Hiking Safety Tips
Hiking in Canada can be as extreme or adventurous as you want. No matter where you trek, knowing the basic hiking safety tips will keep you alive should an emergency occur.
Hiking trips can last a few days or be extended into a multi-day backpacking adventure. No matter how long or short of stay in the back country, it's important to follow some common sense advice to make your hike as safe as possible:
- Make a trip plan and leave it with someone back at home. Include where you're hiking, what you're bringing and when you're expected back. Provide as much detail as necessary, as this may be the only link between you and a rescue party if an accident occurs en route.
- Adjust to the changing circumstance. Not everything goes to plan. River levels, weather and even a person's fitness level change from time to time. If you're forced to diverge from your hiking plan, do so safely but try to stay as close as possible to the original charted route & destination.
- Check the weather and prepare to stay warm. If the weather changes, having the right equipment and clothing will keep you warm and alive. In wet and windy conditions, hypothermia can quickly sneak up on a person and can kill within an hour.
- Carry extra supplies. No matter how long or short you plan to hike, bring enough supplies for an extra day. Search parties don't go out at night so if you're injured, bring enough food and water to make your 'overnight stay' as comfortable as possible.
- When exploring new hiking territory, know the local hazards. Do some research on the area before venturing out and know what to look out for. In a desert region, stepping on a cactus can lead to a foot injury; when hiking in Canada, learn how to respond to bear and other wildlife hazards (hint: never turn & run).
- Never hike alone. Pick hiking companions who have similar levels of fitness and interests and travel at the pace of the slowest member. Staying in a group provides protection from wildlife and moral support if the going gets rough.
- If you get lost, STAY PUT. Wandering may get more lost and further from those who are looking for you. Don't be embarrassed that you lost your way and don't panic. You're trip plan will alert people back at home when you're over due and in need of help.
- When lost, a hikers three main priorities are to stay warm, to stay hydrated and to make you visible or audible to the rescuers. When daylight returns, put out a brightly colored jacket and blow a loud whistle or horn to alert others of your location.
Accidents are never planned but hikers can plan for an accident. Know the hiking safety tips and use common sense to help bring you back alive.
Check out other Canadian travel tips.
Get more insider tips on Canadian Adventures at Scenic Travel Canada.