Hiking and Bush Walking Safety Tips

Putting on my hiking boots, stepping out the front door and venturing into the wild; this is natural for me. There is something about bush walking that relaxes me and keeps me grounded. If I’ve had a stressful week, a walk in the forest almost immediately takes it all away, and I get an amazing feeling of freedom when I am simply following my feet.

Hiking and bush walking is a fantastic pastime to take up, but you should always be prepared before you head off on a hike. Here are some of my tips to help you stay safe while hiking:

Fitness and research

You should always learn about the hike before you attempt it. Find out how long it is as well as the difficulty level and fitness requirements. Although hiking is walking, it is not the same as walking down the street, nor is it the same as running. Hiking can really be physically demanding, particularly if there are a lot of changes in altitude. Make sure that you walk regularly and start off with small, easy hikes and work yourself up to the harder ones.

Hiking to the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania

Hiking to the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro

Bring a first aid kit

It doesn’t matter whether you are walking one kilometre or forty, you should always carry a first aid box with you. Anything can happen while hiking and you don’t want to get caught out without even the basics. Make sure your first aid kit has all of the necessary things like band-aids, bandages, and antiseptic cream, and always make sure that it is kept up to date.

Get a good pair of hiking boots

You may think that hiking boots are an expensive purchase when you could just wear your joggers, but there really is a huge difference. Hiking boots are designed specifically for hiking, just as running shoes are made for running. A good pair of hiking boots can cost a bit of a money, but they tend to last a long time, and they really make hiking a lot more comfortable. When purchasing a pair of boots, make sure that they have good ankle support and are also waterproof. Your feet are your most important thing when hiking, so you should take good care of them.

I bought my hiking boots in 2009 and since then they have been to Mount Everest Base Camp, Mount Kilimanjaro and a lot of places in Australia, and even now I have them with me in Vietnam. If you love hiking, a good pair of boots is a wise investment.

Standing in front of Mount Everest, Nepal

Standing at the top of Kala Patar, Nepal, with Mount Everest behind me

Tell someone where you are going

This is one of the simplest things to do, and yet it can really be a matter of life or death. Never leave for a hike without letting someone know where you are going and when you are expecting to be back. If you don’t tell anyone, how will they know that you are missing if you get lost or injured, and how will they know where to look? By the time someone works it out, it could be too late.

Hiking in Girraween National Park, Australia

Hiking in Girraween National Park, Australia

Take what you need and more

When researching your hike, work out what you need to bring with you in terms of clothing and the amount of food and water, and always pack extra in case of an emergency. Even if its the middle of summer with clear blue skies, I always back a warm raincoat. I also always pack a can of tuna and a few extra muesli bars as an emergency supply. I always carry a lot more water than I need and some other basic items like a compass, a pocket knife/multi-tool, water proof matches and of course, my first aid kit. Seton sell a wide range of safety equipment, including first aid boxes.

I hope that these tips help to keep you safe and comfortable when you venture into the wild. With a few basic precautions, you will always enjoy your walk and come home safely at the end of the day.


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8 comments… add one
  • Nat May 18, 2013

    I love hiking however a life long addiction to nicotine has ensured that I cannot attempt any harder treks 🙁 Hoping to give up smoking this year so will be able to hike properly next year!
    Nat recently posted..Return to Esentepe Panoramic ViewpointMy Profile

    • Dean Wickham May 27, 2013

      Hi Nat. You definitely shouldn’t let it stop you from doing the things that you want to do. Good luck with quitting!

  • Calogero Mira Jun 27, 2013

    Hiking in Asia and Australia? Very good. Not very high mountains here in Sicily, but there are parks.

    • Dean Wickham Jul 16, 2013

      The mountains aren’t very high in Australia either, but there are lots of beautiful places to hike. I would really love to visit Sicily. Are there some good trails there to check out?

  • Mike Loshe Aug 13, 2013

    Thanks for the share! Keeping a well stocked first aid kit when hiking is crucial for even the most experience hikers. I normally keep mine stocked with antiseptic wipes, antibiotic ointments, insta-cold pack, gauze pads (different sizes), thermometer, mepilex bandages, tweezers, scissors, medical tape, and non-latex gloves.

  • Jason Aug 23, 2013

    Hey Dean, Thanks for put your experience and safety tips. However, without proper planning or precaution you should not getting success in your travel. Your post incredibly very informative for me and other travelers as well.

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