Safety Tips for Hiking

Do you love the outdoors? Are you constantly researching trails and looking forward to your next hike? Hiking is a fun way to exercise and interact with nature. Many nature lovers and fitness enthusiasts enjoy engaging in this activity whenever possible. It is incredibly fantastic if you are seeking to spice up your workout regimen and find more ways of exercising your body. If you are new to this hiking world, you might not know the safety tips that you should use to have a more fulfilling hiking experience. You have come to the right place. Here are some of the vital safety tips you should keep in mind every time you step out for a hike:

1.       Make an itinerary and give a copy to someone who will not be going for a hike with you

When it comes to hiking, things don’t always go as expected. You might fall and injure yourself, making it challenging to finish the hike. Additionally, hiking trails usually have no connectivity network, so it might be impossible for you to call anyone and request help if something goes wrong. Therefore, you must write an itinerary and include crucial information such as the time and the area you started from, where you are going, the path you will follow, and the time you expect to complete the hike. When estimating the time, remember that it is difficult to speculate the hike’s duration, especially when walking through the terrain. So, it will be best if you give yourself a flexible schedule. You can provide the itinerary to a loved one or the park officials. If you delay returning, the person with the itinerary can give it to the search and rescue team to facilitate a speedy recovery process.

2.       Be physically fit

Hiking is a strenuous activity. It will help if you are healthy and physically fit before walking into the wilderness. Focus on your balance and conditioning. Ensure that you can tackle the trail you choose. When exploring your hiking passion, begin with medium hikes and increase your endurance as time goes on.

3.       Go with a friend if possible

It is advisable to avoid going on a hike alone. If you don’t have a choice but to hike alone, ensure you choose trails that many people frequent. This way, if you encounter a problem, someone can see you and help you.

4.       Stay hydrated

Drink adequate water to ensure that you stay hydrated. Being out in the open can make you thirsty quickly and take a toll on your body. If you go without water for a long time, you will become quite weak and impair your judgement, making you vulnerable to many dangers in nature like an animal attack or losing consciousness.

5.       Have a whistle on you

Ensure that you carry a whistle. Blow it three times when you have an emergency to alert anyone who is nearby that you need assistance.

6.       Drink safe water

Avoid drinking water from streams or ponds before filtering, boiling, or utilising purification tablets. Many small microorganisms could be present in the water and are invisible to the eye. They could cause life-threatening diseases if ingested.

7.       Don’t stray too far from your group

If you are hiking as a group or with your hiking buddy, ensure you don’t lose sight of them. Stop and get together with all the group members at trail junctions.

8.       Carry all hiking essentials

When hiking, there are several items that you must carry to ensure you have a safe walk and be able to survive. These include;

  •  A first-aid kit
  •  Matches and firestarter
  • Enough food
  •  A knife
  •  A compass
  • A map
  • Extra attire and rain gear
  • Shelter
  • Sunglasses
  • Sunscreen
  • Water and purifying kit
  • Flashlight, headlamp, or lantern

9.       Dress appropriately and wear fitting shoes

Make sure you layer your clothes and carry rain gear in case the weather changes unexpectedly. Don’t carry cotton clothing because it takes a lot of time to dry and insulates badly. Avoid wearing a new pair of boots when going on a long hike because you will have blisters. The shoes should also be sturdy to minimise the chances of getting an injury.

10.   Keep a safe distance from wildlife

If hiking in a state park or near urban areas, you will likely encounter wildlife such as bears, rattlesnakes, and lions. If you meet wildlife along the trail, maintain a safe distance, leave the area slowly, and don’t run. Inform a state parks ranger about your encounter. For snakes especially, be careful where you are stepping. Take care when climbing logs and stones. Confirm that nothing is nearby by stepping on it and then stepping down. Don’t touch or feed any animals. Snakes bite when you go too near or attempt to touch them.

11.   Avoid poisonous plants

Research and find out the poisonous plants that grow in the area you are planning to hike. Some of these plants include oak, sumac, and poison ivy. Learn how to identify them and avoid touching them when you see them.

12.   Leave early

When you decide on the day you will start hiking, ensure that you leave early. At this time of the day, wildlife and birds are more energetic. It is the best time to take photos because the light is just perfect and thunderstorms normally happen in the afternoon. It will also give you more time to prepare for the night if you don’t return home that day.

Wrapping up

Hiking is an exciting and educational activity that anyone can enjoy doing. Going with family or friends is enjoyable because you will create beautiful memories together. Nevertheless, it’s important to remember things can fail to go according to plan, and you will need to plan for such eventualities. Follow the above tips for a safe and enjoyable hike.

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