Valerie Root

Preparing for a Day Hike

If you are all caught up on buying hand sanitizer and toilet paper (I would provide links, but they are out of stock), then you can turn your attention to prepping for a day hike!

Before you look to the skies and the trails for planning purposes, you need to make sure you have your day hiking gear in order. Prior to Coronavirus COVID-19 I would have quickly suggested you borrow things your closet is missing, but in light of the current viral ambiance I recommend buying online from reputable stores, like REI, to complete your checklist.

Need a Hiking Gear Checklist?

Keep Yourself Safe by Keeping Your Distance

Not sure how worried to be about the latest news regarding the coronavirus (COVID-19)?  Hearing and seeing conflicting messages like "Wash your hands" followed by crazed toilet paper buying? It can make you wonder if it isn't a psychological disorder more than a viral infection. It definitely makes me wonder.

Regardless of the source of 'flu-like' symptoms, the best way to slow the spread is to avoid contact with other humans aka social distancing. What better community to follow this guidance than us hikers, campers and backpackers?  Either we already have the gear we need, or we are looking to upgrade or expand our existing stockpiles. Amiright, or am I right?

No matter when you are hiking, make sure you do it safely; if going solo tell someone where you are going, check in regularly and have an emergency plan and way to communicate.

It doesn't look like the Coronavirus is going anywhere anytime soon, so why not take the forced slow down as an opportunity and get outdoors. Please, no matter your age or health status, do not go to public spaces out of consideration of everyone else.

Solo Hiking Safety Tips & Essentials

  • Choose a unpopular location to avoid people
  • Don't try a new or risky route (we don't need to pull resources away from the response to COVID19) 
  • Tell someone your plan & Stick to your plan
  • Bring more water
  • Check the weather
  • Bring an emergency shelter
  • Nutrition, even if its a short hike
  • Headlamp
  • Rain/wind jacket
  • Navigation system (full battery on phone/gps and offline abilities)
  • Practice Leave No Trace Principles
take out your trash, use durable surfaces, plan ahead & prepare, leave what you find, respect wildlife, minimize campfire impacts, be considerate of others

 Things to Consider Before You  Head Out

1.  Don't plan on going to the Visitor Center

You are out hiking or camping to avoid contact with humans and crowds, so don't go to the visitor center or the local small coffee spot, opt instead for a remote trail-head and a drive through coffee pick up. Better yet, bring your own coffee and jet-boil to make it fresh on the trail.

2.  Bring along personal hygiene products for the drive and the trail

Don't forget your camp soap and hand sanitizer.  This is great to have on any hike, but this way you don't have to wait in the gas station line to wash up.

3.  Invite a healthy and non-annoying person. Don't invite anyone

Need I really say more about this one?  The point is to avoid contact with people, so don't bring anyone.  Usually, I would suggest hiking with someone, but in this case less is more.

Need a Hiking Gear Checklist?

Avoiding the Coronavirus

Making sure to avoid non-essential people and limit physical contact with other humans while we battle the current outbreak of Coronavirus COVID-19 is the responsibility of each of us.  Hopefully when you get cabin fever and need to get out, you can do it safely and routinely so that there are no unnecessary victims.

Check the updates from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

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