8 Safety tips for safe hiking

By Tomi Stojanovic
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8 Safety tips for safe hiking

Tomi Stojanovic
 
 
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With the warm weather and beautiful springtime upon us, it’s time to get active and start the hiking season. It’s time to load the backpack with the essentials and hit the trails. There are plenty of roads and trails to visit and hike, and many natural beauties to discover. Your options are limitless.

But, going on a hiking trip is not as easy as one might think. Especially if it’s your first time hiking in an unknown territory, where everything around you is unfamiliar. There are many things that can go wrong in the wilderness. From getting lost, falling into a natural trap, forgetting to pack essential items through to getting surprised by the weather.

Hiking can often be dangerous, so you need to prepare for every hiking trip.
Hiking can often be dangerous, so you need to prepare for every hiking trip.

A few years ago, when I was starting my hiking “career,” I went on a hiking trip to a nearby national park. The trail was supposed to be easy and marked. And to be fair, it was, until my friend suggested we take a shortcut and leave the group for a little while. I was bored of walking in line with a bunch of people, so I agreed with him, and we separated from the group. And, of course, we got lost.

For four hours we were alone in the wild, we lost our GPS signal, we ran out of the water, and we eventually started to panic. After four hours of walking, we managed to find the trail markers and had to walk for an additional three hours to reconnect with the group. They were understandably worried about us and mad at us, at the same time.

Five years have passed from that not so pleasant experience, and I’ve been on many hiking trips since then. But, I’ve never again left a hiking group or left for a trip without planning what to take, and how much supplies I would need for a hike. I learned my lesson.

As a result of my experience, I have created a short list with tips for a safe hike. Make sure you follow them, and you will increase your chances of having a safe and enjoyable hiking experience.

1. Plan you packing

It’s very important to pack your bags with the right equipment
It’s very important to pack your bags with the right equipment

It’s crucial to have everything packed and to not forget the essentials for your hike. Before starting to pack, get a piece of paper and a pen and make a list of what you need to take. Don’t be afraid to pack more if you have space in your backpack, although you should be conscious of the weight you’ll be carrying so be cautious, although you never know how much or what you’ll need in the wilds. Nobody wants to get in the middle of the trek and realize that clothing been forgotten, or there’s not enough water for the rest of the hike.

Follow this link to find out which essential items you need for your next hiking trip.

2. Weather forecast

Always check the weather before heading out
Always check the weather before heading out

Make sure that you check the forecast just before you head for the hike. The weather can be very unpredictable, and it’s important to know what kind of gear to bring. Maybe you’ll need a raincoat and warmer clothes, or sunscreen and extra t-shirt. As we all know the forecast can be wrong sometimes, so make sure you pack in the least a rain jacket.

3. Inform someone about your trip

Never go in the wilderness without telling someone about your trip
Never go in the wilderness without telling someone about your trip

Before heading out on a wilderness trip, make sure that you tell someone you trust about where you’re going and when you expect to be back. It’s important that they know where you’re going and how long you’re going to be there because if something goes wrong, that person will probably be the first one to realize and be able to find you.

4. Stick to the group

When hiking with companions, make sure to stick to the group
When hiking with companions, make sure to stick to the group

Whether you hike with one friend or a big hiking group, it’s crucial to stick together. I learned this the hard way. Nobody wants to get lost by separating from the group, trust me. So, when hiking with a larger group, make sure that everyone walks at the same pace so that everyone can keep up.

5. Get familiar with the area

Don’t be afraid to search the area
Don’t be afraid to search the area

It’s always way more exciting and fun when you hike on new and unfamiliar trails. But, it’s also more dangerous when you don’t know the territory that you’re in. So, why not spending few hours on the internet and do a little research about the area. Here are few most important things to get information for:

  • Wild animals in the area
  • Hunting seasons
  • Poisonous plants
  • Hiking alerts

6. Know how to handle wildlife

Wild animals can often cause you a trouble
Wild animals can often cause you a trouble

When you go off into the wilderness, you’re basically invading the homes of wild animals and plants. So, you have to play by their rules. Make sure that you learn how to avoid and act in different situations, the wilderness can be an unpredictable place, so it’s good to know what you’re doing. You might find yourself in various life-threatening situations, and you better know how to act then. Here is a list of few dangerous situations and links that will teach you how to act in them.

7. Hike during daylight

Most accidents happen during dark hours
Most accidents happen during dark hours

It’s always safer to walk during the day. First of all, it’s very easy for you to get lost in the dark. Also, there might be wild animals in the area, and they usually walk around hunting for food at night.
So, for your safety, make sure that you hike the trails when there is daylight. And also, make sure that you set a turnaround time. In case you walk too much, you would know when to head back before the sun goes down.

8. Don’t get too cocky

Don’t act like an expert in the wild
Don’t act like an expert in the wild

Usually, when someone has been on a few hiking trips, they tend to get a bit cocky. We all have that one friend that always says “I know that road,” “Everyone can climb that rock,” “That snake is not poisonous.” But do not trust them. Make sure that you always trust your skills and your level of competence. Don’t try to prove yourself to someone else trying to do more than you actually can. Just stick to your abilities, and you’ll be okay.

So, if you don’t want to wind up like me, make sure you follow these tips on your next hiking trip. Of course, nobody can guarantee your safety in the wild, but you can in the least lower your risks.

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