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