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Although having a good time is key, nothing should be more important than health and safety when hiking, camping, climbing, or engaging in other outdoor activities. There are a number of fundamental supplies which can come in handy and keep outdoors people in good health when in the field, and some ways to act responsibly. Following are some basic outdoor and hiking safety tips which everyone should heed.
Nutrition and Hydration for Hiking and Outdoor Activities
One of the most stressed (and for good reason) tips for hiking safety is to bring plenty of water. Particularly during the warmer times of year, water is lost by sweating, and it is easy to become dehydrated. Drinking plenty of water often is an imperative part of maintaining hiking safety.
Conversely, drinking a lot of water, and/or sweating profusely can cause another dangerous and potentially deadly condition. Hyponatremia is a condition that results from an electrolyte imbalance relating to sweating and water consumption, as sodium is lost in sweating or sodium levels in the body are overwhelmed by large water intake without their being replenished. To avoid hyponatremia, bring several small snacks outdoors. Crackers, cookies, peanuts, trail mix, power bars, and chips are hardly inconvenient to keep in the pack, and small amounts should be consumed regularly. Drinking plenty of water and eating small snacks every hour or so is the easiest way to keep nutrition in check while performing strenuous outdoor activities.
Protection from the Elements (and from Nature)
Depending on the duration of any outdoor experience, certain gear may come in handy. In spring, summer, and fall, never forget to bring a hat, sunblock, and insect repellent. It is also a good idea to bring a rain jacket, and in some areas, particularly in coastal locations with dense forest, mosquito netting may actually make for a more pleasant experience. Not only are mosquitoes, gnats, horseflies, and ticks pesky, but they can cause sickness and disease, and it is a good idea to try to keep them all at bay. Naturally protection should include a proper hiking tent.
Easy Outdoors Safety Tip—Check Gear Before Setting Out
Before going into the field, it can be a good idea to check every item that may be relied on in the wild. Walk around in boots to make sure they still function and are comfortable, walk around with the backpack, full of weight, pitch any tent to make sure it works well and is not missing anything, and be sure to double check rock climbing supplies for strength.
Health Related Items to Bring
Band-Aids, bandages, gauze, tape, sanitizing wipes, and cream such as Neosporin can really make treating cuts or scrapes easy and effective. Basic camping gear can also be very handy. Be sure to bring a flashlight, matches, and if camping in the Southwest, a black light (which can be used to locate scorpions that may find their ways into tents, sleeping bags, and boots). Lastly, make sure your hiking backpack is one you can trust!
Though basic, the above tips should not be overlooked. Maintaining good health and emphasizing safety is the easiest way to keep a good time outdoors from going south.