This is part one of a few tips to make sure your hiking, climbing or camping experience is a fun and safe one.
The best way to deal with a tragedy or any negative incident is to avoid it in the first place. And the best way to do that is to be prepared. Obviously you cannot prepare for every single possibility when you go on your excursion, but by doing some proper planning beforehand you give yourself a much better chance of having a safe hike.
And ultimately a safe hike is an enjoyable one. So here are some pointers to help start the preparation process for your next expedition:
Appoint a Leader:
Every hiking group should have a capable leader. Group members must support one another and the leader. The leader should arrange, check and allocate everyone’s equipment and keep the all members informed about the routes and trip details. In parties larger than four, appoint a tail hiker to safeguard against stragglers. Try to always keep the group together.
When planning your hike, make sure it is within the capabilities of every member
of the party. Study maps of the area, and speak to others who have done the hike to ascertain the strengths needed to complete it. The correct type of fitness is essential for enjoyable and safe hiking. (e.g. a fit sports player might not have mountain-hiking fitness).
Take the Necessary Equipment
Make sure you have the right amount, and the correct type, of food (food with high energy value). Also a good rehydration drink will be hugely beneficial. Find out about the weather conditions and average temperatures of the area so you can take appropriate clothing. Always take something warm even if going into a hot environment. Ensure you have an adequate First Aid Kit and check the contents before you pack it in. Check the condition of all your gear.
Safety in Numbers
A safe number for a party mainly depends on the level of isolation and danger of the area to which you’ll be going. Usually the minimum number for a safe group is four. Make regular stops at well-chosen areas, but don’t make them long drawn-out affairs. Make an early start each day, to allow plenty of time for any unforeseen incidents. Don’t ever ease the safety precautions, especially at the end of a hard day; accidents can happen in a second.
Do all this preparation and you’re well on your way to having a fun trip. Click Safety Tips for Hiking and Climbing to read the second instalment in this series.
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