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Backpacker Magazine – May 2013

First Night Out: Top 10 Rookie Mistakes

Dodge these common errors with our prevention primer.

by: Sarah L. Stewart and Elisabeth Kwak-Hefferan

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Top 10 Rookie Mistakes (Photo by Jeffrey Dmytrowich)
Top 10 Rookie Mistakes (Photo by Jeffrey Dmytrowich)

»6. Overpacking Resist the urge to haul extra pants or excess meals and fuel, “just in case.”

»7. Taking a shortcut It’s too easy to get lost when you leave the trail, and cutting switchbacks causes erosion.

»8. Not packing spares Always stash extra batteries (for headlamp, GPS) and a firestarter (like waterproof matches) in your pack.

»9. Getting gear wet In the rain, keep essentials dry by packing items inside waterproof stuffsacks. Open your pack only if absolutely necessary.

»10. Storing gear incorecctly Stuffing a wet tent in its stuffsack is an invitation for fabric-ruining mildew. Always thoroughly air-dry at home before storing. Get more tips in our Complete Guide to to Outdoor Gear Maintenance and Repair ($20; falcon.com).
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READERS COMMENTS

Star Star Star Star Star
PJR
Mar 07, 2014

One of our early learning experiences involved pitching our tent in what turned out to be a bowl. The ground looked flat and level in the dusky evening light, but later that night it rained. We awoke in the dark with big bubbles pushed up in the tent floor. The floor did not leak, but if another inch of water had gathered in the bowl, water would have spilled in through the door turning the learning experience into a crisis as temps were near freezing.

Star Star Star
M
Feb 08, 2014

#6 packing extras, #8 not packing extras, lol

Star Star Star Star Star
AZ Hiker
Jun 11, 2013

Avoid most Rookie Mistakes by reading "Felix the Sugar Glider Be Safe Hike Smart" (Amazon). The ability to know your way and know where you are is something we all need in any survival situation not just while hiking. Stay found by using a compass and paying attention to your surroundings. A compass doesn't need a signal or batteries and works in all types of weather but you need to know how to use it and "Felix the Sugar Glider Be Safe Hike Smart" (Amazon) makes learning how to use a compass easy. Orient yourself day or night by using a compass, a compass and a map, a map and no compass, no compass and no map. This book is for all ages. It's only 34 pages and illustrated.

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