Read these 9 Hiking Safety Tips tips to make your life smarter, better, faster and wiser. Each tip is approved by our Editors and created by expert writers so great we call them Gurus. LifeTips is the place to go when you need to know about Hiking tips and hundreds of other topics.
It's rare that you'll encounter bears on your hiking or camping trips, but there are a few safety tips to help you avoid attracting them. If you hike where there are bears, tie your spoon and metal dish to your back pack. The clanging as you hike will scare them away. Keep all food in sealed containers and, if possible, store it in the limbs of a tree near your site. Whenever possible, try to keep your cooking and sleeping areas at least 100 feet apart from one another. Dispose of any uneaten food immediately, in a location that is not near your campsite.
You don't need a lot of First Aid equipment to keep yourself protected on a hike. A basic First Aid toolkit should include sterile bandages, gauze, disinfectant, and preferably some surgical tape. There's no need to lug around wooden splint planks on the off-chance you might need them. In the unfortunate event that a bone fracture occurs on the trail, any rigid straight object will do. It just needs to be longer than the injured area.
Should you find yourself in need of contacting emergency rescue teams and you do not have a working cell phone, try using light. You can use a flashlight to send an SOS signal. Six signals per minute with a minute interval is the internationally recognized Mountain Distress Signal. If you do not have a flashlight, reflect the sun's rays with a mirror or other shiny object. This is a good way of getting the attention of a nearby plane or boat.
One of the best ways to stay safe while hiking is to take your excursions with a number of people. The more hikers you have on your adventure, the more eyes there are to watch out for treacherous terrain. In the event of an emergency, there are also more people available to assist. Ideally, each member of your hiking team should have some kind of basic First Aid training. Besides, while group hikes are a great way to protect yourself against any hiking dangers, they're also a lot of fun!
Hiking in higher altitudes of 8000 feet or more means that you may encounter an adverse condition called Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS). This is because the conditions in these levels offer lower oxygen content and atmospheric pressure differences than on sea level. Symptoms include headache, gastro-intestinal disorders, and even loss of breathing for periods of a few seconds. Avoid AMS by giving your bady time to aclimate to the higher altitudes. Do not exert too much energy when climbing. The higher you go, the easier you need to be on yourself. Also, bring plenty of water and sip it along the way.
Regular hikers can avail themselves of the benefits of joining hiking clubs. These clubs, which can be found throughout the country, save you a lot of time and energy as you plan excursions. Clubs bring experienced hikers together to organize regular opportunities for hiking and other social activities that revolve around hiking. Many clubs are volunteer-based. This means that you can take advantage of the resources and pay only to particiate in the group trips. Joining a hiking club is also an incredible way to get to know the area you live in.
If you ever get lost while hiking, here's an essential survival guide tip: Stay warm. Hypothermia is deadly. Get out of any wet clothes you are wearing. If you have no dry clothing, get into your sleeping bag. Or, fill a trashbag with leaves and wear it like a jacket: Cut a hole in the bottom of the bag for your head, and two for your arms, stuff the trash bag with leaves, then tuck the bottom into your pants.
Staying safe while on your hiking excursions is simply a matter of common sense. However, there are specific guidelines that are invaluable to hikers. Many courses in hiking safety are available online or at courses offered by local hiking clubs. Many of these courses provide lesson plans for you and your hiking partners so that you can continue your education on your own. Among the topics, it's important to study how to deal with natural disasters while hiking, preventing animal attacks, and nature-specific first aid (i.e., how to use the immediate environment in a medical emergency).
Although getting bitten by a snake is not a pleasant experience, many snakes are not poisonous. If you are bitten on a hiking trip, examine the punctures to see if the bite has introduced venom into your body. (Snake fangs leave bigger and deeper marks than its other teeth.) Here are a few signs of poisoning: Within 5-10 minutes, the poison will cause a hot and circulating pain with swelling. After 30-90 minutes there is numbness, tingling, and/or muscle twitches may occur. Within two hours poison will cause weakness, headache, nausea/vomiting, fainting, and/or increased heart and breathing rate.
|Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.|