Adventure and Recreation Safety Tips
Taking a trip into the wild is an exciting activity that can leave you with memories to last a lifetime. But to make the best of any adventure, it’s important to know how to keep yourself safe along the way.
Tips for Outdoor Safety
- Have a travel buddy or buddies. It’s always a good idea to have someone with you when you’re out in the wild. Accidents can happen. Even a simple twisted ankle may require someone to help you get to safety or call for help.
- Make sure you’re in good enough physical shape for your plans. People with medical conditions should consult their doctor before heading out on an outdoor adventure. If the travel is going to be strenuous, proper physical conditioning will be required before you go to avoid injury and ensure an enjoyable outing.
- Watch your footing. The terrain of mountains and cliffs can often fool the eyes. Be especially careful when hiking in spots with a lot of stones or roots, where the chances of falling are greater.
- Dress for the trip. If you’re going out in cool or damp conditions, dress in layers, including a top layer that’s water-resistant. If it might be icy, bring cleats. And if it’s hot and sunny, don’t forget the sunblock.
- Bring a first-aid kit: You never know when you might need it. It’s also a good idea to brush up on your first-aid knowledge before you go. Know the symptoms of conditions like heat stroke and dehydration, and learn how to take care of small injuries.
- Travel only during the day. Once the sun starts setting, it’s time to make camp. Traveling during the night is dangerous because it’s much harder to see the terrain, making accidents more likely.
- Don’t forget to eat and stay hydrated. Outdoor adventures often require more energy than other daily activities, so you’ll want to bring plenty of snacks to keep up your calorie intake. Also, stop often to drink water: By the time you’re thirsty, you might already be dehydrated. And remember to pack plenty of water; it might be heavy, but water refills from backcountry water sources are not always available at even intervals.
Safety Tips for Camping
- Don’t forget to pack important supplies such as flashlights, knives, maps, whistles, and insect repellent.
- Make sure that the group arrives at the campsite with plenty of daylight left to set up camp.
- Look for level sites that don’t look like they’ll flood if it rains.
- Keep fire away from tents and other outdoor equipment. Never leave fires unattended. And when extinguishing a fire, pour water all over any remaining embers until they’re completely put out.
- Watch out for stinging insects such as wasps and bees. When warding off an insect, never use sharp waving movements: This will only agitate them. Remove any insects that land on your body with a gentle sweeping motion.
- Beware of wild animals. Wildlife may try to invade campsites if food is left out around the tents, so it’s important to keep your campsite clean and your food safely packed away. Do not approach wildlife; stay as far away from wild animals as possible.
Safety Items Checklist
Having the necessary equipment for an outdoor adventure will improve the odds of being able to handle any kind of situation. Make sure to pack all of these items:
- First-aid kit
- High-calorie food/snacks
- Extra clothes
- Insect repellent
- Map of the area
- Pocket knife
- Pocket mirror (to signal)
- Glasses (extra pair, in case the others break)
- Nylon filament
- Any necessary medication
- Portable radio
- Extra set of batteries
- Waterproof blanket
- Water bottle
- Matches (waterproof)
- Water purifying tablets
- Whistle (for signaling or scaring away animals)
Additional Outdoor and Travel Resources
- Outdoor Safety Tips for Kids
- Preparing for Outdoor Adventures
- Staying Safe Outdoors for Children
- Outdoor Safety in the Summer
- Water Safety in Pools, Lakes, and Rivers
- Infographic: Summer Outdoor Safety Tips
- Tips for Great Hiking
- Hiking Basics: Safety
- Selecting a Campsite
- How to Use a Compass
- Expert Hiking Safety Tips for Children
- First Aid Tips for Wilderness Adventures
- Avoiding Wildlife Encounters
- Finding and Setting Up a Campsite