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Hiking safety

Get into your mountaineering boots and climb to the summit! But not without the right preparation. I'll give you practical tips to keep you safe in the mountains.

Hiking safety

Contents

1. Plan carefully

2. Plan a tour

3. The right equipment

4. Check the weather forecast

5. Safe on the mountain

6. What to do in an emergency on the mountain

7. Accident insurance

8. Hiking gear

9. Conclusion


Plan your hiking tour carefully

Well planned is half hiked. Before the hiking tour, it is advisable to prepare well: Where exactly does the chosen hiking route run and how long is it? Are there any places to stop along the way? What does the weather forecast say for the region? Are there any exposed passages (fear of heights)? Do I have the right equipment for the tour? How experienced are I and my fellow walkers?


Don't forget to take an emergency bivouac with you. It consists of an emergency blanket that is cold-resistant, a whistle and a mini compass. It should be in your rucksack on every hike anyway.

As the old Scottish saying goes: "There's no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothes!"
Hiking safety in the mountains

Plan tour

Especially at the beginning of the season, people tend to overestimate themselves. So don't set yourself too high a goal for your first hike, but choose the right tour for your physical condition. Tip: As with everything in life, the same applies here: Start slowly and increase over time! If you are travelling with a group, you should always adapt the hike to the weakest member. Especially if there are older people or children, you should take it slower. Also remember to plan enough breaks. Ideally, these should be long enough so that you don't have to keep going as soon as stragglers from the group arrive.


If you want to know more about hiking with children, I recommend my article here.


Once these questions have been answered, take a close look at the hiking route. Hiking maps will help you plan your tour - they provide helpful information on altitude, distance and difficulty level. Tour descriptions from relevant portals and apps also provide a good overview.


Caution: Do not place unrestricted trust in the content of designated tours on the internet. They can often be wrong. The contents are also subject to the subjective assessment of the creator.


For an exact calculation of the walking time, I can recommend my article here.

Here is a video of my hike through Iceland:

Proper equipment

As a general rule, only go up the mountain with good equipment and suitable footwear that is adapted to the respective hiking tour. Good hiking boots relieve the foot and ensure surefootedness. Hiking poles make going downhill easier. The weather can also change quickly in the mountains, so pack rain protection and warm clothing. Remember that the sun is very strong in summer, so you will need sunscreen, headgear and sunglasses.

At this point I would like to recommend this Sun and wind cream specially developed for the mountain.

"The sun also shines behind the clouds." Quote from Karl Friedrich Wilhelm Wander

It's easier with light luggage, but still - always include in your rucksack: Charged mobile phone, energy-rich provisions (e.g. fruit, muesli bars), sufficient liquid, emergency/first aid kit (e.g. bandages, plasters, if necessary also torch and whistle) and a hiking map.


The most important hiking equipment that I do not recommend can be found at the end of this article.

Hiking safety

Check weather forecast

Even the easiest hike can be dangerous if the weather suddenly changes. A weather check beforehand is a must. It is best to obtain weather reports from several sources and compare them with each other.


Safely on the move on the mountain

Time pressure and excessive speed can affect safety just as much as a lack of breaks or an unexpected change in the weather. Careful and attentive hiking in harmony with nature and one's own abilities is therefore paramount.


Choose the right pace: It is better to walk one step slower, but safely. Especially at the beginning of a hike, people often start walking too fast. The appropriate pace always depends on the abilities and physical condition of the weakest member of the group. Too fast a pace or tiredness can also impair surefootedness and concentration. This often leads to falls or injuries.


Stay on marked trails: You should not underestimate the alpine terrain: You are only safe if you hike along the marked paths. Shortcuts or routes through pathless terrain are not a good idea for beginners. Only experienced hikers should do this, and only if your loved ones know where you are going and can locate you with GPS. Shortcuts increase the risk of disorientation, falls or rockfalls. Steep snowfields can also be dangerous - if in doubt, turn back.


Long-distance hiking trails in Europe: 90 routes, all countries

Wild & adventurous: these are the most beautiful long-distance hiking trails in Europe.

Hiking safety

Regular breaks: A rolling stone gathers no moss, but this does not apply to hikes in the mountains. Regular breaks not only serve to relax, but also to enjoy the landscape. In addition, your body needs enough fluids and food to maintain its performance and concentration.


Respect for animals & nature: One thing is obvious: without intact nature, there is no hiking pleasure. Therefore: Don't leave any litter behind, avoid noise and stay on the marked paths to leave plants and animals untouched. You should keep your distance from cows, calves and sheep on alpine pastures. Attention: Special care should be taken with young animals. If you are travelling with a dog, keep it on a leash.


