From expanses of trees to flowing fields of flowers and cascading waterfalls, there is a virtually endless supply of beauty to be found in the nature around us. Hiking is an ideal way to get out and explore these surroundings without increasing your carbon footprint or greatly disrupting the natural state of these areas - all while getting in some cardio.
To prepare for your next hiking trip, there are a few basics you should plan to bring with you both for your wellbeing and your safety:
Food and Water
As you hike, your body is going to be burning energy. Even in cold weather you are going to need to refuel regularly with food and water, and getting enough water intake is critical to avoid hypothermia and altitude sickness. Be sure you bring plenty of healthy, energy-boosting snack bars that contain the nutrients your body is going to need to replenish itself, and lots of water so you don’t run out.
When you go hiking, you are entering into land that belongs to nature; this includes wild animals like bears and snakes, and uneven paths. Stay alert at all times while on your hike, and have safety items prepared in case anything were to happen. These items should include, but not be limited to:
- Fire for warmth
- Flashlight for light
- Knife or multipurpose tools for emergency situations
- Whistle to call for help
First Aid Kit
Along the same lines as safety items, make sure you pack a first aid kit. Especially on rougher hikes it can be easy to slip or fall, and you want to have access to supplies to clean any wounds and bandage them until you get back to safety. First aid kits often include other items like thermal blankets as well, which can come in handy in the event you get lost or turned around and can’t make it back before dark.
To help make sure you do make it back and don’t get lost, bring a GPS and compass or map to help you find your way no matter where you are. Remember that in some areas of nature your GPS will not be able to get a signal, do don’t rely on this technology alone.
One of the most valuable things your phone can do, aside from acting as both a camera and GPS, is help let family and friends know where you are. This is vitally important in case anything were to happen to you while hiking. Use the Virtual Halo app to easily send check-ins to let them know you’re safe, or an SOS if you’re not. In fact, it was through a strenuous hiking trip that led the developers to create the "Going Out" feature that will let your emergency contacts know that you may be in trouble if you don't get back by the time you intended when you set out on the trailhead.
Put Your Safety First
Hiking is a rewarding experience, and will undoubtedly give you memories to cherish for a lifetime. But remember to always put your safety first. When you’re packing for your hike, be sure to include all basic necessities like water, food, a first aid kit and safety items. Then, download Virtual Halo and bring your phone so you have quick access to help if you need it.