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Wilderness Survival Tips for Hikers

Are you an outdoor enthusiast looking for ways to stay safe on your next hiking trip? Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced hiker, the wilderness can be unpredictable. To make sure you keep yourself safe and sound, here are some essential wilderness survival tips for hikers.

1. Be Prepared for the Area

Hiking is a great way to explore nature, but it’s important to always be prepared for the area you’re headed into. Knowing your route and having the right maps is essential to staying safe and avoiding getting lost. Make sure you know your ability level and don’t do a hike that is beyond your experience or comfort level. It is also important to bring items that can protect you from the elements, such as a wind-resistant jacket or rain poncho. Having access to clean water is also critical, so be sure to purify water from streams or other sources before drinking it. Lastly, if nightfall is approaching and you are far from home, it’s best not to try and make it back in the dark. Find a safe place and get warm by putting on extra layers of clothing.

2. Shelter

When hiking in the wilderness, it is important to find a shelter that will protect you from the elements. A good shelter should be able to provide adequate protection from wind and rain, as well as blocking out any sunlight. When looking for a shelter, it is best to look for a spot that is surrounded by trees, rocks or other natural features that can provide extra protection. If possible, try and find a spot that has an elevated view—this can help you spot any potential danger before it reaches you. Don’t forget to bring along all of your camping gear and supplies—you may need them in case of an emergency. With the right shelter in place, you’ll be able to enjoy your hike with peace of mind!

3. Pack for Emergencies

When it comes to packing for wilderness survival, it's important to anticipate any potential emergencies or challenges you may face. Make sure you have the right gear to keep you safe in the event of a worst-case scenario. Depending on the length of your hike, you'll want to pack items such as a first-aid kit, fire-starting supplies, navigation tools, and emergency food. You'll also want to be sure to pack enough water for yourself and any other hikers who are with you. Finally, make sure that you've got plenty of extra clothing and rain gear in case the weather takes a turn for the worse. With preparation like this, you can feel confident that you'll be ready for anything that nature throws your way!

4. Navigation

Navigation is an essential skill for any hiker who wants to explore the great outdoors safely. With the help of a good map, compass, and GPS, hikers can get from point A to point B without getting lost. Knowing how to read a topographic map and use a compass for direction-finding is a great way to find your way in the wilderness. Additionally, having basic GPS navigation knowledge can help you find your way even if you don't have access to a good topographic map or compass. With these navigation tools and some practice, hikers can go on their next backcountry adventure with confidence.

5. Hydration

Hydration is key when it comes to hiking in the wilderness. Not only should hikers carry plenty of water with them, but they should also make sure to stay hydrated before the hike begins. Staying hydrated is essential for energy levels, as well as preventing heatstroke and other illnesses. It's also important to remember that water can be scarce in some areas, so carrying a water filter or purifier can be a lifesaver. There are plenty of lightweight water filters available for hikers, so be sure to pack one before you go. In addition, make sure to bring electrolyte tablets or powder to replenish lost minerals and keep your body functioning at its best.

6. Fire Starting Skills

When it comes to fire starting skills, it's essential to know how to build a fire safely and efficiently. Knowing how to make a fire is one of the most important survival skills anyone can have! There are several techniques you can use to start a fire, including the hand drill method and flint and steel. To ensure your campfire is safe, make sure you clear off the ground before building your fire. Be sure to gather tinder, kindling, and fuel before attempting to build a fire. With the right materials and a bit of practice, you'll soon be able to start a campfire like a pro!

7. First Aid

In the wilderness, it's always important to be prepared for any medical emergencies that may arise. First aid is an essential skill for any hiker, and understanding how to provide basic treatment can help keep you and your companions safe. Make sure you pack a first aid kit in your backpack, complete with bandages, antiseptic ointment, gauze, and anything else you might need for basic wound care. Also make sure you educate yourself on the basics of outdoor first aid before heading out into the wilderness – from cleaning and disinfecting cuts and scrapes to dealing with more serious injuries. With the right know-how and supplies, you can be ready to handle just about any medical emergency that comes your way.

8. Food and Cooking

When it comes to food and cooking in the wilderness, it's essential to plan ahead. Trail mix is a great lightweight snack that has all the essential nutrients you need while on the go. If you're looking for something more substantial, there are plenty of lightweight options you can bring along, such as freeze-dried meals. Make sure you bring enough fuel for your stove and practice setting up your camp kitchen before you head out for a successful outing.

9. Knowing Your Limits

Staying safe while hiking requires knowing your limits. It's important to understand what you can and cannot do when it comes to physical activity and mental acuity in the wilderness. Have a realistic idea of how far you can walk in a day, what kind of terrain you can handle, and how long your body can go without food and water. It's also important to be aware of the weather and the potential for dangerous animals or plants in the area. Knowing your physical and mental limits won't just help keep you safe, it'll also help you enjoy your hike even more!

10. Leave No Trace Principles

The Leave No Trace Principles are an important part of any successful wilderness adventure. Practicing these principles helps to ensure that we all have the opportunity to enjoy and appreciate the outdoors responsibly. By being mindful of our footprints and leaving no trace, we can ensure that future generations will also be able to experience the same beauty that we do. The Leave No Trace Principles are actually quite easy to follow and include simple steps such as planning ahead, traveling and camping on durable surfaces, disposing of waste properly, respecting wildlife, minimizing campfire impacts, and more. With just a little bit of knowledge and consideration, we can all help to protect the wilderness for many years to come!


Concluding this blog post, we hope that you have learned the basics of wilderness survival and how to stay safe while hiking. Every environment is unique and requires different levels of preparedness, so make sure to check the local conditions before you embark on your adventure. Don’t forget the most important rule of all: leave no trace! Have a safe and happy journey!