Deadly Mistakes Made on the Trail


( – Nature is a wonderland of gorgeous views and exciting locations to explore. Each year, hundreds of thousands of people head out on the trails to enjoy time in the wild. Unfortunately, not all of them are adequately prepared for the potential dangers they may face — and some don’t make it out alive.

To ensure a safe hiking trip, here’s a list of common mistakes hikers make that could prove to be deadly:

  • Underestimating Nature Contrary to what Hollywood would have a person believe, nature is not a forgiving place. Without the proper respect and caution, the great outdoors will take a life.
  • Thinking Bears are the Only Threat – Yes, bears and other large wildlife can turn a fun hike into a life-or-death situation. While there is a chance of falling victim to a bear or cougar, drowning and falling are far more common incidents that take hikers’ lives.
  • Choosing the Wrong Shoes – Hiking is hard on the body, especially the feet. This is why choosing the proper footwear is absolutely essential. Developing blisters, corns, bunions, or heel spurs, thanks to a bad pair of shoes or boots, will leave anyone vulnerable.
  • Ignoring the Weather – Before leaving for a hike, checking the weather forecast first is vital. A beautiful, sunny day can turn into a torrential downpour in a flash, leaving hikers caught in a survival situation. Hypothermia caused by rain can be life-threatening.
  • Wearing the Wrong Clothing – Clothing is the first line of defense against the elements and is often woefully underestimated by those heading out for a trek through the woods. In the wrong environments, certain fabrics can get a person killed (ever heard the term “cotton kills?”).
  • Not Giving Out Important Information – Before heading to the hills, it’s important to let someone know the who, where, and when of the trip. This way, if something happens, they can send Search and Rescue (SAR) to the exact location of the hike and let first responders know who to look for.
  • Going Unprepared – Leaving for an excursion in the wild without a basic survival pack is a bad idea. One can never know when the weather might turn unexpectedly or some other form of emergency might arise. In the middle of nowhere, a sprained ankle can become life-threatening. Always carry an emergency kit, ways to make fire, extra food and water, and a way to create shelter, at the very least.
  • Changing Plans – Even if outside sources have been informed where a person is going and when that won’t do any good if they change plans at the last minute. SARs cannot rescue someone if they’re looking in the wrong direction.
  • Demanding More Than the Body is Capable of – Overestimating physical capabilities is a dangerous mistake. Exhaustion will force a person to stop everything and rest. Additionally, they could be in big trouble if they don’t have adequate supplies to replace lost fluids and electrolytes.
  •  Leaving the Trail – Getting lost is a surefire way to find oneself in a bad situation in the wild. The marked trail is generally safe, but leaving it puts one at risk of falls, on top of losing sight of the path.

Hiking is an enjoyable activity that allows a person to become closer to nature. With the proper preparation, it’s safe and rewarding. However, accidents do happen, which is why it is so important to know how to survive in the wild.

Should it become necessary to spend the night in nature, or simply escape from the elements during a storm, knowing how to build a shelter quickly is a lifesaver. To see how to create four easy shelters in the wild using a tarp, check out our article here.

~Here’s to Your Survival!

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Modern Survival Tips

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