Pelican Flyer • May 16, 2020
There’s no denying the healing power of nature. A long, meandering walk through the woods or mountains can leave you feeling happier, more energized and more focused, all while connecting you with the natural world. But taking a hike can quickly turn from restorative to scary, and even downright dangerous in the wrong situation. Inclement weather, rough terrain, threatening wildlife — it’s all par for the trail when you’re bonding with Mother Nature.
Luckily, there’s one crucial thing you can do to prevent a hike from going sour, and it’s as simple as the Scout Motto: Be prepared. Basic survival skills and the right trail accoutrements can prevent you from getting lost or injured. Obviously, it’s extremely important to stay out of harm’s way and protected from the threats of the natural world while hiking. In this guide, we’re covering all the essentials you need to ensure that your open-air adventure is as enjoyable as it is safe and respectful to nature.
If you’re planning on heading off the main trail or going anywhere you might not have cell phone service, always follow this simple rule: Tell someone where you’re going before you leave. In the event of an emergency, you’ll be much more likely to receive help in time if someone knows where to look. Be as detailed as possible and, to be extra cautious, write it down or send it in an email.
Your first line of defense against virtually any backwoods threat — harsh sun, freezing-cold, rain, snow, poisonous plants, pesky bugs — is your clothing. What you wear can help shield you from dangers that could send you back to the trailhead prematurely, so planning your outfit is extremely important.
What you wear can help shield you from dangers, so planning your outfit is extremely important.
The gear you’re wearing can only do so much to protect you from the rigors of the route, but luckily you’ve brought along a backpack or waist bag that can be filled with practical gear that will keep you warm, comfortable and safe should conditions on the trail turn poor. Space is in short supply, so it’s vital that you’re selective but thoughtful about what to carry or pack in your backpack.
Space is in short supply, so it’s vital that you’re selective but thoughtful about what to carry or pack in your backpack.
If your clothing and gear are your first line of defense against dangers on the trail, your survival skills and wilderness know-how are your second and third. In an ideal situation, you will never have to use your survival knowledge when you’re out in the woods or mountains. But knowing them is still fundamental, as it could save you from a serious situation out in the wilderness. Here’s what you should know before heading out:
In an ideal situation, you will never have to use your survival knowledge. But knowing them is still fundamental, as it could save you from a serious situation out in the wilderness.
Just looking at this list can make hike preparation seem a lot more daunting and time-consuming than it truly is. But the truth is, once you’ve got a designated hiking pack and have mastered the basics of wilderness survival, you’ll always be ready for a hike with minimal preparation. As long as you throw in a sense of adventure and some respect for Mother Nature, you can consider yourself hike-ready!
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