Hiking is a brilliant way to enjoy the outdoors and experience the beautiful countryside. It’s also a good way to stay fit and healthy. Wherever you live in the world, there will be hiking trails you can follow. There are also plenty of more remote locations you can visit, but of course, there are increased risks. Even if you’re hiking just down the road from your home, it pays to be prepared. If you don’t plan and pack carefully, the shortest of hikes can prove to be a dangerous outing. Before you get out your hiking boots, bear the following safety tips in mind.
- Don’t Go Alone
Hiking is a fun activity, but it’s something that is better done as a group. The chances of getting lost or injured increase significantly when you’re on your own. Even if you are planning a short hike, let someone know where you’re going and when you expect to return home.
- Physical Health
You need to be relatively fit and in good health if you want to go hiking. This also applies if you want to head outdoors for any type of expedition, be that trekking, fishing or hunting. You’re going to be walking over varied terrain and for long distances. Carry a first aid kit with you as you never know what might happen. At the very least, you might need a plaster for any blisters that develop on your feet. Never try to push yourself too hard and take regular breaks.
- Learn to Read a Map and Use a Compass
You’re going to have your mobile phone with you for emergencies. You might also decide to bring along a GPS device. Electronic devices, however, can be unpredictable at times, so it’ll pay to bring along a compass and map. If you’ve never used these before, then you’ll need to learn how to read them.
- Stick to the Trail
This is one of the most important safety rules and reduces the chances of you getting lost. It will also help people find you should you not return home when expected. Popular hiking trails tend to be well marked.
- Wear the Right Gear
You’re not going to be wearing sneakers, and you’re not going to need to worry about being fashionable. You will, however, need to find hiking gear that’s comfortable, waterproof, breathable, and well-fitting. Outdoor Wilds has some great reviews of the latest hiking and hunting gear if you want to know more.
- Stay Hydrated
To stay healthy when you’re hiking remember to keep hydrated. Yes, the bathroom facilities are going to be limited, but you should aim to drink 1 litre of water every couple of hours.
If you’re hiking in the summer get yourself some sun protection to put on any exposed parts of your skin. You can get sunburnt on your face, ears, and neck even when it’s cloudy. Make sure you re-apply it throughout the day as it does wear off. Also be wary about mosquitoes and ticks. You can protect yourself from mosquitoes by wearing an insect repellent.
- Be Prepared for the Weather
Before you set off check the weather report. We all know how quickly the weather can turn bad. Even if the forecast is for sunshine all day carry some rain gear, just in case.