Five Myths About Backpacking Equipment Most People Believe

Before you buy your back­pack­ing equip­ment, check out these pop­u­lar myths to make sure you only buy the things that you real­ly need.

hiker with backpacking equipment

When it comes to hik­ing, there are lots of rules that every­one should fol­low. For exam­ple, 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 lots of mon­ey. Some will even put you in danger.

Myth 1. You Don’t Need a Map If You Have a Smartphone/GPS
Many peo­ple don’t use a map as they have GPS on their phone. This can be a risky move. Hik­ers should always car­ry a map of the area they are hik­ing and it can also be use­ful to bring a com­pass. Because tech­nol­o­gy devices can run out of charge, you can’t rely on them when hik­ing for a few days at a time.

It goes with­out say­ing, but mobile phones and GPS also nor­mal­ly require the Inter­net to work, which will quick­ly drain your bat­tery. If you don’t want to be strand­ed in the back­coun­try, it’s best to pack a map as well as your GPS.

Myth 2. 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 3. 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 4. 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 of them are far too small for two peo­ple and all their hik­ing gear. Hik­ers tend to have a lot of hik­ing gear with them. Since there is very lit­tle floor room inside, all of the indoor space is ded­i­cat­ed to sleeping.

So 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 or start pack­ing light­ly.

Myth 5. You Need to Wear Head-to-Toe Pro­fes­sion­al Hik­ing Wear
Last but cer­tain­ly not the least impor­tant les­son. Some peo­ple like to believe they need to wear pro­fes­sion­al ath­let­ic cloth­ing, 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 you don’t need.