It seems lately there’s always a story on the news about someone disappearing in the wilderness while camping or hiking. Since these are our favorite activities, we want to share a few tips that will help you enjoy your adventuring and leave this kind of concern at home on the nightly news channel.
Preparation is Key
If you’re heading out for a hike, long or short:
- Let someone else know where you’ll be going, and agree on a time to check-in.
- Pack for a number of different scenarios such as rain, heat, injury, or hunger.
- Be sure your first aid kit has been replenished with any used/missing items.
- Consider using a water filtration kit to help keep the weight of your pack down and your water levels up. Dehydration is dangerous on almost any hike longer than a couple hours.
Even when forecasts call for sunshine, you can find yourself all wet out on the trail. Luckily, rain gear is pretty light.
- Pack a poncho, plastic storage zipper bags, dry bags, and a tarp to make a shelter.
- Take extra caution when hiking in the rain since trails can be slick and easily turn into wash ways for flash floods.
- Pack a change of clothes. Staying dry is very important while hiking in cooler climates to avoid hypothermia.
- Have your gear treated for rain.
Cut Your Gear
- Leave any unnecessary bits behind. After a couple hours on the trail, you can really start to feel each pound. For example, pour up a small container full of your favorite bug spray instead of taking the whole big bottle.
Hike in a Group
- You should always have at least one buddy along for the hike if you plan on hiking a low-traffic trail. They can help with any unpleasant circumstances like an injury.
- A group can also distribute gear between them and make the trip lighter for smaller hikers or children who may be along.
No Cotton Clothing
Long distance hikers will know that cotton clothes will get wet easily and stay that way for a long time. If you’re in an arid climate, that can be helpful to keep you cool, but in most cases, cotton is great for your bandana, not your shirt.
Your Gear Should Fit You
If your pack is too tight or your shoes too big (or vice-a-versa), you’ll be miserable in no time. Wear well broken-in shoes and a backpack that has been adjusted to your frame. Packs with padded waist belts and adjustable torso supports will allow you to shift the weight to different positions while hiking so you don’t wear one muscle group out too quickly. See our post on picking hiking shoes for more tips (posts about backpack choice and fit coming soon).
Stay Organized Throughout the Hike
Our final tip is this: If you get it out, put it back in the same place. Sometimes on a hike you need to be able to respond quickly with water or a compress. It’s important to have these kinds of items handy and know just which pocket it is in.
As always, there’s more fun to be had when everyone is safely enjoying the adventure.
Share with us some of your favorite hiking safety tips!