Hiking is a great hobby, some would even say that it’s a lifestyle. It comes with many amazing benefits for your physical and mental health and it’s an amazing way to expand your horizons and learn a lot of new things about yourself and the world around you. However, hiking doesn’t come without any risks. You’ll be going deep into the wilderness, using winding roads and outdated maps—it’s really easy to get lost in these situations if you’re not careful. So what kind of things do you need to pack for your hiking adventure and what do you do in case you get lost? Find out here:
Identify and remember landscape markers
This is not so much something you can pack, but something you should definitely keep in mind while hiking. As you study your map and walk in the wilderness, remember certain features of the trail like springs, river crossings, sharp turns and landmarks. When you’re not sure where you’re going, these can give you plenty of reassurance.
Pack a map and compass
Even though every hike is different, there are a few items that need to come with you on every adventure, no matter the location and situation. Firstly, you need a detailed and updated map of the area, as well as a compass that you know how to use. Grab something solid and easy to read, and you can rely on your piece of equipment for years to come. GPS is great, but in case you wander somewhere without a signal, you’ll be so glad that you have a map and compass by your side.
Bring other essentials
In case you get lost, your gear can make a difference between life and death. It’s always necessary to have some food and plenty of water on you. Next, pack proper hiking clothing and good boots that won’t give you blisters or wet feet. Lastly, don’t forget to grab a quality firestarter kit. Matches, lighters and firestarters, together with some lint and dry kindling can help you start a fire in a pinch in literal seconds. Definitely don’t start your trip without a quality knife. There are pro automatic knives that fit into your pocket or boot and can be activated quickly when you need to set up a shelter, mark something, cook and defend yourself. A first-aid kit with an emergency blanket is also a great addition to your pack.
What do to if you get lost?
No hiker wants to get lost—this is probably the main thing to avoid and one of the scariest things about this hobby. But, it’s always a possibility, so it’s important to know what to do in case you get lost:
Stop and think
Firstly, when you realize that you’re lost, just stop going around and around. It’s crucial to be calm and have a clear head that will get you out of this conundrum. Firstly, think about the landmarks you’ve passed and go through your pictures to find your way back. When you’re free of panic, you can think clearly and make safe and logical decisions.
Open your eyes
Stay on the trail that you’re on because it’s obviously connected to a place where you came from. Take out your map and compass and try to study the location. If nothing works, find the nearest river or stream and follow it downhill—this is not always the safest decision, but most of the time, a downhill trajectory leads to a trail, road or settlement.
Think of a good plan
Based on your situation, it’s important to make a plan and be confident in this plant. Unless you like what you came up with, rethink your next steps. And if you’re very close to nightfall, search for a safe place to spend the night. It’s always easier to think in the morning.
How to survive the night?
Firstly, you need shelter—a natural area that offers wind and rain protection or set up your tent. Hopefully, you have some extra layers to keep you warm, but don’t hesitate to light a fire for additional warmth and comfort. You can also leave some colorful items around and put something smokey on the fire so people can find you faster. If you’re safe from freezing and have a fire for protection and light, you can often spend a very comfortable night in nature.
Hopefully, you’ll never get lost on your hikes, but if you do, now you know how the things you’ve packed can help you survive and get back on track.