5 Ways to Ensure a Safe and Eco-Friendly Hiking Trip
Two of the most significant things to put at the forefront of every hiking trip are safety and eco-friendliness.
Prioritizing safety is essential because it allows you to enjoy more hikes without worrying about potential dangers because you’ll be prepared for them. When you prioritize sustainability while hiking, it contributes to the health and longevity of our planet, allowing you more time to admire and immerse yourself in nature.
Whether you’re a beginner hiker or a more experienced one, adopting these tips will help ensure your trip is safe and environmentally friendly.
Properly Plan Your Trip
You’ll be much more effective at staying safe and prioritizing sustainability on your hiking trip if you properly plan it. Safety-related details to cover in your planning include:
- Where you’re going
- The route of your hike
- When you’re going
- How long the trip will be
- What and how much food to bring
- Any emergency services nearby
- What the cell reception will be like
- Necessary gear considering the hike you’re doing
- How much water you’ll need to bring to stay hydrated and how to best carry it
It’s also a good idea to brush up on first aid techniques and what to do if you sustain an injury or encounter a common dangerous situation while hiking.
After tackling safety details, determine how you’ll be eco-friendly. For example, what sustainable activities will you engage in? How will you dispose of your waste? Will you purchase eco-friendly gear? How will you remain respectful of wildlife and natural habitats throughout your hike?
You’re more likely to carry out safety and eco-friendly practices when they’re properly planned like everything else on your trip.
Go With Friends or Family
Solo-hiking trips can be super fun and incredibly invigorating. However, they’re also some of the most dangerous trips to take. It’s difficult to watch your own back and defend against the dangers of wildlife, ill-intentioned people, and other harmful things nature can produce all on your own.
If you go with family or friends, you add an extra defense against the above. You can all work together to keep an eye out for dangers and make the trip more secure.
Ask loved ones to come with you well in advance of your trip to give them time to make a decision and prepare for it.
Tell Someone About Your Hiking Trip
You need to at least tell someone about it if you insist on going on your hiking trip alone, just in case you get injured or lost. Tell a trusted loved one the following about your trip before you go:
- Where you’re going
- What hike you’re doing
- How long you’ll be gone
- The emergency services along your route
- What do to if you’re not back by a certain time
Giving them a copy of the map you’ll be using on your hike and what you’re bringing is also a good idea. The more details they have, the easier it will be for them to get you help if you need it.
Learn Traditional Navigation Tools and Techniques
You may start with local hikes that aren’t too far off in the distance. But eventually, you’ll venture out on a hike that takes you through the vast wilderness. All of nature’s wonders will be there. However, what probably won’t be available is cell service.
This can be concerning, considering how much we rely on our cell phones for navigation and communication. Learning traditional navigation tools and techniques will help you hike and camp safely despite a lack of cell signal where you’re adventuring.
For example, you could learn to use a map and compass so you always know your way home no matter where you are in the wilderness. Educating yourself on different navigation techniques, like the shadow tip method, the watch method, and tree growth patterns, will help you determine your location with the help of shadows, the sun, and trees.
Learn traditional navigation tools and techniques to avoid getting lost on any hike.
Engage in Sustainable Activities
Bringing eco-friendly gear with you and eating healthy foods while on your hike are steps in the direction of an environmentally-friendly trip. But you can do more. There are plenty of sustainable activities to choose from that you can engage in to maintain the health of our planet and people while on your hiking adventure.
Let’s take sustainable water activities, for example. Hikers must enjoy lakes, rivers, ponds, and other bodies of water in an environmentally friendly way. This looks like:
- Not disturbing wildlife
- Refraining from trampling on vegetation
- Using the proper docking system for your watercraft
- Making sure you go around wildlife on your kayak or canoe routes
- Following local fishing regulations and best practices
- Avoiding taking watercraft through shallow waters and marshes
Engaging in sustainable water activities is crucial to preserving these delicate bodies of water and maintaining their integrity for all the aquatic animals that call them home.
You should employ practical eco-friendly habits while hiking as well, such as:
- Going to the bathroom responsibly
- Using sustainable, well-made gear
- Don’t leave fires unattended
- Securing your food in a tree or bear canister
- Adopting the leave-no-trace principles
- Disposing of waste properly and never leaving trash behind
- Avoiding single-use plastics and opting for reusable containers, water bottles, and utensils
- Respecting wildlife by remaining a safe distance away and not feeding them
Engaging in sustainable activities doesn’t have to be complex. Consistent, small actions are better than doing something once and never doing it again.
You want your hiking trip to be fun, educational, and refreshing. But you also want it to be as safe and sustainable as possible. So, implement these five tips to ensure every hiking trip is just that.