Backpacking: First Aid Tips

Marwa Grimes

Today’s focal point will be on a few first aid tips. This is by no means a complete list of the possible emergency situations you may face. This is why bringing a first aid kit and handbook are vital part of your backpacking gear.

Two possible difficulties that are very serious are hyperthermia and hypothermia. When your core temperature drops below normal this is known as hypothermia. Symptoms that you may observe are shivering, chills, and lack of coordination. The other adversity you may face is hyperthermia which is when you overheat because your internal body heat cannot be released fast enough. Hyperthermia occurs mainly in the summer time and signs consist of nausea, vomiting, dizziness, muscle cramps, fatigue, headaches, and weakness. Some other circumstances that can cause you misery are blisters. Deterring blisters actually begins with the purchasing of the correct footwear. One more thing to remember when choosing your footwear is making sure you try them on with the same socks you will be hiking in.

While you are hiking it is essential to keep the right posture because it will help in reducing strain to your muscles. Your walk should be with your head up, shoulders back, relaxed, and swinging your arms. One more meaningful tip is to set yourself up with a good walking pace. Just begin your walk with what feels natural to you. Setting your pace is easy when you are by yourself, but becomes much more challenging when hiking with a partner or a group. The reason for this difficulty is because with a partner or group your pace must be that of the person who has the slowest pace. Trying to set a faster pace could result in an injury of the person who is trying to keep up. Also you may find those hikers becoming annoyed and distressed. This is not how you have fun when you are backpacking. Remember that safety should always come first. Keep your eyes open and be aware of your surroundings and where you are walking. Trails will not always be smooth, but there will be ruts, holes, and other hazards that can trip you up.

Other basic first aid suggestions consists of protecting yourself from sunburn. To do this wear sunblock and a hat with a wide brim to protect your face. For your neck and ears I would suggest you wearing some type of veil which will cover these two areas. Next have insect repellant available at all times because there is no way of escaping those annoying mosquitoes and other insects. One more option you can choose for defending off the insects is to invest in bug clothing. You can find this clothing for just your head or to cover your whole body. Make sure that while you are on this backpacking adventure that you keep yourself well fed, hydrated, and rested. Finally, make sure that those items like clothing, bug spray, or anything else you will need to use for the next day’s hike is readily available. This will save time and aggravation from having to dig around in your pack try to find something.

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