Safety Tips for Solo Hiking

Hiking is one of my favorite ways to get outdoors and exercise. A long solo hike makes me feel peaceful and in touch with nature. It is, however, important to stay safe while hitting the trails. As an avid hiker, I’ve outlined some of my top tips for staying safe while hiking.

Potomac Heritage Trail, Great Falls, Virginia

Only Bring Necessary Valuables

When I hike, I do not take anything that is very valuable with me except necessities like my cell phone, car keys, FitBit (which tracks my hike), and my ID. I feel safer knowing I am not wearing expensive jewelry or carrying items that may make me a target for theft.

Hike Where There’s A Signal

If I am hiking alone, I try to avoid areas that do not have a cell phone signal or heavy foot traffic. With a bit of research online, you can usually find out if the area you want to hike should have cell reception. Or if you want to go hiking in an area that doesn’t have cell reception, try to pick a popular route so that you won’t be alone on the trail. There’s safety in numbers.

Shenandoah National Park, Virginia

Hike With A Charged Phone

Make sure your phone is well charged before you go hiking. If you need to use the phone for directions incase you get lost or to call someone incase you get injured, having a charged phone may end up being your life line.

Tell Someone Where You’re Going

It’s never a bad idea to let someone know where you plan to hike and approximately when you think you’ll be back or plan to next get in contact with them.

Leckhampton Hill in Cheltenham, England

Bring Enough Food and Water

When it comes to hiking, it’s definitely better to bring more food and water than you think you’ll need. In the event you get lost or your hike takes longer than you expect, you don’t want to be hungry and unable to focus. A few of my favorite hiking snacks that are filling are beef jerky, dried fruit, and trail mix.

Know The Area Animals

It is important to try to know if there are any potentially dangerous animals where you may be hiking, and what actions you should take if you see any. I’ve been on several hikes where I saw snakes, but they have always been ones that are non-venomous so I just walk around them. I’ve also hiked in Shenandoah National Park which is known for having bears. Often if potentially dangerous animal is common in the area, there are signs telling you to watch out for them.

Cotswold way in Cheltenham, England

Carry Some Sort of Protection

When I hike alone, I carry pepper spray. You can buy pepper sprays that are travel size and can easily clip onto a hiking backpack or pants. Other options would be to carry a stick or knife with you. Depending on where you are hiking and your personal comfort level, I do know some people who hike with a gun, but you need to make sure you know how to use it and have the right carry license to do so.

Do you enjoy hiking solo?

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