Heading out into nature for a little rest and relaxation is a common hobby for many. There is absolutely nothing that can compare to being away from the craziness of life than being surrounded by nature. It helps us center ourselves and washes away all of our worries. Putting away the cell phones and technology that tether us to a stressful life is good for the soul. Going for a day hike or a hike that covers a lot of miles and extends several days is something you must prepare for.
Grabbing a backpack and heading off into the wilderness or forest without any sort of plan is never a good idea. You need to spend some time planning your little excursion and make sure you are prepared for anything. Some things you to need to do before you ever walk out the front door are as follows;
- Check the weather—skip the trip if turbulent or dangerous weather is predicted
- Tell someone where you are going and when you will be back
- Make sure you are in good physical health
- Buy or put together the appropriate attire and footwear
- Study a map of the area so you know what to expect as far as terrain—pack the map with you!
Gear is extremely important. It can literally mean the difference between life and death. You need things that will provide for all your needs, like food, water and shelter. Every hiker should include an ABP Tactical shovel in their pack. It serves a number of purposes and is extremely compact, which means you have plenty of room for things like food, water and personal hygiene needs.
A shovel is a general requirement for many reasons. You need it to properly take care of bathroom business and to dig a pit for a fire. You may also need a shovel to dig a shallow well. With the ABP Tactical shovel, you are getting a lot more than just a shovel. You are getting a variety of tools that will come in handy while you are on the trail.
Mother Nature is not something you ever want to challenge. You must be prepared to deal with surprise storms and other little hiccups that can destroy the best laid plans. Hiking is fun, exciting and invigorating. Don’t let it be something dangerous. Always be prepared!
You should always go with a group or another person when you set out for a hike. However, what we should do and what we actually do isn’t always the same. If you happen to set out on your own or you were smart and went with a group but somehow got separated and you find yourself lost, you need to know what to do.
If you ever find yourself lost in the wilderness, this is what you need to do.
- Don’t panic. It can be very overwhelming the first few moments you realize you are completely alone and lost. Even if it is you and one other person, the feeling of not knowing where you are or which way to go to find your way back can be extremely alarming. Take a deep breath and give yourself a few moments to gather your wits.
- Try to orientate yourself to your surroundings. Look for a hillside or somewhere you can get a better vantage point of your surroundings. Often times, this is enough for you to see where you should be headed and you will be right back on track.
- If you are well and truly lost, don’t move. Stay put. Settle in and if it is warranted, build a small fire. The ABP Tactical shovel that should be included in your hiking gear includes a fire starting tool. Keep your fire small, but add lots of green material. Green leaves and slightly wet foliage produces a lot of smoke. This can alert search and rescue teams to your location. The shovel head doubles as a knife so you can use it to cut twigs and branches for the fire. Be safe and use the shovel to dig a small hole to place your fire in to avoid it accidentally spreading and becoming a dangerous issue.
- If you have a reflective Mylar blanket open it up and spread it out. The reflection may be enough to catch the eye of a rescuer who is at a higher vantage point.
- That blanket can be used to make a shelter if it looks like you are going to be spending the night outdoors. Use the shovel to cut off a few long branches to create an A-frame shelter or a lean-to. The handle of the shovel can be used as a hammer to drive the branches into the ground for additional support. Cover the shelter with your reflective blanket if possible. If you have paracord, you can use it in place of a long branch. Just tie the rope between a couple of trees. The sharp edge of the shovel can be used to cut the paracord.
- If you are convinced nobody will be looking for you, you will need to find your way back. The compass on the handle of your ABP Tactical shovel can help guide you. Use strips of cloth to mark the trail as you go. The cutting tool in the shovel will allow you to cut a piece of clothing to use as trail markers. This way you will know if you are walking in circles and it can help lead someone to you.
Hiking is an exciting activity and it can be a lot of fun. While there is always some risk of getting lost, as long as you are prepared and know what to do, you will be just fine. Always be prepared and always have the right gear to ensure you can survive on your own until help arrives.