On the trail
Dangerous or unwanted situations can happen anytime during your thru-hike, but with the right preparations, you will be able to hike safely. It helps if you know how to handle and react to unexpected and difficult situations and how to prevent them from getting worse.
It often takes months to prepare a thru-hike, but having the right groundwork will pay off in the end. In the following articles, we share more information about various topics that are important to consider when preparing for your thru-hike.
Problems on the trail will not be an issue when you have the right planning. Do you know how to navigate using a map and compass or do you need to take GPS? GPS will allow you to navigate in situations with low visibility.
When you start your hike physically and mentally fit, you decrease the risk for injuries and lower the chance of having to end your hike early on.
Your hike will be more comfortable if you have the right gear. Try to take as little as possible, but do not forget the essentials.
Before you leave, it is useful to learn more about the weather and how to estimate weather conditions. It can be very annoying, and even dangerous if you make a wrong call high up in the mountains. Always keep an eye out for the weather forecast!
If something happens
It is important to know what to do if something happens on your thru-hike. In Europe, you can always dial 112 for emergency situations. Next to this, you can also call a land/local emergency number or the mountain rescue services. These numbers will vary for each country. When you are hiking outside of Europe, it is essential to put the emergency numbers in your phone and write them down somewhere. Know where you’ve put your insurance papers or download them on your phone. Always make sure that you have travel insurance that covers your adventures. In the Netherlands for example, it is advisable to get travel insurance from the NKBV (the mountaineering association). Look for something similar in your country.
Take a first-aid course before you leave so you know how to treat various injuries. It might not be useful for yourself, but maybe you can help another hiker in need with the knowledge you gain. Some basic knowledge regarding different types of medication that you can use on the trail is also advisable. This encompasses things like Oral Rehydration Salts (ORS), Norrit, Paracetamol, Ibuprofen or medication specifically for you.
Let people know where you are
One of the most important rules when hiking is to let your friends and family know where you are. This can be done by sending them coordinates, GPS signals, or by just sending them a message when possible. If something happens on the trail, they will roughly know where you are and can act faster with this information. On some trails, it is possible to leave your information in a logbook or in trail notes found in mountain huts or checkpoints. It is recommended to use this!