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The Wrong Way: Top 52 Hiker Mistakes

Your guide to 52 common mistakes hikers make--and how to avoid them.
wrong wayDon't get caught in the dark with these tips. (Supercorn)

FOOD AND WATER

45. EATING BLAH MEALS
Plain noodles do not a dinner make. Break out of your rut by adding tasty items like dried fruits and veggies; precooked packets of chicken or fish; cheese (hard ones last a week); nuts; tomato paste tubes; and packets of spices (Italian, Mexican, Asian). Here are three ideas (more at backpacker.com/recipecenter):

>> Asian-flavor ramen, plus peanuts
and two tablespoons peanut butter

>> Wild rice, chicken, craisins

>> Instant potatoes, cheddar, tuna

46. WASTING FUEL
Up efficiency with liquid-fuel stoves by using an aluminum windscreen. Don’t put screens around canisters (they can explode), but cook in a sheltered spot

47. PACKING TOO MUCH FOOD
Aim for 2.5 lbs./person/day and 4,000 calories.

48. RUNNING THE TANK DRY
Carry at least three liters of water on any hike over five miles, or during hot or humid conditions. Also, don’t assume you’ll find water along the trail. Check with maps, guidebooks, and rangers to locate reliable sources.

49. FOILED WATER FILTERS
>> Not backflushing When your filter slows down or
gets harder to use, reverse the flow valves and pump several
times to clear out grime. (Follow your pump’s instructions.)

>> Pumping silty water This will clog your purifier. Use a prefilter,
or wrap a coffee filter around the pump’s nozzle, or
let dirt settle in a pot before pumping.

>> Collecting H20 at trail crossings Move several yards upstream
to reduce contamination from passing hikers.

50.  USING A KNIFE AS A LEVER
Snap! goes the tip.

51 NOT BRINGING ENOUGH FUEL
Figure about 2.5 oz. per person per day in summer, and 7.5 oz. in winter

52. HYDRATION BLUNDERS
>> Letting water freeze On subzero nights stow bottles in sleeping bag.

>> Not replacing electrolytes Low levels of sodium (lost in sweat) can cause sometimes-fatal hyponatremia. Consume salty foods or sport drinks.

>> Getting dehydrated An active person loses two liters per hour in very hot weather, and about half a liter in temperate conditions. Drink enough that your pee is nearly clear.

>> Failing to toast at trip’s end Our staff
splits between scotch (ultralight) and a trailhead cooler (ultrarefreshing).

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