Backpacking backpack hikers, your love of the outdoors inspires you to get out there and be part of it. In addition to the sheer enjoyment of your hike, there’s a challenge in knowing you can complete the adventure with minimal to no obstacles, right? Experienced hikers know that is not always the case, but beginners can help protect themselves on and off the trail, insuring a safe return, by preparation use of these eight safety tips.
1. Leave A Trace – Just Not On The Hiking Trail
Your backpacking backpack trip should begin before you ever set foot on the trail. Think about it, when you go on vacation and fly to your destination, don’t you leave information with someone? Such as, your flight numbers, itinerary and return date. Going off into the wilderness is completely different, but is also the same in some respects.
Tell Someone About Your Hiking Plan
Include the following information:
a. Name of the trailhead where your car will be parked and your license plate number
b. Length of time you’ll be gone and expected return date and approximate time
c. Daily medications (if any) you’ll be taking in your backpack
2. Hikers – Don’t Trek With Your Headphones On
Backpacking backpack hikers have different views on this subject. Many just consider the sounds of nature to be their music, but others enjoy their favorite tunes to motivate them. The reality is, if you have ear buds in or headphones on your ears, you will not hear another human or animal approach you from the back. It used to be that we all feared wild animals on our wilderness hikes, but current news situations have exposed the real threat from other humans as something we should all be alert to while hiking, especially off trail and when you are solo hiking. Even in the safety of your own camping tent when you’re tucked in for the night, don’t plug your ears. If your hearing is blocked by music, you won’t be alert to night noises that could mean danger. A predator is still a predator whether animal or human.
3. Register Your Information With Trailhead Staff Or A Forest Ranger
Hopefully this information will never be needed, but use the Boy Scout motto and be prepared. By giving this info before you begin your trek, rescue help will have an easier time finding you. If you accidentally get lost or have an unexpected problem or health issue while on your excursion, this information will be very helpful:
a. Description of your tent or hiking bag
b. Written description or photo of yourself noting particular tattoos, hair color and facial hair, age, height and weight.
c. Emergency contact number and name of the person you left your hiking plans with
d. Hiking itinerary and expected time of return to your vehicle at the trailhead.
Always Safely Carry Proper Identification
A backpacking backpack would most likely have a pocket for your ID, passport and probably some cash and a credit card. However, stashing these items in your hiking backpack is not the safest plan. There are times when your backpack leaves your body and is either on a restroom floor, in your tent, or leaned against a rock while you rest. Theft can happen so unexpectedly and swiftly that you need to be aware of how to protect these items while hiking. A money belt that goes around your waist is a more practical means of keeping valuables that will be a pain in the butt to replace, if needed.
Another option for passports and drivers license is to carry a photocopy or a scanned photo on your phone and leave your originals home safely. The down side of this plan is, what if you lose your phone or drop it in a lake or river?
Friendly Strangers On The Backpacking Trail
Backpacking backpack hikers find that it can be rewarding to come across a fellow hiker on the trail. It’s fun to exchange helpful tips and trail information. Unfortunately we live in a world where not everyone can be trusted, yet you don’t want to be a constant skeptic with everyone you meet. The best approach would be a polite exchange without giving your pertinent information or exactly where you are headed and planning to camp. If those you meet seem to be too inquisitive, give very vague answers and be on your way.
6 Hikers Can Open A GPX File On Google Earth
You may ask, what is a GPX file? A GPX file is essentially a list of numbers that equate to points on a map. In order to use a GPX file, you’ll need an Apple iPhone, Android phone, Blackberry, Kindle Fire HDX or Symbian phone (or a proper dedicated GPS device.) This is a very useful tool for creating routes for your hike. You don’t have to worry about getting lost. Upload the GPX file in a program such as ViewRanger or GPSVisualizer Draw. Find the area you will be hiking which will contain longitude and latitude location data, which includes waypoints, routes, and tracks. Once you import this data you can make sure you are on point with your excursion without sidetracking. You can check out more on how this could benefit you as a hiker at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ol9nqLO2u0Q and get a full explanation of usage.
7. Backpack Hikers – Use Your Gut Instincts
How many times have you had a “gut feeling” that something was not quite right? Then, you learned that you should have trusted that feeling in the pit of your stomach. This makes total sense on the hiking trail. When you are out in the wilderness or even a public trail with strangers, your best defense is to stay alert to your surroundings and people. This is mentioned not as a scare tactic or to make everyone panic. Naivety and blissful unawareness is not safe on any venture, vacation or in a shopping mall because things can happen in the blink of an eye, so it just makes good sense to keep both eyes wide open and hone your sensory skills to trust a gut feeling if something doesn’t feel quite right.
Trekkers; Be Aware -Not Scared To Hike
Backpacking backpack trekkers in a group present a united front against wildlife and criminal mischief. However, there are times when you just want to head out on your own, and you should. Solitude can often be very soothing and therapeutic, so go for it without fear. Just arm yourself with knowledge, foresight and awareness. You’ll have an awesome trek. The folks at Nature Trail Backpacks wish you happy hiking!