How To Be Safe While Hiking

Be Safe When Hiking

While listening to the weekly outdoor segment from the local radio station, I was a bit concerned about the lack of safety content when pressed by the radio host. It was more an opportunity to give a plug for a company than relay some useful information. Which got me thinking that I have the related information scattered among various posts, so I should try to get the essentials on one page.

Being Safe = Getting Back Home

The majority of what you need to do to be safe while hiking or the outdoors for that matter is done at home. What you want to accomplish here is to know where you are going, your gear and letting people know your plans.

Before You Leave Your Car

A few simple tips before you start at the trailhead, this is mostly to accomplish two things:
1. Help you get back to your car if you get lost and 2. Gives clues to police or search & rescue if you are in trouble.

  • Your route & departure time – Search & Rescue tend to search on a pattern given probablity of success based on last known location. So by leaving the note of your route will help them focus their search instead of going by assumptions.
  • Mark your car with your GPS – A lot of people don’t do this one, but comes in handy when you get lost within a trail network. Some might suggest using the back track feature of your GPS, but I would recommend getting a waypoint of the car. given the situation, your option might be a straight line out instead of tracing your steps.


Check your local groups & associations for quick workshops or courses on some outdoor skills.

  • Map & compass
  • Standard First Aid
  • How To Use a GPS