Travel with a buddy or in groups
Hiking can be a fun activity for those who love the great outdoors but hikers need to be responsible and take measures for their own safety.
WHETHER a novice or a frequent hiker, we sometimes get complacent when it comes to our personal safety. Failing to take even the simplest of necessary steps can be the difference between an enjoyable hike and a traumatising one. Metro Online Broadcast (mob.com.my) looks at several general safety tips for hikers to follow, in no particular order.
1. Let others know where you are heading
Inform your family and close friends if you plan to go for a hike, giving them the start time and estimated finish time of your hike. That way, your family members can alert the relevant authorities in the event that they do not hear from you by the appointed time.
2. Wear the right gear
Using the right shoes makes a difference. Instead of constantly slipping on wet rocks, get a pair with a good grip. Additionally, using accessories catered to your personal needs, such as knee support or knee guards if you have knee problems, may enhance your personal safety.
3. Travel with a buddy or in groups
Sometimes, there is safety in numbers. Have a buddy system or travel in a group, ensuring that everyone looks out for each other.
4. Carry a whistle
In moments of distress, you may not be in a position to shout for help. A whistle eliminates the need to shout — three short or equal blasts is a universal signal for help. This can be repeated until two short or equal blasts of a whistle, a sign of recognition from another party, is heard.
5. Wear bright colours
If one is lost, wearing bright colours and clothing with reflectors can improve one’s chances of being seen, especially in the dark.
6. Use a familiar route over an unfamiliar one
Though at times it may seem appealing to use an unfamiliar route when hiking, using
familiar and marked trails should take precedence over your thirst for the unknown.
An unexpected long hike could lead to insufficient water supply or the possibility of getting lost, jeopardising one’s safety.
7. Avoid bad weather
Don’t be a hero – skip the hike in undesirable weather conditions.
Heavy rain worsens one’s visibility while those unaccustomed to extremely hot and humid weather may experience heatstroke and dehydration when hiking.
8. Bring a safety kit
From discomforts such as blisters to serious injuries such as cuts or broken bones, accidents and injuries are sometimes unavoidable in outdoor activities. Accidents may happen and having a safety kit equipped with a safety manual or having basic safety knowledge can go a long way in dealing with an injury.
9. Hiking sustenance
Depending on the duration of your hike, bring enough snacks and water to sustain you throughout your journey. Going on a long hike on an empty stomach can leave you feeling tired, not only spoiling the trip for yourself but others who are hiking with you.
10. Level of difficulty
Gauge your level of fitness and choose a trail accordingly — each trail has a different level of difficulty. Some trails will require you to pull yourself up and rock climb, while others have a flat, even ground, making it an easier trail for novices. Do not be tempted to take a difficult trail if your fitness level is not on par — this not only poses a threat to your safety but takes the fun out of hiking for you and your hiking buddies.
– Photos by ART CHEN