Hiking Safety
Tips for staying comfortable and safe in the great outdoors.

Drink Water
Whether you’re thirsty or not, your body needs water to function properly. Proper hydration will keep you warmer (when it’s cold), cooler (when it’s hot), and feeling better (dehydration can give you a headache, cramps and sap your energy). Water helps your circulation, muscle response, and thinking ability.

Pinch the skin on the back of your hand. Does it “tent” (stand up after you release it)? If yes, you’re already extremely dehydrated. Drink something.

Keep Warm!
Keep dry. Water sucks heat off your body hundreds of times faster than when you’re dry.

Dress appropriately.

When cotton gets wet, it draws heat from your body to cool itself. Bring something in wool or synthetic fibers if there’s any chance of getting wet, colder weather, or spending a night out.
Cover your head! 70% of your heat can go straight up from the unprotected skin of your scalp.
Just because it’s a hot afternoon doesn’t mean the night will be warm. Bring a coat. Temperature drops with altitude as well, so bring extra layers if you’re headed up.

If you’re cold and need to pee, do it. Your bladder looses heat like crazy. You’ll feel warmer afterward.

Avoid alcohol. It makes you feel warm because it dialates your blood vessels, allowing the blood to move to your extremities where your body heat is swept away in the breeze. Let your body protect its core temperature.

Avoid tobacco. It constricts your arteries and keeps you from getting adequate circulation to keep you warm.

Use Your Brain and other tips
Tell someone where you’re going. It’s harder to find lost or injured hikers when no one even knows they’re missing.

Tell that person when you get back. This can save SAR hours looking for you through the night while you sleep comfortably at your best friend’s house.

Don’t take those “shortcuts” between switchbacks. They take more energy and wear away the trail, causing other hikers to trip or sprain their ankles (especially in the dark). Please be a team player and protect our trails!

Don’t toss rocks down cliffs or mountain sides where other hikers or climbers may be below you.

Bring a radio or phone if you have one. They may not work in many canyons, but you’d be surprised what good reception you can get with a line of sight to a city.

if you have an FRS radio (one of those cheap little ubiquitous things), Utah County SAR has designated channel 1 as our unofficial official FRS frequency since it seems most people try to contact us there.  Be sure to turn off any “tones” so you can hear us respond to you even if we’re not transmitting that tone.

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