Outdoor Tips

3.5.3 OutdoorTips

Planning your next outdoor adventure? Follow these recreation best practices and tips for staying safe on the mountains, trails or wherever your passion takes you. 


Complete a trip plan and leave it with a friend.

A trip plan explains your destination, the route you are taking, who is in the group and your expected return time. If you do not return as planned, the friend you left the trip plan with can give the form to the police to initiate a search. 

Be prepared for your chosen recreation.

Being fit enough to go the distance takes physical preparation. Stick to your turnaround time, take the proper equipment, have a trip plan, and use reference and guide books.

Never hike alone.

Hike with a group, stay together, and travel at the speed of the slowest person. If a person becomes separated by going ahead or falling behind, they are more likely to become lost.

Do not panic.

Maintain a positive mental attitude if you become lost. Being lost is not dangerous if you are prepared. 

Stay where you are.

People who continue on after they become lost usually get further from the trail, and therefore further away from people who are looking for them. 

Use signaling devices and stay visible.

Blowing a whistle, lighting a fire and staying visible will help searchers find you. Help searchers find you even if you are embarrassed or afraid. Remember that animals will not be attracted to your signals. Searchers may also use planes or helicopters so make yourself visible to them.

Build or seek shelter.

Protect yourself from the snow, rain, wind and excessive sun. Be as comfortable as possible, but when it is daylight, make sure you are visible to searchers in helicopters or planes. 

It can happen to anyone

The individual belief of "it could never happen to me" is a common misconception. By being prepared, you can enjoy your trip in the great outdoors regardless of what nature has in mind.

10 Outdoor travel essentials:

  1. A map of the area and compass. Know how to use them! 
  2. A large orange-coloured plastic bag. This will be useful as an emergency shelter, signaling device or rainwear.
  3. A flashlight and spare batteries.
  4. Extra food and water.
  5. Extra clothing: Rain and wind clothes, wool/fleece hat and gloves, sweater and warm pants (not jeans)
  6. Sun protection including sunglasses, sunscreen, hat, long-sleeved shirt and pants.
  7. A pocket knife.
  8. Waterproof matches and/or fire-starter (efficient fire-building in adverse weather must be learned before you venture out).
  9. Weather forecast and hazards (such as snow conditions) - check the conditions prior to departure.
  10. A first aid kit. Training is required to develop skills needed for proper first aid.

Extras: Whistle, small lightweight ground insulation such as "insulite", projectile-type flares, a tarp. Always leave a trip plan.

Keep in mind: Bad weather, early darkness or an unexpected injury can turn any outing into an extended crisis.