Jul 23, 2019 Best Products to Bring on an Exploring Trip to Ensure Hiking Safety
Last year, 51% of the U.S. population went hiking. That is a lot of hikers!
With hiking, you are bound to get injuries. The more people who do it, the more injuries there will be.
Below we will discuss hiking safety tips and products you can use to make your journey as safe as possible. With a safe journey you will have a more fun and memorable experience.
The 10 Essentials for Hiking Safety
To start off, there are 10 items that are recommended to bring no matter what hiking trip you are going on.
When you are out hiking there is the chance you can get lost. To best avoid this you want to bring a few things with you.
- Map: A map will give you the most information about the region you are in. Make sure you keep your map in a plastic bag to prevent any damage happening to it.
- Compass: Along with the map you will want a compass. It will help orient you while looking at the map. You will have a better understanding of which direction you need to go. This product has a compass built into a convenient bracelet.
- Altimeter: This device can be useful as it tells you your elevation level. This will help you know your location better on a map.
- GPS Device: GPS can tell you exactly where you are located. It is a digital map you can carry around with you. Be aware that the GPS may not have all the information your map has. It is good to have both.
- Personal Locator Beacon (PLB) or Satellite Messenger: If you get lost, this device will send out a message of your current location so someone can come and find you.
Headlamp and/or Flashlight
Headlamps are a good choice if you’re planning on doing climbing or hiking at night while on your trip. It allows your hands to be free while giving you the ability to see what you’re doing. This is particularly important if you are climbing in dark places or as night draws near.
If you won’t be climbing, it is still good to bring some form of light. Your hike may take longer than expected.
You can bring a flashlight or use the light from your phone. Yet, your phone only has a finite battery and you may need it for other things. So, it is good to bring a physical flashlight as well.
Make sure to pack extra batteries, you don’t want to run out of light.
Make sure you are wearing sunglasses and sun-protective clothes on your trip. Before you start your hike apply sunscreen to any exposed areas of your skin (at least SPF 30). If you are not properly protected, you can get a sunburn, snow blindness, or worse (e.g. skin cancer).
Research where you are going to know the best types of sunglasses and clothing you should wear.
When going on a hiking trip you want to bring a first aid kit. You want at least bandages, gauze, blister treatment, gloves, disinfectant, tweezers, and painkillers.
Depending on where you are going or what allergies you may have will determine if you need to bring extra items. For example, insect repellent and EpiPens.
Make sure your first aid kit is fully stocked and nothing is expired. On top of that, plan your kit based on how many people will be on the trip with you. The more people there are, the more supplies you will need to bring.
Knife and Repair Kit
No matter where you are hiking, you want a knife with you. They help you with food preparation, first aid, gear repairs, making kindling, and more.
An equipment repair kit is good to bring along. You want to make sure you can repair anything that might get damaged.
Depending on how long your trip is and where you are hiking will depend on how many items need to be in your repair kit. Some standard items include duct tape, a multi-tool, and a needle and thread.
You may need to create a fire while on your hike. It is important to have tools with you that will make this easy. You will want to bring matches, a lighter, and/or tinder (or other fire starters).
You may also want to bring a stove. It is good for more heat, to purify water, and as a way to heat food.
You want some form of shelter on you while hiking. This can be waterproof jackets or a large plastic trash bag that you can makeshift into a jacket. Other options include bivy sacks and plastic tube tents.
When going on a hiking trip, bring about a one-day supply of food. In case something happens you will have enough food to last you until you can return safely. This can be due to weather, delays in your hike, or you unexpectedly getting lost.
Make sure to bring no-cook food with you on your journey. You want food that can store well and is easily digestible. For example, nuts, granola bars, jerky, instant coffee and tea, dried soup, and trail mix.
Make sure to have plenty of water with you on your trip. You want at least one water bottle with you.
When you are out hiking, you may not bring enough water to supply you for your entire trip. This is why it is important to bring ways to treat the water you come across. You don’t want to get sick while you’re on your trip.
The type of bottle you bring can have an impact. This is especially true if you’re in hotter climates and are exposed to the sun. The sun can kill the bacteria in any water you may find on your trail.
You need clear, plastic water bottles that the sun can easily penetrate. Yet, if you need water quickly, this method does take a few hours to purify your water.
