Hiking is one of the most pleasurable outdoor activities that you can do. The United States offers such a great variety of landscapes that it would be criminal to not experience and appreciate them during your lifetime. Not only do you get to experience the many majestic vistas and beautiful expanses of North America, you will also be keeping fit and getting a decent amount of exercise.
Whether you are planning a long hike through treacherous terrain, or would rather embark on a slower, more leisurely expedition, you should make sure that you are adequately prepared for what lies ahead. The most common mistake that new hikers make is assuming that all they need to invest in is a decent pair of boots beforehand, in fact anyone who is hoping to take up hiking as a serious pursuit should be prepared to arm themselves with the best equipment they can and should be aware of all the relevant safety issues.
In this article we have gathered together some of the most important words of advice for ensuring that you stay safe while hiking.
Bring the Right Gear
This is the most important piece of advice, no matter where you plan to take your hike you need to make sure that you research the area so that you understand what hazards you might encounter. It is also important that you plan for the unexpected. For example, if you hike somewhere where bears are known to roam then you should invest in some bear mace, no matter how unlikely an encounter might be.
It is also important that you are able to comfortably carry all the necessary equipment, including any optional equipment such as cameras. Check out this guide from Indreviews for some camera bag recommendations.
Bring a Map
Now that we all have smartphones with built-in GPS, the art of map-reading has been lost somewhat, however when out in the wilderness you can never be sure that you will get the data connection, or battery power, that you need in order to use an electronic GPS. Being able to read a map is a vital skill, especially for those who are hoping to explore rather than following pre-set trails.
Hike During the Day
There are some occasions where you might want to take in a particular sight during the evening, or even night time. For example, if there’s a meteor shower, you will have to view it after the sun goes down. However, most of the time you should plan your hike so that it will be during daylight hours.
Check the Forecast
Extreme weather events aren’t just annoying, they can be dangerous. Flash floods are a very real concern in some areas and they can easily turn deadly. You should therefore make sure to check the weather forecast before you set off and prepare yourself accordingly.
Hiking is an excellent way of keeping in shape; it has been scientifically proven to have numerous benefits for both physical and emotional wellbeing and allows you to experience to full beauty of the American outdoors. Make sure that you plan your trips carefully and heed any warnings from locals who are familiar with the areas where you hike in order to ensure that you remain safe throughout.