Many of us are hitting local trails and open spaces this spring as a way to escape the quarantine blues. Hiking is one of those activities that’s free and fun, but there are some hazards that we should all be aware of before heading out on our next adventure. Below are 5 hiking safety tips to help you avoid serious injury or danger this year.
So what are the basic fundamentals of hiking safety? I am going to break it down into five key factors. Also, if you’re interested in learning more, I highly recommend checking out Nature’s Impact on Our Well-Being.
I can’t stress this enough. Preparation is the key to your safety!
Take the time to research where you are going and the condition of your hiking party. Make sure you hike trails that suit your physical ability and the abilities of others who are hiking with you. Use detailed descriptions of trails, including distance, altitude, difficulty, and estimated time to complete the hike. Also, check the many available resources for weather forecasts, especially at high altitudes where thunderstorms are more frequent.
Once again, check the weather forecast. Bring rain gear and warm clothing (because weather forecasters aren’t always right). Dress in layers. For a blister-free hike, wear boots that fit you and that are broken in, and pair them with the right socks and a proper lacing technique.
Take Plenty of Water & Snacks
Hiking can make you hot, tired, thirsty, and hungry. Experts recommend taking 1 liter of water per person per hour you plan to hike. It is always better to take more than you think you will need. Be sure to start your hike well hydrated and take regular water breaks as you go. Infants and children also tend to lose body fluids faster than adults and have a harder time regulating their body temperatures.
Expect Wild Critters
Hiking in the outdoors means sharing the area with snakes, scorpions, bears, and more. While climbing rocks, be mindful where you place your hands as you could be met with a sting or bite. The best thing to do is to stay on the trail path. Most of these critters won’t mess with you unless you mess with them.
Packing right for a hike isn’t a one-size-fits-all proposition, but appropriate footwear for your terrain of choice should be a priority. Also, from bug spray to sunscreen, you’ll want to create a handy first aid kit with items tailored to your environment and itinerary. Here’s a handy hiking checklist to get you started.
Did you enjoy these hiking safety tips? Was there a tip that I missed that’s important to share? I’d love to hear your thoughts at firstname.lastname@example.org. Also, be sure to subscribe to the Heart & Soul newsletter to receive more great tips straight to your inbox each Friday.