The dangers of hiking should be left to scaling a rocky mountainside and traversing a frozen tundra.
While adventurous risks are calculated and carefully executed, the average risks are often forgotten. That’s why it’s essential you learn the core hiking safety tips every hiker must know first.
In this article you’ll learn the 5 best hiking safety tips you must know as a beginner.
5 hiking safety tips you MUST know
1. Don’t travel alone
Like any rule, there are exceptions. If you’re just going for a stroll in a nearby, well-traveled area you’re as safe there as anywhere. But if you travel through heavily forested areas, with steep canyons and winding trails, you can easily get lost.
48% of missing hikers are males hiking alone. Use your judgment so you don’t end up as a statistic.
Traveling with a hiking partner will help you in many ways, especially if he or she is an experienced hiker. People in pairs are much less likely to panic. They can assist one another up steep grades and apply first-aid when needed.
He or she can travel back to the trail head if you’re injured. And, if needed, body heat can be much better conserved when there are two traveling together.
Hypothermia has killed more than one lost hiker before they could be rescued.
2. Know where you’re going
This hiking safety tip is a lot like the 1st tip. The same concern applies – you don’t want to get lost. Stay on clearly marked or well-traveled trails until or unless you are experienced enough to take the uncommon route.
Yes, they’re sometimes not as interesting. But getting lost is interesting in a very unpleasant kind of way.
If you plan to start serious hikes far off the popular trails, it’s essential to arm yourself with the right tools. Consider investing in the follow:
- Specific hiking maps
- A traditional compass
- A high-end GPS unit
Not all units will continue to function in every area. Get the details of where you plan to go and ask someone who knows.
3. Take some basic gear
You can go overboard on gear. But for anything more than a simple, two-hour hike over easy terrain, a large chunk of peace of mind can be bought very cheaply.
Take a lighter or matches. Matches can get wet, but a lighter can run out of fuel. No plan is perfect.
A knife, especially one with lots of genuinely useful (as opposed to merely impressive) gadgets can be a literal lifesaver.
A simple first aid kit can also be a lifesaver. Gauze and bandages, anti-bacterial cream and other standard items are essential.
Anti-itch and sunburn pain reliever can be greatly appreciated sometimes.
Aspirin is one of pharmacology’s most under-appreciated drugs. All these things are small and lightweight.
No need to take a miniature doctor’s office, just the basics. Of course, you have to have some first-aid knowledge. There are times when aspirin can be harmful.
Gauze and bandages don’t do you any good if you don’t know the difference between venous and arterial bleeding. A flashlight is a must. Toilet paper can be really handy, too.
4. Take basic provisions
Water or other fluids like sports drinks are an obvious essential. You can lose a lot of fluid even over a two-hour period hiking on a hot day.
Having enough water and a device to clean stream water if needed is the most crucial of all hiking safety tips.
Heat stroke can kill, but is easily preventable. Even dehydration can radically reduce physical performance.Just remember water weighs about 8 lbs per gallon. Take what you need, not much more.
Except in emergencies, avoid drinking out of streams. Forget TV commercials. Natural water sources, not always but often, are loaded with bacteria. Just remember, animals bathe and urinate in them.
Carry a sturdy hiking backpack and take enough food to last you the anticipated hike time. About 1 lb per day (depending on what you bring) is average for a medium-sized male. You can last longer without food than water, so trade off when you have to.
5. Exercise common sense (Always)
Among other things that means don’t get carried away with your enthusiasm – and a belief in your invincibility – and tempt fate.
Despite what you may have read in and about some places, Mother Nature is quite indifferent to hurting you when you do dumb things.
Now that you know the top hiking safety tips, how prepared are you?
Take the time today to check your first-aid kit for the essential safety items you need, like:
- Anti-bacterial cream
Then, find an updated hiking map, a compass, and a reliable GPS device.
To truly enjoy hiking you must have confidence in your safety. These hiking safety tips should not be taken lightly.
Although they may seem basic, these are the core safety rules hikers lives by.
What’s an essential tool you have in your first-aid kit? Let us know by sharing this story.