Summer is here and with it comes an almost endless amount of fun outdoor activities and adventures to try with your family. For many, a favorite summertime activity is the family hike. Though hiking is a highly enjoyable family activity, heading out for the hills unprepared can have seriously bad results. It’s very important to be well-prepared before you head out so that your entire trip remains fun and safe. Below are five of the keys for a safe family hiking trip.
1. Tell Someone Where You’re Going
Even if you aren’t going hiking in a remote area, it is always smart to let a friend or family member know exactly where you are planning to be. Accidents happen, emergencies arise, and weather conditions can change quickly. If something does come up and you need help, then having someone back at home who knows of your general location is instrumental to your survival.
2. Stay on the Trail
When on a family hike, you should never leave the marked trail. For one thing, it is all too easy to become lost if you venture out into the unmarked wilderness. In addition, leaving the trail is harmful to the natural plant and animal life.
3. Bring Plenty of Water
Staying hydrated is one of the most important things that you can do when on a family hike, especially in the warm summer months. Always bring enough water for each member of your family – but not too much more than necessary. While it’s never bad to have extra water, it does weigh a lot. A litre weighs in at 1 Kg, so plan accordingly!
4. Wear Comfortable Hiking Shoes
It’s always a smart idea to wear hiking shoes on a hike. While other types of shoes or sneakers will do, they are more likely to leave your feet a blistered and painful mess. It’s especially important to fit your children with a pair of high-quality and comfortable shoes if they are going along for the hike. Children’s feet are especially sensitive and you don’t want to have to carry them down part of the trail after a long day of trekking.
5. Teach Your Children the Dangers of Wild Animals
Even if you’re hiking in a fairly populated area, there is always the chance that you might stumble upon a wild animal. Even animals as relatively tame as raccoons, can be dangerous. Make sure that your children know not to get too close to or feed any sort of animal encountered on the trail. If you are hiking in an area frequented by dangerous animals (bears, wild boar, etc), then take extra time to inform your children what to do in a situation involving one of them.
Family hikes are a great way to spend a summer’s afternoon or a weekend, but preparation is needed. The tips above should ensure that any hike you go on this summer stay fun, and, most importantly, safe.