If you’re one of those people who love to walk, whether wandering through a city, strolling along the beach or exploring the countryside, then you’ll probably enjoy hiking, especially if you are in a scenic rural area where you can make the most of the fresh air and enjoy a little exercise. No matter how casual a trip you plan, however, there are some important safety tips to remember. Here is a quick guide to remind you of some of the small but essential points that are vital for your safety and wellbeing.
Fit for purpose
Make sure you choose a route that is within your fitness capabilities. If you’re relatively new to hiking and not particularly fit, it is probably best not to opt for an arduous trek across difficult terrain until you have successfully accomplished a few shorter, less difficult expeditions. Careful planning before you set out should include letting someone else know where you and your party will be going and what time you plan to return. This is important in the event of any unfortunate accidents. Always check the weather forecast and be mindful of the weather throughout your journey.
Dress the part
In terms of the weather, although the sun may be shining and it may be a fine and dry day when you set out, remember that the weather can change unexpectedly, particularly if your hike involves climbing hills or touring an unfamiliar region.
Wear light clothing made from breathable fabrics and be sure to carry any spare clothing as appropriate. Sensible footwear is a must, so invest in a sturdy pair of walking shoes or boots. Your feet and legs will feel more comfortable and your circulation will be improved if you wear men’s or women’s compression socks, ensuring you have dry feet, even in the event of an unexpected downpour.
Make sure you have a sufficient amount of suitable fluids with you for the duration of your journey. The best options include water, natural juices and tea. To promote energy and ensure you get the right nutrients, you can also include dried fruit, whole meal bread and nuts, particularly if you’re planning a lengthy hike. Stick to designated paths and walking trails and consult your route map on a regular basis to ensure you are not straying or in danger of becoming lost.
Although you will hope never to need it, carrying a first aid kit is important, particularly on an extended journey or one that will take you into remote, uninhabited places. Make sure it includes treatments for insect bites and stings if this is likely to be a problem. Add a small torch for good measure and a mobile phone for summoning help if needed.
Above all else, remember to respect the countryside in which you are travelling, including the vegetation and any birds or wildlife. Don’t leave litter behind you, take it home, and keep intrusive noise to a minimum. That way, the countryside will enjoy you just as much as you enjoy your hike.