Hiking is a hobby enjoyed by outdoor enthusiasts around the world. It gives us a chance to get some exercise while breathing in the fresh air. Hiking also brings us back into the wild where we can take a step back from our busy lives and reconnect with nature.

However, hiking comes with a few risks. Whether you’re doing a multiple-day hike and camping out in the mountains for a week or taking a quick day-trip to get away from it all, your safety must be ensured.

Take a moment to read our five essential hiking safety tips.

  1. Tell Someone Where You’re Going and When You Plan to Return

Before you leave, make sure you share your plans with at least one person who won’t be going with you. Tell them exactly where you’re going and when you intend to be back.

In the event that you get lost or injured on the trail, this person will be ready to call the authorities if they don’t hear from you. One of the worst mistakes you could make is disappearing into the mountains and not telling anyone where you’ve gone or when to expect you home.

  1. Avoid Hiking Alone

One of the most important hiking safety tips warns people not to hike alone. While getting some peace and solitude may sound better if you’re by yourself, it means not having any help should something bad happen.

For example, a hiking buddy will be able to run for help if you misstep and break an ankle. They’ll also be able to administer first aid, bring you food and water, etc.

Lastly, having a hiking buddy will also prove beneficial in the event of an encounter with a predator. You’re much more vulnerable if you’re alone.

  1. Stay Well-Nourished and Hydrated

A big mistake people make (especially new hikers) is failing to eat and drink enough before and during their hike. Hiking a few miles up a mountain is not the same as walking a few miles around your neighborhood. Hiking is a physically demanding hobby which requires adequate hydration and nourishment.

Make sure you start your hike will a full water bottle. Additionally, it’s always wise to bring along a way to purify natural water sources. Finally, pack calorie-dense trail snacks such as trail mix, jerky, protein bars, etc.

  1. Carry Protection

Ensuring you and your hiking group are ready and armed is one of the most important hiking safety tips. While no one likes to imagine being confronted with a bear, mountain lion, or other predators, these things do happen.

Make sure you bring appropriate protective tools. Bear spray is a must. However, some people choose to bring along high-powered firearms as well.

It’s also vital that you learn how to react to predators on the trail. Taking a moment to learn what to do could save your life.

  1. Bring a Map and Compass

Finally, pack a map and a compass with you on your hiking trip. This hiking safety tip is essential to avoid getting lost, which could be potentially fatal.

Even if you know the area well and have hiked their multiple times in the past, you should always be prepared. Something unexpected could force you off the trail, you could take a wrong turn, etc.

Want More Hiking Safety Tips?

Hiking safety tips are paramount to enjoying your trip with family, friends, or by yourself (again, not recommended). However, there’s a lot more to staying safe in the wilderness than what’s listed here. If you’re looking for more outdoor safety tips or travel advice, be sure to check out the rest of our articles before you go.