If you don’t have any of these options, your best choice is to boil any water (or snow) you find to kill the bacteria. Boil the water for at least 1 minute, and 3 minutes or more the higher your altitude.
When going on a hike you want to make sure you are wearing proper clothing.
Under no conditions should you ever wear flip flops or sandals while hiking. You want shoes that have a good grip on the bottoms.
You also want shoes that will be comfortable. Your trip will be cut short if your feet start to hurt before you are even finished hiking.
When hiking you want to avoid wearing shorts. Pants provide more protection against insects and plants.
Depending on the time of year/where you’re hiking, will dictate what extra clothing you will bring. You will always want to bring an extra pair of clothes and socks (in case you get wet). If it is going to be chillier you will want an extra jacket, gloves and a hat as well.
Different areas have different rules about how you do your business while on your hike. If there are no bathrooms available along your trail, you may have to bring a few things with you on your journey.
First off, you will want to bring along toilet paper and hand sanitizer. Being clean while on your hike is really important, it helps prevent you from getting sick.
- Sealable Plastic Bags: These bags are for you to pick up any of your used toilet paper. Once you’re home you can empty the contents in your own bathroom.
- Camp Trowel: This nifty device helps you make a hole in the ground. Once you are finished going to the bathroom you can fill in the hole and go along your journey. The hole should be 6-8 inches deep. You can either bury the toilet paper in the hole, or you can put it in a plastic bag.
- Solid Waste Bags: Some places do not allow you to leave human waste in the area. Thus, you will need to bring waste disposal bags on your hike.
When you’re hiking you want some form of communication device. The easiest one to bring is your cellphone. Yet, you may not get service while you’re hiking.
If that is the case, you will want a satellite phone with you. A satellite phone will work practically anywhere.
If you are hiking with a group it is good for you to have walkie talkies in case you get separated.
No matter what devices you bring make sure they will last on your trip. You can bring charging packs for your cellphone and extra batteries.
If you are worried about getting lost, you can take pictures with your phone. This can help you identify landmarks.
While on your trip, you want to to have adequate storage devices for your food, gear, and trash.
- Storage Container for Food: Keep your food in airtight containers, this way the smell of the food will not attract any unwanted animals.
- Dry Bags: Besides food, there are certain items you want to keep dry such as your first aid kit, toilet paper, medications, sanitary napkins, and other necessities.
- Backpack with Good Support: You will be doing a lot of walking on your trip and carrying quite a bit of stuff. You want a sturdy backpack that can safely hold all your gear. At the same time, you want it to feel comfortable on your shoulders.
- Trash Bags: You want these to keep from littering on your trip. Some places will fine you for littering.
Research Where You’re Going
No one place is the same. That is why it is important to research where you’re choosing to hike.
- Wildlife: Know what wild animals are in the area and what types of protection you should carry on you. For example, in Yellowstone, it is important to have bear spray on you to protect you from grizzly bears. Make sure to have emergency treatment supplies for any animal attacks that might happen (e.g. a snake bite).
- Plant Life: Know what types of poisonous plants are in the area. Bring emergency treatment supplies if you encounter any of those plants.
- Weather Conditions: look up what kind of weather the area has and what you should look out for. For example, if they’re known for having mudslides, or if you’re somewhere with high tides.
- Acclimation: Look up how high you will be hiking. The higher the altitude the harder it becomes to breathe. Make sure you are resting and giving your body time to adjust to the different altitudes.
- Hiking Alerts: check the regional hiking alerts before you go out on your journey. There may be more things you need to be on the watch for. For example, maybe there are closed trails or wildfire risks.
- Hunting Season: Know when hunting season is and in what areas. You don’t want to get caught in the crossfire. Wear brighter colors to help you better stand out to hunters, if you go hiking during hunting season.
- The Route You’re Taking: Make sure to review the route you plan on taking ahead of time. This will help prevent you from getting lost along the way.
The more information you have the safer your journey will be.
Let’s Get Hiking!
Now that we have reviewed many different hiking safety tips, it is time to get ready for your hike. Take a look at all the different hiking options available to you and plan your trip accordingly.
If you want to learn more about hiking visit our blog.