Hiking is a great combination activity that provides excellent exercise and a great way to enjoy nature. However, hiking can also be a dangerous activity, describes experienced hiker captain Jako Hall.
Even hiking on some of the easier mapped-out trails can provide hazards that walkers will not see on paved roads or paths. It’s imperative that hikers stay safe anytime they venture out on the trail.
Here are some tips for how all hikers can stay safe every time they hit the trails.
Hike with Someone Else
It’s always advisable to hike with someone else. Having at least one partner when you hike provides you with someone who can help if something goes wrong. If you fall and get hurt, for instance, your hiking partner can help you patch up and get back on your feet. Or, they can call for or seek assistance if the injury is serious.
Having a hiking partner also allows you both to stay focused on the trail, which will help you avoid getting lost.
Some people prefer to hike alone, as it can be a great solo activity. If you choose to do this, let at least one other person know where you’ll be going and what the plan is in terms of departure and return time.
Set up a timeframe for when you’ll check in with this person, too. That way, if you don’t check-in, that person can call for help.
Hydrate Before, During, and After
Hydration is key any time you’re exercising, especially when hiking. Even the easiest of trails will test your body physically.
It’s extremely important that you are well hydrated even before you venture out. Then, make sure to bring plenty of water with you so you can re-hydrate as you’re exercising. Finally, make sure to have water or sports drinks so your body can recover after you’re done.
One of the keys to a comfortable and safe hike is dressing appropriately. You shouldn’t just check the weather forecast before you venture out and then dress and pack based only on that forecast.
Talk with local park rangers who can advise you of any potential inclement weather conditions that are abound. And always understand that the weather can turn quickly in most popular hiking destinations.
While the hike may start out as warm, it can easily turn very cold or wet without much warning. A great idea is to dress in layers with light extra jackets and pants that you can easily take off and put in your backpack if you get too warm — or that you can put on if you get too cold.
In addition to proper hydration and dress, Jako Hall says that all hikers should pack a few more essentials with them on every hike.
This includes a first aid kit, navigation devices, a hat or other sun protection, a flashlight or other illumination device, matches and/or fire starters, a repair kit, some food that can last you up to a day if needed, and a tent or other forms of emergency shelter.
This may sound like a lot, but if you prepare properly, it won’t be too heavy or too burdensome and will keep you safe while you’re out on the trails.
About Jako Hall
Jako Hall is an experienced mariner and a former naval officer known for his strong work ethic and ability to lead and motivate crews. He pursued Maritime Studies at the University of Technology in Cape Town and has received the highest level of training in Navigation and Seamanship during his years in the Navy. After 13 distinguished years in the Navy, Jako joined the superyacht industry, following his passion for creating unique and exclusive experiences for high-net-worth clients. He’s managed multi-million euro projects that required attention to detail and efficiency and has a proven track record of operating at sea in remote and unsupported areas.