There’s nothing like getting out on the trail, with only the sights and sounds of nature in your view. Wanting to return home safely is your chief goal, but it’s not always apparent how to achieve it. By creating a plan and following these hiking safety tips, you will have a safer and more satisfying trip into the wilderness.
1. Invite a Friend
Hiking in a group or with another person helps provide you with an ideal form of protection. Working together, you have a better chance of staying on the trail, protecting against unexpected injury or attacks, and enjoying the experience overall. Just make sure that all parties involved are up to the task of hiking that particular trail.
2. Study the Trail
Even experienced hikers can have problems in an unfamiliar area. Since every trail is different, the best backpacking tips start with learning about the trail. You should investigate:
- General-area features
- Temperature you can expect while hiking
- Rigor of the hike (plus increases or decreases in elevation)
- Animals and plants you might see on the hike
Researching this information will give you a better idea of the hiking safety gear you may need.
3. Notify Loved Ones
It is rare to get lost for an extended period while hiking, but it does happen. Let your loved ones know your hiking plans, including where you will be, which trail you are taking, and when you expect to arrive home. With this information, they will know to act more quickly if something goes wrong.
4. Prepare for Inclement Weather
Changes in weather are common when you are out on the trail, especially if the hike has a significant increase in elevation. Check the weather forecast, and avoid days with a lot of rain, snow or very cold temperatures. Even if everything appears to be sunny, you should still plan for the possibility of an unpredicted rain shower.
5. Bring Appropriate Supplies
For hiking safety, there are two types of supplies: items you need, and the items you wish you had packed. Bring approximately a liter of water for every two hours you will be hiking and some snacks for energy when you get tired. It is better to bring more than you need than run out of supplies too quickly. Remember, a first-aid kit, lightweight clothing and rain gear are viable forms of protection against attacks.
6. Protect Yourself
Hiking takes you into nature and far from civilization, which can put you into a possibly unsafe situation. Bringing pepper spray is a lightweight, compact, and effective way to protect yourself from common threats to your hiking safety. You could also encounter bears or other animals on your adventure. Having bear spray or dog spray in your hand will allow you explore confidently and enjoy your hike without worrying about unpleasant surprises.
Hiking is an enjoyable sport that millions of people engage in every year. By packing the right hiking safety gear, including pepper spray, bear spray, and dog spray, you can be ready for wherever the trail takes you.