When you are experiencing the ‘out’ in Scouting the important part about hiking is to make sure your return!
- Navigation (Map & Compass)
- Nutrition & Hydration (Food & water)
- Insulation (hat, rain jacket, etc)
- Fire (matches, lint, lighter)
- First Aid (medicine, band-aids, cream)
- Signaling (Whistle, mirror)
- Illumination (Flashlight, headlamp)
- Tools (Knife, multi-tool, tape)
- Sun Protection (sun glasses, sunscreen)
STOP – What to do if lost
- Stop – As soon as you realize you may be lost, stop, stay calm, stay put. There is nothing you can do about whatever got you to this point – all you can do now is solve the problem of getting out of the situation. The further you walk, the longer it will take rescuers to find you.
- Think – Go over in your mind how you got to where you are. What landmarks should you be able to see? Were you heading North or West? Do not move at all until you have a specific reason to take a step. Walking around while thinking is not good, sit on a rock or log while you observe your surroundings.
- Observe – Get out your compass and determine the directions from where you are currently sitting. Using your map and the general area where you are, identify landmarks that you should be able to see. This step is often enough to get re-oriented and sure of where you need to go to get back on track. Consider your situation. Estimate how long you have until dark. Check out the weather and determine if it looks like it will be getting better or worse
- Plan – Based on your thinking and observations, come up with some possible plans and then act on one of them. Prioritize the needs of your group and deal with them in turn. If you are confident that you have determined the way to go and have time before dark to reach a known spot, such as the marked trail on your map, then go carefully and obviously mark your route with stacked rocks, sticks stuck in the ground, or strips of cloth from your bandanna. If you are not very, very confident in the route, then its better to stay put.
- When Hiking on a road hike on the edge facing traffic and in a single file line
- Stay on the trails, your footprints can damage plants and habitats
- Always hike with a buddy
- Always tell someone where you are going and when you expect to return