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6 Summer Safety Tips for Hikers: Your Guide to a Safe Hiking Season
Personal Safety

6 Summer Safety Tips for Hikers: Your Guide to a Safe Hiking Season


Before you tie up your boots & set off, review these hiking safety tips for a smooth, refreshing day on the trail

Summer is fast approaching, which means hiking season is here! As the days grow longer and the snow and ice clear from the mountain trails, people flock to hiking destinations across the country for the serenity and revitalizing power of the outdoors.

But you don’t want to embark on your journey without the right preparations and precautions. The wild can be dangerous, and the hiking safety tips below will ensure your trek is as low-risk as possible, so you can comfortably soak up the soothing sights and sounds of nature.


Be Prepared

Preparation for a hike includes everything from bringing the right clothes and supplies to checking the weather and trail conditions.

There’s a lot to remember, so to make it easy for you, we put this checklist of hiking essentials together for you to reference while you’re getting ready for your outdoor adventure:

  • Pack weather-appropriate clothes, with enough to layer up if needed
  • Pack a reliable pair of hiking boots (nonslip, waterproof ones, preferably)
  • Pack any supplies you might need, such as bug spray, sunscreen, trekking poles, portable phone chargers, a bear whistle or air horn, a pocket knife, a headlamp, a compass, a map of the area, etc.
  • Pack plenty of food and water for the trip (it’s better to have extra and not need it than to need it and not have it!)
  • Check the weather regularly before and during your trip (if possible) to stay aware of any potential changes in conditions, such as rain, snow, heavy winds, or storms
  • Check the trail conditions to understand the terrain and wildlife you might encounter. You can search for trails online or using an app like AllTrails.

If you aren’t familiar with the trails you’re hiking, be sure to bring a map or use an app like AllTrails to help guide yourself through them. Or, you can always…


Team Up

Outdoor activities, especially those that take place out in nature, are always safer in groups.

Having one or more people with you will ensure that someone is always watching out for you. If you or a friend runs out of food, water, or phone battery, chances are someone will have the supplies to pick up the slack.

Not to mention, the larger your group, the less likely you are to be accosted by a bear or other wildlife.


Leave No Trace

Whether we’re trekking in the mountains or walking through a residential neighborhood, we’re always on nature’s turf, and we should give it the respect it deserves.

That means:

  • Not interfering with wildlife or damaging their habitat
  • Throwing trash (especially food waste) in approved containers to avoid polluting the area and attracting dangerous wildlife
  • Leaving what you find, such as historic sites and structures, the way you found them


Be Prepared for Wildlife Encounters

Depending on what kind of critters you run into, wildlife encounters can either be the highlight or the turning point of your hike.

Snakes are a common threat on hiking trails, but a good pair of hiking boots can keep your feet safe. And while jeans may not protect against the sharp fangs of a venomous snake, they can prevent smaller, non-venomous snakes from reaching your skin.

If you’re seriously concerned about venomous snakes, you can invest in a pair of snake gaiters, which are protective coverings for your lower legs designed specifically to prevent snake bites.

In case you run into a bear, you should always carry a whistle, air horn, or other loud noisemaker. If you don’t have any of these items, have everyone in your group make a lot of noise—yell, shout, and clap as loud as you can. You can also throw rocks in their general direction to startle them.

But whatever you do, don’t run. Running can trigger them to chase you, and that’s a race only a car can win. To avoid a chase, stay facing the bear and back away slowly while making as much noise as possible.


Stay on the Beaten Path

Unless you’re Bear Grylls or Survivorman, it’s best to stay on clearly marked, man-made trails. The further off-trail you go, the more likely you are to get lost or run into dangerous wildlife.

Given how long it can take to get the medical attention you need, a venomous snakebite on a well-traveled hiking trail can be deadly, so the last thing you want is to get bitten when you’ve gone off course and the chances of anyone finding you are low.


Have an Emergency Game Plan Before You Set Out

Ensuring you have a solid emergency action plan is the most important item on our list of hiking safety tips.

Naturally, many people rely on 911 to get help in a crisis, but there are a few problems with this approach when on a hike.

The first is the fact that you have to spend valuable time on the phone with a dispatcher answering questions about your situation. Every second counts in an emergency—even more so when you’re far from civilization.

The second is the problem of trying to explain your exact location to your dispatcher. You may be able to give them the name of the nature park you’re in and even the trail you’re on, but you’ll still have to do your best to describe your surroundings so they can find you on the trail. Then, you’ll have to wait and hope they locate you in a reasonable amount of time.

The third problem is the risk of your call being placed on hold or going unanswered. The 911 system receives countless non-emergency and prank calls daily, which can overwhelm local centers and lead to delays. Issues like 911 staffing shortages and network outages also contribute to this problem. As you can imagine, delays can quickly turn a manageable emergency into a life-threatening one.

But with the Rescu app, you can avoid all three of these issues with just two taps on your smartphone. No matter where you are in the United States, Rescu lets you dispatch emergency responders to your current location within seconds.

Simply select the service you need—fire, police, or ambulance—and then tap Send Alert. When you send an alert, the app immediately sends your GPS coordinates to Rescu’s 24/7 private monitoring center. Then, a Rescu dispatcher relays this information to the nearest first response team so they know exactly where to find you and can arrive as soon as possible.

You don’t have to answer any questions, explain where you are, or spend time worrying whether responders will be able to find you. That’s what makes Rescu the fastest way to get help in an emergency (and 20x faster than 911).

Enjoy hiking season with peace of mind this year. Learn more about the Rescu app by visiting our homepage, or use the buttons below to read customer reviews and download Rescu today.

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