Hiking for the First-timer: How You Can Stay Safe

Solo Hiking in AucklandSometimes it’s rewarding to go on a solo camping trip. The peace and quiet, surviving and depending only on yourself—these are the moments when you discover things about yourself that you never knew were there.

It’s not for everyone, though. If you want to tell whether you’re ready to go on a solo hiking and camping journey, look at a photo of a solo hiker walking in the middle of a forest trail. Afterwards, look at a similar photo with one exception — there are several hikers. Which looks more fun?

Even if you are a first-time solo hiker, you shouldn’t be afraid to discover the less-travelled path on your own. Here are some reminders you have to read first, though.

Study the location of your hike

It’s a good idea to visit the place with a few hiker friends first before going out on your own. Visit the ranger station or any authority in the area and tell them about your plans, how long they can expect you to be gone and the exact area you intend to go to. This will help them organise a search in case you don’t return on time. Leave word with a friend or loved one before you go and tell them when they should expect you to be back.

In case you change your plans before you return, call the authority and inform them. Call your friend or loved one and tell them about the change. You might want to learn where the money transfer agencies are, so you can ask your loved one to send extra cash if you need it, or in case you have to send money so they can pay your bills for you.

Pack light but complete

A first timer might be tempted to pack everything, forgetting that in an hour or so of walking, their knapsack is going to weigh twice as much. Remove everything you can live without and pack wisely.

Pack a thermal blanket, which is ultra-light but warmer than thick fabric blankets or a sleeping bag. Another benefit is its waterproof. You’ll need a couple of knives, one that’s big enough for batoning wood and a smaller backup. Bring a compass, a map, a water bottle, and some ready-to-eat and lightly packaged food. Don’t forget the flashlight and extra batteries.

Going out and discovering the world all by yourself has its rewards, but it requires some preparation. Going out on a whim and not doing any preparations is courting danger.