Hiking Safety Tips: How to Stay Safe While Hiking
Thinking about hiking the trails of Oregon? Before you put on your hiking boots, learn how to stay safe while hiking by reading our hiking safety tips here.
Consider These Hiking Safety Tips for Your Next Trip
We live in one of the nations most beautiful places – known for its stunning scenic views of majestic mountains and gorgeous greenery, it’s no wonder why hiking is one of most beloved past times amongst Oregonians. But that’s exactly why it’s incredibly important to take a few moments to reflect on how to stay safe while hiking and consider some hiking safety tips. Whether you’re an avid hiker or a Sunday stroller, adhering to the following safety precautions will help keep you as safe as possible when you take to the trails.
Planning Is Key
Some of the most important things you can do to stay safe actually occur before stepping foot onto any trail, and planning ahead is one of them. Yet, a common hiking mistake is failing to have a plan. No matter the length of your hike, it’s always a good idea to thoroughly plan the ins and outs of your day as doing so will better prepare you for a number of situations. From familiarizing yourself with unknown hiking trails to checking the weather, the more you plan before a hike, the better.
Preparing for your hiking trip goes hand-in-hand with a detailed hiking plan. An absolute must for anyone exploring the outdoors, equipping any necessary items (and double checking twice) will help keep you and your group safe…Unfortunately, you can only bring so much with you, so try to think of situations that would be difficult to navigate through on their own. For example, a flashlight is always handy as finding your way in the dark can be incredibly difficult. Likewise, both a map and compass are useful as each almost always provides a better sense of direction than your own judgement.
Some other vital equipment to consider bringing on your next hike includes:
A rain coat and waterproof shoes – Even the best planner in the world can’t always count on the weather forecast. But they can prepare for the chance of rain by bringing along gear for rainy weather. Make sure that your change of clothes is waterproof or water resistant. Try your best to remember to avoid cotton, as it retains moisture and may cause painful chaffing.
Food, a water bottle, and a water purification system – Sometimes short hikes turn into long ones. So, even if you’re taking a “quick” hike through an Oregon trail, you should plan everything out accordingly. Whether you get lost on your route or you extend your hike for pure enjoyment, don’t let a lack of food or water become a problem!
A First-Aid kit – While you may have the best intentions to be careful and stay safe on your hike, unfortunate events do–unfortunately–happen. So, be prepared by bringing along the ever-important First Aid kit. There are plenty of affordable options out there, so there’s really no excuse to not have one. You probably already keep a kit in your home, your car, your boat, or inside a desk drawer at the office, so it’s never a bad idea to keep a First Aid kit on hand while hiking.
Excited about your hike? Don’t keep quiet about it! One of the smartest things that you can do before a hike is to let a non-hiker know about your plans. Tell your friends, your significant other, and even your mom. Better yet, tell the world with a Facebook or Twitter post, you’ll have a group of people who are privy to your hiking agenda as cellphone use on out on trails isn’t always reliable.
Make it a priority to stay hydrated during your hike, and drink plenty of cool, refreshing water. This one may seem like a no-brainer, but it’s too important not to mention. Hiking requires a lot of intense physical activity, especially if you’re not used to it. Often, people prefer to hike during clear days with lots of strong, hot sunlight. For these reasons, it’s important to make drinking clean water a priority. While some degree of dehydration isn’t all that uncommon, in everyday situations it’s manageable. But, dehydration combined with heat exhaustion and excessive perspiration is a recipe for disaster. Failing to stay hydrated while hiking can cause heat illness as well as fainting and other unfavorable systems. These unfortunate circumstances can easily be avoided by regularly drinking plenty of water on your hike. We recommend packing an extra water bottle or two and reliable water purification system (just in case).
Protect Yourself from the Sun
As previously mentioned, the sun is a major factor that can quickly make or break your hiking trip. For this reason, it’s best to plan accordingly as doing so can help you prevent heat exhaustion caused from powerful sun exposure. No matter how long you plan on hiking, direct sunlight can be harmful in as little as a few minutes, depending on its intensity.
Pay special attention to your health during your hike, and make sure to protect yourself from the harmful effects of the sun by taking the following precautions:
- Wear sunglasses
- Drink plenty of cold water
- Wear a hat
- Wear sunscreen
- Pack a miniature electric fan
- Identify shaded rest areas
Whether you’re hiking alone or with a group of people, it’s always important to make sure you’re doing what you can to prevent the harsh effects of heat illness.
No matter how many times you go out hiking always remember to put safety first and consider the aforementioned hiking safety tips, as they are just some of the things that can make all the difference between a good hiking trip and a bad one.
Here is a resource to 7 of the best hikes within 90 minutes of Portland, which happens to include a couple of my favorites. Happy hiking!
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Attorney Travis Mayor represents victims and their families who have suffered injuries or loss due to the mistakes and faults of others.
This Blog as an educational and informational service for Oregon residents – it is not intended to be legal advice, as every case is unique and should be accurately evaluated. If you or a family member have been severely hurt in an accident and would like a FREE professional consultation with an attorney Travis Mayor, call today (503) 444-2825.