Hiking, whether on hillside trails, canyons, the deep woods, or open meadows, can be a glorious pursuit. It’s an opportunity to unplug, soak in the breathtaking beauty of nature, and focus on creating lasting memories.
But don’t lace your hiking boots up just yet. Heading to the wilderness without a bit of planning can be dangerous, especially during the hot months. In this post, we will look at seven summer hiking safety tips.
Research and Map Your Hiking Route
When you venture into the woods without knowing the trail’s condition and the best route to use, you expose yourself to many risks. Some trails have unpredictable conditions, others have specific hiking windows, while some are best explored by seasoned hikers. Research the trail’s difficulty rating, elevation gain, length, sun exposure, wildlife situation, and what to wear.
Read a few guides and consult the rangers of the place you’re visiting. The friendly folks in hats have a wealth of knowledge about what you need to stay safe in that particular location. Also, research whether there are any water sources on the trails. If the path weaves through creeks and lakes, pack Aquatab Water Purification Tablets to make the water safe for drinking.
Prepare for the Weather
We enjoy hiking in summer because we can move more freely without being weighed down by heavy insulating layers. However, don't make the mistake of believing that all hiking trails will offer a rewarding experience during the hotter months. Thunderstorms, lightning, flash floods, and heat stroke are common dangers.
Before you head out, keep track of the weather in the park and consult the park authorities about the conditions to expect. Once you know what awaits you, learn how to protect yourself in bad weather. That includes learning when to turn around and how to shelter yourself. Additionally, apply sunscreen, wear sunglasses, and put on a wide-brimmed hat to shade your face and neck.
Learn How to Use Any and All Equipment Before You Leave
It’s safer to bring more gear to your hike. But what’s the point if you don’t know how to use the items? Make sure you know how to use a compass, map, and GPS, practice walking using your shiny trekking poles and learn how to pack a backpack the right way.
If you just bought new footwear, break them in to make sure your feet and toes will remain comfortable. These small details matter a lot and determine whether you’ll have a pleasant or regrettable summer hiking experience.
Be an Early Bird
If you want to have a nice hike during the sweltering days, start your trek early. This will help you complete the grueling section by the time the temperature spikes, reducing the chances of heat exhaustion. Also, you'll avoid the dangerous thunderstorms that typically develop in the afternoons.
Hiking early may come with a few challenges since the trail may have lots of morning dew. You can keep yourself dry by wearing low-ankle gaiters and water-resistant boots. If you're planning to hike a shade-free trail and the weather reports indicate the temps will surge and the skies will be clear, postpone your trip to a more comfortable day.
Stay Hydrated on the Trail
When trekking, you should drink around a liter of water every hour, depending on the intensity of the hike. In the hot summer weather, bring more water and remember to take a sip every ten to fifteen minutes, even when you aren't thirsty.
While you can bring all your water with you on short strolls, longer hikes mean more water, which translates to more weight. If there are places with natural water sources along the trail, pack a water filter bottle. The Prep-Right Survival Water Filter is one excellent system that purifies the water you collect in the wild.
Be Prepared for any Emergencies
Nature can be both beautiful and terrifying. A good summer downpour can create a flood that blocks your path back home, forcing you to sleep in the woods. Heat exhaustion, getting lost, encountering a dangerous animal, or spraining an ankle could also prevent you from getting back to your camp on time.
When packing, take into account such emergencies. Make sure you bring a flashlight, an extra warm layer, rain gear, a first-aid kit, and a knife or a multi-purpose survival tool. Don’t forget to pack a couple of extra snacks. In a survival situation, you'll be grateful you brought highly nutritious emergency food tabs.
Know Your Limits
Anytime you venture into the wilderness to hike, always be ready to turn back anytime. If you ignore the weather signs or push your body beyond its limits, you might find yourself in a situation where you need rescuing.
Take rests when your energy levels are low, be honest about your fitness, and definitely don't try to take on a distance you've never covered before during the sweltering months. Remember, there's always a next time.
Hiking is the best way to experience the diversity of nature, especially during the summer. However, you need to prepare for the risks lurking in the trail. Pack right, consult the rangers, learn how to use your gear, stay hydrated, and keep listening to your body.