Trekking Tips

15 Hiking Safety Tips and Common Mistakes to Avoid

Hiking is a wonderful way to escape from everyday hassles.  You get some time to devote in nature. And enjoy the nature’s serenity.

But it is not sure to give you good memories only. Sometimes you may go through bad experiences as well. Especially while walking on the countrysides. To avoid the problems, you need to follow certain tips for hiking and avoid your some common mistakes,

Luscious green valleys, cool streams, thundering waterfalls, tranquil lakes, breathtaking mountains and hours long walking is sure to make you feel very high without any intoxicants while you trek close to nature.

Hiking in the new land and collecting new experiences is every adventurer’s quest. It is a great adventure and a cheaper, safer, and more attainable one too. This is what anyone can set out on as it doesn’t need much expertise or bookish knowledge.

However, it isn’t just about walking. Hiking has its own do’s and don’ts and certain unspoken rules. You must follow those rules to ensure an exciting, memorable as well as a safe trip.

Usually, beginners or even expert trekkers have a habit of underestimating the situations. They believing themselves to be superheroes who can easily conquer the paths.

While this attitude may help you to travel many places and explore the unexplored, sometimes such confidence can turn deadly too.

During hikes, sometimes you may get life-changing experience. Whereas, sometimes you may go through troubles and ruin your entire hike.

Here we point some common hiking mistakes to avoid while you trek. So that you enjoy every moment of your adventure to the fullest.

1. Being a Fashionista

Yes! A trek may be one of the best opportunities to meet a cool, well-traveled, adventurous man of your dreams. Or, a smart, beautiful independent girl may take sweep you off the feet along the hike route.

For such unexpected situations, you do want to look great and fashionable. You may want to appear alluring to the people you meet on hike trails.

But darling, your sexy pointed heels, and your cool tight denim pants will definitely not do the charm this time. It could actually be a real hassle as certain clothing materials make movement hard as well as the weather unbearable.

Looking like a macho man or a pretty princess in the movies might be your goal –  but, realize that life is not a drama.

Hiking Safety Tips - comfortable clothing

Hiking Tip

Select a dress suitable for certain terrain and the weather.

It is best advised to avoid cotton clothes as they retain sweat or moisture and keep you wet for longer. Cotton clothes may be okay during the summer, but during the winter, it can cause cold and ruin your entire trek.

Also, dressing in jeans might make you feel like movie stars, but they are among the worst outfit to sweat it out in the wilderness.

Likewise, comfortable socks along with comfortable shoes make sure that you trek without bruises, blisters or foot aches. Make sure you wear the shoes already broken, new shoes usually prove to be a disaster for many.

Do not dress in camouflage.

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2. Dehydration

Hiking Safety Tips

Water is life, but most of us may actually forget this while enjoying the stunning atmosphere. Most of the trekkers drink only when they are thirsty or when they rest.

But by then the body is already too dehydrated and becomes tired. The dehydrated body in the wild may lead to serious health problems.

Proper hydration of your body throughout the journey helps you avoid most of the health issues. Also, it keeps you fresh and energized although you will sweat a lot.

Hiking safety tip, What to do?

Don’t wait to feel thirsty. We advise you to drink water every half an hour. Even if it is a sip it helps maintain the body temperature and keeps you hydrated. So, you will walk easily and enjoy the experience.

3. Wandering off alone

Hiking Safety Tips

Wandering off alone in your own little secret mission sounds adventurous and fun. But, sometimes you may not be well acquainted with all trekking areas.

There are a number of stories about solo trekkers or members of a group disappearing when they stray from the group or the trail.

Although GPS maps may be very handy, complete reliance on it may not be a good idea. They may not always give you exact information when you travel in remote areas.

So, it can often be risky to travel alone. Walk with at least some of your close friends if you do not want to go on groups.

Hiking safety tip, What to do?

Carry a reliable map and learn how to read maps before you go on your adventure. And, follow the trail as planned.

It is best to stay close to your group. Even if you want to explore a little or enjoy the surroundings in solitude, let your group members or your Trekking Partner know.

Tell someone where you are going and when you will return. Don’t forget to check in with them when you get back.

Although GPS and mobile devices may not work all the time, carrying a cell phone is the best idea. Signals from the cell phone are useful to locate lost hikers in the past.

You can carry a whistle. People can hear you from far away. Also, it takes less energy than yelling.

4. Being a moocher

Hiking Safety Tips

May I borrow your sunscreen? May I borrow your toilet paper? Stop borrowing stuff from others.

Everyone on the trek packs tightly to avoid the extra weight! Treks in some distant places could be harsh and sometimes you may forget to carry along a thing or two.

