Time spent outdoors, whether on a trail or some other form of adventure, can be especially rewarding. The difference between an enjoyable trip and a trip that goes wrong can be very small.
Unexpected weather changes, lack of sun, a fall or injury can cause big problems for even the most experienced hikers. Although many like to explore nature, most people are not prepared for emergencies . Should a problem arise, you should be well prepared and have the right equipment to give yourself the best chance of returning home safely.
In this article, we are going to give you some of the best tips so that you can enjoy the mountains safely .
- Tell people where you are going before you go and when you expect to return.
It is advisable to tell someone exactly where you are going , how long you plan to leave, and when you plan to return, so that the relevant authorities can be alerted in time if there is a problem.
If you are traveling from home, let your family or friends know. If you are traveling from a new location, be sure to inform your hotel or another trusted contact.
Always allow additional time to cover unforeseen events.
- Always carry spare clothes.
If you are going on a hike, carrying spare clothes can be your saving grace. You must avoid getting wet at all costs . Whether you choose to take the clothes with you on your hike or leave them in the car for your return will depend on where you are going and how long you are staying. The ideal is to always carry it with you.
It is important to wear quality clothing since it is lighter, takes up less space and provides more performance than cheap clothing. In your case , you won't have any problems with socks , but it is always advisable to bring an extra pair just in case . Feet are essential and must be taken care of.
- Carry a charger for your cell phone.
Mobile phone chargers are an essential part of hiking kit.
Although phone batteries keep getting better and better, there's never a guarantee that your phone will run out of battery when you need it most!
Now there are solar chargers with very good features and at a reasonable price.
There is also the option of carrying portable batteries .
- Buy a personal locator beacon
While a charger allows you to keep your smartphone running, it offers limited connectivity in some mountain environments. For example, in certain valleys where there is no coverage.
Satellite phones are very expensive.
Personal locator beacons (PLBs) and satellite messengers are your two best options for sending distress signals and could save your (or someone else's) life. These simple electronic devices send a one-way distress signal that can be located anywhere in the world. A single message sent by a PLB results in complete mobilization of search and rescue services.
PLBs send not only a distress signal and location, but also the device's unique identification number (UIN). Each device is linked to the owner's profile and provides search and rescue services with relevant information such as age and known medical conditions.
In Spain, PLBs can only be registered if you have a boat and they work well for maritime rescue, but not for mountain rescue. For the mountains, for example, Garmin satellite communication devices are better.
- Plan your trip and know your limits.
The temptation is great to take on a difficult challenge in order to better understand our abilities; overcoming yourself too soon can lead to many problems. It is often difficult to assess our abilities in relation to the trails or mountains we wish to tackle.
The best option is to go with a guide, who will be in charge of evaluating our skills for the route and planning it accordingly.
If you're planning an adventure alone or with friends , it can be helpful to get advice from experts who are familiar with the area. This information can often be found on the internet or you can turn to local information sources for advice.
Research your hike until you know it by heart . It can often be helpful to write down checkpoints in a small notebook so I always have them on hand, even if my phone breaks.
- Find the time the sun is supposed to set and plan your trip around that time.
We have to leave with enough time so that the night doesn't catch us . Sometimes it is not a lack of planning of your equipment or the route that can cause problems, but rather a lack of awareness of how long the hike can take.
If you arrive at your chosen destination on time, the temptation may be to spend a good time there absorbing the sights and smells. But if you haven't planned your route well and how long it will take you to get back to your car, you may be in trouble.
Many serious situations occur on routes that would not be a problem in broad daylight, but become difficult to walk at dusk or in the dark. It's easy to become disoriented in the dark, where things you saw before are no longer easily visible.
Be sure to check the sunset time before going too far on your adventure.
- Carry a filtered water system that can convert water into drinking water.
Filtered water systems are quickly becoming an essential part of any serious adventurer's equipment. However, they are not very expensive and do not add much extra weight to our backpack.
A water filter allows you to take advantage of any water source to transform it into drinking water .
Not knowing if a dead sheep is contaminating the water right next to the beautiful stream you came across, a water filter is an effective way to ensure that whatever you drink won't be bad for you.
- Remember to have an emergency blanket on hand.
Staying warm can help reduce the risk of hypothermia.
A lightweight or foil blanket is a practical solution to help you in emergency situations.
It will keep you warm and protected until help arrives .
- If you get lost, stay where you are
In emergency situations, we tend to keep moving to get out of trouble.
Desperately trying to seek the safety of the shelter or car can cause a lot of problems. When you're lost, you're lost, stay still and wait . Try to contact emergencies and be prepared to be protected while you wait .
Your spatial awareness is distorted and it becomes almost impossible to be sure of the correct direction to follow.
The best option in any situation is to stay where you are.
You are more likely to be found if you stay in the area where you were lost.
If you decide to walk aimlessly , you greatly increase the search area that rescuers must cover and can therefore drastically reduce your chances of being found in time.
- Use a whistle to help alert authorities to your location.
If you are lost, it is important to let people know where you are. Although your voice may be loud, the effort of shouting requires a lot of energy .
If water is limited, the last thing you want to do is scream with a dry mouth.
A whistle helps rescuers locate you easier and faster.
- Bring a flashlight so you don't drain your phone's battery .
While we've talked about phone batteries before, a flashlight can be a useful accessory to help you conserve your phone's battery .
A flashlight can illuminate a larger area and its battery will last longer than your phone's battery.
So you can use your mobile battery in the important task of helping you communicate with rescue teams.