Day hiking is a great activity for seeing nature and getting your body moving. But as fun as hiking can be, it does come with some risks. Your safety is your responsibility, so prepare yourself and keep these 8 tips in mind if you plan on taking a day hike:
- Never hike alone and keep others informed of your plans: no matter how experienced you may be, it’s always risky to hike alone. In dire emergencies or if you happen to get lost, it’s always great to have a companion. It’s also a good idea to have a backup safety plan – inform a trusted friend or family member of your whereabouts and intended hiking trails.
- Wear proper hiking shoes and socks: wear sturdy shoes that will provide enough support and cushioning to avoid any foot discomfort or pain. Also if it’s tick season, be sure to wear tall hiking socks you’d be able to tuck your pants into.
- Pack light and only bring the essentials: fill your backpack with all the essentials, but also make sure it’s not too heavy and won’t weigh you down. We recommend packing a bug repellent spray, spf, first-aid kit, map, wet wipes, rain gear, and an extra layer of clothing in case temperatures drop.
- Bring water and snacks: bring enough drinking water to stay hydrated throughout your hike and pack non-perishable and nutritional foods (such as trail mix and granola bars). And just in case, bring an extra day’s worth of food.
- Familiarize yourself with the trails and choose one that matches your fitness level: whether you’re a beginner or an expert at hiking, there’s a trail for everyone with differing terrains, elevation levels, and hike lengths. So be sure to familiarize yourself with all the trails beforehand and choose one that won’t physically wear you out too much.
- Don’t interact with wildlife animals: if you happen to encounter any wild animals face-to-face while hiking, do not approach them. For both yours and the animal’s safety, keep your distance and back away slowly.
- Stay up-to-date with weather and trail conditions: check for optimal hiking conditions and be sure to search for current weather forecasts, if there are any wildfires in the area, or if there are any trail closures beforehand.
- Pace yourself: hiking should be a fun experience, so remember to take breaks as needed, enjoy your surroundings, and don’t overexert yourself!