Hiking is one of the most intimate ways to experience nature. Being out in the open and one with the land is a calling few can resist, especially after having gone on a hike already. Once bitten by the hiking bug, and hopefully nothing else, people enjoy the adventure and thrill of exploring new places.
For all those seasoned hikers, it is also good to be practical and know that danger sometimes lurks in the wild. While by no means should anyone lose the zest for adventure, it helps to be prepared for any eventuality.
With this guide to safety when on a hiking trip, one can be more prepared on what to expect and what can be done if things don’t go quite right.
Learn basic first aid: Every hiker should know at least basic first aid. If hiking is an avid hobby, then actually taking a course in first aid isn’t such a bad idea. The purpose of first aid is to be able to have a quick response in times of emergencies like injuries and allergic reactions.
First aid should also be learned so that a person can perform emergency procedures on themselves as well as others. In cases of a physical injury, first aid can help a person stop excessive bleeding, splint broken bones, perform CPR and so on.
Prepare for allergic reaction: In the great unknown there are always chances of getting bitten by an insect or interacting with poisonous plants that can cause allergic reactions. Even pollen can severely affect some people.
Whether or not a hiker is prone to allergies, it is always better to be equipped with anti-histamine drugs and an epi-pen. Learning to administer an epi-pen is also a valuable life-saving skill every hiker should know.
Safety contacts: For those hiking in groups, but especially for people who hike alone, it is very important to have a contact on the home front. It is good to have a protocol in place that accounts for any eventuality.
If a person is supposed to touch certain points within a certain time-frame, they should have someone at home who knows their location every few days. A window of 24 to 48 hours should be left just in case a person cannot connect to their contact.
Post that window, the home contact can take actions like contact the local authorities or another group of hikers nearby and so on. Sometimes the quick response can be life-saving.
Maps and GPS: All hikers should know their location at all times. With technology and GPS tracking, this has become an easy feat and should be taken advantage of. Even in places where there is no GPS signal, hikers should keep track of their location on a map and with a compass. Always knowing where one is can help a person find their way back to a known path in case they get lost or wander too far off while exploring.
Emergency service numbers: A must-have for hikers is the number of emergency services that are nearest to where the hike is. Being able to call an ambulance, fire engine, or even the police in times of emergency can help with a quick rescue or the hiker’s safety.
There have been several stories of hikers getting trapped in landslides or falling into ravines with no way of escaping. Being able to call an emergency service that is just an hour or two away can make all the difference from being trapped, hurt, scared and alone for days together.
Proper gear: Hiking is a sport and the same way a swimmer would wear the appropriate clothes for swimming, a hiker should have the appropriate hiking gear. The right boots or shoes can make the trip a lot more comfortable because of the right support to the feet and ankles.
Clothes too should be suited to both the activity of hiking and climbing as well as to the weather. Lightweight but warm innerwear, for example, could be a better choice for hiking in colder areas than big heavy jackets. Ropes, torches with charged batteries, gloves, sunglasses and so on can all constitute hiking gear depending on where the hike is.
When hiking it’s recommended to use a roof rack to transport all your gear on your car. Brands like Yakima are the perfect place to search for these products, they offer high-quality solutions for traveling.
On a final note, hikers should always carry sufficient water. Dehydration is a major problem that is often overlooked when planning a hike. Stops should be planned according to water availability and water requirements should be well calculated before the trip.
About the Author:
Emma is a passionate adventurer and explorer and takes full advantage of any opportunity to get out into nature.