Over the years, I’ve made my fair share of mistakes in the wilderness, so I’ve listed things that can go wrong on any outdoor trip. Please print this out and keep it in your camping gear. Hiking is a great way to escape everyday life’s stress, but safety should never be for granted.
- Plan your hike. If you “plan your hike and hike your plan,” you are more likely to have a safe and fun hike. Without proper planning, rushing out on a long walk asks for trouble. ALWAYS let someone close to you know where you’re going and how long.
- Know where you are. Before hiking, use everything you can to learn as much as possible about the trail. I will get you ready for the conditions of the walk. “Are there streams to cross? Does the terrain have rocks, or is it smooth?” These are just a few things you can find out BEFORE you leave.
- Know the weather. Hypothermia is real, dangerous, and not well understood. Hypothermia can happen in places that aren’t too cold. Hypothermia is a simple state in which the body cools down quickly. It can occur when it’s hard, wet, or a mix of both. With the proper preparation, hypothermia is easy to avoid.
What You Need to Pack
- Drinking water.
On any trip, you should always have fresh water available. It is also good to bring purification tablets and a filtration device. It can be just as essential to be able to make water to drink as it is to bring water with you. Also, just in case, I get some protein snacks.
- First Aid Kit.
Even though it seems like an obvious choice, many people go into the wilderness without one. Even simple things like pain pills can be helpful when you are far from civilization. Bandages, tweezers, moleskin, antiseptic, needles, and thread are some other items (for repairs).
- Fire and a source of light.
Matches and a lighter are things I can’t live with. I usually bring a small piece of commercial fire starter stick with me so I can start a fire quickly in damp places. I also bring along a small regular flashlight and an LED light.
- What to wear.
It’s always wise to bring extra clothes. The weight of these things will depend on the environment. It’s better to be safe than sorry since temperatures can change much, especially in mountainous areas. A spare pair of socks can save your life.
- Orienteering. Having a map and compass with me has helped me get out of trouble more than once. I also have a cell phone. Even though I don’t get reception in most places, I might be able to make a call if I have to.
The most important thing to bring is common sense on your next hike. You’ll avoid the most trouble if you make good choices while on the trail. If you go hiking with your family, especially kids or older people, keep in mind that they might not be able to handle the same hike as you do, and you have to make the right choice.