When journeying into the wilderness as a beginner, you should know the basic safety tips that will keep you safe. Without them, you run the risk of embarrassing yourself at best or getting lost/injured at worst. Nobody wants that, so you should do your due diligence before engaging with nature.
Navigation is key when you’re out in the wild. You’ve found your way here, so you know how to navigate the Internet, at least. That means you have a wealth of information available to you, from how to pitch a tent to starting a fire or surviving a wild boar attack. There’s advice for pretty much every situation online.
Like a sport or other physical activities, you learn best about wilderness exploration when you have a mentor. Having somebody who knows more than you is great for keeping you on track and demonstrating key skills.
First, you should consult a park ranger or other relevant authorities to the sites you want to explore. They can give you context-specific information about your local areas, such as climate concerns, dangerous plant life, or critters to watch out for. Again, many national parks and wilderness trails have sites full of information too. You can also download apps for your phone that alert you to weather changes and changes in terrain, like landslides.
Next, bring a friend who knows more about the wilderness with you to the trail. They don’t need to be a certified survival expert, just somebody who knows more than you, has adventured before, and can take the lead where needed. Two heads are better than one and four hands are better than two, so having somebody who can get help is essential.
Make An Itinerary
An itinerary documents your planned journey along with other pertinent details that will allow you to complete that journey. No matter the skill level, everybody should have one of these when tackling a wilderness trail, so it’s something you should definitely look into when you’re a beginner.
Everybody involved with your journey needs to know the itinerary. It doesn’t need to be anything special, a rough plan that includes a starting point, ending point, the route between them, and the estimated time it will take is all that you need. When trying to estimate time, you can use estimates from GPS apps but remember that harsher terrain will take you longer to cross.
You should share the itinerary with somebody who isn’t with you on the hike. Sharing between your group is good but, if you all get stuck on the trail, that’s useless. You can leave itineraries at park offices, where they can search if you haven’t returned in time.
Plan For Emergencies
Preparation is essential when journeying into the wilderness. You won’t need to use your emergency plan often, if at all, but that’s a good thing. As a beginner, there is a higher chance of finding yourself in an emergency, so make sure you get a plan and hope you don’t have to use it. Like with the itinerary, everybody should know the emergency plan.
The cornerstone of an emergency plan is the ability to call for help. This means you’ll need to send a message. This can be done with a charged phone, park/emergency service phone number, reliable service/Internet, or a GPS or satellite messaging device. If none are available, somebody will have to double back to get help in an emergency.
Bring The Right Gear
First, make sure you have plenty of water for your hydration needs. You’ll need to drink more when you’re walking, though you should bring a canteen and use natural water sources if they’re present so you’re not carrying too much. You can also get purification equipment to make wild water drinkable.
Next, dress appropriately for the weather. You’ll need a good, comfortable pair of hiking boots and socks. Consult weather reports or the park service to find out what weather is coming. Bring insulation clothing like jackets but also pack sunscreen and other protective gear for warmer situations. A hat can go a long way in both cold and hot climates.
Bring a flashlight for the night and means to start a fire, too. Take a lot of food that doesn’t need to be cooked or can be cooked very easily, to guarantee you get your nutritional fill. A first aid kit is also a must to keep yourself healthy and you should customize it with any prescriptions you need.