Hiking Safety Tips
Enjoy Safe Hiking
Hiking safety tips are especially important for beginners. Enjoy your hiking and stay safe with these hiking safety tips.
(Article written by Helen Lloyd Jones)
Walking, hiking, rambling (whatever you name it!) is really cool. Anyone can do it, and everyone should try it!
If you are really unfit, have a chronic condition such as diabetes II or cardiac problems check with your GP first.
In the UK, www.ramblers.org.uk run a great program "Get walking, Keep Walking" in some cities and the walk leaders are trained to be able to help you. They offer a DIY pack too. Worth going on their web site and having a look.
If you are pushed for time or worried about doing a long walk, start with schemes like "Stepping Stones" that the Ramblers www.ramblers.org.uk offer in Wales. These walks are fairly flat and not too long and the walk leaders again have been trained with hiking safety tips to be able to help the novice walker.
If you are able to spend longer walking why not go out with a Ramblers group near you? There are so many groups there is bound to be one fairly near you and if you live in a remote beautiful place, you'll probably find that the Ramblers lead walks in your area.
For those in the US, go to www.americanhiking.org for featured trails and programs near you.
General Hiking Safety Tips
- Wear sensible shoes.
City walking trainers will do.
Country walking your trainers are going to get muddy. Treat yourself to a decent pair of boots. (I had a pair that lasted me more than ten years and they were so comfortable to walk in.)
Shops like Cotswold, Milletsports, Outdoor World, Hawkshead all offer good boots.
Make sure you try the boots on with two pairs of woolly socks inside them.
Boots need to be tried on, so go shopping!
- Wear two pairs of socks.
I usually wear a sports sock and then a woolly sock on top of that.
It stops rubbing and helps prevent blisters.
Being Welsh I tend to buy Welsh woolly socks but there are other great socks on the market. Bridgedale socks tend to be really good.
Hiking Safety Tips
Now for the hiking safety tips for longer walks in the country and possibly on the hills!
- Buy or borrow walking poles if you are going to be doing any walking up hills and down dales.
If you are heavy or older and need to protect your knees, look for the walking poles with springs in them.
- Get somebody to show you how to use the poles well.
You can just use common sense and walk with the poles without having any instruction but I've met a retired lady who positively glides over the Brecon Beacons using her poles and yes, she was shown how to use them properly.
- Take a rucksack with you.
- Always have water in that rucksack.
- Don't need it to begin with but a Camel, one of these water systems where you can suck on a tube while you are walking to get water, is really good.
- Always take some food with you.
- If you have any condition such as asthma take your medication with you.
Any walk lead by the Ramblers should finish to schedule. However the cloud can come down and sometimes the safest thing a walker can do is to stop and wait till the weather improves. So if you are likely to need an insulin shot, take some with you.
- Don't start out walking on your own on the hills if you have a medical condition.
Go with an organised group such as the Ramblers till you know your own walking ability. Whether you have a medical condition or are fit and healthy! Learn to read an OS map. Learn to use a compass.
The weather on the hills can change really quickly. Please don't go out on them on your own until you have learnt the whims and ways of the mountains. Mist can swirl across them in minutes and suddenly a fun walk can turn into a terrifying experience. Until you know what to do in a situation like that please, please, please walk, ramble, hike with an organised group.
- I always carry a whistle in my rucksack just in case I fall when walking on my own.
- I always carry my mobile phone but remember there are plenty of places on the hills where you won't get a signal.
- Always wear layers. I always have waterproof trousers in my rucksack.
I usually have another pair of socks and another fleece or woolly jumper or extra layer. There are some really light weight warm tops that fold down really small you can buy.
- Carry some first aid kit with you.
I usually carry kit for blisters and some anti-bacterial wipes so that if I cut myself I can clean the wound. Discovered that plasters don't always stick when you are wet and sticky, so check there is a bandage in that first aid kit. You may want to take some pain killers in case your muscles start to ache.
Bonus Hiking Safety Tip:
- Always tell somebody where you intend to walk. Leave a route map with a friend if you are walking on your own.
Ramblers have a magazine called "Walk" with walks in it. There is also a magazine called "Country Walking" that has walks inside it. There are loads of walks books available, also offering further hiking safety tips.
A search on Amazon for Walks and the name of the region where you live will probably find you lots of books. I like the "Pathfinder" series and some Ramblers groups have produced brilliant walk guides.
I love the way places of interest are mentioned. Went on a walk in Margam Park near Port Talbot and ended up seeing a monks' bathing pool. It was fantastic and so unexpected. You never know what you'll see when you go out for a hike!
When you start walking on your own follow one of these walks, and always remember these hiking safety tips.
When you are more experienced you can start planning your own walks. I hope you do and I hope you end up being a walk leader, it is great fun!
Thanks to Helen for these hiking safety tips! (Pictured -->) She is a Rambler (walk leader) from www.ramblers.org.uk.
If you have anymore hiking safety tips or stories of your own, please contact us here. We'll add the best contributions to this page.
Happy hiking! Oh and... stay safe with the hiking safety tips!!
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