Turn back in good time: In the mountains, storms can often come out of the blue. Therefore, you should also keep a close eye on the weather during the hike and check the weather on your smartphone every now and then. If a thunderstorm is approaching, you should stop the hike and seek shelter in a hut in good time. Quickly leave exposed areas such as peaks, ridges, exposed areas or solitary trees. If this is no longer possible, please note the following: Remove your rucksack with electronic items or metal equipment from your body and adopt a crouching position with your feet closed. In such an extreme situation, keep calm and persevere!

safety when hiking

Emergency behaviour on the mountain

Warning signs such as shortness of breath, racing heart or nausea should be taken seriously. It is best to stop the hike and turn back or get help. But what happens if an accident or fall occurs in alpine terrain? The most important thing in an emergency: stay calm, get an overview of the situation and injured person, and set the rescue chain in motion.


Alpine emergency numbers: If you are in mountain distress, dial the Austrian alpine emergency number 140. If there is no reception, you can use the emergency call function on your mobile phone. This emergency call goes to 112 (Euro emergency call). First switch off your mobile phone and, when you switch it on again, immediately enter 112 instead of the PIN code or press the SOS button.


Send an Alpine distress signal: If you don't have a mobile phone at hand, you can use an alpine distress signal to draw attention to yourself. The signal can be visual (e.g. torch) or acoustic (e.g. whistle): give visible and audible signals 6 times a minute, pause for a minute and repeat until there is a response.


Satellite phone: Also highly recommended is the ultra light and ultra small Garmin inReach 2 Mini Satellitentelefon. It is a compact and lightweight satellite communicator and allows two-way messaging and interactive SOS worldwide. You can also share your location with your loved ones at home, anywhere in the world, at any time.

safety instructions when hiking

Private accident insurance

Private accident insurance protects you in case of leisure accidents on the mountain. Even despite good preparation and all precautions, accidents can happen on the mountain. According to the Austrian Alpine Association, around 12,000 people had accidents in alpine terrain in 2020 - most of them while hiking or mountaineering.


What many do not know: Hiking, mountaineering and climbing fall under the category of leisure accidents and are therefore not covered by the statutory accident insurance. Although costs for initial treatment in hospital are covered, costly follow-up treatments such as therapies or medical costs (e.g. dentures, cosmetic operations) are not. In these cases, only private accident insurance provides relief.


Mountain rescue: In addition, I would like to remind you of the mountain rescue service in Austria. For only 28€ per month, everyone is insured against rescue costs after an accident in alpine terrain, including all persons living in the household. More information is available at Become a sponsor | ÖBRD - NÖ/Wien (bergrettung-nw.at)


Often, accidents on the mountain require rescue by helicopter. This can also become a cost trap, because rescue costs in alpine terrain are not covered by social insurance. Without private accident insurance or membership of the Alpine Club or automobile clubs, you are left with the high costs of helicopter rescue.


Tip: For the most beautiful hikes in the world, I can recommend my article here.

hiking safety tips

Hiking gear

Here I recommend the most important hiking equipment that I own, have tested myself and have also bought myself. I pay a lot of attention to the weight and quality of my equipment. The equipment should simply feel good on longer tours and also be light. I can recommend the equipment for women because my wife uses it and it is basically the same as the equipment for men.


Note: Please keep in mind that the packing list is general and you will have to adapt it depending on the season and your needs!


Advertising note: These product links are affiliate links. If you buy something through one of these links, I will receive a small commission without you having to pay more. This is for the maintenance of my blog and you support me with my project, for which I am very grateful. Thank you very much!


Clothes

Hiking boots

Hiking shorts


Long hiking pants


Functional shirt


Hybridjacket


Fleece-jacket


Rain jacket


Functional underwear


Hiking socks


Other hiking equipment:

Sun cap

Camping mat

Sleeping bag

Hut sleeping bag

Bivouac


Hiking backback (approx. 60 litres or as required)

by EXPED - unfortunately not available on Amazon.

Backback - Ospray (was my old one and is also good)


Technology and orientation:

Compass

• GPS device or GPS watch if necessary

• Binoculars if necessary


Catering:

• Sweets to keep up morale :)


Health & first Aid:

First Aid (small and light)

Tape

Bivouac

• Toilet paper


Other:

• Passport/Insurance certificate

• cash

• Gas cartridge


Film equipment:

14mm Lens

Drone

Tripod

Clip

hiking safety tips for beginners

Conclusion

So, as you can see, there is a lot to consider when it comes to hiking safety, but hiking is still a great way to enjoy nature and keep fit. Go on your hike responsibly and prepared to have a safe and enjoyable experience. Have a great time and good luck ;)


As always, I would be very happy to receive feedback via one of my channels.



You are also welcome to leave me a comment.

 
Foto des Inhabers Hikingfex

Hello, I am Christian, the chief globetrotter of this Site and an enthusiastic adventurer, hiker and filmmaker. I love to explore new paths and inspire people with them, and I love to share my hiking knowledge with you! You can also find my videos on YouTube! On my blog you can find tips for beginners and professionals on the greatest and most beautiful hiking tours there are. I want to encourage people to explore the world as a hiker, whether in the countryside, through the forest or in the mountains. True to the motto: If you haven't hiked, you haven't seen the world,

On my blog, I also write about hiking gear, the right summit training and nature conservation, as well as tips and information about hiking.


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