Summer Hiking the Safe Way

The summer sunshine means plenty of outdoor time is expected!

One of the most popular summer activities is hiking.

Whether you’re going for a day hike or a multi-day hike, check out these tips on how to stay safe while enjoying the outdoors.

Prepare for the Hike

A man looks at his map at Loon Lake, New York. Courtesy of AP.

Pick the right trail for your experience level. You should know the terrain, type of environment, and altitude of your trail before you go.

You never want to put yourself in a situation that you’re not fully prepared for. This could lead to a dangerous situation.

Have a way to communicate while you’re on the hike. Sometimes cell phones aren’t enough. Consider taking a locator beacon.

Look up what the weather will be like in advance.

  • Hot temperatures could require you to bring extra water and sunscreen.
  • Bring rain equipment if showers are to be expected.
  • It is best to hold off on hikes if dangerous weather is in the forecast.
  • If you are caught in bad weather on your hike, seek shelter immediately and know what to do in case of lightning or flash flooding.

It is always best to bring a friend when hiking, but if you choose to go alone, make sure someone knows about your trip and the trails you are looking to hike.

Last, but certainly not least, prepare an emergency plan. Always know what to do if you or a friend gets injured. Having a first aid kit and knowing basic life-saving skills are always encouraged.

What to Bring

Hiking essentials that should be packed. Courtesy of NPS.gov

As denoted by the National Parks Service, always consider what type of hike you’re going on and what you’ll need.

Some of the basic essentials include:

  • A navigation system (i.e. maps, compass, etc.)
  • Sun protection
  • Extra layers of clothing
  • Extra lighting (i.e. flashlight, headlamp, etc.)
  • First aid kit
  • A fire starter
  • Repair kit
  • Food
  • Plenty of water
  • Emergency shelter

On the Hike

A hiker makes his way up the Bright Angel Trail in the Grand Canyon. Courtesy of AP.

Now that you’re fully prepared, here are some common courtesy tips when it comes to hiking that can help you, your group, and the people around you.

Let the slowest hiker set the pace. This ensures everyone is comfortable and that everyone can stay together as a group.

Take as many breaks as you need. Listen to your body and don’t overexert yourself.

Drink plenty of water and eat snacks to keep your body’s energy up, even if you don’t feel drained at the moment.

Reapply sunscreen and bug spray when needed.

Be aware of your surroundings and watch where you step. Also, stay away from possible dangerous situations such as rapid waters, steep and slippery slopes, and icy conditions.

Educate yourself of the park’s wildlife. Make sure to keep your distance from animals and to secure food properly.

You’re Ready!

Now that you know the basics, you’re ready to go!

Get outdoors, and make the most of your summer.

Although, remember to always take extra precaution while traveling in new areas.