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Going Hiking? Here’s Why You Should Bring a Buddy

Two hikers looking out at breathtaking views, with there backpacks on.
Emilee Unterkoefler

Hiking solo certainly gives you a sense of adventure and freedom. But, if you are new to the hobby, it’s wise to bring a partner to keep you company and lend a helping hand if needed.

When you have a friend to enjoy the beauty of nature with, it makes all the difference in your experience. But, beyond building bonds and enjoying the great outdoors with a friend, it’s imperative to have someone there in the case of an emergency.

Outdoor Activities Can Be Dangerous

While many people find solo hiking to be empowering and they love the feeling of being alone in the great outdoors, it’s an activity dangerous even for experienced hikers. Whether you’ve underestimated a trail or failed to prepare properly for an emergency, being on your own makes a bad situation so much worse.

Took a wrong turn? When you have a hiking buddy there’s somebody there to say, “Shouldn’t we have hit the next trail marker already?” If a fall leaves you injured, there’s somebody there to help you hike out (or get help if you can’t).

Running into wild animals or even dangerous people is another scary situation that you certainly don’t want to experience alone. While the vast majority of people you meet on your hikes will be fellow hikers with similar interests, that doesn’t mean there aren’t some bad apples out there.

Always Let Someone Reliable Know

Whether you’re hiking with a buddy or headed out on your own, it’s critical you tell a third party you’ll be gone. Pick a reliable person in your life, be it a family member, friend, or even neighbor, and tell them where you are hiking and when you plan on returning. Write down the information so they can refer to it at any point in the day.

You’ll want to provide them with info about where you plan to hike, including trailhead access points, the exact route (give them a map), and a time frame of when you expect to be back. Also, provide a time they should hear from you by so that if they haven’t yet gotten a call, they should know to notify emergency responders. Even if you’re out there with a friend, tragedy can strike and you absolutely want somebody looking for you sooner rather than later.

Yes, solo hiking provides you an opportunity to hike at your own pace and get closer to nature, but like anything else in life, solo hikes can be dangerous. Because of the isolated nature of trails and how far from help you are, it’s important to plan ahead and bring a friend to ensure a safe and enjoyable hike.

Emilee Unterkoefler Emilee Unterkoefler
Emilee Unterkoefler is a freelance food writer, hiking enthusiast, and mama with over ten years of experience working in the food industry. Read Full Bio »
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