Backpacking safety is an important topic for those considering an outing. While backpacking is an amazing pastime, it can also be dangerous. Preparation is key to having a safe, stress-free experience which will help ensure that you can enjoy backpacking for years to come.
Here are a few of our top tips for backpacking safety!
1. Know Before You Go
Doing as much research as you can on your trail of choice is crucial for backpacking safety. Study a map of the area you plan on going to. While you don’t need to memorize the route beforehand, it’s important to familiarize yourself with the general area and any confusing parts of the trail. For extra safety, give a copy of your route to a friend, especially if you’re choosing to go it alone.
Don’t just plan for your route either. Make sure you’re watching the weather as conditions can turn dangerous fast.
2. Wear Proper Backpacking Clothing and Shoes
Dressing in layers is usually ideal so you can easily adjust to changes in temperature! Proper backpacking clothing shouldn’t be cotton since the material retains moisture.
Don’t forget to carefully select your shoes! Wear proper hiking shoes or boots, not your old worn-out sneakers. Since sprains are some of the most common backpacking injuries, the more supported your feet are, the safer you will be.
3. Make Some Noise for Backpacking Safety
While enjoying wildlife is one of the major perks of going backpacking, there are some wildlife encounters that could be a little too close for comfort. You don’t want to end up face-to-face with a raccoon or something larger and more dangerous. One of the best ways to avoid this is by making some racket on the trail. Whether you try to walk loudly, talk to yourself, or whistle, making noise will alert wildlife to your presence and they will usually flee.
4. Pack a First Aid Kit for Backpacking Safety
There are all kinds of injuries that could happen while you’re backpacking. Whether it’s something small like a scratch on your arm or something a little more serious like a twisted ankle, it’s always good to be prepared. Pack a first aid kit and throw in an anti-histamine, aloe vera gel for sunburns, and maybe even some Pepto Bismol. Packing too much will make your pack heavy, but you don’t want to get sick or injured in the middle of nowhere without the proper gear. Backpacking safety includes being prepared for unexpected circumstances.
If you have certain health conditions, you will want to pack accordingly. This includes a copy of your medical history in case you have a medical emergency while you’re blazing the trail.
5. Be Aware of Your Surroundings
Even if you’re an experienced backpacker, it’s vital to stay aware of what’s around you. Watch where you step to avoid slips and trips, be on the lookout for wildlife including insects, and monitor the route to avoid taking a wrong turn. It’s also important to be aware of anyone else on the trail with you, especially if you’re a woman. To stay as aware as possible, don’t use headphones.
Enjoy an Exciting but Safe Backpacking Trip
When you’ve thoroughly prepared with all of these backpacking safety measures, you’ll spend less time worrying about things going wrong. That means you can be in the moment and enjoy your backpacking adventure to the fullest!
For more information on Backpacking Safety visit this Backpacking Magazine article.
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