Hiking is a wonderful way to experience the great outdoors. It is free, easy and accessible to everyone. Walking or rambling allows you to connect with the natural world in a very relaxed and intimate way. Going walking with a group of friends or family can also be a great opportunity to catch up and strengthen existing bonds.
Hiking is usually a very safe activity, but it’s essential that you follow a couple of common sense safety tips.
Don’t Hike Alone
As much as you may enjoy the solitude, hiking through a heavily forested area, on a steep cliff or a winding trail may not be the wisest option. It’s fine to stroll alone in nearby areas that have been well-travelled, but if you’re considering going further afield, go in a group or with a partner. If there is a possibility that you will get lost, don’t hike alone. A hiking partner can be very useful if you become injured and you can both help one another up steep grades.
Basic Hiking Equipment
Don’t go rambling without a map or compass. You might be tempted to rely on mobile phones, but there’s no guarantee that there will be signal and that the battery will last for the whole of your hike. A Swiss Army knife can be a useful piece of equipment, and no hiker should ever set off without a basic first aid kit in their pack. This should be equipped with gauze, bandages, anti-bacterial cream, insect repellent and plasters for painful blisters.
Make sure that you dress appropriately for the trip and wear layers of clothing. You can purchase specialist fleeces and jackets that are lightweight and can easily be folded away into a rucksack from retailers like Dare 2b. It’s always better to bring more items of clothing, as you can always carry them if you get too hot, hiking whilst cold or wet can be dangerous. If the weather is warm, remember to bring a hat and sun cream. Suffering from sunstroke while hiking would be very unpleasant.
Food and Drink
It’s very important that you remain hydrated whist hiking, as you can lose a great deal of fluids over a short two hour period if the day is warm. Heat stroke can be fatal, so make sure that you guard against it by bringing plenty of water. Sports drinks, juice and squash are also good choices, but remember that alcohol is dehydrating and an unsafe option. Make sure that you have enough food for the day, plus a little extra as your hike may take longer than anticipated.