Whether it is a first-timer on a short hike near their home or a multi-day excursion on the other side of the country, safety should always be a hiker’s number one priority. Many outdoor enthusiasts may have a general knowledge of safety tips and tricks when out in the wild, but it is also important to have a healthy dose of respect for nature and just how dangerous it can be. Here is a closer look at five safety tips that should never be ignored when heading out on a hike.
Pick a Location and Stick to It
A little improvisation to catch a view or explore an interesting area is not a terrible idea in most situations, but those heading outdoors should stay relatively close to their planned hike. This is necessary for a couple of reasons, beginning with the fact that family, friends, and park rangers should know where the hiker plans on being and for how long. Heading off of the trail could also mean finding oneself in an unsafe situation such as an area prone to animal attacks.
Bring More Water than is Needed
Water is often the heaviest item brought along during a hike, and this leads to many under-preparing with their water supply. In addition to hydrating before and after a hike, it is also vital to pack quite a bit more than one thinks they will need, preferably in shatter-resistant bottles. Anyone that is going on a hike that will take longer than a few hours should bring a secondary source of water and never drink untreated water. Some of the most popular options include purification tablets or a filtering stick.
Learn How to Treat All Basic Medical Issues
Medical kits that are designed for the outdoors are lightweight and will include tools to treat all of the most common issues that may take place. Instead of using a heavier and larger kit, such as those designed to be stored in the trunk of a vehicle, hiking kits should include basic items such bandages of different sizes, burn treatments, lip balm, sunscreen, a multi-tool, and cleaning pads. When creating these kits, it is also a good time to begin considering medical wristbands that could prevent mishaps if one is injured and in need of professional medical attention.
Stay Loud, Stay Visible
Staying visible and noisy to both humans and any wildlife that may potentially be around could help hikers prevent some serious issues. For wildlife, heavy footfalls or even whistling will scare almost all animals off, even predators in many situations. Having bright clothing and something like an emergency whistle to make noise could also help a hiker be found by a search party if they are lost or in need of help.
No matter how prepared an outdoor enthusiast may be, accidents can happen and adrenaline is sure to set in if they do happen. When this takes place, it can be all too easy to succumb to fear which will result in bad decision making skills and wasted energy. While no one will understand how they will react until they are put in one of these situations, it is important to always take a moment, relax one’s nerves, and then think through the problem logically.
There are countless variables that will affect the safety of a hiker, and not all of these variables can be controlled by those that are enjoying the great outdoors. With some forward planning, researching the area, and knowing one’s limits, many potentially dangerous situations can be easily avoided.
Karleia is a freelance blogger and outdoor enthusiast. You can follow Karleia on Google+.