How to Prepare For the Unexpected While Hiking



When you spend time in the woods, there’ll be unexpected obstacles. Perhaps a fallen tree blocks your path, or maybe an animal appears from nowhere and surprises you. If you’re going to hike in the wilderness, you need to know how to deal with these situations. Those who plan ahead have a better chance of handling anything that comes their way. Here are some things you should do before embarking on a hike.

Check the Weather

Bad weather can turn a pleasant hike into a dangerous situation. To make sure you stay safe in bad weather, check the forecast before you go. If there’s an approaching storm that could impact your hike, you may want to change your plans or learn some skills about hiking in the rain.

If there’s a possibility of flash flooding, consider postponing your hike. Bad weather can be predicted, but you also need to be prepared for unanticipated weather hazards. For example, you may have to deal with increased bug activity or even lightning.

If you’re hiking in the desert, you may need to worry about extreme heat. If you’re in a mountainous area, you may have to deal with snow or strong winds.

Know Your Route

Before you set out on your hike, make sure you know the route. Even if you’ve hiked the route many times before, review the trail map or make sure you have the directions written down. Bring a map and compass if you’re hiking in an area that doesn’t have established trails.

If you get lost, you can use these tools to figure out your location. If you know where you’re going, you can easily retrace your steps if you need to. This is particularly important if you’re hiking in an area with limited cell service.

If your phone dies or you don’t have reception, it can be difficult to find your way back. If you know your route, you can anticipate what lies ahead so you can prepare for any challenges that might arise.

Tell Someone Where You’re Going

If there’s ever an emergency, you’ll be thankful that you told someone where you were going. If something happens to you while hiking, someone can call the authorities and report what happened. They can also inform the authorities of your route so they can start searching for you. This way, search parties know exactly where to look.

If you’re hiking with a group, it’s also a good idea to discuss safety precautions. Discuss who will go ahead to scout out the trail, as well as who will stay behind to watch the kids. Make sure everyone knows where everyone else is hiking so they can report any emergencies.

Some people even use an app like GEO Tracking to make it easier to find each other if something goes wrong.

Bring the Right Gear

What gear you bring on a hike is up to you. Some people like to hike light and only bring the essentials, whereas others like to hike with a heavy pack. While packing for a hike, ask yourself, “What could go wrong?” and then pack the gear you need to prepare for these situations.

High-visibility gear is a must if you’re hiking in low-visibility conditions like at dusk or dawn. If you’re hiking in a remote area and become lost, you’ll need a First Aid kit to treat minor injuries. If you’re near water, bring a water-resistant bag that can hold your gear.

Stay Aware of Your Surroundings

Good hikers are always aware of what’s going on around them. If you have headphones on, you’re not paying attention to your surroundings. If you’re listening to music, you can’t hear a snake slithering nearby. Stay vigilant and keep your senses attuned to your surroundings. Pay attention to what’s going on around you at all times.

If you notice a potential problem, you can prepare for it. For example, if you notice that a tree branch is hanging low, you can walk around it. If you see a snake, you can steer clear of it. If you stay alert, you can handle most situations before they become a problem.


Hiking is a great way to enjoy the outdoors and get some exercise at the same time. However, it’s important to prepare properly before you go so that you can stay safe while hiking. First, check the weather forecast so that you know what to expect and can plan your clothing accordingly. Next, make sure you know your route so that you can find your way back if you get lost. It’s also a good idea to tell someone where you’re going so that they know where to look if something goes wrong. Finally, bring the right gear and stay aware of your surroundings so that you can handle any unexpected situations that come your way.