Hiking is the fourth most popular outdoor activity in the US, thanks to the variety of stunning trails.

There’s no better way to spend a weekend than hiking with friends to get your daily exercise, discover new places, and immerse yourself in nature. But whether you’re a newbie or a pro, there are common hiking mistakes we’re all guilty of.

Not sure what they are? Don’t worry. We’ve got your back. Here are the six top ones.

1. Wearing Cotton

When packing the essentials for camping, make sure you’re bringing the right clothes. Ditch your cotton t-shirts because when you sweat, the fabric absorbs most moisture except for a wet layer on your skin. Instead, wear wicking fabrics like wool as they transfer your sweat away from your body, so it’s more comfortable.

2. Not Breaking in Your Hiking Boots

One of the benefits of hiking is getting new boots, but you must break them in. If not, the stiff upper material will cause stinging blisters, not ideal when you’re walking all day.

To prevent this, regularly wear your hiking boots several weeks before going camping, so they’re properly broken in.

3. Running Out of Food

Before checking out options for trails, make sure you’ve packed enough food and water. It’s important to load up on meals that are packed with protein, good fats, and carbs to keep you energized. As a general rule, pack several bottles of water for a two-hour hike, so you stay hydrated.

Another common mistake is skipping breakfast before hiking. To get you prepared, eat fiber- and protein-rich food like yogurt with fruit or eggs on toast.

4. Not Checking the Weather

Don’t ruin your day hiking with friends by forgetting to check the weather forecast. Stay updated with weather apps and lookout for signs of a storm like cloudy skies and southerly winds. If you’re caught in bad weather, find a sheltered area away from trees because they’re prone to lightning strikes.

5. Leaving too Late

Know how long the hike will take because you don’t want to be caught in the dark. For instance, don’t leave for an eight-hour hike at 3 PM. If you’ve misplanned, cut the hike and head back earlier.

6. Not Using a Map

Not only is a map common hiking gear, but it’s crucial when you’re navigating trails. Even if you’ve hiked a route multiple times, have your phone’s GPS and a paper map on you. Also, pack a solar-powered charger in case of an emergency.

Those Are the Top Hiking Mistakes

Now you know the most popular hiking mistakes.

Be prepared, so you know the weather forecast, have backup navigational tools, and bring the right clothes. Make sure you have plenty of time for the hike and pack enough energizing food for the hike. Have fun!

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