Backpacking with Caution: 6 Rookie Mistakes to Avoid on a Hike

A person backpacking in the desert with a backpack, ensuring safety.

Are you planning a backpacking trip soon? You must be so excited!

Backpacking has become one of the most popular pastimes in the US recently, and understandably so. It is the same as hiking since it involves long walks in the woods. However, backpacking is a longer form of this outdoor activity, typically spanning a few days. Planning a hiking or backpacking trip for the first time can be very fun. However, you shouldn’t let the excitement make you forget to practice caution when preparing for the trip. Nature is beautiful yet harsh, so ensure you are well-prepared to navigate it safely!

Here are some backpacking safety tips to keep you from making rookie mistakes on your first few hikes.

1. Not Preparing for the Weather

Firstly, you should learn to always check the weather before you leave for a hike in the middle of nowhere. Many first-time backpackers underestimate the importance of weather forecasts. This can be a big mistake because weather forecasts can be the make or break of your trip!

Check updated weather resources and find the most likely weather conditions during your hike. Then, prepare and pack for the weather accordingly. Remember, backpacking trips usually go on for more than two days. So, carry enough weather-proof gear, clothing, and supplies to last the entire duration of your trip.

A man carrying backpacking gear walking up a terrain

2. Packing Too Much or Too Little

One important thing to remember is that packing too much can be just as detrimental as not packing enough. You can pack extra clothes and food but try not to go overboard. The more things you put in your hiking backpack, the heavier and harder to manage it will become. Find a backpack that offers the perfect amount of space to carry hiking gear and supplies that are the most necessary.

If you are not sure how many hiking supplies you actually need, read some online hiking reviews. Many experienced backpackers write such backpacking reviews to help beginners learn backpacking safety tips. The reviews can also help you find the best hiking and backpacking gear.

3. Wearing the Wrong Hiking Boots

If you are friends with any experienced backpackers, ask them if they have ever sustained any foot injuries during their hikes. Chances are that their answer will be yes! Foot injuries are fairly common among hikers and backpackers. You are likely to get injured by slipping and falling while carrying a heavy backpack. However, wearing the wrong pair of hiking boots can also make you slip.

When you are navigating rough terrains, it is important to invest in the best hiking boots for men and women that you can find. Wearing the wrong backpacking boots on your several-day hike can also give you blisters and muscle sprains. So, invest in sturdy boots like the following top choices:

  1. Ultra Raptor II from La Sportiva
  2. Moab Ventilators by Merrell
  3. Quest 4 GORE-TEXby Salomon

4. Not Bringing the Right Sleeping Gear

Since your backpacking trip will likely span over a few days, you will need to prepare for overnight camping in the woods. A common mistake many rookie backpackers make is not bringing the right sleeping gear on their trip. Remember, weather plays a significant part in helping you decide which backpacking sleeping bags and camping tents to invest in.

Look for well-designed and spacious Amazon tents for campers if you want to have a peaceful night. Tents like the Coleman Sundome Amazon Tent help you stay protected from rain, harsh winds, direct sunlight, and bugs. You can also choose between the best budget backpacking sleeping bags like the ones listed below:

  1. Western Mountaineering MegaLite
  2. Mountain Hardwear Bishop Pass 30
  3. REI Co-op Trailbreak 30
 A woman standing next to her tent in the mountains

5. Being Too Spontaneous or Ambitious

It is generally good to push your limits and try to accomplish tough tasks. However, this attitude might not be the most suitable one to have when it comes to backpacking. You should be realistic about how much you can endure on a hike. If you feel like a 3-week backpacking trip would be too long for you, then cut the duration short. It is especially important for beginners to set realistic and achievable goals for their first few backpacking trips. Planning a trip that is too ambitious and involves too many physically demanding tasks can tire you out much faster.

You should also try not to be a spontaneous backpacker. Many seasoned backpackers set off on a hike without much planning or preparation. Their experience allows them to do this, but it is something you do not have as a beginner. So, take your time to properly plan out every aspect of your trip.

6. Not Bringing Important Hiking Gear

Many first-time hikers and backpackers do not feel the need to carry seemingly unnecessary hiking gear. This can include trekking poles and navigation gear. However, not bringing such items on your hike can be a big mistake!

Invest in high-quality trekking poles from Amazon, even if you feel like you can hike without them. Using trekking poles can significantly reduce the strain on your muscles when hiking. It can also allow you to move around more freely. Additionally, carry navigational devices like a GPS tracker, topographical map, and/or compasses. This way, you will be able to navigate the wilderness more accurately instead of getting lost.

Good luck with your trip!

A red backpack with hiking gear, trekking poles, and a mat

Discover the Best Hiking Gear via Our Expert Reviews!

The Back Country Gear website is designed to help outdoor adventurers find the resources they need. Whether you are looking for the Best Inflatable Paddle Boards 2023 or the best Amazon tents for campers, our blogs can help you find all of them. We rank the Best Hiking Boots for Men, backpacking, and other outdoor gear to help you find great quality products at competitive rates.

If you have any questions, feel free to contact us.

A person hiking with a backpack in the mountains.
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