Hiking, a Way of Life!
All you need to know to be Equipped and Prepared for a Hiking trip:
Hiking is a way of life, so many people love to do it. It is good exercise and it brings you into the outdoors, the fresh air and nature. Hiking is fun & social, it offers the opportunity to meet people and make new friends. You will have conversations with your friends, relaxing and taking in the fresh aroma of nature. You will see and hear all sorts of animals and birds. Hiking is an adventure! Planning is key! You will need this! Survival is very important! Safety always comes first!
Where to Hike:
One can hike just about anywhere, some good hikes are the beaches, the mountains, forests, nature reserves, and game reserves.
Check if there are hiking trails, if not then you will need to plan your route carefully beforehand. Check if animals are allowed on the trails if you wish to take your dogs along.
One can hike the Berg with its many trails.
There are a lot of guided tours available.
See the mountains as you have never imagined, Rivers, Streams, Wildlife, Buck, wild hogs, Giraffe, Zebra, Ostrich, Buffalo, Elephant, Rhino, Snow, etc.
The same goes for Game reserves & Nature reserves, where you will see many wild animals. One can also hike the beaches
and encounter endless wildlife in the process. Buck, Elephant, Hippopotamus, Rhino, Leopard, Crocodile, Turtle, Birds and more.
Some Important Points:
- It is very important to always tell someone that you are going hiking and where you plan to be.
- Never hike alone, you may just need some help and if you are alone you will be in big trouble should you hurt yourself or get lost, etc.
- Check the weather reports before going out.
- Keep your eyes open along the trail, look out for wild animals and snakes.
- Take note of your surroundings, look for rock ledges, caves, etc. you may need any of these places to take shelter
- Take note of streams, rivers or any form of water supply. You may need to top up your canteen.
- Don’t rely on your cellphone, nine times out of ten you will have no service.
- Decide how far you will walk, will you make it back before dark?
- Always carry some torches just in case you do get caught in the dark. A head torch can be very handy as you don’t have to use a hand to hold it.
- Always carry a knife and a small first aid kit. I really like the survival type knife, it has a big blade so it is great for general use. It also has a compartment with a screw cap, in which one can keep small survival aids like, line, hook, lure, float, lead weight, cable ties, safety pins, needles, small utility screwdrivers, matches or flint.
- Don’t forget the bug spray.
- Don’t overload your backpack, you need to carry it a long way.
- Even if you are only day hiking, take your sleeping bag, Rolled mattress or Hammock with you. You never know when you might have to spend the night, having said that, it is also important to carry a little extra food.
- Always carry a whistle. A whistle can be heard for miles and might just save your life.
- Always carry ration packs in your backpack, they are normally dry nutritional ingredients that will keep you alive in an emergency.
- They also have a three-year shelf life. We survived on these in the military, so they are very beneficial even if they are not as nice as meat and fresh vegetables.
- Always have a space blanket or thermal blanket in your backpack, these are compact and very lightweight. They will keep you very warm and they can also be a lifesaver in many emergencies.
- You will need to decide whether you are going to wear shorts or longs depending on the terrain and the vegetation.
- It is very important to make sure your clothing is comfortable and not too tight or restricting.
- You should carry a rain suit. A wide-brimmed hat is also necessary for protection from the sun. You also want to protect your eyes with a good pair of Polaroid sunglasses.
- You must have a good pair of hiking boots, again these need to be as comfortable as possible, when your boots are new it is a good idea to wear them for a few days first before embarking on a hiking trip.
- It can be very helpful having a hiking pole or two in hand for those steeper parts of the trail, some people even use two hiking poles.
- A good quality, comfortable and practical backpack is a must-have in order to carry your supplies.
- A map, compass or Gps is an absolute must-have, especially if your hike does not have route markers that one can follow.
- One should always carry some extra batteries.
- You must carry enough water and food.
- You should carry a lightweight jacket or preferably a windbreaker.
- Don’t forget the camera and Binoculars are very important for spotting landmarks in the distance, for spotting wildlife and places to take cover or get help.
- You want to have a rope or paracord in your kit with a couple of carabiners. You just never know when you will need them.
- It is good practice to carry a multi-tool this can come in handy for many applications.
- A hammock can be very compact and very light so it is recommended that you have one in your backpack at all times, you just don’t know when you need to overnight in an emergency.
- In Africa or in any forest or jungle, you also don’t want to sleep on the ground. There are a lot of dangerous things out there!
- One can purchase some very nice outdoor, survival paracord bracelets with Compass, flint, blade, and whistle all in one or a survival hunting knife. All compact lightweight and convenient.
Well now, hopefully, you are all equipped with the knowledge and necessary equipment for your hiking adventure, taking into account your safety, well being, comfort, enjoyment, and survival. Come on lady’s and gentlemen, let’s go hiking!
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