Hello nature lovers :)
Hiking through the woods or climbing challenging mountains is definitely a fun and spiritual experience, but we should always keep in mind that nature can be dangerous, especially if we are under-prepared to face what might happen. That's why we find important to write this post teaching everyone about hiking safety rules and techniques for a more enjoyable outdoor experience.
For a fun, safe day in the great outdoors, follow these safety tips:
* Tell someone where you are going and when you will return. Don’t forget to check in with them when you get back.
* Always carry quality rain gear and turn back in bad weather. If you become wet or cold, it is important to get dry and warm as quickly as possible, avoiding hypothermia.
* Stick to the group. Never wonder away from the group.
* Stay on marked trails.
* When lost. Stay Put. Stay Warm and Dry. Be visible and heard.
* Bring an emergency kit and carry a whistle, which can be heard far away and takes less energy than yelling. Three short blasts is a sign of distress.
* Carry plenty of drinking water and never assume stream water is safe to drink.
* Don’t pick plants and flowers. Leave everything as you found it.
Carry An Emergency Kit
Each hiker should have these items:
First aid kit
Small flashlight with extra batteries
Brightly colored bandana
Trash bag (preferably a bright color). Poke a hole for your head and wear it as a poncho to stay warm and dry.
Aim to finish the day walking the same speed at which you started. Think rhythm and flow. Tortoise rather than hare.
2. Pack Adjustments
Regularly make small adjustments to your pack’s harness, hip belt, shoulder and stabilizer straps. Alternate the weight of the load between your shoulders and hips.
Help keep your muscles supple by doing some light stretching during breaks. In addition, try to do 10-15 minutes at the end of each hiking day. Think of it as an investment in your on-trail health.
Try keeping them short and regular rather than long and occasional. This allows less time for the muscles to stiffen up, thus making it easier to get going again.
Tips for Hiking Uphill
Find a rhythm between your breathing and stride.
Maintain a steady pace and take fewer breaks, rather than walking faster and having to stop more regularly. By keeping your heartbeat relatively constant rather than subjecting it to dramatic fluctuations, you will expend less energy and cover more distance. Once again, think tortoise rather than hare.
Focus on positive thoughts, rather than how exhausted you feel. Repeat a mantra or positive expression to yourself over and over. It really does help.
4. Hang Loose
Undo or loosen your hip and sternum straps. If they are too tight they will constrict both your stride and breathing capacity whilst ascending.
To decrease the gradient on very steep ascents, consider zigzagging rather than going straight up.
6. Rest Step
If you are really feeling it on a long, steep ascent, consider using the Rest Step. With each stride forward, lock/straighten your back leg, momentarily shifting the weight on to the joints rather than the muscles.
Tips for Hiking Downhill
Doing downhill is NOT easy. You can twist an ankle, tumble or slip…
By learning how to hike downhill efficiently in all types of terrain, the hiker can minimize impact on the body and decrease the probability of falls and/or mishaps occurring.
As a bonus, descending with good technique means that you move faster and feel lighter, without having to put forth any extra physical effort.
1. Centre of Gravity
Don’t lean forward. Don’t lean back. Your centre of gravity should be low and over your legs.
2. Minimize Stress
Keep your downhill leg slightly bent on impact. This will help minimize stress on the knees, as the muscles rather than the joints take the brunt of the strain.
Pay extra attention to foot placement. Many slips occur on downhill stretches that immediately follow long ascents.
4. Shorter Steps
When the gradient is steep, taking smaller steps will help to keep your centre of gravity over your legs, thus promoting greater balance and control.
5. Hip Belt
On steep, uneven descents it can be helpful to tighten your hip belt. This assists in minimizing pack movement, which can impede your balance if left unchecked.
6. Pack Weight
Travel as light as the dictates of your skillset and the environment into which you are venturing allow. An overly heavy pack will extract its biggest toll on your body during steep and/or long downhill sections.
That's all for today. We hope these tips will be helpful to you on your next climbing adventure.