Of course, you want to enjoy your hiking and backpacking adventures, but you need to do it in a safe way. Safety is should be one of the primary concerns of any backpacker or hiker out there, especially if you are doing it all alone.
However, hiking safely depends on a variety of factors, including your constant attention, sound judgment, and adequate preparation. Safety starts before you even hit the trail. Whether you are an experienced hiker or just starting out, this article will provide backpacking safety tips that will help you enjoy your outdoor adventures to the fullest.
Important Hiking and Backpacking Safety Tips for Outdoor Adventurers
Before you head out to the trail or backpacking trip, make sure that you double check your safety. Making a minor mistake of ignoring your backpacking or hiking safety can bring discomfort or even cost your life. Without further ado, here are the best hiking and backpacking safety tips for beginners that you need to know.
Backpacking Tips What to Pack: Carry the Ten Essentials
Whether you are hiking alone or with a group, always remember to pack the ten essentials when you prepare for your outing. This will prevent you from forgetting an important item, like an extra or lighter layer. Here is a list of ten essentials that you should pack:
- First aid kit— It is advisable that you take a basic first aid course to help you treat potential injuries during your adventure. Carry a first aid kit specifically designed for hiking or backpacking.
- Extra food—Be sure to bring plenty of food, whether it’s a snack for an afternoon hike or sufficient food for a longer hike. If you plan to be gone for a couple of days, a camp stove might come in handy.
- Rain gear and extra layers— Even if it’s warm during the day, it could get very cold at night. You need to pack extra items like gloves or hats to protect you from the harsh weather.
- Water and a purification method—If you don’t stay sufficiently hydrated, your body will suffer from altitude sickness and hypothermia.
- A multi-purpose tool or knife— A knife will help you do all types of emergency repairs amongst other things.
- A headlamp (with extra batteries, of course)—This will help you find your way after dark has finally come.
- Sunglasses or sunscreen— Prevent sunburn or snow blindness with some cool shades, and don’t forget a good waterproof sunscreen with a high SPF!
- Fire starter and matches— Whether you need to cook your meals or you just want to enjoy the ambience of a flickering fire, bring something to help you get the fire going!
- A compass— this tool will help you find an emergency exit route through unfamiliar trails.
- A tent or any other form of shelter— this is vital if you plan to hike a great distance. It will keep you safe and save you hundreds of dollars when you don’t have to find a motel near the trail.
Do Your Research
Unfortunately, many people go for a backpacking trip without doing proper research. Before you head out for any hiking or backpacking trip (especially if you are going alone), make sure that you understand the specific trail details. This will help you create a backpacking trip plan that you can leave with a person you trust.
First, you need to know the mileage of your specific terrain before you head out. Always ensure that you carry enough water with you during the trip. Doing some background checks and pre-planning assures that you have a safe and successful trip.
Play it Smart
Taking on a four-day backpacking trip or hike when you have not done exercises for months is not the perfect choice. The same applies to go on a backpacking trip or solo hike when you have not adequately prepared for it. This can be a recipe for injuries or accidents during your adventures. Make sure that people know where you are going and when they should expect you back. This will help them to search for you in case something happens.
Don’t Overexert Yourself
If you require a break, don’t hesitate to take it. If the hike or backpacking trip becomes unbearable, turn back. If you feel exhausted, sick, or suspect an injury, take prompt measures to address it there and then.
Plan and Let Someone You Trust Know Where You Are Going
No one ever expects to have problems when heading outdoors, but it’s important that you prepare for the worst. Use the plan that you used to prepare for the hike or trip to give crucial safety information to someone you trust.
Tell them the proposed areas you wish to visit and your expected return date. If you fail to return on the scheduled date, your friend will make attempts to search for you.
Leave Local Animals and Plants Alone
Don’t eat leaves or berries that you find along the trail, although they might look familiar. If you wander away from the marked trails, you could come into contact with dangerous animals or snakes. Don’t ever try to feed or approach wild animals.
Know Where to Get Assistance
Most hiking trails have major exit points that allow you to reach a wilderness station or the main road. Knowing where such exit points are situated will make a huge difference if you are severely wounded or injured.
Simple Backpacking Tips and Tricks
Here is a list of tips and tricks that will ensure that you have a safe and successful backpacking trip:
- Choose a hike that suits your physical abilities
- Select the appropriate gear for your trip
- Find a good backpack that fits you
- Embrace nature
- Avoid going on backpacking trips alone
Final Thoughts on Backpacking Tips for Beginners
If you are preparing for your first backpacking trip, then there are several things that you need to consider. First, you must know where you are going, what to pack, and other safety considerations. You also need to test your gear before you head outdoors. Always remember that such trips are physically and emotionally demanding, so be flexible and ready to roll with any changes.