TravelEverything You Need To Know To Stay Safe While Hiking

Everything You Need To Know To Stay Safe While Hiking

Hiking is undoubtedly the most stimulating and rewarding activity for adventurers and outdoor enthusiasts. Besides getting a great workout from trekking, spending time outdoors can also boost your mood and mental health. About 58.7 million Americans participated in at least one hiking activity amid the pandemic in 2021.  

In spite of the great benefits hiking provides, exploring nature's wonders can expose a trekker to the risks of accidents and disappearances. Unpredictable weather, physical challenges, difficult terrain, and wild animals can lead to injuries and sometimes death among hikers.

Here's how to get a more enjoyable trekking experience while reducing the risks of such threats. 

  1. Park rangers are the best sources of trail information 

Whether an experienced hiker or an amateur trekker, it pays to prepare well by gathering reliable information about the trail. This holds whether you're planning to take a familiar or non-familiar route.  

Animal behavior is unpredictable in the wild, and hikers can occasionally get attacked or bitten by mountain lions, bears, and venomous snakes. If animal attacks are a top concern in your chosen trail, consider bringing a gun and quality ammunition

National or state park rangers are the best source of information, so getting in touch with them is a great way to know what wildlife to expect, among others.. These professionals can also teach you how to stay safe and lower your risks while taking a trek. They can inform you of recent terrain changes or warn you of hazards like rockslides and other weather disturbances. 

Conversely, don't rely on apps, as these can't properly identify dangerous terrains. Take an updated map to avoid surprises and potential accidents. Check the weather report before hitting the trails. 

  1. Knowing what to bring is crucial 

Ensure you're properly dressed and wear a windproof jacket, hiking boots, and other essential hiking gear even when hiking in the summertime. Appropriate clothing can help hikers stay comfortable during long treks and protect their bodies from hypothermia or potential injuries. 

More importantly, aside from getting a first aid and CPR Courses Hamilton every hiker must have a first aid and repair kit, a navigation set, a whistle, sun protection, fire starters, light, no-cook food, water supply and purification tablets, and an emergency shelter.

Staying hydrated is crucial when trekking, as it helps avoid dehydration and sunstroke. Take a minimum of 2 quarts (1.9 liters) of water daily, though up to 4 quarters is ideal. Take up to one liter per hour for outdoor activities. 

If you run out of fluids mid-hike, consider refilling your bottle with water from natural sources. However, don't drink it unless you've purified, filtered, disinfected, or boiled it. Water from the wild could contain potentially harmful pathogens that cause water-borne diseases.  

  1. Sharing your itinerary with family members or park rangers makes rescues more effective 

Before hitting the trail, ensure that all the hikers in your group know your proposed movements and overall itinerary.  Discuss where you plan to go and how long you plan to stay in each location with family members and the park rangers. Not only will this be the basis for getting valuable advice, but it's also helpful to your family members to know when to contact the authorities if they don't hear from you. 

Although the National Park Service (NPS) doesn't keep track of the number of persons who go missing in the wild, the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System estimates some of them get included in the more than 600,000 missing individuals reported in the county every year. Only up to 92% of this figure, or 552,000, are recovered alive and dead by authorities.

  1. Creating an emergency plan mitigates accident notification delays 

After identifying the risks and dangers, creating an emergency plan with your trek group is crucial to know what to do if something happens. A violent storm can occur after seemingly perfect weather, risking your entire journey. Besides slips and falls, hikers may be susceptible to getting hit by lightning, so always practice caution.

Ask the forest rangers about phone reception in the area, where to go, and how to notify authorities when facing an emergency. It's highly unlikely for mobile phones to work in the wild, so take a satellite phone with you if possible. Also, get all the emergency numbers besides 911 and share them with all group members. More importantly, always know when to turn back when situations become too challenging. 

  1. Hiking with a partner or group is best

The movie 127 days is an inspirational story celebrating a man's willpower, strength, and determination to survive life-threatening situations. On the flip side, it highlights the dangers that lurk in the wild, especially for solo backpackers. 

Thus, hiking with a buddy is always the better option. Doing so helps strengthen your bond and communication, and you can also rely on a trekking partner to look out for you when something goes wrong. On that note, always stay on the trail when hiking. If you want to stop in an area, let your buddy know so that you don't lose sight of each other.


Hiking is one of the healthiest ways to explore the wonders of nature, though it does come with uncertainties. Take heed of the discussion above to minimize risks and experience a more enjoyable and memorable journey.  

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