Hiking provides hundreds of thousands of people with a great deal of pleasure and a sense of adventure every year and 99% of the time it is far from hazardous. But, people do get lost and have accidents every now and a again and it can become a very hazardous activity very fast if you are not prepared.
Here we look at are just 4 simple safety tips to make sure that your hiking doesn't get you into difficulty.
Safety Tip No1 - Think about taking a partner of friend along with you.
There's really no need to worry about heading out by yourself if you are taking a short hike in a local area on easy terrain, however, if you are hiking through heavily forested wilderness areas with winding trails and steep canyons then the possibility of getting lost or suffering an injury becomes very real and you should consider carefully whether it is sensible to head out alone.
Having a friend or partner along has a lot of advantages, particularly if that individual is an experienced hiker. After all, 'two heads are better than one' and if you do get lost or get into trouble you're much less likely to panic if you have somebody with you to help sort out the problem.
Safety Tip No 2 - Ensure that somebody knows where you are going.
If you are new to hiking then you should stick to clearly marked and well traveled routes and ought not to stray from these routes to explore until you have some experience and have mastered the basics of map and compass work. However, it will not be too long before you are ready to tackle some more adventurous hiking and the possibility of getting lost or injured will arise.
As a consequence, you must always tell somebody where you are going and when you plan to return so that a search party can be sent out if you don't return when expected.
Safety Tip No 3 - Take along some basic equipment.
It is essential to carry a basic survival kit with you and the local hiking club will be able to give you advice on the sort of items which this should include. What we are looking at here are such things as a lighter and matches, a first aid kit, a good knife and a flashlight with fresh batteries.
It is also a good idea to have a map and compass along together with a fully charged cell phone.
Safety Tip No 4 – Take some basic provisions along.
Water or other fluids such as sports drinks are essential as you can lose water very fast even over a short period of time on a hot day. You should remember however that water weighs about 8 lbs per gallon, so take sufficient but not too much. Do not forget though that you ought not to drink from local streams as natural water sources may look inviting but they are often loaded with bacteria and can make you very sick very quickly.
Also take sufficient food to last you. It is no fun to be hungry while you're out but don't forget that you can last a good deal longer without food than you can without water.