Let’s face it: some of us take rather tame hikes. We might head out to a “bunny” hill, or a place with clearly-mapped trails that never veer off too far from civilization. Some of us are amateur hikers who prefer to still be able to hear the sounds of the highway even as we reach the hilltop.
But for more serious hikers, not everything is so comfortable and predictable. Bottom line: you could get lost on a hike. Rather than worry about it, it’s better to prepare for it.
- Navigation: Whether you bring a map/compass or a GPS watch, you should have some sort of contingency for finding your way around. At the very least, be able to discern your direction so that you know where you came from and where you’re going.
- Fire-starters: Flint, matches, a lighter: whatever you need to get a fire going, bring it. If you ever get lost into the night hours and the temperature drops, you’re going to need a fire to stay warm. Fire also has other practical purposes, like boiling water and preparing food.
- A knife: In addition to helping you start a fire with flint, a knife has so many practical uses that any survivalist will tell you to bring a knife whenever you head out into the wild. From building shelter to hunting down food, a knife (especially a multi-purpose knife like a Swiss Army Knife) won’t seem like a luxury. It will seem like a necessity.
- Medical packs: A first-aid kit with disinfectant, tape, gauze and other necessary items will be vital, especially if you ever get knicked or gashed and need to prevent an infection without the help of civilization. Make sure to bring enough medical supplies for everyone in your party – and, to be on the safe side, bring a little extra.
- Food and water: Water is always a necessity, but the need for it increases with higher temperatures. If you get lost, it’s a much safer bet to find your water supply first, as humans can survive much longer without food than water. But bringing more than enough of both will keep you going as you gather your bearings once lost.
Keep in mind that most hikers don’t encounter an emergency situation like this – but it does happen. Rather than assume the best on the hiking trail, it’s wise to take a more cautious approach. Bring more food than you need, bring a Swiss Army Knife even if you can’t think of any uses for it. Simply by making these survival items a staple in your hiking pack and keeping them there, you’ll be prepared for getting lost every time you venture out in the woods.