Six Safety Tips Before a Hiking Trip
Kevin Felts 03.02.17
What are some safety tips to consider before heading out on a hiking trip?
You have an idea for a trip. You get the day pack ready, drive to wherever, and head into the woods. What could possibly go wrong?
You have your cell phone, so the TOPO map, compass, and GPS were left at home.
Nobody knows the route you were taking. If you get hurt or lost, nobody knows where to look. It is only a two hour trip, what could possibly go wrong?
You did not tell anyone when you were leaving or when you would be back.
Because this was only going to be a two hour trip, basic wilderness survival gear was left at home.
All of that was fine until your phone went dead, you got lost, have to spend the night in the woods, and nobody knows where you are at.
Communication – Tell others what your plans are. Send an email with all the details to a couple of close friends and family members. That way, they have it in writing and do not have remember the exact details.
Plan the route – Know the exact route you are going to take and stick to it. When are you going to leave and when will you be back? If you are not back by a certain time, what are your instructions?
Some family member will be asking, “He left three days ago and I have not heard from him. Should I call someone?” Leave exact instructions. Example: “The hike is supposed to take three hours. If you do not hear from me in five hours, call the police.”
TOPO map, compass and GPS – Have them and know how to use them. Learn how to use the navigation gear BEFORE you head out. Cell phones are fine; basic navigation skills are better.
Basic survival gear – Include enough gear to spend an unexpected night in the woods. All it takes is a good rain poncho, cord, knife, and matches. Make a shelter with the poncho, build a fire, and sing songs to keep the boogie man away.
Weather – With technology like we have today, there is no excuse not to know the weather forecast.
Physical fitness – Are you physically able to make the trip? Be honest. If someone is 100 pounds overweight, and they want to make a 10 mile hike in 100 degree heat, yeah, good luck with that.
If we missed anything please share your thoughts and suggestions.
The overall goal is to have a good time and enjoy the outdoors.