Hiking is very popular. But the supposedly cute daily commute can quickly become ugly if you don’t pay attention to certain things. We’ll introduce you to common mistakes, show you how to avoid them and what you should generally pay attention to when hiking.
Hiking not only strengthens the body, but it has also been shown to strengthen the mind. According to a study conducted by the Christian Doppler University Hospital in Salzburg, a person who takes long walks reduces stress, improves the quality of their sleep and can also prevent or relieve depression at the same time.
However, in order to achieve a successful hike, you also need to think about one or the other. So we’ll show you the most common hiking mistakes, how to avoid them, and what else to watch out for.
1. Too little preparation and too much confidence
Before you start your hiking tour, you should prepare first and educate yourself well. Find the planned route as well as the weather at the time of the flight. Also pay attention to the length of the path, the number of meters you have to cross, and the difficulty level of the path. Under no circumstances should you do runs above your fitness level.
Hikers often overestimate themselves or take tricky trails that can only be mastered with the right equipment. This can have dire consequences: Two years ago, hiking was the mountain sport with the highest number of deaths. In addition to falls and accidents, circulatory failure is one of the most common causes of death when hiking. That is why it is important to prepare yourself adequately and never choose highly demanding methods.
2. Wrong or inappropriate shoes
The right footwear is also essential for a safe walk. Stumbling, slipping or falling are among the first causes of accidents when hiking. So you should make sure that your walking shoes have a decent shape and fit properly.
Even when accidents can be avoided, water or blood blisters on your feet are painful and annoying. With the right shoe, you can avoid this. Therefore, you should pay attention to the following points:
- Size and fit
It is especially important that the shoes are the right fit and the right size, i.e. not too big or too small. There should be a width of the thumb between your toes and the front of the shoe so that you do not hit the front when running downhill. In addition, the shoe should not be too wide. While a little freedom of movement will help prevent blisters, your heels shouldn’t rise more than an inch when you walk.
- Processing and materials
A good walking shoe should not only fit comfortably and securely, but also last a long time. Therefore, the shoe must be well made. Pay attention to clean seams and high-quality materials – you shouldn’t sweat or sweat in the shoes. With the sole, you must ensure a good grip and that it attaches well to the shoe.
- Shoes for men and women
Hiking shoes often come in two forms: men’s and women’s. In this case, you should choose the right shoe, since shoes are especially suitable for the “male” or “female” foot.
Classic sneakers or hiking sandals can be enough for short walks, but they are not suitable for real hiking. They do not provide adequate protection and are uncomfortable and unhealthy for the feet in the long run.
You can read about the best hiking boots currently, good and cheap at the same time, and what you should look for when buying hiking boots in our detailed guide to buying hiking boots.
Hiking shoe test winner: Salewa Alp Trainer Mid GTX
From about 150 EUR
3. Wrong equipment and hiking clothing
Anyone planning a short walk in the nearby park or woods does not have to throw themselves into full hiking gear. On the other hand, if you have planned a longer hike, for example in the mountains, then you should definitely go to Appropriate clothing and equipment consideration. In addition to the hiking boots from the previous paragraph, this also includes the following, depending on the weather and altitude:
- Hiking Backpack
Backpack capacity of 25 liters is enough for a day trip. It should be comfortable enough to wear, light and above all practical to use. You don’t have to spend a fortune to get a good backpack that will accompany you on your hiking trips for many years. We have already tested the hiking backpacks: you will get a test winner .
- work clothes
Appropriate clothing is critical to successful hiking. If you wear jeans and a T-shirt, you run the risk of muscle tension or catching a cold. The reason: a shirt made of cotton that absorbs sweat and rubs against the skin. It is often windy at higher altitudes. Then the cold shirt sticks to your skin and you could get sick. So functional clothing is especially important when hiking. It dries faster or doesn’t get wet even when you sweat. Our colleagues from FIT FOR FUN answer the most important questions about functional clothing here. Our tip: Use the onion technique, so you can take your clothes off if you’re too warm or wear them if you’re cold. At altitudes of 3,000 meters or more, you should also consider gloves and hats.
- rain jacket
The weather can change quickly especially in mountainous areas. So it comes in handy if you have a rain jacket stowed in your backpack. We tested 18 models. Test winners are very expensive at less than 300 euros. Our price tip is much cheaper: You can actually get Marmot Recip .
- walking sticks
If you hike a lot, it’s also helpful to have hiking poles with you. They protect the joints and relax the muscles because the poles transfer part of the weight from the legs to the arms. This is especially noticeable when landing, because braking is easier. The test winner of ÖKO-TEST (10/2018) is no longer available online, but you can use the following form .
Be safe on the road
If you pay attention to the three points mentioned and prepare well, nothing stands in the way of a successful hiking trip. Pack enough water and provisions, take enough breaks, check the opening times of the huts you pass and plan a break.
A full smartphone battery and power bank can also come in handy for making calls or checking the route in an emergency.