When the weather is nice, you want to get outside and enjoy it. If you prefer the solitude of hiking alone, here are some tips to stay safe.
Hiking Alone Safety Tip #1: Use Popular Trails & Parks
Even if you’re an experienced hiker, hiking alone on an unmarked trail can be dangerous. If you fall and are unable to reach help, it may be days before somebody is able to find and help you. If you prefer hiking alone, it is best to stick to popular trails and parks frequented by other hikers. That way, you’ll have some time alone but still be within minutes or hours of getting help if you need it.
Hiking Alone Safety Tip For #2: Tell Someone Where You’re Going
The reason people go hiking alone is to return to the solitude of nature but it’s still important to let at least one person know where you’ll be. Use the buddy system. Pick a friend or relative to call or text when you’re planning to go hiking alone and let them know what trail or park you plan to visit. Let them know to expect to hear from you when you’ve returned home. This way, if something does go wrong, your ‘buddy’ will know to call for help.
Hiking Alone Safety Tip #3: Don’t Wear Headphones
A good safety tip for people who enjoy hiking alone is don’t wear headphones. Though most people are on the trail to enjoy the day just as you are, someone else may have bad intentions. If there is a predator on the trail looking to rob you or worse, you won’t hear them come up behind you with music blasting in your ears. You want to be able to hear what’s coming, human or animal, so stay alert and leave the MP3 player at home.
Hiking Alone Safety Tip #4: Carry Some Protection
If you like to go hiking alone, it’s important to remember people with less than honorable intentions sometimes hang out in the woods, looking for easy targets. It’s important to carry something to defend yourself should somebody come upon your unexpectedly. Pepper spray is small, discreet and inexpensive and may save your life.
Hiking Alone Safety Tip #5: Timing Is Everything
If you prefer hiking alone, it’s best to frequent the trails during the weekend when most people are out enjoying the weather. This way, you’ll have some time alone but still be able to call for help if necessary. There’s safety in numbers even if you aren’t hiking together.
Hiking Alone Safety Tip #6: Pack The Right Gear
In addition to the right boots and a good insect repellent, it’s important to take a small pack with you when hiking. Even if you only plan to go hiking alone for a few hours, it’s important to take plenty of water, a fully charged cell phone, non-perishable food items such as protein bars, nuts and seeds, a small first aid kit, flashlight and an emergency blanket. It may seem like over-preparing but in the event you become lost or trapped by a storm, you’ll have the items you need to survive the night. Note: If you are hiking in a thickly wooded area, keep in mind that you can lose light very quickly as it draws toward evening. Pay attention to the time and turn back toward home well before sunset.
It’s fun and relaxing to go hiking alone. Taking the right precautions can help you to stay safe and enjoy your day with peace of mind.