If you have an affinity for the great outdoors, chances are you get out and go camping and hiking at every opportunity. Whether you are new to hiking or you’ve been doing it since you could barely walk, it’s important to keep a few basic tips in mind that can help keep you safer out on the trails.
Learn the Area
If you are going to be hiking in an area, you should learn as much as you possibly can about that location. Know where the major trails are and learn some of the landmarks, which can help you orient yourself if you get turned around. You should also learn what types of wild animals and other potential dangers might be in the area, such as flooding. If an area is prone to flooding, for example, it’s best to stay to high ground, especially if the weather looks like it might turn sour. It’s a good idea to get a topographical map of the area too. Never rely on your phone for such things.
Bring the Right Gear
Even when you are going on just a short hike, you want to make sure you have the right gear and equipment with you. Everything you need will fit comfortably into a backpack, so don’t worry. You want to bring along plenty of water, as well as food, a knife, first aid kit, and compass. You should also bring a plastic poncho. These are very handy, as you can use them as shelter, to keep warm, or to keep the rain off you. A whistle can alert others that you need help, and it can drive away animals that may be frightened by the sound.
Have a hat available, as well as a bandana. One of the two should be brightly colored, as it can make it easier for search and rescue to find you in the event you get lost. A glow stick is a good option to have, as the glow will last through the night – most will last about 12 hours. Having a CD or a mirror can be helpful too, as you can use them to signal people.
You want to be loud when you are walking through the trails, as this will alert wild animals to your presence. Since you aren’t hunting, you don’t want to run into any animals that could perceive you as a threat. Let them know you are coming, and most will simply get out of your way. You will never even see them.
Getting lost while hiking, or trying to hike out when you have an injury, can induce panic. You need to do your best to keep calm so you have a level head and can make the right decisions. If you keep your wits about you, then you have a very good chance of getting out of the situation alive.
Hiking is a fantastic way to exercise and reduce your stress. With these tips, you can enjoy your hike with much more peace of mind. Keep these tips in mind so you can make it back to camp and back home again in one piece.
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