Hiking is one of the most popular outdoor activities for Americans, being both healthy and fun. However, even a simple day hike can become dangerous if you arenât careful. Thousands of people each year become lost and in need of rescue, including many who are experienced in the outdoors. Of all the National Park Service search and rescue missions for 2005, nearly half of those were in search of hikers on day trips or overnight camping trips. Numerous factors contribute to people needing to be rescued, but the most consistent reasons are also quite avoidable. Fatigue, insufficient equipment or experience and errors in judgment top the list. For just $4, survival expert Mike Marcon assembled a kit which anyone can put together, and which can save your life in an emergency situation. The most important thing is to not panic, as a clear head is critical to guiding emergency decisions. But following his suggestions, and carrying just these few items could very well save your life:
- A space blanket can keep you warm when temperatures begin to drop, but also can be used to flag down rescuers.
- A nylon parachute cord is very versatile, and can be separated into individual fibers which can be used as a fishing line, setting a hunting trap, building shelter, and many other uses.
- Magnesium or flint striker bar for igniting a fire.
- A tube of lip balm. The main ingredient is petroleum jelly, which is flammable. By smearing over leaves or other materials, it can make starting a fire easier in undesirable conditions.
For some more information, check out these tips from the National Park Service to help you plan a safe and fun trip into the wilderness.