Top Safety Tips for Nighttime Hikes and Treks

Posted April 14, 2022 in Travel Guide - Last updated November 7, 2023

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Hiking in the dark is an adventure unlike any other. However, the margin for error is relatively thin, and if you’re not careful, things can take a turn for the worse quite quickly. So, of course, the most important nighttime hiking safety tip is this – avoid it if possible. We recommend doing travel research for any place you plan on going, but if it isn’t possible and you have no option but to brave the trail after sundown, there are specific safety pointers that you should keep in mind.

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1. Hike in a group

Hiking in a group is recommended during the night and the day. Even if the trail’s well-marked, it’s best to have at least one companion. The reason for this is simple – suppose you fall and injure yourself. In such a scenario, it’ll be incredibly difficult for you to reach your destination alone. At night, there’s also the risk of wild animals.

2. Wear a headlamp

Headlamps are considerably better than handheld torches, allowing your hands to stay free while hiking. Also, buying a headlamp for nighttime hiking safety is best to purchase one with a red light toggle switch. Switching on the red light can scare off wild animals if there’s an encounter.

3. Dress according to the weather

If you plan to hike to a spot during the day and hike back in the evening, you’ve got to wear the right clothes and shoes. For instance, if it’s sunny during the day, you may feel like you don’t need to wear warm clothing. However, what if it gets rainy and colder during the evening? So, before you set out on the hike, check how the weather will be. If there are any drastic weather changes, you need to be prepared for them.

4. Don’t yell, but don’t stay completely quiet

Screaming and yelling on the trail is a strict no-no, as it can disturb the peace. However, that doesn’t mean you must stay completely quiet. For safe hiking at night, it’s best to make some sounds as you go on the trail. This will alert animals of your presence on the trail, and they will think twice before crossing your path.

5. Educate yourself on how to light a fire

You can take all the safety precautions you want, but you’ll have to wait out if something goes wrong (for example, a storm). This is where knowing how to build a fire can come in handy. First, it will ensure that the time you spend waiting is warm. Additionally, a fire will keep wild animals away.

6. Let people know before you set off

One of the worst things you can do is set off on a nighttime hike without informing anybody. If you do, and you suffer a fall or injury, no one will know where to look for you. So, informing some people about your whereabouts before you start your hike is best. It will ensure that help comes your way if something goes wrong.

7. Choose a relatively safe trail

You may be tempted to hike on dangerous trails if you’re adventurous. However, when it comes to nighttime hikes, it’s best to skip such trails and go for something relatively safer – preferably a trail you already know well. Of course, if you want to go off the beaten path, you should do it during the day, but choosing an easy trail for safe hiking at night is recommended. This will also prevent you from going off the trail, leading to dangerous encounters with wild animals.

8. Don’t rush

Hiking is best experienced when you do it at a comfortable pace. If you rush through it, it’s bound to be a stressful experience. Rushing may also lead to slips and falls when traversing through tricky sections of the trail. So, even if you’re starting your hike later than you would have liked to, try your best to stay calm and walk comfortably.

Conclusion

So, that’s about it for this article. But we hope you keep these eight safety tips at night the next time you plan a trip and venture out into the wild after sundown.

Travel planning is a bit hectic, but with some help, it can be a walk in the park. A top trip planner like Travel-Wise can help you with all your travel needs and make your vacation memorable.

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