Preparing Your Trips
The majority of unwelcome incidents and accidents which befall many an outdoor adventure trip are not always entirely the fault of some natural disaster, but because people have not taken the time or trouble to prepare for their trip properly. It’s important to plan for every possible worst case scenario you can think of and here are a few basic guidelines.
Packing the Right GearFrom the clothes you wear to the equipment you take can often make the difference between an enjoyable trip and a miserable one. Furthermore if you don’t take the correct equipment and suitable apparel you might even be putting yourself in danger. Consider things like the terrain you are heading for, the weather and climate you can expect, the activities you intend to pursue and the duration of your trip and pack to suit. Remember to pack both your first aid kit and emergency survival kit too.
Get to Know the AreaDo your homework and try to find out as much about the area you intend visiting before setting off. Telephone local park rangers or other relevant organisations (if there are any) ahead of time to find out things like the weather forecast, anything you need to be aware of e.g. high river levels, closed or damaged paths etc.
Familiarise yourself with the route you’re intending to take and learn about the terrain, for example, vegetation – what’s growing there, what might be safe to eat in a survival situation, are there any emergency rescue procedures you should adopt if you get into difficulty etc. Learn as much about the area as you can using books, guides and the internet. Pinpoint places you’re interested in travelling to on the map you intend using and be sure you’re confident about navigating your chosen course on the map.
Let Someone Know Where You’re GoingBefore setting off, let someone know exactly where you’re heading and it helps if you give them a copy of your planned route, destination and an approximate time when you expect to return. That way, if you don’t get back by the stipulated time, rescue help can be summoned more quickly and it’ll be easier to narrow a search area if you need to be rescued. And, once you return, let the person know you are back safe and sound to avoid a rescue service being called out unnecessarily.
Check the Weather Forecast ….Then Check it Again!The weather can be extremely fickle at the best of times and especially so in remote places and at altitude, so don’t simply rely upon the weather forecast on TV from the night before. If there’s a ranger station or some other advice line, contact them on the morning of your intended trip to see what the weather’s going to be like. If you can speak to somebody there, tell them what activities you have planned and whether or not they would advise you to go ahead with your trip and if there are any doubts, postpone your trip until another day when the weather’s more suitable.
Increase Your Skills and KnowledgeEnrol on appropriate courses to increase your skills, knowledge and experience. Go on a first aid course and a wilderness survival course, learn how to predict weather and pick up other useful skills that could help you in the event of you finding yourself in a survival or emergency situation.
Keep in Good Physical ShapeEnsure that you keep fit and that you’re physically equipped to deal with the rigours of any activities you plan doing on your trip. By being physically prepared, you’ll not only enjoy the trip more but it will enable you to stay safe too.
The more preparations and careful planning you take will result in you being as well equipped as you can be on all levels to enjoy your trip and stay safe at the same time and should you encounter problems; training, preparation and correct use of emergency resources you’ve taken with you will give you as much chance as possible of getting out of any emergency situation that might arise.