This Hiking Mistake Is Common, But Preventable

By the Wild Women On Top Team

Trek Training coach Maryanne Spiers ticks all the boxes for being a kick-arse Wild Woman. She's a mother of two boys, a passionate volunteer surf lifesaver at her local Bilgola Beach, and the coach of our South-Easties Trek Training sessions.

Maryanne also works tirelessly behind the scenes at Wild Women, helping bring together the magical trips and training we release every season. She's just come back from a wild winter adventure in the frigid mountains of New Zealand, where she skiied and hiked around Craigieburn Haute Route. The adventure had its challenges, with the team of six teetering on the edges of icy cliffs with limited visibility. 

A hiker for over 20 years, Maryanne is experienced in the wild. She shares the most common hiking mistake she sees, and lists the gear she never forgets to pack on a hike.

What hiking gear are you loving most right now?

My new Black Diamond Cirque45 pack! I love it. It's light-weight, water-proof, and has easy access. It's pricey, but it's worth investing in good equipment.

What’s the key to an epic adventure?

Set challenging goals and try to do something that you haven't done before. Firsts are amazing!

What are five things you always have in your backpack when hiking?

A spare Nalgene bottle for electrolytes, blister dressings, a first-aid kit, a headtorch, a spare waterproof or mid-layer jacket. And snacks!

What’s the most common hiking mistake you see?

Not being prepared with the right equipment. Keeping things light and compact is really the way to go when you’re out in the wilderness for extended periods, but not at the expense of having the necessities. I experienced this recently on my mountain touring trip over four nights. I packed a spare downjacket, but I didn't take it with me in my pack. Winter in the mountains can be unpredictable and having the proper gear and preparation really makes the difference.

What’s the best hike you’ve ever done and what made it so epic?

The most memorable hike would be one close to home, a winter adventure up Mt Kosciuszko and the Blue Lakes with my brother many years ago.

We hiked with skis equipped with skins, to allow us to walk with them uphill, all the way up to the summit. We then went across to Mount Townsend and the Blue Lakes, skiing untracked snow drifts and chutes along the way.

Our trouble with our snow tents topped off the experience. They were supposed to be waterproof, but weren’t! We spent a cold and miserable night trying to stay warm and dry. Luckily, out little burner worked and we were able to have a hot cup of coffee in the morning.

Which hiking destination is at the top of your bucket list and why?

I’ve always wanted to climb the Seven Summits. It’s a challenge that gets me excited about staying fit and healthy.

What’s your top hiking tip?

I have a few. The first would be enjoy the moment, no matter what. The second is make sure you have a checklist. The third would be to wear the right shoes and socks.

Are you ready to join us in the wild? Find your next adventure


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