Most Common Mistakes Thru-hikers Make

I see people on the trail make the same mistakes I made and online I see people asking the same kind of questions I asked when I was preparing for my first thru-hike. There’s two realities here. One, there’s most likely more people in the forum you’re asking your question in that haven’t thru-hiked then have. This means most likely they’re just like you and are looking for all the same answers. Two, I bet the percentage of common mistakes among thru-hikers is higher than that of people who agree on which particular pack is the best or any other piece of gear.

My point is, as a new hiker you’re better off not asking others what gear you should use or buy, but instead ask veteran hikers what mistakes they made.

Only you know what gear is going to work best for you, and the only why you’re going to know is to go out and hike (test gear).  Along with learning what gear works for you, you’ll gain Trail Confidence which goes a long way. I can’t stress enough how important experience is. Put the pride/ego aside and go hiking! Don’t let the trail be your first experience!

Below I listed my mistakes and gave tips on how to possibly avoid them. I also surveyed my former thru-hiking friends/partners and asked them what mistakes they made too. It’s my hope other new hikers and thru-hikers can learn from them and hit the trail better prepared.

Top 5 Most Common Thru-hiker Mistakes

  1. Too Big of a Pack
  2. Poor Gear Choices
  3. Food/Mail drop Planning (too much/too little, selection, lack of nutrition)
  4. The Lack of Physical Conditioning
  5. Poor Planning in General (timing, too much/too little planning)

Helpful Links –

Cutting Pack Weight

Mental Side of Going Ultratlight

Triple Crown Gear List

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