THE 10 COMMANDMENTS FOR HIKING SAFELY
To take full advantage of your mountain treks we suggest some safety reminders specifically applying to hiking. Don't forget to tell a friend before you leave prepare your first aid kit, make your vaccinations up to date and protect your skin from little creatures. Nothing will stop you from going on the adventure!
FOLLOW THE WEATHER FORECAST
Even if the most intrepid hikers will go out in all weather conditions or almost all, know when to delay an outing if the weather seems too harsh. If your route requires very good visibility or is likely to be slippery and dangerous under a very heavy rain, choose to review your plans. Take extra care if you are hiking with children, not only for their safety but also for their morale. Check the weather forecast the day before and review the situation on the morning of the hike. Preferably use local weather forecasts and compare several sources if necessary. The most intuitive solution is to have a weather forecast app that sends notifications to warn you of sudden changes in the weather.WHAT TO DO IN THE EVENT OF A STORM
NOTIFY YOUR RELATIVES OF YOUR ITINERARY AND ESTIMATED TIME OF ARRIVAL
You may no longer inform your parents or relatives of your outings since becoming an adult. However, this practice can be of great help when hiking. Whether you are hiking alone or in a group, you are not immune from an unexpected incident, accident or your phone running out of battery or having no signal. This is of course a worst-case scenario. Don't be lulled into thinking that this only happens to other people. So, remember to notify someone close to you – family member or friend – of your itinerary and estimated time of arrival. This will allow them to be on alert if you have not yet returned two hours after your scheduled time and they may consequently notify rescuers if necessary. This will facilitate the work of the rescuers who will be notified in time and will find you more easily. Make it part of your routine whether you're going out for a few hours or the whole day.
RESPECT YOUR OWN PACE AND THAT OF THE HIKERS IN YOUR GROUP
Although hiking is a sport for everyone, it does draw on your energy reserves. So take it easy and respect the pace of your body. This will prevent sudden fatigue and the resulting careless mistakes such as tripping on a tree root or slipping. The Quechua boots use the CrossContact technology that provides good grip on a wide variety of terrain.
TAKE THE FEAR OF HEIGHTS SERIOUSLY
The fear of heights is quite common. It is estimated that acrophobia affects 2% to 5% of the population.
Even if you do not plan to climb very steep hills, you are in risk of finding, at some point in your journey, a bridge to cross or a narrow passage along a very steep hill. If you suffer from acute acrophobia, prepare your itinerary accordingly.
If you are hiking as part of a group, talk to the other members of your group about your phobia so that they can encourage and support you if needed and, more importantly, not hurry you in a situation that could quickly to degenerate due to an irrational fear.
There are ways of combating vertigo and even defeating it.
STAY FOCUSED UNTIL THE END OF THE WALK
Just as a lot of road accidents happen on small known paths, it is at the end of the walk when you approach your goal or when the ground seems easier that accidents occur. Indeed, fatigue can make you less attentive. Stay focused from the beginning to the end of your walk. Remember to take breaks, drink properly and fuel up with food in order to recharge your batteries during your hike.
Use walking poles to minimise your fatigue and be more sure-footed.
ALWAYS HAVE SOME WATER AND FOOD CLOSE AT HAND
Whether you are using a water bottle or hydration pack, do not wait until you are thirsty to drink! Even if the hike does not necessarily make you sweat as much as a running session, do not forget that an adult loses on average 2.5 litres of water per day. This water must be replaced for your muscles and your whole body to work at its best.
You must therefore leave with enough water for the whole duration of the walk (at least 1 L per person, ideally 2 L/person).
Finally, remember to drink before, during and after your hike in order to recover properly. What's more, don't hesitate to take snacks with you. "Dried" foods are preferable because they have a better energy/weight ratio. Take wholemeal cereal bars or dried fruit rather than an apple that will take up more space and weigh down your bag.
PROTECT YOURSELF FROM INSECTS
The mountain is an environment inhabited by large and small animals. Insects that may barely be visible may cause many inconveniences. Prevention is better! Bees and wasps: in fine weather, they come close to you if you have sweet snacks or sandwiches. The best thing is to remain alert while eating. In case of a sting on your body, you must act promptly and remove the residual sting without crushing the insect to avoid the risk of injecting more venom. Once you've done this, clean the area and apply a soothing ointment if necessary. This is also particularly useful when treating burns from stinging plants. Mosquitoes: they emerge in the evening and are found mainly from 600 to 2,200 m approximately. Preparing for an evening without fidgeting? Put bug spray can into your first aid kit before leaving. When you go to bed, remember just one thing: zip up the mosquito net of your tent! Horseflies: these insects are found in alpine pastures and around rivers. Been bitten? Immediately disinfect the area (without pressing it) and apply an anti-inflammatory cream that will soothe the pain. Ticks: they are carriers of Lyme disease and live in certain forest regions, in tall grass and fern areas. How to prevent tick bites: wear long light-coloured trousers. You may immediately spot a tick that begins climb on your leg. In case of bite, remove the part planted under the skin with a tick tweezer. If fever occurs, a visit to the doctor is required upon your return.PREVENTING LYME DISEASE
DRESS TO BE SEEN
You are wearing the recommended three layers of clothing. But have you considered choosing clothing that is visible from far away? Indeed, as seen above, the weather can change quickly and you may be no longer visible in the rain. You may run the risk of being bumped into by a rider or a mountain biker. Wear brightly-coloured clothing or clothing with reflective strips. If the weather is bad or you are walking towards the setting or rising sun, wear a head torch.
ALWAYS KEEP A FIRST AID KIT IN YOUR BAG
Make sure that your first aid kit is always in your backpack, even if you are going for a hike lasting only a few hours. What's more, regularly check the contents of the first aid kit to make sure that it is up-to-date and ready to use.FIRST AID KIT CHECKLIST
OBSERVE THE "LEAVE NO TRACE" PRINCIPLES
Pathways are your best allies. A well-marked and maintained path will guarantee a better security. That is why it is important to respect the environment. Don't forget to manage your waste properly!
PLEASE NOTE: DON'T FORGET TO MAKE SURE YOUR VACCINATIONS ARE UP-TO-DATE!
For sports as well as in your daily life, it is important to keep your vaccination schedule up to date. This is particular important for tetanus. Indeed, this disease can enter the body through wounds that come into contact with soil or animal excrement: conditions often encountered during hikes. Note: a DTP polio booster is required at the age of 25 and 45 years and then every ten years after the age of 65. If you are going abroad, consult the specific health advice for the country you are going to. Our advice: this precaution is to be done a long time in advance, because vaccine injections often take several weeks.