It’s that time of year!

Time to get out and enjoy the great outdoors, like Gordale Scar Campsite.

While outdoor activities are obviously fun, there are still dangers involved. If you love camping or hiking, learning the essential outdoor safety tips can be life-saving. Check out these eight hiking and wilderness safety tips.

1. Know How to Read a Compass and Map

Reading a map or compass may seem outdated or old-fashioned, but when you’re in the great outdoors, it’s a necessity. Smartphones and GPS systems are fantastic. While having these on your trip are great, you can’t solely rely on technology. 

Instead, make sure that you know how to use a compass and map. When you know where you’re at on the map, you’re less likely to get lost. And if you do get lost, you’ll have a better chance of finding your way back.

2. Use the Buddy System

Instead of traveling alone, bring a traveling companion. While there are advantages of hiking solo such as enjoying the quiet time, but bringing a friend is a great way to hike smart.

 If you do prefer to go alone, you will need to take extra precautions to ensure your safety:

  • Familiarize yourself with the area
  • Give a copy of your itinerary to someone
  • Know where important locations, like the ranger station, are located

You may also want to travel a shorter distance than you would if you had a companion. This can be beneficial in case you do get lost. There will be a smaller area to search.

3. Know First Aid

You need to know basic first aid before you hit the trails or get to the campsite. You should be able to identify and treat certain conditions and illnesses. A few things to consider include dehydration, hypothermia, and heatstroke.

It’s a good idea to put together a hiking emergency kit. You should include aspirin, bandaids, and alcohol among other things. You want to be prepared for any illnesses and accidents that could occur.

Need to brush up on your first aid skills? Check out this article and read more now on why you should take a wilderness first aid class.

4. Know the Area

It’s always a good idea to familiarize yourself with the area that you’ll be visiting. Do your due diligence and research the area before you go. 

What wildlife can you potentially see? Do you know proper wildlife safety?

You also want to find out the trail conditions and what the weather forecast is for the area. If there is a drought, you can expect a burn ban, so you will need to plan accordingly.

5. Be Prepared

A great way to ensure hiking safety is to be prepared. For starters, you want to make sure that you bring the correct supplies. You need to pack plenty of food and water.

If you’re hiking, you will need proper shoes. If you don’t plan on wearing hiking shoes, you want to be sure that the shoe you do wear provides proper ankle support, sturdy soles, and ideally waterproof. You also don’t want to wear everyday socks. Wool-poly blend socks are ideal for camping and hiking to reduce blisters.

You should choose a backpack that has wide straps and buckles. This can prevent back pain and strain. Waterproof items are great in case you run into rain.

Another great way to prepare for your adventure is to research the types of plants that you may find in the area. It’s important to know what plants are poisonous so that you can avoid them. 

Make sure that all equipment is in working order before you leave. Another great tip is to remember to pack your insurance cards and identification in case you become injured and need medical attention. It also wouldn’t hurt to pack certain survival items just in case.

6. Fire Safety

In 2018, over 51,000 wildfires were caused by humans., so before you start roasting marshmallows, you need to be sure that you’re educated on fire safety. Only build a fire in designated areas. Never start a fire too close to your tent or low-hanging debris.

Don’t burn combustible cans. It’s also important that you never leave the fire unattended and extinguish the fire properly with lots of water. And always remember what Smokey the Bear says!

7. Protect Your Skin

If you’re planning to spend a lot of time outdoors, you will want to properly protect your skin. Sunscreen is a must. You will need to apply sunscreen frequently while you’re outdoors just as you would if you were at the beach.

It’s also important to protect your skin from bugs. Insect repellants are great for protection from mosquitoes and ticks. Depending on the temperatures, you should opt for long pants to help prevent bug bites.

8. Let People Know Where You’re Going

Whether you’re going solo or with a group of friends, you should always let someone know where you’re going. Let them also know when to expect your return. It may seem silly, but if the worst-case scenario does occur, they can send authorities to your area.

Follow These Outdoor Safety Tips to Ensure a Memorable Time

Enjoying the great outdoors can be a memorable experience. By following these simple outdoor safety tips, you will ensure that you and your loved ones are happy (and safe) campers.

Want ideas for your next vacation? Check out our travel and entertainment blog for all the must-see places and things to do.

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