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Safety Tips for Backpackers

Catherine Andrews

Backpacking can be a wonderful adventure; it can also be a very challenging activity fraught with hazards. Backpackers who know how to avoid those hazards are less likely to experience problems while out in the wild. These tips can help backpackers have a fun, safe journey in a national park.

Pack Right

Bringing the right things when camping can help make the experience safer for everyone. Common safety items that backpackers must bring with them include:

This helpful safety gear can help a backpacker in a time of need. Sometimes the safety gear that a hike requires depends on the region where the hike is taking place. Backpackers must do research in advance to find out what kind of hazards they’re likely to encounter while they’re on the trails; this can help them pack accordingly.

Know First Aid

First aid is the ability to help someone who is injured or experiencing an urgent health problem. On the trail, backpackers can experience a wide variety of problems including cuts, broken bones, fevers, ingestion of toxic plants, burns and other serious health problems. Knowing how to treat these injuries is important. While all backpackers should know first aid, it’s very important that at least one person in any given hiking group know how to administer first aid to a fellow traveler.

Avoid Narrow Canyons

Flash floods are a serious problem. In the wild, flash floods can occur within a span of minutes or even seconds. After a period of prolonged rainfall, narrow canyons are often at serious risk for a flash flood. Avoiding narrow canyons can help backpackers to avoid a serious situation.

Know What to Do When Lost

Getting lost on the trail can be scary; knowing what to do is important. Hiking experts often recommend for anyone who is lost in the woods to stop where ever they are and take some time to think about how they came to this point. Sometimes a person who has gotten off the trail need only to think about the direction that they came from and what brought them to that point. Staying calm is the best way to gain one’s bearings and figure out the next course of action.

In some cases, a backpacker can use their compass, a map and visible landmarks to determine the best way to get back to the trail from their current position. A hiker who cannot find their way back to the trail is better off waiting for help than continuing on in the wrong direction.

Match the Hike To Your Skill

Some hikes are much harder to than others. Matching the hike to the hiker’s skill level is important. Often trails are graded on a scale, with some trails being beginner and others being more advanced. Hikers may need to inquire with a ranger station to find out the relative difficulty of the trail they want to hike. Backpackers who have never hiked before should stick to the beginner trails until they feel more comfortable.

Never Backpack Alone

Backpacking alone can be very dangerous. It can also be less fun. No matter how experienced a backpacker is, it’s always a good idea to hike with someone, or a group of people. This can help ensure that if something goes very wrong over the course of the hike, then there will be other people to rely upon. Following these tips can help ensure that backpacking this summer is safe and fun.

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