Hiking is a safe outdoor recreational activity. Though it is relatively safe, you are still outside and may find yourself far from people and civilization. If you get hurt or need assistance in any way, help may not be immediately available. That said you need to keep in mind several basic safety tips to make your hike a pleasant and safe experience.
Never travel or hike alone
This may not be possible every time. If you’re using a well-traveled trail or route you are most probably safe. But never get out of the usual trail especially if you are not familiar with the terrain or area. Getting lost is always a possibility. Always look to travel or hike with someone, preferably one with more experience than you do. You’ll be able to help each other when the need arises.
Always know where you are going
Always let someone know where you are going, your course and other details of your hike just in case you get lost. Always stay on clearly marked and well-traveled trails. Never go off these trails especially if you are new to the area and have minimal experience. A GPS, compass and a back-up map is always a good back idea to help you if you should get lost. Aside from the GPS and map, know as much about the area you can from local people or park employees. They will be able to give you invaluable advice.
Bring only the gear that you need
Even if you have a big enough backpack bring only the gear that you need. Plan carefully what gear you need to bring along. It is no use bringing too much that you will eventually not need. A lighter and back-up matches is always a good idea. A knife or better yet one with multipurpose tools could prove invaluable. Some other gears you may consider bringing are; first aid kit, skin lotions (for sunburn and itches/insect bites), extra weather-specific clothing like a poncho or long-sleeved shirt.
Choose the best hiking boots
Hiking boots should be a priority when preparing for a hike. The wrong boots can turn your day off into a living nightmare. Much too often people find themselves halfway up the mountain when they realize their boots do not fit properly. This would make any experienced hiker cringe if he heard this on a trail. Miss fitted boots will cause your feet to hurt causing aches, pains, and blisters.
Take with you enough liquids and food
Water is always a must when you go on a hike. You may be only planning for a short hike and may think that you won’t need any water but it is always better to be safe than sorry. When you’re exposed to prolonged heat, water could literally be a lifesaver. Also, bring enough provisions that you will need. One pound of food should be good for about an average-sized male for one day. If you throw in some energy bars, you’ll increase the calorie level of your food without bringing up their weight.
Use common sense at all times
We always hear and read about dumb things that people do that got them into trouble. One simple rule is when in doubt, don’t!
Keep safe and enjoy your hike and Mother Nature.