Before venturing out into the wild to spend some time off the grid, whether it be for a hike through the woods or a family camping outing, you must prepare yourself for the unpredictable nature of the outdoors. Weather conditions can change without notice or you may have an up-close encounter with a wild animal. Whatever the situation may be, it is important you take certain safety precautions to prepare for your adventure in the wild. Below are some safety tips to keep you and your company safe in any situation:

  • Prepare for the elements

When spending time outdoors, weather conditions can change within minutes, leaving you at the mercy of Mother Nature. It is always smart to bring a waterproof rain jacket to protect against potential storms. In addition, pack clothing that can be worn in layers to keep you comfortable for the warmer weather during the day, as well as the cooler weather at night. Spending time outdoors inherently puts you at the risk of sunburn, so be sure to pack at least SPF 30 sunscreen and bug spray to repel pesky mosquitoes.

  • Store food properly

Whether you are camping in the backcountry or at a campsite, you must store your food properly to avoid unwanted interactions with the wildlife in the area. Never leave food or in your tent, as it may attract foraging animals. Food should be stored in a car or lockable cooler if possible, and at night, food should be hung from a pole or a tree to keep it out of the reach of animals such as bears.

  • Keep your distance

If you are to encounter a wild animal along your expedition, make sure to keep a comfortable distance of at least 50 feet between you and the animal. Many animals are territorial and feel threatened when their land is encroached upon, so keep a safe distance and make deliberate movements to ensure you don’t come across as predatorial.

  •  Invest in bear spray

If you are planning a camping trip or a hike through the woods, it is smart to invest in or rent a can of bear spray. Many campsites or hiking trails are in bear country, where these large animals are known to visit campsites for the prospect of finding food. Bear spray can be used to distract, confuse, or disorient a bear in the unlikely event you encounter one, and can save you from serious injury.

  • Bring a map and compass

While exploring remote areas, it is unlikely that you will receive cell service so do not rely on using your phone to navigate through unfamiliar areas. It is always a good idea to carry a compass and waterproof map so you can always find your way back to the campground or locate medical help in the event of an accident.

  •  Pack plenty of food and water

Be sure to pack more than enough food, in case you get caught in a tricky situation resulting in an extended stay. Also, ensure you have enough water, or a way to purify water from a natural source, to stay hydrated. Drinking water is the most valuable resource you can find in the wilderness.

  • Carry a first aid kit

On your trip, you will likely be far away from a medical care provider, so it is imperative you can take care of minor injuries and ailments with the contents of your first aid kit. This can go a long way from treating small blisters to bandaging gashes and wounds, and can salvage a trip into the wild in the event of an injury.

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