When it comes to hiking, there are lots of rules that everyone should follow. Hikers know that they need to bring water and a backpack with them when they hike, and they know that they should always plan their route before setting off.
However, there are lots of myths about backpacking equipment that hikers believe. These myths may seem harmless, but they can end up costing you a lot of money—and some myths will even put you in danger.
Before you buy your backpacking equipment, check out these popular backpacking equipment myths to make sure that you only buy the things that you really need.
Myth: You Don’t Need A Map If You Have GPS
Lots of people don’t use a map as they have GPS on their phone, but this can be a risky move. Hikers should always carry a map of the area they are hiking in, and it can also be useful to bring a compass. This is because GPS devices (such as Sat Nav and your mobile phone) can run out of charge so you can’t rely on them if you are hiking for a few days at a time. Mobile GPS also normally requires the internet to work, which will quickly drain your battery.
If you don’t want to be stranded in the backcountry, make sure to pack a map as well as your GPS.
Myth: You Need Hiking Boots
If you are new to hiking, it is likely that someone has already told you that you need to buy hiking boots. This is actually untrue; lots of long distance hikers don’t wear hiking boots anymore! This is because hiking boots are quite heavy and big, so they can be unpleasant to wear in hot weather. They also take a long time to dry when they get wet.
This is why lots of hikers choose to hike in running shoes instead. Running shoes are lightweight and they dry quickly, so they are ideal for anyone who is hiking in a warm climate—but if you live in a cold, snowy area, hiking boots will be more appropriate.
Myth: A Two Person Tent Is For Two People (and Their Gear)
Two person tents are designed for two people, so it is normal to assume that they can comfortably fit two people. However, most two person tents are far too small for people who are hiking, as hikers tend to have a lot of hiking gear with them. Since there is very little floor room inside the tent all of the indoor space is dedicated to sleeping, so this means there isn’t anywhere to store your gear.
If you want to make sure that you buy a tent with room for two people and their hiking gear, invest in a three person tent. It is also useful to buy a tent with doors; that way you and your friend can get up in the night without waking each other up!
Myth: You Need To Wear Head-To-Toe Professional Hiking Wear
Some people would like you to believe that you need to wear professional athletic clothes to hike, but this is rarely the case. Most hikers buy a good waterproof jacket, hiking shoes and a hiking backpack, and then they just wear clothes they already have. This is much cheaper than buying new clothes that you don’t need, and it is normally all you need.
Myth: You Need A Four Season Tent If You Are Camping In Winter
Four season tents are designed for all types of weather, but most three season tents work just as well during winter. This is because they are still designed for cold weather and light snow. If you are camping in an area with very heavy snow you may need to buy a four season tent, but if the snow is light a three season tent should do the job perfectly—just make sure that you have a sleeping bag that is designed for cold weather.
Myth: You need a Backpack Rain Cover
Backpack rain covers are advertised as an essential part of hiking, but most rain covers are actually inconvenient. They easily get ripped and torn off, and once this happens your back will get wet anyway. Instead you can put your items inside a plastic bag, and then put the plastic bag in the backpack. This will keep your items safe and dry! Or you could just buy a waterproof pack.