Traveling and hiking in the wilderness, although great fun, can be very dangerous if you are not adequately prepared. Keep in mind that you are away from civilization and most likely away from any and all communication. So, knowing the following survival tips could be critical in saving your life.
- Preparation is the key when planning a hiking trip. Know where you are going and what you will need.
- Anticipation is very important. Being outside means anticipating weather changes and poor conditions, even if you don’t think that will be the case. If you are taking a hike and plan to return to a designated location at night, know the distance and time involved in the hike and the return trip to the camp or car. Serious problems can occur if you don’t take this into consideration. Take extra food along in the event that the hike takes longer than expected. Also, be prepared to spend the night somewhere along the way, if necessary, when you can’t make it back to the car.
- Two essentials to have with you in the wilderness are a map and a compass. Find as good a map, as possible, of the area and know how to read it. This sounds crazy, but many people do not know how to read a map. A map will help you to locate key areas as well as roads in the area where you are hiking. A compass is also helpful if you know how to use it. A compass can take more practice to use than a map. Make sure that you understand how a compass works before depending on it. Work with it at home for a few days before departing on your hiking trip.
- It certainly won’t hurt for you to learn some standard navigational skills as though you did not have the map or the compass. Learning to read the sun and the stars can get you out of a real jam. You should also know how to read shadows made by you and tree branches. Before you ever go into the area to hike, take a look around and see exactly where you are. Get a feel for the direction in which you are headed. You can then find your way back quickly if you need to do so.
- Before you leave on your hiking trip, leave an itinerary with someone so that some information is available as to your whereabouts, if it is needed. If it would become necessary to find you, at least, someone would know where to look. Also, take a cell phone with you. You need not have it turned on, but it is there in case of emergency. Make sure that the battery is fully charged before leaving on your trip.
- Knowing basic survival is extremely important if you ever plan to go hiking. You are at the mercy of Mother Nature and the wilderness, so knowing how to survive off the land is crucial. Learn how to stay safe and sheltered by using leaves or grass; learn what plants are edible and which ones are not. Discover how to shelter yourself from the unexpected wind, cold and rain. All of these things are necessary if you want to have a safe and happy hiking experience.
- What happens if you lose your matches while hiking? Well, knowing how to build a fire with, little or not help, could save your life someday. Even with matches, starting a fire can be tricky when it is windy, raining or snowing. Find a way to practice before you go hiking so that you are prepared for any eventuality.
Preparing for a hiking trip is more than half the battle in making it an enjoyable and successful trip. Know these seven points and be sure to follow each step. Extra preparation is better than not enough.