Many people, especially those who live in cities enjoy hiking because it is a change from their sedentary life, and also allows them to enjoy nature. However, most of the popular hiking routes are in remote locations, where it is difficult to get food, medical or other help. So before embarking on a hiking trip, it is advisable to review some of the major considerations and plan well in advance, so that the hike is an enjoyable experience for all those who participate in it. The top 5 tips which a person organizing the hiking trip should consider are listed below
Hiking route: There are usually a large number of hiking routes available in the vicinity of most cities, and a particular route should be selected based on the profile of the group which is going on the hike. Groups with children may prefer easier hikes, which are cover a shorter distance, and do not involve much climbing. However, these routes may be more crowded and polluted. Groups with adults can be more adventurous while selecting their hiking route, however they should be considering the fitness levels of the group members while choosing the route. Safety should also be checked before finalizing the hiking route.
Water: The amount of water required will depend to a great extent on the weather, when embarking on a hiking trip. Hiking is a physically strenuous activity so whatever the weather, the hikers will sweat, lose water and feel thirsty. During summer, more water will be required, since the hikers are likely to sweat far more and lose water, salts. So it is important to ensure that adequate water is carried during the hiking trip and hikers are never short of water. Though carrying water can add to the weight of the backpack, it is essential for those who are hiking on less popular routes, where there may not be any shops in the vicinity. The water may be required for washing hands, wounds and injuries also
Food: Since hikers use up a lot of calories, especially if they are hiking up a hill, they are likely to feel hungry quickly. So it is important to carry high calorie snacks like chocolates, peanut butter, granola which can eaten quickly to give a burst of energy. While hiking through forests, it may be difficult to find any food sellers, so the hikers should carry enough food to last the entire trip. Fresh fruit are a healthy snack, are easily digested and give a quick burst of energy. While it is possible to find fruits growing in the wild, it is not advisable to consume them unless the hiker is sure that they are non-toxic.
First aid kit, medical help – One of the risks of walking through forested areas, is that the risk of getting cuts, bruises and scraping the skin, is far higher. While covering most of the body with appropriate clothing, footwear, can reduce the injuries to some extent, it is advisable to carry a first aid kit with basic supplies like a disinfectant, cotton gauze, bandages and ointments. For more strenuous hikes, it is also recommended that the hikers are aware of the medical facilities in the vicinity, so that they can get medical help quickly in case of emergency.
Safety: Many hiking routes pass through forests and other remote areas, where there are few people in the vicinity. Criminals may attack groups of hikers especially if they are unarmed, or are smaller groups with only a few members. So it is recommended that the hikers research the route using social media and other sources before embarking on the hike to find out if any hikers have been attacked earlier. If the group includes women safety is important, since the women may be assaulted even if the group does not have any valuables. Wild animals like bears, wolves, may also attack the hikers on some routes, so the hikers should be well equipped to defend themselves against these attacks.
Emergencies: Since most of the hiking routes are some distance away from the city cellular services, location services which require internet access may not work. So, it will be difficult to contact anyone using a phone in case of emergencies like an animal attack or injury. Hence, it is advisable to carry a paper map and a reliable compass which will help find the route to nearest road or highway, in case the hikers are lost. Carrying a siren or whistle can almost help in getting attention in case of an emergency.
Using the above tips, your next hike will be a more enjoyable and safer experience.