It is not hard to figure out why hiking is such a desirable pastime. Some hiking trails run across state lines and cover a country’s most beautiful natural spots. Most people already know that hiking comes with great physical demands like walking for hours with a backpack of heavy supplies. Carrying a heavy load and walking for miles in an open territory are reasons why hikers should learn how to stay safe during their treks.
Preparing for a hiking trip well beforehand is the most important step for hikers. When they travel into unknown territories, they should know exactly what they are getting themselves into and take the highest precautions. Hikers are encouraged to have companions since they will be traveling a long distance on foot and the outdoors will make them very open to harm. These are some of the most important hints and tips I can offer to help you have a better time hiking. Some are discussed on other pages of the site, while others are miscellaneous items just listed here. Have a great hike!
1. Map and compass/GPS. A map and compass not only tell you where you are and how far you have to go, it can help you find campsites, water, and an emergency exit route in case of an accident. While GPS units are very useful, always carry a map and compass as a backup.
2. Appropriate footwear. For a short day hike that doesn’t involve a heavy pack or technical terrain, trail shoes are great. For longer hikes, carrying heavier loads, or more technical terrain, hiking boots offer more support.
3. First aid kit. Prepackaged first-aid kits for hikers are available at any outfitter. Double your effectiveness with knowledge: take a first-aid class with the American Red Cross or a Wilderness First Aid class.
4. Extra water and a way to purify it. Without enough water, your body’s muscles and organs simply can’t perform as well. Consuming too little water will not only make you thirsty, but susceptible to hypothermia and altitude sickness.
5. Sun screen and sun glasses. Especially above treeline when there is a skin-scorching combination of sun and snow, you’ll need sunglasses to prevent snow blindness and sunscreen to prevent sunburn.
6. Extra food. Any number of things could keep you out longer than expected: getting lost, enjoying time by a stream, an injury, or difficult terrain. Extra food will help keep up energy and morale.
7. Rain gear and extra clothing. Because the weatherman is not always right. Dressing in layers allows you to adjust to changing weather and activity levels. Two rules: avoid cotton (it keeps moisture close to your skin) and always carry a hat.
8. Safety items: fire, light, and a whistle. The warmth of a fire and a hot drink can help prevent hypothermia. Fires are also a great way to signal for help if you get lost. If lost, you’ll also want the whistle as it is more effective than using your voice to call for help (use 3 short bursts). And just in case you’re out later than planned, a flashlight/headlamp is a must-have item to see your map and where you’re walking.
9. Daypack/backpack. You’ll want something you can carry comfortably and has the features designed to keep you hiking smartly. Don’t forget the rain cover; some packs come with one built-in. Keep the other essentials in the backpack and you’ll always be ready to hit the trail safely.
10. Knife or multi-purpose tool. These enable you to cut strips of cloth into bandages, remove splinters, fix broken eyeglasses, and perform a whole host of repairs on malfunctioning gear.
A mistake has the power to bring minor discomfort to hikers or it can cost them their lives. Many outdoor adventurers make mistakes but the greatest and most experienced ones will learn from their mishaps or prevent them altogether. Common hiking mistakes happen from simple carelessness like choosing the wrong path or not bringing a map. With a single mistake, hikers can lose many hours if they get hopelessly lost or even lose thousands of dollars if they lose valuable safety equipment. The best hikers will know how to avoid typical mistakes that are committed every day on the trail.
Hiking is great way to spend a day outdoors and a rewarding way to get exercise. However, before heading out on the trails, make sure you are prepared. Never take a quick look at a hike description in a book or on a site like this and just head out into the woods, no matter how easy the hike may appear. Planning ahead will greatly increase both your safety and your enjoyment of the hike. I hope the above information has been helpful. Contact me here if you need more help planning your trip!