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Hiking is an amazing opportunity to soak in nature, get in touch with your self AND get a great workout in. However, without proper planning, it can also be an opportunity for disaster. By adhering to the following tips, you will be ready to take on the trail with confidence.

Not Breaking in Gear

This common mistake presents in two ways. Beginner hikers often hit the trail wearing brand new gear. You may get lucky and feel comfortable in everything, but chances are that something will begin to cause you pain if it hasn’t been properly broken in. This goes for hiking boots especially. Wear your new hiking boots around your house, inside and out for at least two weeks before taking them out. They need to be molded to your foot in order to provide stability and comfort.

The other gear beginners often forget to break in is their tent. It is highly recommended that you set your tent up before you go for an overnight hike. Not only will it provide you with practice, it will give you the opportunity to ensure you have all of the correct parts and pieces to your tent.

Insufficient Planning

What does planning for a hike entail? Basically, think about anything that could possibly go wrong on the trail and plan for it. Read up on the codes and regulations of the area you are hiking in. Leave a trail plan with family or friends and check in with them, especially if you are going on a hike for more than three days.

Ignoring the Weather

Mother Nature will be your best friend and your worst enemy on the trail. Without looking at the forecast ahead of time, she will most likely be your worst enemy. It is imperative that you check the forecast before heading out on your hike. If it calls for rain, expect rain. Pack extra clothing rainwear. You may get lucky and have endless days of sunshine, but most likely you will experience some type of weather event while hiking. Ask other hikers about what the conditions are like at your hiking spot and keep a close eye on the forecast!

Some mistakes in life are funny to look back on, but some can have dangerous effects. Because Mother Nature is so unpredictable, it is extremely important to plan for worst and hope for the best when it comes to weather. There are many aspects of hiking that you can control though. By breaking in your gear ahead of time and planning as much as possible, you will start your hike off on the right foot!