Did you know that more than 4 million people went hiking in 2020 alone? Hiking is becoming a more and more popular pastime and it is full of health benefits.
However, if you’re new to hiking, there’s a good chance that you could make some frustrating hiking mistakes.
So, what do you need to consider before going hiking so you can be sure that you’ll be a smart hiker instead of an inconvenienced one? The first thing you need to consider for your next hiking trip is to put one foot in front of the other, that is, with the right footwear.
Keep reading to learn more!
Wear the Right Footwear
There’s nothing worse than ruining the best hiking trip of your life by unintentionally wearing the worst hiking shoes for your feet. After all, hiking is all about walking for long distances, so if you’re wearing uncomfortable shoes, you’re going to be in big trouble. But what should you look for when it comes to choosing the right hiking shoes?
A lot of new hikers make the mistake of wearing barefoot-style hiking shoes. While these shoes may look exotic and while they may seem great for gripping stones and climbing up steep inclines, you should avoid them at all costs if you plan on hiking for long distances or over rough terrain. Why might this be, you ask?
This is because barefoot-style shoes have a little cushion to them, so if you are going to be traveling through riverbeds full of sharp rocks or rocky canyons, your feet are going to be killing you within a few minutes of hiking.
Often, if you end up choosing the wrong hiking shoes, you’ll have to cut your hike short and go back home because hiking will get too painful.
In some cases, your shoes may also cause blisters and rashes on your feet and ankles. These injuries not only make it difficult to walk, but they can also become infected if you’re not careful. When you choose your hiking shoes, you should always be sure to try them on in the store and walk around.
Any downsides you experience from the shoes right away will only get worse the longer you wear them, so try to find the most comfortable shoe you can. You should aim for a shoe that supports your ankle so you reduce your chances of getting injured on your hike. Light-weight and waterproof shoes are a must.
Bring a First Aid Kit
Whether you plan on climbing Mount Kilimanjaro or taking a long hike in your neighborhood’s forest, you should always bring a first aid kit with you. Many new hikers blow off the idea of bringing a first aid kit with them, especially on shorter hikes. However, if you’re not close to home or civilization and if you’re hiking alone, you could get in serious trouble without a first aid kit.
More often than not, you’ll be in great physical condition after a long hike. However, you should always be prepared in case you get injured along the way. Common hiking injuries can include sprained knees, cuts, and broken bones.
Some injuries, of course, will be more manageable than others, but you will be able to handle many more severe injuries with a first aid kit than without one.
Having a first aid kit on hand is also very convenient for minor scuffs that you might get out on your hike. For example, if you plan on hiking for several days, you likely will develop blisters on your feet.
With a first aid kit, you will be able to handle these blisters without any problems by disinfecting and wrapping them up. Without a first aid kit, you will have to interrupt your hike with a trip to the nearest clinic.
Break-in Your New Shoes
Speaking about blisters, one thing that many people entering the travel industry forget about is breaking in new hiking shoes. Many new hikers get excited with their new shoes and enthuse over the cushioning and support but forget that all new shoes, even those of the highest quality, can be very stiff at first.
If you go hiking in new shoes, even if they were comfortable when you first tried them on, you will quickly regret it.
You’ll likely find that an hour or so into your hike, your feet will be in excruciating pain. This is because the leather or other materials that your shoes are made of have not yet had the chance to mold to the shape of your feet.
To make sure your new shoes are ready for hours of hiking in the great outdoors, you should first take them on short walks around your neighborhood.
By walking with them for about 20 to 30 minutes every day, the materials of your shoes will break down and become much more comfortable. This does not mean that your shoes will wear down and become less effective. Breaking in your shoes is an important thing to consider before you go on any hike.
More than that, as you start to wear your new shoes, you will be able to get a feel for how they might feel on your feet for hours at a time. If you find that they’re uncomfortable after a few minutes of walking, you might want to bring them back to the store for some better shoes.
Hiking Mistakes You Should Avoid
By the end of this article, you should know all about the most common hiking mistakes new hikers make. From choosing the wrong shoes to deciding not to bring a first aid kit, there are many things that can go wrong on your hike if you don’t plan ahead. But with the information you learned from this article, your next hike should be as smooth as ever.
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