Safe hik­ing hol­i­days

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - STARSPECIAL - By ELLEN WHYTE

HIK­ING is a ter­rific way to ex­plore the coun­try, to see wildlife and plants, and to keep fit too. Take the kids on walks with paths that lead to known at­trac­tions or go awan­der­ing in a Na­tional Park with a guide for a true ad­ven­ture. Be­fore you go though, check out these tips so your trek is a safe one.

Don’t go alone

Get­ting away from it all is great but if you fall and twist an an­kle, hav­ing a friend with you can make the dif­fer­ence be­tween call­ing out emer­gency ser­vices and mak­ing it back un­der your own steam. Play it safe and take a buddy along.

Stay in touch

If you twist your an­kle just a kilo­me­tre away from the road, you may not be able to get back. And if you take a wrong turn, find­ing you in the wilder­ness takes a pla­toon of vol­un­teers.

So carry a fully charged phone and use a GPS when you’re go­ing off-road.

Baby steps

Hik­ing is quite in­tense so if you haven’t ex­er­cised since school, start with short walks – two or three hours – and grad­u­ally in­crease the ef­fort needed to com­plete your jaunts.

Do­ing too much too quickly means you’ll be too tired to en­joy yourself – and it will mean aches and pains the next day.

Use a map

All right: if you’re walk­ing up a known hik­ing trail and back down again, you prob­a­bly don’t need a map.

But for ev­ery­thing else, it is safer to know what area you’re in, just in case you need to take a short­cut, take shel­ter or call for help.

So, get a map out be­fore you go, and shove it in your pocket for the trip.

Know where to find wa­ter

You can do with­out food for a few days if you have to but you can’t do with­out wa­ter. For short hikes, carry drink­ing wa­ter.

For longer hikes with overnights, plan for drink­ing wa­ter by stop­ping at a camp­site or by in­vest­ing in dis­in­fec­tant tablets or a fil­tra­tion de­vice from a qual­ity out­doors shop.

Take out ev­ery­thing you need to take with you and put them on the bed.

Sort light things to one side, heavy things to the other. Put in some plas­tic bags.

Max­imise your space

If you’re short on space, stuff your socks, bras and undies into your shoes.

Lay a base

Open your suit­case, lay it open and layer the bot­tom with all your heavy items: shoes (neatly wrapped in plas­tic bags), elec­tric ra­zor, hairdryer, and oth­ers.

As you can’t take any­thing on board a plane any­more, you have to pack your toi­letries and that means po­ten­tial spillage.

To pro­tect your clothes, dou­blewrap your toi­letries bag in a shop­ping bag.

Lay in the cen­tre of your case, on top of the base.

This way, it will be cush­ioned if your case should be thrown about dur­ing pas­sage.

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