Do’s and Dont’s: Preventing Hiking Injuries 

Hiking can be an exciting outdoor activity that keeps you physically active and connected with nature. However, it also carries some risks, especially when it comes to potential injuries. In this case, prevention is ultimately key. Being knowledgeable while exercising caution can greatly reduce the risk of accidents during your hiking adventure and knowing the dos and don’ts of trekking injuries can ensure you’re prepared and can handle any emergency situation that may happen. Here are some important guidelines for preventing hiking injuries on your next trip:


Pack a first-aid kit

Always bring a well-equipped first aid kit that includes bandages, antiseptic ointments, pain relievers, adhesive tape, tweezers, and other essential medical supplies. You may also want to take a Wilderness First Aid course like one from Global Emergency Medics. This course will teach you all the necessary skills to prevent and treat a variety of common medical illnesses and injuries that could occur so you’ll be confident and fully prepared for your next hike.

Stay hydrated

It’s so important to drink plenty of water throughout your hike to avoid dehydration, which can lead to various heat-related illnesses and injuries. Remember to pack enough water for your hike and make regular water breaks during it.

Wear appropriate footwear

If you have to invest in one piece of hiking gear, make it your footwear. Sturdy and comfortable hiking shoes or boots provide adequate ankle support to prevent sprains and strains. High-quality footwear also can withstand long hikes, making the experience not only a lot safer but also a lot more pleasant and comfortable.

Use hiking poles

Hiking poles are a great tool to use on a hike that can provide balance and stability while also reducing the impact on your knees and other joints, especially while descending steep or uneven terrain. You can also use hiking poles to test the depth of rivers you may need to cross, move debris or underbrush from a trail out of the way, or as a guard against aggressive wildlife.

Wear sunscreen and protective clothing

Protect your skin from harmful UV rays by applying sunscreen with SPF30 or higher and reapply every 2 hours. You can also protect your skin from the sun by wearing appropriate clothing, such as a wide-brimmed hat, sunglasses, and long sleeves.

Know your limits

Its always best to choose a hike that matches your current fitness level and experience. Pushing yourself beyond what you’re capable of can increase your chances of becoming injured. Make sure to take regular breaks and if you do begin to feel tired or fatigued take some time in a shaded area to rest and recover.

Inform someone where you’re going

It’s important to always let someone who know your itinerary including where you’re going, the route you’ll be taking, and when you plan to return. That way if there’s an emergency or you become injured or lost, help will know where to look for you.

Stay on marked trails

Trails are marked for a reason. The markers on the trails let you know exactly where you are and which way you’re going. Most state parks regularly maintain their trails to ensure a safe and enjoyable hike. Venturing off the marked trail could lead to dangerous terrain or situations where you could become lost or injured. 

Stay vigilant

While out on the trail, always stay vigilant and cautious of your surroundings. Look out for wildlife, and watch your footing, especially while descending on steep or loose terrain. Being cautious and aware of what’s around you can prevent accidents from happening.


Go Unprepared

When it comes to hiking, don’t wing it. Being prepared can save you from a lot of issues and potential danger. Make sure to research where you’re going, what dangers you may encounter, the trail you’re taking, and what the terrain and weather will be like. You’ll also want to make sure you have all the appropriate gear and supplies you’ll need. Thorough research and planning before your hike ensures you’re thoroughly prepared and makes accidents and injuries less likely to occur.

Rely on technology

While technology like GPS and navigation apps are great tools to have, it’s not always reliable, especially while in the wilderness away from civilization. The last thing you want is to be lost in the middle of the forest with no service or reception. Always carry a paper map and a compass with you and research your route ahead of time to get a solid understanding of where you’ll be. 

Hike alone in remote areas

It’s always safer to hike with others. Whenever possible, hike with a group or at least one other person, especially in remote and unfamiliar areas. As they say, two heads are better than one. That way if you do get lost or one of you gets injured, you’ll be able to help each other. Not to mention, your combined knowledge and skills may help in emergency situations. 

Disturb Wildlife

One of the reasons many people enjoy hiking is the opportunity to spot unique wildlife. However, always observe from a distance and never feed or approach a wild animal. Animals in the wild can be dangerous and may feel threatened if you get too close which can provoke them to attack.

Ignore advice

Before embarking on a hike, it helps to check in with park authorities, experienced hikers, or local guides who are familiar with the area. They can often provide valuable information and advice that not only makes your hike go smoothly but may even save your life. They may be able to tell you things such as what hazards or dangerous wildlife you may come across, or offer tips and tricks for the trail. 

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