Sometimes we get so focused on the big picture, we tend to forget the little issues that are just as valid, if not more so. This brief but important list provides you with five points to keep in mind to help you avoid the Gear Fail Hall of Shame.
1. Leaving Food In Your Backpack – It’s common knowledge to not leave food out and to “leave no trace” on the campsites, but what if you have open food in your backpack? Remember, open food left anywhere will cause animals to approach, which can lead to potential harm and destruction to you, your gear or both.
2. Not Properly Using Trekking Poles – Depending if your hike is downhill, uphill, or on flat terrain, there are different ways to adjust your technique when using trekking poles. However, one good rule of thumb is to “use the straps”, which provide you with more stability. Did we mention it’s safer?
3. Hiking Too Far in a Fresh Pair of Boots – Excited about covering some ground in those nice new boots? Not so fast! Consider an enemy most of us are all familiar with…BLISTERS! There is nothing wrong with taking a short hike to break those boots in before venturing out for a longer journey. You certainly don’t want to discover a growing pain in your foot miles away from camp.
4. Storing Wet Gear – Yes, at times you just want to simply get on with your adventure and not worry too much over what may appear to be a little thing. As it turns out, if it rains and you decide to avoid drying your gear, it can all lead to mildew. Do your best to dry your gear so you don’t get stuck in gear labor hell trying to scrub all the mildew that can develop by the time you get back to home base.
5. Compass & Maps – So, you have your map and you have your compass and you’re feeling pretty damn good about yourself. Keep in mind that it’s crucial for you to always remember that maps orient toward grid north and the compass towards magnetic north. Don’t forget the declination.