A lot of people spend time outdoors to take a break and relax, to reconnect with themselves and to reduce stress and anxiety. Hiking is a great activity for those who wish to reconnect with themselves, especially if you go solo. You get to do whatever you need and decide your own pace. Solo hikers say it’s an experience of a lifetime.

While being outdoors by yourself is an amazing experience, it’s a very unpredictable place that’s why it’s essential that you prioritize your safety.

Follow these safety tips for your first solo hiking trip:

Pick the right trail

It doesn’t matter how much hiking experience you have in your bag – for your first solo hiking trip, it’s important that you pick a trail that is well-marked and well-travelled with conditions and terrain well within your abilities.

It’s important to pick a trail nearby your area or one you’ve hiked before. For your first time, you might want to avoid a trail with too much exposure or that has river crossings.

Let someone know about your trip

One of the biggest challenges you may have to prepare for is getting lost. That’s why it’s highly important that you let someone you trust know everything about your endeavour – where your trail is, how long the hike is, when you’ll be back and other important details.

Also, be sure to pack necessary equipment in case you get lost like a whistle, a communication device, chalk etc.

Check the weather forecast

Clear skies is the perfect weather for your first solo hiking experience. While hiking in the rain may be fun, you’ll be more prone to accidents, which is not ideal if you’re by yourself. So consider the weather when planning your trip and still dress in layers so you’re prepared in case the weather changes.

Come prepared

The goal when you hike is to pack ultra-light because you’ll be carrying the weight on your back the whole time. However, don’t scrimp on the essentials. Be sure you bring sufficient food, snacks and water. Bring a flashlight/headlamp, basic first aid supplies, and extra clothing.

Stay on the trail and trust your instincts

Never go off trail, even if you think you’re going for a shortcut or a more scenic route. Follow the trail and observe trail markers to help you get familiarized with the path more. At any time you don’t feel right or come across something/someone that makes you uncomfortable, don’t hesitate to turn back or find safety.

Keep in mind these essential safety tips for your first solo hiking trip for a pleasant experience that will make you want to go for another round!