One activity gaining extreme popularity in our post-modernized society is Hiking. Getting back out into the wilderness with fresh air, trees, and animals all around us, seems to spark something hidden in ourselves, and makes us feel good all over. Unfortunately, due to our post-modernized society most of the population would have serious trouble spending a week, or even a weekend, lots in the wilderness. While usually avoidable, accidents happen, and my goal is to give you information so that you can better handle them when they do.
Hiking survival basics can be applied to many scenarios that you might not consider, or think you’d find yourself in during a day hike; they can include:
- Becoming lost or disoriented
- Fending off or recovering from an animal attack
- Loss of supplies or water which could lead to problems or cramping
- Injury such as falling, or twisting an ankle
- Navigating or finding your way back at night
- Extreme weather changes
These are just a few of many examples which can happen in the blink of an eye, and having at least read this blog your chances of surviving one of these occurrences will improve.
Hiking survival really is no different than any other type of survival, your chance of surviving an unforeseen event are determined by three things:
- Pre-hike preparation: This can include packing appropriate gear, looking at a map, charting your trail, letting friends and family know where you’re going and when you’re coming back, proper use and maintenance of emergency devices like flares or 2-way radios, proper sustenance for the trip, proper planning with your hiking partner, and setting realistic goals – don’t overextend yourself on the trail.
- Having appropriate gear: This is also part of pre-hike preparation but it’s important to note how much your chance of survival goes up with the appropriate gear. I’ll do a separate article specifically on this topic (Update: Hiking Survival Gear) but for a short list, applicable to any climate you should never go hiking without: proper clothing, proper over-night clothing, matches and fire starter, a good knife, quality string or bungee cord, several plastic sacks, a device capable of contacting the outside world. See Hiking Survival Gear.
- Your knowledge, skills, and will to live: The fact that you’re here, learning about how to better prepare yourself for the open trail is a good sign. Learning quality survival skills can and will be the best tool you have in a situation that pits you against nature.
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