Here are some things to consider doing. Some items may not be applicable to you.

Well before:

  • Plan to go with others, not alone – your companion can get help if you get hurt
  • Start breaking in new shoes, boots, clothes, etc.
  • Take a first aid course
  • Take an orienteering course
  • Plan to wear clothing to protect against poison ivy, etc., e.g., long pants, long-sleeved shirt, long socks

Shortly before:

  • Ensure your name and phone number are on all items which are susceptible to being lost or stolen
  • Listen to radio and/or watch TV for:
    • Traffic conditions
    • Weather forecast – so you can wear appropriate clothing and take appropriate gear, e.g., umbrella
  • Apply lotion (e.g., barrier cream) to protect against poison ivy
  • Talk to rangers, etc. about local hazards, e.g.:
    • Wildlife
    • Spiders

Items to take:

  • Pocket knife
  • First aid kit including:
    • Antibiotic ointment
    • Bandages
    • Gauze
    • Tourniquet
  • Snake bite kit
  • Sunscreen/sunblock
  • Hat (e.g., one with cloth flap(s) and/or a wide brim – to protect your head and neck from sun exposure
  • Indicator of sun intensity (some can be stuck onto your skin)
  • Extra socks (cotton and wool)
  • Identification – in case you become sick or injured
  • Medical information – in case you become sick or injured
  • Camera and film
  • Pedometer


  • Clean wool socks – for cushioning) over light cotton socks – to absorb perspiration – dirty socks may cause blisters
  • High leather boots/shoes – to protect and support your ankles



  • Make noise occasionally (e.g., shout, hit trees with stick, wear a bell) – so you don’t surprise bears, especially a mother with cubs)

If you notice any soreness on one of your feet:

  • Stop right away

If the sore spot is red:

  • Tape a patch of moleskin over the spot with adhesive tape
  • Change your socks

If you get a blister:

  • Wash the area with soap and water
  • Sterilize a needle or pin in a match flame
  • Pierce the blister at an edge and let it drain
  • Cover the area with a patch of sterile adhesive gauze


Thanks for reading!