Don’t Waste Time! 10 Facts Until You Reach Your Hiking

by Aaron Finch

One of the most common mistakes inexperienced hikers make is to trail-bounce like minotaur lake. This means they take a shortcut or just run straight on their first day, sprinting towards their destination without taking in the sights, sounds, and experiences along the way. Experienced hikers know that these types of shortcuts can often be dangerous, so they keep themselves busy with activities to distract them from this urge. Below are ten facts until you reach your destination:

1. Camping

You really should not leave your tent up every night. It takes a long time to set up and take down, and if you have a camp stove and food bag hung, it’s no fun to try to set them all up again in the morning. 

2. Stargazing

Why go camping?  Because you can get away from your noisy city lights and enjoy the stars! However, stargazing requires you to know exactly where north is. If you’re not sure, grab a compass or the app on your phone and learn before you go. The North Star directs us towards the true north, which often differs greatly from the magnetic north (your compass will point south). 

3. Build a fire

You need wood to cook your food. In fact, fire is the only way you can prepare your food for even 10 minutes. You can have a fire in your cooking pot, but don’t try to cook directly over it or it will just burn down your food.

4. Walk on the sand

After a few days hiking the path becomes harder to follow, so you might be tempted to skip there and head straight off into the desert with no map whatsoever. But remember that not only are you risking falling through the dunes yourself, but also leaving a trail of footprints for someone else to follow later on. 

5. Leave no trace

You’ve heard the saying before, but did you know that the larger the group you are in, the more impact you will have on the environment? More people means more trash and toilet paper. You can help by not throwing your trash anywhere and picking up after others when they do.

6. Make your own trail mix

You should carry your own water, because you really don’t want to drink the nasty water you can find in the desert. Since you packed it, it’ll be much more appetizing to drink. Candy bars start to get old after a few days, so my favorite thing to remember from my own hiking trips is to take some time and prepare my own trail mix of nut butter and dried fruit for a snack. 

7. Don’t hike alone

When you go off on your own, you could stumble upon a hidden mountain pass or wade through a desert. This can be a scary thought, especially if you don’t know the area well. It’s a terrible feeling to get lost and be so far from where you started.  make sure you have some sort of way to contact someone if you are lost – phone, map, compass – before setting out. And if you do lose it, let someone know ASAP! 

8. Take your time

You have plenty of time to hike. You don’t have to start every day at dawn for the full epic journey across America, and you don’t need to walk at a specific pace or leave at certain times. Find the pace that is comfortable for you and stick with it! When you’re tired, it can be tempting to skip the hard parts of some trails in order not to get tired again. However, sometimes after you take a rest your body will feel more energized, forcing you to push yourself on that downhill part that felt impossible just yesterday. 

9. Take your water and food with you

If you’re on a long hike and you have extra water, it’s tempting to stop and drink. But don’t stop to rest your feet until you are ready to set up camp. Hydration is key when hiking. It can be a life or death situation if you don’t take enough water. Water is not only an essential part of your hiking trip, but also one of the most heavy items to pack. 

10. Have a backpack ready for car camps

Now that you know how to hike with as little effort as possible, it’s time to talk about car camping! There are lots of benefits from having a backcountry permit and going car camping instead of hiking all the way to your destination: you save time, reduce stress (esp. before and after the trip), and avoid exhausting hikes into remote areas. 


The ultimate goal of the wilderness is to disconnect from the modern world. In order to achieve this, it is important to have a plan before you go out. If you don’t put enough thought into your trip, it can be a stressful experience, and even worse when you’re not prepared.


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