Hiking Gear and Safety Guide

22 March 2011 In The Woods
Cottage Hiking Trail

How To Plan A Hike At The Cabin
The right clothes, equipment and planning ensure the time spent exploring the woods around the cottage is safe and enjoyable. Hiking at the cottage is a great way to get exercise, educate the family and experience the best of nature.

Planning a Hike – Before You Go

The proper preparation is the key to an enjoyable hike.

  • Plan the hike carefully with all members of the group.
  • Get an up-to-date map.
  • Buy a GPS and learn how to use it.
  • Buy spare batteries for the GPS.
  • Check the weather forecast.
  • Leave details of the hike with someone.
  • Plan to reach your campsite or finish your day-hike well before dusk.

Things To Take On The Hike

The length and location of the hike will determine your specific requirements. Always plan for the unexpected.

  • Adequate backpack.
  • Field Guide.
  • Water of at least 500ml for every hour.
  • Water purification tablets.
  • Food that includes nuts, dried fruit, and jerky.
  • Wide brimmed hat to keep the sun away.
  • Hiking boots with good ankle support for rough ground.
  • Long sleeve shirt that is light but keeps the bugs off.
  • Long pants that are light and comfortable, yet prevent scrapes, and bug bites.
  • Hiking socks that are not cotton. Take 2 pairs.
  • Sun glasses with high UV protection and a a support band or string.
  • Walking stick or hiking pole that is light and sturdy.
  • Rain poncho that covers you and your backpack.

Hiking Safety Kit

Always take a safety kit, even on short hikes that you know well.

  • Whistle.
  • Insect Repellent.
  • Mole Skin for blisters.
  • Band Aids.
  • Tensor Bandage.
  • Gauze Pads.
  • Tweezers and a sterilized pin or needle for removing slivers.
  • Antibiotic ointment.
  • Aspirin or another painkiller.
  • Scissors.
  • Compass that you know how to use well.
  • Matches, lighter, candles, flashlight, batteries.
  • Length of 30 – 50 metres of rope.
  • Utility knife.

Hiking Safety Tips

Hiking safety is all about using common sense.

  • Stay on the planned trail.
  • Do not go exploring or chasing after wildlife. You can get completely lost only 10 metres into the bush.
  • Stay with the group.
  • Let the slowest person lead and set the pace.
  • Avoid stepping on logs, roots, stumps. Damp wood is slippery and will cause a fall or a turned ankle.
  • Stay focused. It is easy to daydream and take the wrong path.
  • Mark the trail when it has become overgrown or otherwise not obvious.
  • Stop, turn around and frequently take note of key landmarks behind you if you plan to re-trace your route.
  • Watch out for paths frequently used by deer and other animals that may resemble and merge with the main trail.
  • Watch your time and daylight. If you are moving more slowly than planned, cut the hike short.
  • Take frequent breaks.
  • Stay hydrated.
  • Air out your feet at lunch.

Respect The Hiking Trail

Keeping the trail pristine is in everyone’s best interest.

  • Always carry out whatever you carry in.
  • Keep the noise down – hike quietly.
  • Cook on a portable gas stove and clean-up everything (leave the site as you found it or cleaner).

Relieving Yourself On A Hike

Be at least 100 meters from water sources and bury everything.

Note: Do a few short practice hikes before heading out on a more ambitious trek. This will help break-in new boots, refine water and food requirements, brush-up on navigation skills and give new hiking partners the chance to bail out before it is too late.