8 Personal Protection Items for Your Hike
The isolation of hiking is an experience unrivaled by many other activities in life. Sir Edmund Hilary, the first man to hike to the summit of Everest along with Sherpa mountaineer Tenzing Norgay, once stated, “It’s not the mountain we conquer, but ourselves.”
While the benefits of hiking are plentiful, there are some dangers involved. The dangers of hiking are numerous, with many hikers being woefully unprepared when stepping foot on the trails. One of the biggest mistakes solo hikers make is assuming they can brave the elements on their own terms. Yet, nature often overwhelms man, and sometimes there are other people on the trail we might not expect to be there.
Whether it’s a wild animal, an ill-intentioned person or severe weather, you need to do everything you can to remain safe while in the wild. It’s in your best interest to carry personal protection items so you can avoid such harmful—and potentially fatal—pitfalls. But what should you take when heading into the woods? Let’s take a look at several effective options.
Hikes can sometimes take longer than we expect, and a hike you planned on finishing by 4 pm might be far from done by nightfall. If you happen to get trapped on a mountain or in the woods at night, you want to be sure you have a flashlight or headlamp on you. You need a light source to stay on course, avoid hazardous rocks and ledges and warn animals of your presence. Solar flashlights are a great option for hikes because they can charge while you’re hiking.
While hiking, you might run into dangerous animals like bears, mountain lions, rabid dogs, etc… Animal repellent is a must when hiking solo in the wild, designed to ward off vicious animals. One major benefit of animal repellant is that it often has a long firing distance. Since most bear repellent is effective up to 35 feet away, you can keep your distance if approached.
Regular pepper spray is another great addition while out hiking. While you want to protect yourself from animals, you should also remember that not all other humans are as nice as you might expect. In the event that someone ends up following you for malicious reasons, you want to guarantee you can protect yourself. High-powered pepper & mace sprays are a useful way to incapacitate a potential aggressor and escape to safety.
Sometimes you might need more than a repellent spray to protect yourself. If pepper spray doesn’t work against an aggressive human or animal, you may need to enter into physical combat. Under such circumstances, it’s best to have a knife on you. With numerous options available, including hunting knives and survival knives, you can carry whatever you need in your bag.
A knife might even prove useful for first-aid purposes as well. In the event you hurt your arm and need to fashion a sling, you can use your knife to cut the necessary cloth.
Food and Water
Dehydration is a serious issue when hiking. Causing weakness and disorientation, it can lead you to wander off-trail, lose your bearings and quite possibly lose consciousness, if it becomes bad enough. You should always pack more water than you think you need. Similarly, make sure to pack extra food, as the added calories will help you maintain energy while on the trail. Furthermore, if you happen to get lost, you want to make sure you have enough calories to last until you can get out of the woods.
Injuries happen while hiking, from small cuts and bruises to twisted ankles and broken bones. There’s no use in taking your chances while out on the mountain, and it’s important you have a first-aid kit stored on your person. You don’t need a full professional kit either. Consider carrying some of the basics like alcohol wipes, bandages, medical wrap, a self-fashioned stint and anti-inflammatory capsules. The basics can help you survive in case anything unfortunate happens.
Personal Locator Beacon
You want to guarantee you have protection if you happen to get lost or injured. A personal locator beacon (PLB) is a satellite-synced SOS device that allows you to contact emergency rescue agencies when you are in need. The device, which has a high degree of effectiveness in most remote areas, will send your location with your SOS message to emergency personnel. This is an essential tool for people hiking in especially remote regions, as getting lost or injured can quickly become an incredibly serious problem.
Staying safe while in the woods or in the mountains comes down to preparation. With the right skills, tools and preparation, you can effectively protect yourself from danger while enjoying nature.