Day-Hiking and other Fun Stuff
I live in the south-western corner of British Columbia, Canada. This is an area rich in natural beauty. There are enough opportunities for outdoor activities here to last a lifetime.
The mountains, the rivers, and the Pacific Ocean are only a few considerations to explore.
Lately, I have been reading and listening to more and more tragic stories of young men and women who get lost, or lose their lives, while day-hiking, camping, fishing, or swimming and diving at their local water holes.
Even though some of these tragedies are drug and alcohol-fuelled, not all of them are.
Many are simply the result of very little planning and preparation or no planning and preparation at all!
Here is what you need to safely spend the day in the great outdoors
A backpack is a must if you are going to be spending the day in the wilderness.
Where and what is the wilderness you might ask?
The wilderness is any natural environment that has not been overly manipulated by humans. This is an area that has no roads, no concrete, and no asphalt.
If you are spending the day here involved in any activity, you will need a backpack. Backpacks make carrying things easier. Don’t go out and spend a week’s wages on the latest and greatest model if you already have one at home.
What do you need in this backpack?
Water and Snacks
This is why you need a backpack. You will be carrying things. Put your bottle of water in it. Throw a few snacks in there. If you are spending the day doing any physical activity you will need to keep yourself fueled-up.
What time of year, or what season are you hiking in?
Day-hiking in the mountains can quickly turn from good, … to bad and ugly, … really fast!
Warm sunny days, suddenly turn to freezing rain, sleet, and snow, and back to a sunny day, all within the same hour.
These weather conditions all vary in the different environments that you live in, however, rest assured that the weather will change.
This is why being prepared clothing-wise, is always a good idea. Light raingear is well worth its weight in a downpour.
A Map and Compass
A map and compass are good items to have and carry if you plan to venture away from the trails.
If you are a beginner, and if you are alone, … Stay on the Trails!
Begin by hiking in City Parks and other such areas that you are familiar with.
Does Anyone Know Where You Are?
Whether you are alone or with a group, it’s always good practice to let someone know where you are.
If you are male and bullet-proof, this applies to you as well.
Put your ego into your backpack, and consider all the mayhem your getting lost, or worse, will create for your family and friends, … let alone all the “search parties” involved in your rescue.
Yes, many people care about your well-being, … some even love you!?
A First Aid Kit
Cut and bruises, … falls and twisted ankles are all very common, whether you are a beginner or a seasoned professional.
A small First Aid Kit is easy to carry and very useful in times of mishap. You don’t need a “hospital-in-a-box”, but a small kit, even a home-made kit, and being able to use it is a good start.
We all know how to use a pocket knife !? … and a knife is an excellent addition to your daypack. It has many uses and can also help with fire-building should the need arise.
Do not build fires during Extreme Fire Hazard periods.
You will not need the heat to maintain proper body core-temperature in these dangerous conditions.
Rainy, wet, and winter weather sometimes require fire building and having a knife and knowing how to use it can provide you an additional advantage.
Matches, Lighters, Magnesium fire-starters and ferrocerium rods are all proven fire-starting tools.
If you are a newbie, … stick to the “bic” style lighter and get the see-through kind which enables you to see how much fluid is remaining in the lighter.
Carry a second one, just in case. Same story for your knife!
Does Someone Know Where You Are?
Leave a “paper note” or a text message to someone you can trust. Tell them where you are going and when you expect to be back.
Bring your fully-charged cell phone with you in case you have coverage in your hiking area.
This is not the be-all, end-all package for your outdoor activities. It is, however, a very good beginning. I carry a similar kit on my day-hikes, that I modify from time to time, to better adapt to existing conditions.
With time and experience, you will better understand what works for you and what you require to spend a day in the outdoors.
I carry a more sophisticated “kit” that provides me with more functionality.
It is one that I have built over many years of wilderness adventure.
I would be very pleased to share it with anyone upon request.
It is not necessary for day hiking and not a newbie or beginner kit.
If you are interested in this “advanced version” you can mention it in the comments below.
Hiking has been very rewarding for me. It can be very relaxing and peaceful. It is also an excellent cardio exercise.
It can be combined with camping, fishing, hunting, and even prospecting for gold. This can lead to backpacking, bird-watching, and an endless variety of natural pursuits.
You will see birds, mammal, reptiles, and amphibians. Don’t forget your binoculars and your camera. The pictures you bring back may even encourage your friends to join you on your next great adventure into the wilderness.
Soon you will be hooked on the Wonders of the Natural World and busy planning your next trek into the Unknown.
Comments, Questions, and Suggestions
If you have any comments, questions, or suggestions, I would be pleased to hear from you. I can also recommend and suggest many types of gear and tools for your level of expertise and budget.