In such emergencies, it is okay to ask around for some help with the utilities. But, make sure you are not the weird and annoying neighbor that keeps borrowing things too much.

What to do?

Be self-sufficient ! Make sure you have a checklist and you pack every single item on it. Do not borrow unless you are sure you need it.

Include the essentials like a first aid kit, sunscreens, trail maps, flashlight, GPS, mobile phones and fresh batteries.

But, make sure you do not look like a nomadic tribe moving from one home to the other. Or, an anxious, drug-obsessed trekker carrying an entire pharmacy.

Carry only the medicines or essentials like bandages, painkillers, ointments, wipes, etc. that you may need on the trail.

While carrying too much could create a hassle, missing one important essential could be disastrous. Pack lightly and sufficiently.

5. Disrespecting the local people and culture

Hiking Safety Tips

Some local people or original inhabitants have their own way of life. They have the certain cultures that they strictly follow.

If you want to feel welcomed to a new place make sure to be a good guest too. Disrespecting such local traditions might cause some strife with the local people. And you might also lose the hospitality or, in worse cases even your meal and shelter for the night.

What to do?

Respect the people and their values although some practices might be too hard to adjust to. Doing so will make you a favorite among the locals.

So, if you want to make your trip a culturally enriching experience, learn about the locals before the trip. And try to assimilate with their culture until you are with them.

Learning a few polite words in the local language may be quite nice. And, always remember to pack your million dollar smile and use it while you meet new people.

This may not exactly feel like a hiking safety tips, but trust us, this will prevent you from possible brawls. And, may even save you from a punch or two.

6. Going wild with the wilds!

Hiking Safety Tips

You may think you are an Ace Ventura at your home with your cats and dogs, but this is not your territory anymore. While the animals might look cute and you may feel urged to pet them, make sure you do not awake the beast in them.

When you see a beautiful wild animal, don’t be crazy! Friendly looking animals while provoked poke the trekkers with their horns. Or, they can even drop you off a cliff or trample you en route.

What to do?

Animals are unpredictable! Feel glad that you encountered such magnificent creatures. But, leave them on their own. Respect their privacy and do not try to disturb them in any way.

Expert Hiking safety tip: Avoid bright colored clothing to avoid predators in the wild.

7. Eating in the wild!!

Hiking Safety Tips - Eating in the wild

I know you miss your home food. But it is not a good idea to eat those bright looking berries in the wild. Some of these good-looking fruits and berries may not just be awfully distasteful but also poisonous.

Let the wild enjoy their delicacies which mother nature has to offer.

What to do?

Carry plenty of snacks and do not eat any fruits and berries in the wild. If you do not recognize the type of berry of fruits,  be careful before you touch.

8. Being a litter and destroying the environment

Hiking safety Tips - keep it clean

While the entire world worries about protecting the environment, it would be a shame to remind you not to disrupt or destroy the environment of your trek.

Usually while traveling to places with heavy backpacks, you may wish to drop some of your trash along the way. But, stop yourself. It causes pollution and deteriorates the surrounding.

Also, littering and damaging environment of certain places could land you into problems such as paying fines or even a conviction.

What to do?

If you are traveling to national parks and conservation areas, read the instructions and rules carefully.

Do not do any kind of activity that would cause problems like fire, destruction of plants, killing of animals, birds, insects, etc that are the treasures of such places.

Humans naturally have the urge to touch or own anything beautiful they see, but understand the importance of admiring the beauty in its natural form and setting.

Leave only the footprints, take only pictures! So, it is a good plan to learn about the disposal procedures before the trip so, you can avoid being the messy trekker.

This will not only help you keep the environment clean, it will also help you avoid any type of fine related to littering.

9. Neglecting weather

neglecting weather - Hiking Safety Tips

We all want to be a savior, the hero of some disaster movie who ventures out into the wild in crazy storms. And conquers things or rescues his damsel in distress. Well, real life is different.

Weather conditions have serious effects especially if you are trekking to rural places with no or less medical facilities. Once you get sick or injured, it will be very hard to recover in time and continue the trek.

Weather conditions are an unpredictable part of nature. So, collect enough information on the present weather of the place you are planning to travel.

What to do?

This is one of the most important hiking safety tips, which is sometimes ignored by even the most expert hikers.

Always listen to the weather. It will be wise to refrain from continuing at the slightest hint of any weather abnormalities. To avoid such problems, get info about the weather for the next few days/weeks in advance.

And, keep checking weather updates as internet facilities are available in the remotest of areas.

