9 Trail Errors That Could Be Life-Threatening

9 Trail Errors That Could Be Life-Threatening

9 Trail Errors That Could Be Life-Threatening


Making a mistake or error while hiking is certainly not a rare-occurrence. With so many things to remember and pay attention to before and during your hike, everyone should anticipate some kind of obstacle at one point or another. While there’s certain things along the trail that hikers certainly can’t predict, there are aspects of hiking that are in your control. That being said, it’s important to be aware of which human errors could result in an injury or something much worse:

errors, trail, hiking

1. Not Telling Someone Where You’re Going

Though you’re heading out in the wilderness without a cell phone signal or a car, telling someone where you’re going and how long you plan on being away is crucial to your safety. Obviously, if you hurt yourself and the only person who knows where you are is hours away, he or she can still notify authorities close to you if they start to get worried. Don’t be prideful. Just as young adults still tell their parents when they plan on coming home, hikers, no matter their age or ability, should know that this is so important.

2. Not Bringing a Proper First-Aid Kit

While you might not be able to pack rattlesnake anti-venom in your first-aid kit, there are some things in there that can be very useful, even life-saving, if you remembered to bring them along. Being able to have the tools to make a fire, disinfect an awful cut, make a splint, or tie a tourniquet are all extra skills, but having the means to do them easily all depends on what you pack in that handy-dandy kit.

3. Not Treating Water Properly

Although it’s common sense that water needs to be sterilized before drinking it, you’d be surprised how many people might not do so properly. The best way to clean any water is to boil it, but that can be a pain to do at times. That’s why many people invest in water filters or purifiers. Some prefer to use both methods to make 100% that their water is clean, and it’s not a bad idea. Unclean water can hold bacteria and viruses that can be deadly if ingested.

falling rocks, hiking, errors, mistakes

4. Rushing A Hike

Just as with anything in life, rushing something means that it’s not done with care. Just as you shouldn’t rush when driving in a car, you shouldn’t rush when hiking, either. That being said, if you know you’re meant to reach a campsite at a certain time, don’t spend your day dilly-dallying. However, if it looks like the weather is getting bad, you have a pain in your body, you need to rest, or you’re not quite so sure if you made a wrong turn back there, then go at an appropriate pace.

5. Veering Off a Designated Trail

Don’t do it! There’s a reason a trail is lined out for hikers. Even if you’re doing a wilderness trek, you should still know very well what direction you should be going. Have a compass, a map, a GPS; whatever is it. Just don’t go where you’re not supposed to. This can lead to so many dangerous things including, but not limited to getting lost for days (or forever), walking straight into animal territory, or being stranded in a desert.

6. Not Protecting Your Body

If you get a couple of bug bites along the trail, you’ll be fine. If you get bit by a tick carrying Lyme disease, you might not be fine. You must protect yourself against things that can be harmful while hiking. Don’t expose yourself too much to the Sun, extreme weather, or wet conditions. Though the results of these kind of dangers might not show until years later, it’s better to care about it now.

7. Making Assumptions

Hiking is of course all about trying new things. While we’re not trying to discourage you from taking that leap, please be smart about it. If you’re not 100% sure that berry is safe to eat, then don’t do it. Eating a poisonous berry could be very dreadful, and in some extreme cases, life-threatening. This goes for over-estimating your mountain climbing abilities, assuming that hiking in that heat wave isn’t ‘too bad’, or thinking you won’t need that extra layer of clothing along the trail. Though they’re minute things, it’s better to be safe than sorry.

bear, bears, hiking, errors, mistakes, trail

8. Drawing Attention To Yourself

Bears can smell you from very far away. When you’re cooking at your campsite or even when you’re in the midst of hiking, please clean up after yourself, and don’t leave food out for long. Additionally, leave the smelly perfumes, lotions, colognes, or other products at home, because that scent can attract a bear right to you. If you do happen to find yourself in a terrifying animal encounter, you’d feel pretty regretful when you found out the reason was because of your perfume.

9. Not Watching Your Step

The outdoors is unpredictable, which is exactly why you always need to be on the lookout. Unfortunately, many people have died simply by falling off rocks or having rocks fall on them. While some things are unavoidable, don’t let a single misstep or a lack of awareness mean the end of your life.

Don’t make these errors while on the trail. It could save your life!

hanalarock I'm Hana- a freelance travel writer and teacher who currently lives in South Korea. I'm originally from New York, but have spent the last two years traveling and living abroad. My first time hiking in the US was when I traveled around the country as a teenager. Though, my first adult backpacking trip was a year ago, when I hiked from Thailand down to Singapore for a month. I'm looking forward to many more adventures in the future. Visit my site for more information.