Hiking and Camping Safety 

Many retirees have found hiking and camping to be a great source of fun and pleasure. Besides the healthy exercise it provides, walking is a wonderful way to see, feel and learn about nature. Since unexpected things can happen while hiking and camping, however, the best way to help guarantee a good time is to plan ahead and follow these safety precautions from the American Red Cross:

  1. If you have a medical condition, discuss your hiking and camping plans with your doctor.
  2. Learn the skills you need for camping. You may need to know how to read a compass, erect a temporary shelter or give first aid.
  3. If your hiking trip will be strenuous, then you must get into shape. If you are going to the mountains, make sure to acclimate yourself to high altitudes.
  4. Always try to hike and camp with a group for companionship. This way, if someone is hurt, one member of the group can go for help and another member can stay with the injured party. If you are hiking in an unfamiliar area take someone along who knows the area.
  5. Before your trip, make sure the area you are planning to visit allows visitors. Find out if a permit is required and learn about any regulations. Some areas may prohibit cooking fires, which must be considered when planning your meals.
  6. Pack emergency signaling devices and know the location of the nearest ranger station and telephone.
  7. Leave your itinerary with a responsible person.
  8. Make a list of all of the equipment, supplies and skills that you will need. Consider what emergencies could arise. Some equipment and supplies you might need include:
Candles and waterproof matches

Cell phone

Extra clothing

First aid kit

Extra food/water



Insect repellent

Map and Compass

Pocket knife

Pocket mirror to signal

Prescription glasses & medication

Radio and batteries

Plastic for shelter or warmth

Water purification tablets



When you go hiking and camping you should allow for the possibility that you may be forced to spend a night outdoors unexpectedly. Hiking and camping are excellent pastimes for retirees, but please stay safe on these trips. Most of all, have fun!


(Originally published in the Newsletter dated August 1, 2007)

(Reviewed April 2017)

Return to Index