Hiking into wild country is a popular pastime. It’s great to get away and rediscover the beauty of nature. However, it’s crazy to take off without knowing how to go out and return safely. You owe it to yourself and others to educate yourself on backcountry and outdoor safety procedures.

Many of the guidelines are everyday precautions that you already know. It’s just that they take on new importance when you’re miles away from civilization. You know to stay hydrated when you exercise. People often disregard this principle, but they are usually just a few steps away from a clean water source. On the trail, things are different. You need to carry your water with you.

The two to three quarts a day rule for those engaging in moderate exercise in cool weather changes when temperatures go up or down. You need three to four quarts at a minimum when climbing a mountain on a hot day. You need to increase your intake the same amount in cold weather, too, since you lose a lot of moisture breathing in dry winter air. On these days, add a little salt, apple cider vinegar, or lemon juice to your bottles for added electrolytes.

Before you start an extensive hike, make sure you check the weather. High humidity makes hot weather harder to handle, since core body temperature can rise to dangerous heights when perspiration is hindered. Wind can make cold weather colder, making it harder to maintain a normal body temperature.

Dress for variable temperatures. A light jacket that feels fine when you start out might not be enough if a storm comes up, you get wet, and the wind makes you shiver. If you are injured, shock can make you more vulnerable to cold. Layers are best, and a waterproof windbreaker can be invaluable.

Hikers who get overheated or chilled put themselves and others at risk. People with heat exhaustion or with hypothermia may become disoriented and may not be able to go on or to hike out. It’s so much better to know what you’re doing and plan for all contingencies than end up needing to be rescued.

This brings up another point that you need to consider. What if you or a companion needs to be evacuated? It’s vitally important that you have a plan for such a contingency. Make sure the folks at home know where you’re headed. Know how to summon help if you need it. Cell phones don’t always work well in the outback. Educate yourself on ways to send emergency signals.

First aid is only as good as the person who gives it. Learn how to do it right. You might need to cope with a sprain, a fracture, an animal attack, or a fall. Know the symptoms of heat stroke or exhaustion, dehydration, and hypothermia and frostbite. What you learn before you go might never be needed, but it will be priceless if it is.

Be sure to take a look at the following web pages featuring backcountry and outdoor safety tips. Here you will gain an insight into this educational topic by checking out the related site at http://www.mra.org/training-education/public-education.