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Hiking Safet Tips
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Hiking Safet Tips

Hiking is becoming more and more popular because of its low cost, the spectacular scenery you can see while hiking and for its health and fitness benefits. Hiking in wilderness areas though, can be quite demanding and does come with its risks in particular for people who have little or no experience and go completely unprepared.

You often hear news about people who have gotten lost or injured in the wilderness and have had to be rescued by the local search and rescue teams. Occasionally people even lose their life. There are some very important hiking safety tips that you should follow if you plan to go hiking in the back country.

It will be very importance to ensure that you have ample water and food with you for the length of hike you are planning. Without water you will quickly dehydrate especially in hot weather. Don’t assume that there will be a safe source of water on your hike. Even fast running streams can have bacteria (from animals upstream) and is not safe unless you treat it.

Take the necessary precautions to prevent getting lost. Always hike in an area that you are familiar with, is well travelled or well-marked. Be alert and observe all the markers and land marks on the way so you are familiar with them on the way back. If you have never been in the area before, take someone who is, with you. Tell someone where you are going and when you plan to be back. Take a map and compass or GPS with you. It is surprising how easy it is to get turned around in the back country causing you to go in circles. If you are not experienced at navigation in the wilderness don’t ever venture off the trail. Bushwhacking can be very strenuous and finding your way back to the trail can be very confusing. Never count on you cell phone because chances are there will be no coverage once you get away from the city.

Never hike by yourself because anything can happen. A sprained ankle or broken bone from a fall can put you in a life threatening situation if there is no one around to lend a hand or go for help. I always recommend hiking in a group of at least three hikers. That way if someone gets hurt, one of you can go for help while the other stays with the injured hiker.

Always check the weather forecast for the area you will be hiking and take appropriate outdoor clothing with you in your pack. Take layers and a rain jacket just in case. Remember that the weather can change quickly in the mountains.

Be aware of bears, as it is quite possible for you to encounter one in a wilderness area. Talk while you are hiking or wear a bear bell so that the bears can hear you coming. If you do come across a bear, don’t panic. Just slowly turn around and walk away. Some people take bear mace with them as a precaution.

Serious injuries on the trail although not all that common, can happen. So what should you do if it does? The first thing you must consider is to keep yourself and others in your group from harm’s way. You will not be of any help if you get injured as well so you must not endanger yourself to try and save another. Get the injured person to a safe and comfortable place and tend to the injury as much as you can. Always take a well-stocked wilderness first aid kit with you so you can stop any bleeding and/or stabilize the injury. Being trained in wilderness first aid is also an important consideration so you will know how to use the first aid kit should it become necessary.

So if you want to stay safe on your hike follow these hiking safety tips and remember to always be well prepared before you venture out wilderness hiking.


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