If you’re thinking about hiking and want to be prepared, safe and comfortable, it’s important to distinguish fact from fiction. Here are 5 most common myths about hiking that just aren’t true.
Myth 1: You need “bushcraft skills”
As we’ve written in a separate blog post about bushcraft, you don’t have to and actually shouldn’t do most of the things that “bushcraft” bloggers and YouTubers are trying to teach you.
In most cases you will not need to make any fires (please use a camping stove to cook food and purify water) or build shelters (you can sleep very comfortably under a tent or tarp). In case you do need to make a fire, we have a blog post that teaches you how to make a fire safely and easily.
Most “bushcraft” kind of contradicts responsible hiking principles and “leave no trace”.
Myth 2: hiking takes up a lot of time
When you follow hikers on Instagram they seem to be hiking all the time. Actually, most hikers we talk to make longer trips 1-2 times a year and mostly do weekend hikes or day hikes. Everyone has work, family and friends. Most people can’t be on the road full time.
The good thing is, most hiking gear you buy will last you for a very long time. You can use tents, tarps, your backpack and even sleeping bags for decades. In case you need help to buy the clothes and gears you need to get going, here’s a blog post that lists every single item you will need on a day hike.
Hiking isn’t very time consuming at all.
Myth 3: hygiene is a challenge and hiking will be awkward because there’s no shower and bathroom
As most hikers will tell you, that is not actually an issue at all. We have a separate blog post about hiking and hygiene, which explains this in detail.
I promise, you will be just fine and feel great, even if you spend 3-4 days in the outdoors.
Myth 4: you need a lot of expensive gear, to go hiking
Of course, you need to buy equipment, just like you would, if you wanted to take up surfing or skiing. And hiking gear and clothes will cost more than yoga pants and running shoes. But you can get started without spending all your money and gradually build up your gear and clothes.
We started out with hiking boots, a little daypack, a thermos and some cups and did amazing day hikes with just this gear. Then we gradually started buying things like a warm base layer, breathable waterproof jackets and then a tent, sleeping bags etc.
We recommend that you read our blog about how to get started with hiking for many more tips on how to begin.
Myth 5: you need to be very fit for hiking
Actually, not true at all. You need to be in reasonable shape to hike for longer distances or carry a heavy backpack. Shorter hikes are actually very good for you if your fitness level is not high – it’s easier than running or lifting weights and probably more beneficial for your health. And if you watch what you eat and move more, your fitness level will increase over time.
We’ve written about more about the benefits of hiking here. In addition to that hiking is actually really good for your mental and spiritual wellbeing. We’ve written at length about it in our blogpost about the incredible mindfulness of walking.