Debunking 5 Common Hiking Gear Myths

You ever hear a piece of advice so out there and so crazy that you thought to yourself, “Wait, what?”

As a former outdoors sales associate I’ve heard some doozies over the years. When it comes to camping and hiking, you may want to get a second opinion regarding some of the common myths associated with the outdoors. Here are six we debunked.

2-Person Tents are Enough for 2 People

They may say “2-Person” on the label, but most 2-person tents are actually a very tight fit for two people. In fact, in most models, there’s barely enough floor space for two sleeping pads, making it awkward to do anything except sleep. If you want any extra space in your tent, size up to a 3-person model.

Hiking Boots are a Must

Hiking boots are designed to keep you comfortable, dry and upright on the trail, but they’re not necessary for everyone. Actually, most long distance hikers don’t even wear hiking boots anymore; they opt for running shoes instead. Running shoes are cooler to wear in hot weather, dry faster when they get wet and are much softer than hiking boots, meaning less blisters.

Buy a 4-Person Tent for Winter Camping

Most 3-season backpacking tents work just as well in winter as they do during the rest of the year. There’s no reason you can’t camp in winter using your existing tent, especially if you have a warm sleeping bag rated for cold temperatures. If you are facing heavy snow, though, and want some extra assurance, a tent with steep walls is best.

Waterproof Boots Keep Your Feet Dry

Many of us look first for the “waterproof” symbol when shopping for boots. The truth is, though, that can just be a word sometimes. Unless you’re hiking in winter, when waterproof boots can increase insulation by trapping warmth, you’re better off hiking in non-leather boots or shoes that have some mesh so that they drain and dry faster when they’re wet or when your feet start sweating.

A GPS is All You Need

This one is a gimme. Only an idiot would head into the woods without a map or compass, even with a GPS. GPS devices can complement a map and compass, but they don’t replace them altogether. Not only should you always carry a map and compass, but you should also learn how to use them by checking out orienteering classes near you.

Photo credit: Dreamstime