The outdoors can be a lot of fun, but it’s very important to know how to stay safe.
The outdoors is a fantastic resource available to all and with proper care and attention, it’s not difficult to ensure that you stay safe and secure.Here is a list of items you should make sure you have with you each time you venture out to enjoy the countryside.
- Map and Compass. These two items and knowledge of how to effectively use them will ensure you won’t get lost. By all means take a GPS Sat Nav with you if you have one and of course use it, but do remember it is an electronic piece of equipment so it can malfunction, lose battery power or become damaged.
- Boots. A good pair of boots will keep your feet dry and protect against injury. Good boots are not cheap, but if looked after, will last you years. If walking a trek surface then a good pair of trek shoes will suffice.
- Layered clothing. Rather than wear one heavy item that is warm and rain proof, it’s a good idea to wear light weight layers instead. This way you can regulate your temperature by removing or adding layers of clothing, so in addition, wear a small light back pack so you can pack away any layers not in use. Don’t wear jeans or any heavy textile pants, if they get wet they’ll be very uncomfortable. Instead get some light weight rain proof pants that will let out moisture and keep out rain. Also bring a hat and gloves, even if you don’t wear them. They’re small and lightweight and will be invaluable if the temperature drops.
- First Aid. Bring a small package of essential First Aid items. If your hand gets a gash from barbed wire or you sprain an ankle, it will help a lot if you can keep the wound clean and support that sprain until you get some professional help.
- Food and drink. How much sustenance you will need depends on the distance you are travelling and therefor how long you think you will be out. Don’t bring too much, it’s only extra weight for no gain. Avoid tea, coffee and cola, lemonade and high energy drinks as these tend to take longer to be absorbed, starving the body of the fluid it needs.
- Mobile Phone. Bring a fully charged mobile phone, whistle and torch (preferably a head torch to leave your hands free. There’s no guarantee you will have a signal, but if you encounter a problem and you have a mobile phone with a signal, all the better. The whistle will come in very handy if people are looking for you and visibility is not good. Also, make someone aware of where you plan to go and when you expect to get back.
- Lightening. If you encounter a thunderstorm, the best place to be to keep safe from a lightning strike is in the open. Avoid high ground, ridges, isolated trees and vast expanses of flat ground. If there is a possibility of thunder and lightning in the forecast, choose another day.
- Emergency. In an emergency, call 999 or 112 and ask for “Mountain Rescue”.
- Survival bag. This item is small and lightweight and will keep you warm and dry for a few hours until help arrives.
- A Dry Bag. This will slip into your back pack and keep things like map, compass and phone dry.