Hiking alone, especially the first time you do it, can be daunting and very intimidating. I for one was very nervous and scared the first time I did it, but now I do it all the time! It’s so freeing and peaceful, it’s almost a form of meditation for me. Nothing but the wilderness and my body!
Don’t hike alone unless you are prepared and experienced (unless it’s a super short one midday). Here are some of the best a safety tips I’ve learned and experienced over the years!
1. Fully Plan Your Hike!
I think this is one of the most important tips I can give! Do your research on the hike you’re doing on the All Trails Apps or through blogs. Read the reviews and listen to them!! You can also check out the photos.
Also, if you aren’t familiar with the biome you are in, do some research! Look up poisonous plants, potential dangerous wildlife, weather patterns and anything else you can think of that could be related to where you are hiking. It’s so important to know what gear to bring for different areas. Know if there’s bears, cougars, poisonous snakes, dangerous cliffs or bodies of water.
2. Leave early so that you have a full day of sun
There have been numerous occasions where hikes ended up taking WAY longer than anticipated. It’s way better to leave first thing in the morning and be able to take your time.
Hiking in the dark is extremely dangerous. If you get far into the trail and aren’t sure if you will have enough sunlight, turn around. Don’t be stupid and get stuck out in the dark alone
3. Bring extra food and water!
Nature can be unpredictable, it’s always better to be over-prepared. I always some high calorie bars in my backpack just incase. Also, if you get tired on your hike, a cliff bar or something similar are a great energy boost to keep pushing through.
On long hikes, I almost always bring my JetBoil and backpacking meal! They are surprisingly tasty (I like this Chicken Teriyaki one... and most of them lol) and are high in protein! The Jetboil is compact and super lightweight. Both are super easy to throw in your backpack.
It’s always better to have extra supplies, than to get stuck in the mountains longer than anticipated on an empty stomach!
I drank 40oz of water on this hike, so important to stay hydrated. I love Camelbacks (they hold a lot of water) and I use them on super long hikes, but on 1-8 mile hikes, I typically just bring my Hydroflask since I prefer ice water. I have a 40oz Hydroflask and it keeps my ice water cold all day, no matter how hot out it is! (they have smaller and larger ones as well).
Check out the Grand Teton Alpine Lake hike pictured above.
4. Tell someone exactly where you are going
It’s very important for safety to tell someone you trust exactly where you are hiking at and an approximate time you’ll be back. Text them when you make it back to your car. If the person doesn’t get a text buy the end of the evening they can assume something happened and call for help for you! I either text my parents or my best friend who is also an experienced hiker.
5. Bring some form of self-defense
You can give yourself a fighting chance from a human or animal attacking you if you have a weapon on you.
I ALWAYS hike with 2 canisters of bear spray. They are a powerful pepper spray that shoot super far and powerfully. They work on animals and humans. I recommend getting the holster for it so you can hook it to the front of your backpack easily.
I also typically clip a knife to the front of my backpack for easy access!
You can also hook bear bells to your backpack to prevent animal attacks. Bears typically only attack if they are startled or threatened, the bells help alert the bear so you don’t spook them.
6. Be aware of your surroundings at all times.
Always scan the wilderness around you frequently throughout your hikes. I look over my shoulder every minute. It becomes a habit once you get used to it. Kind of like when swimmers come up for their breath, make it a happen to check your surroundings.
Take note of people who are also on the trail. Try to read their energy. Almost all hikers and climbers are AMAZING people, but you never know.
Have fun and be safe!
Follow me in Instagram for more of my in-the-moment adventures! @maggmountains