Hiking Tips : When Things Go Wrong | Hiking For Beginners
Hiking is one of the most popular outdoor activities in the world. With its rising popularity hiking, related accidents and fatalities are on the rise globally. This is not just a hiking for beginners article. This article intends to provide vital and life-saving hiking tips, what to do when things go wrong and provide essential hiking gear list.
- Do your research on the trail. Familiarize yourself. Apply logic and choose the right trail for your hike. If you are a beginner start with low intensity, shorter distance trails.
- Have a better understanding of the weather conditions. Depending on the weather choose appropriate gear.
- Never go for a hike without essential gears. Keep a checklist.
- Inform someone responsible about your hike, location and estimated time of return.
- Carry light. Always go for those gears which are lightweight and efficient.
When Things Go Wrong
Falling is the most common and direct cause of hiking related injuries and fatalities. Imagine that you fell and sustained serious injuries but alive. What would you do?
- Assess your injuries. If sustained wounds, there is a chance of bleeding and infection. In these kinds of situations, your lightweight first aid kit might save your life.
- In case of broken bones and you are unable to walk.The only thing you can do is to call for help. If there is no mobile network you have to rely on your lightweight long-range radio. Another small little gizmo to call for help is a Satellite GPS messenger.
- Worst case scenario: No phone/radio/Gps messenger. Hopefully, the fracture is on one of your legs. You could attempt this extreme survival trick.
If possible find some strong and long sticks. Place them on either side of your leg. Use any kind of rope/cloth/vine to wrap around the sticks and your leg. Wrap very tight and firm. Use your hiking pole or a strong tree branch to help yourself get up and slowly walk.
Too hot :
If you are having a heat stroke or heat exhaustion, you will experience symptoms like disorientation, vomiting, cramps, headaches, dizziness, anxiety etc.
What to do :
- Find shade, lay down and rest.
- Rehydrate. Carrying a hydration pack with a sip tube may help you avoid this situation. Since it is more convenient than carrying a water bottle, you are more likely to hydrate frequently.
- Loosen your clothes, unbutton, put a wet piece of cloth or an Instant cooling towel around your neck.
Too cold :
You failed to consider cold weather and now you are in a freezing situation:
What to do :
Cover your skin. If there are no gloves or extra clothes, use something like leaves to cover your skin. You could have avoided this situation if you had done a weather check and brought
- A pair of cold weather high-performance socks.
- Hand Warmers and Toe Warmers.
- A headband or a winter hat to protect your ears.
Loosen your clothing, boots, wristband etc. since it affects blood circulation.
Keep your electronics close to your body. Because cold weather can kill your batteries.
You are in the wild, hiking and suddenly there is drastic weather change and heavy lightning.
What to do:
- Best thing to do is stay low in a crouch position.
- Do not stay near a tall/isolated tree.
- Avoid any conducting materials like poles, wires, electric fences etc
- Do not lay on the ground.
- Open fields are dangerous. If possible find a place where there are lot of trees.
- Avoid water bodies.
- If you are on top of a mountain, climb down to a safe position as soon as possible.
Where ever you are, stay low in a crouch position.
[Hiking Tip: Do not engage with animals unnecessarily. By doing that you are not only inviting danger but also posing threat to the life of a poor creature]
What to do when a Grizzly attacks :
Assuming you forget to take the most important thing while hiking grizzly territory i.e. Bear pepper spray
- Running is not an option. Like most animals running activates the charge /attack drive. And you can’t outrun a grizzly.
- Remember the childhood story? Yep, Play dead in a fetal position and don’t forget to cover back of your neck with your hands.
- Wait for the grizzly to leave but do not move. Wait few more minutes and slowly stand up and walk away.
What to do when a Black Bear attacks :
- Running is not an option.
- Climbing trees won’t help you. Coz, black bears are excellent climbers.
- Playing dead won’t work either.
- If no Bear Spray; your only option is to stand your ground. Make yourself large, make a lot of noise.
- Use whatever you find to fight back. Aim for the eyes and nose.
What to do when a Mountain Lion attacks :
- No running.
- Do not turn and show your back.
- Crouching or bending shows your vulnerability and a thumbs up for the mountain lion to attack you.
- Playing dead won’t work.
- Make yourself large and make a lot of noise.
- If the beast charge at you. Find something without bending or turning and throw at the lion.
- The whole idea is to let the lion know that you are not a pray.
- If the lion got hold of you fight back with whatever you find. Aim for the eyes and nose.
- Once the animal backs up. Stand up and make a lot of noise until he /she leaves you alone.
What to do if a snake bites you :
- The only option is to get medical care as soon as possible.
- Be calm. If you panic, it will speed up the blood circulation, resulting in fast circulation of poison inside you.
- If you are alone in a remote location, do not walk or run.
- Lay down and call for help.
Heart attack, stroke, infections anything can happen at any time. If you feel unusual symptoms. Be calm, take rest and immediately call for help.
Essential Hiking Gear List
- Gps messenger
- Solar Charger and power bank
- Skin protection
- Necessary clothing
- Flash Lights and Headlamps
- Extra batteries
- Hydration Pack
- First aid kit
- Emergency shelter
I hope the hiking tips mentioned here are helpful and you all take necessary precautions on your next hiking adventure. Read the Wikipedia page on hiking to get more extensive information on hiking and hiking tips.