denim and invest in some quality footwear to stay safe and comfortable on the trail.
Not Preparing For The Hike Properly
Another common backpacking blunder is not preparing properly for your trip. You can’t just decide to get up one day and go hiking. It requires careful planning, choosing the right trail, and familiarizing yourself with the terrain and time it will take to complete the trek. You should also check the weather reports and make sure you bring a map and know how to read it in case the GPS on your phone stops working and you get lost.
Setting Unrealistic Goals And Expectations
Fatigue and exhaustion on the trail can lead to injuries such as sprains and strains and can lead to accidents as the hiker is not as vigilant as they should be. Novice hikers often make the mistake of not setting realistic goals and end up taking on more than their abilities. Trying to tackle a highly challenging terrain on your first couple of times hiking will result in overexertion, and you might end up hurting yourself. Make sure you choose a simple and easy trail for the first few times to have fun and stay safe while hiking.
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