While countless television programs and survival guides have dedicated countless hours explaining to outdoorsman and survivalists what do in the event of an emergency or unforeseen survival situation. Many experts often neglect to focus on the most important aspect of any survival situation: prevention. In most cases, when hiking or backpacking, the most severe consequences or worst case scenarios can be easily avoided by dedicating the proper amount of time and energy towards preventative measures.
Safety in Numbers.
While many people enjoy hiking and backpacking specifically because it allows them to avoid human contact, going it alone is not always the wisest choice, especially when dealing with an unfamiliar trail or an isolated location. Bringing along an additional hiker, or even a pet, can increase a solo individuals chances of avoiding a catastrophic event by a staggering percentage. Luckily, going solo is often perfectly acceptable when dealing with a low difficulty trail, operating in a densely traveled location, or when traversing a location close to a populated local.
Make a Plan.
Again, the reason that many people enjoy hiking and backpacking as a hobby is because of the freedom it affords them from plans and carefully regulated timeframes. However, simply wandering around a specific wilderness location, especially one in which the hiker is unfamiliar, is one of the surest ways to court disaster. When people get lost in the wilderness, unless they are able to identify a landmark or follow a designated trail, they often wander around the same location in a rough circle. Adhering to a plan allows a hiker to minimize the chances of such an event. Additionally, notifying a friend or providing them with a copy of the plan greatly increases the chances of rescue in the event that something does go wrong.
Survival Gear Selection and Maintenance.
Most hikers like to think that all that they need is a good pair of shoes and a water bottle, and they are good to go for a couple of hours alone with nature. However, with the level of technology where it is nowadays, the idea of minimalism when it comes to survival equipment is a dangerous and outdated philosophy. Whether it is a fully charged cell phone or simply a basic GPS device, there are many small, portable, durable, pieces of electronic equipment that can literally save a life during the course of a critical survival encounter. Many hikers underestimate how quickly a situation can turn critical after only a few short days alone in the woods. A basic, lightweight survival kit containing a thermal blanket, a few energy bars, and a couple of water purification tablets can exponentially increase an individuals chances of survival in such a situation.
Author: Michael Ruiz
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