Hiking is indeed, an exciting outdoor activity; but a one wrong step will get you into instant trouble. So before you get too excited, here are some safety tips you should remember on your hiking trip:
Never hike alone – If you don’t swim in the open ocean alone, you also do not hike in the woods alone. Both are dangerous especially if you are just beginning to develop the interest. Always tag a buddy, preferably, the one with hiking experience.
Be prepared at all times – Because you will never know when you will hit the next dead end, you should always prepare for the worst. Be prepared for weather changes. Bring appropriate clothing for every type of climate possible. Expect to encounter major bumps along the way. Take at least the basic survival course so that you will know what to do when problem arises out in the woods.
Bring plenty of drinking water – Although you can live for days without drinking water, it is not worth the risk. Water may be heavy item to carry but it will keep you hydrated and on your toes the whole hiking trip. River, stream or lake may look fresh and clean but these bodies of water can make you ill. Do not drink from them.
Bring navigational devices – It is easy to get lost in the woods so better have a handy GPS with you. Do not rely on GPS, though. A map and a compass will save you if GPS fails. Learn to use them too.
Do not walk off-trail – Walking off-trail increases your chance of getting lost and getting injured. It also destroys the trail.
Tell someone where you are – Let other people know about your hiking plan, both where you are going and when you are planning to come back. This way, they will know where to find you in case you have not returned at the time they expect. Always bring a mobile phone so that in case of emergency, you can contact immediately people who can help you.
Keep your distance from wild life – Outdoor hiking is not a trip to the zoo. So whenever you encounter wild animals on the trail, back away slowly, keep your distance, and avoid running.
Beware of poison ivy – There are lots of it in the wild. Do research on poisonous plants and bushes you can encounter on a hiking trip. Familiarize pictures of poisonous plants so that you can avoid them when you see them.
Be extra careful when wet – Woods can be very slippery when wet. Also, muddy steep ascends can knock you off balance. Be very careful trekking when the trail is wet. Use hiking stick to improve your balance and assist you in walking.
Know your skills – Level your hiking skill to the right hiking trail. If you are just a novice hiker, try not to attempt difficult trails. It will not only increase your chance of getting injured, it will also make the hiking trip stressful than enjoyable.
And finally, plan carefully – Safety begins in planning. Get a topographic map of the hiking trail you are planning to take. Gauge the level of difficulty of the hiking trail in relation to the length and the elevation of the trail. Plan your stops and rests. Pack light, pack right, and pack wise.