Also, do not attempt to be Batman playing heroic deeds in the night. Night time is for rest for a reason. There is the danger of wild animals, losing trails, falling into ditches or off the cliffs. Plus, you may get mugged or assaulted at night.

So,  travel least during the night.

10. Poor physical fitness

Hiking Safety Tips - being Fit for hiking

You might be a fit, well built and healthy person but hiking or trekking is different from everyday chores.

You have to face different climate, terrain, geological hindrances as well as your body’s adaptability might be different in different places.

People consider trekking to be like a stroll in the park but it isn’t so. The body needs to adapt to the different environment. It should change its metabolic activities to adjust to the diverse altitude.

Hiking safety tip, What to do?

For this purpose, we advise you to train for a few weeks before going out on a rigorous trek. Even if it is an easy trail make sure you take vaccines, are well protected and that you have a fit body to walk or climb, for hours at a stretch.

It is best to warm up and stretch every day before trekking begins. Stretching after a hike could also help in reducing day-after soreness.

Beginners should do proper cardio exercises and choose treks according to their fitness level.

Follow some of these health advice for trekking to remain healthy while trekking.

11. Being the know-it –all

know it all - Hiking Safety Tips

Whether you are hiking alone, with your loved ones or in a group, no one wants to hear a person constantly nagging. Be it about the route, unsolicited advice or very obvious facts.

While annoying the group, the person might also be ignoring the very signs of trouble or the dangers on the trip.

What to do?

It may be nice to share some nice advice and some of your thrilling adventure stories. But don’t keep boasting about your achievements and experiences. This is their adventure too, let them enjoy their piece of adventure.

Do not be the moron that ruins the trip for everyone. Enjoy the trek, be careful and let others do the same. Having a happy company beside you can actually make the hiking much more fun and safe.

12. Rushing the trip

The main aim of any trek or hike is to enjoy the beautiful scenery, the company of fellow trekkers and the walk in the serene environment.

But some trekkers miss the whole point of the adventure and instead become the rabbit trying to win the race who don’t enjoy the journey but only focuses on the destination.

Trekking is not a race, each person has their own pace and ways of enjoying the trip.

What to do? Do not hurry to complete the trek quickly or you will be missing out on all the fun. Stop and rest for 5-10 minutes after every few hours.

And, take this time to hydrate or snack on complex carbohydrates like dried fruits and nuts. And, relish the beauty of nature while your body recovers.

Enjoy every beautiful scenery along the way.

13. Buying cheap goods

Hiking Safety Tips

Trekking for a longer duration in foreign places could be an expensive hobby. But safety and comfort should be the first priority in any trip.

You may feel tempted to buy cheaper goods at cheaper stores. But supplies like tents, footwear, sleeping bags and other camping and hiking gears should be of better quality that is durable while being reliable.

After all, in the worst scenario, your life might hang in the balance of a rope, literally.

What to do? Get quality gears! You may even look for opportunities to rent some quality gears.

14. Safety First / overconfidence

Hiking Safety Tips

Nature is very unpredictable and also very harsh. The weather, terrain, natural disasters or personal problems can occur at any time.  The trip may not go according to plan.

In such times, it is very important to trust your instincts or that of the others. And take the necessary precautions even if means halting the trek or going back.

There are different incidents of the injuries and death of people due to overconfidence in themselves. And, going against nature or other circumstances than the problems itself.

What to do?

Do not overlook any kind of irregularities or hints of problems. You might be an expert trekker but always remember to keep safety first.

15. Illegal activities

Hiking Safety Tips

It is understandable that people feel free once they are out of their comfort zones.  Even more when it is outside their countries. But being free is a  thing but, feeling invincible is just dumb.

Such mistakes usually happen while traveling to developing countries with no strict laws.

In such places people usually tend to get involved in illegal activities like buying/doing drugs, misbehaving while intoxicated, buying illegal goods, hunting, etc to name a few.

There might be no strict implementation, but every place has its own laws and rules. Always update yourself with the laws of a new place/ country you are visiting and strictly abide by them.

Chances are you will not only make a fool of yourself  but humiliate your entire country.

What to do?

Follow the rules of law and enjoy! This is the most general of all the hiking tips, but it is a very important one.

Conclusion

We hope you will avoid these simple yet disastrous blunders.  And make your hiking awesome.

We would love to hear from you about trekking mistakes. Tell us about your trekking mistakes and what have you learned from them by commenting below.

Share us your hiking safety tips, which we may have missed to mention on the list.

You can also have a look at Tips to avoid Acute Mountain sickness (AMS) if you are hiking to a higher altitude.

Planning trip to Nepal and need help?

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