Outdoor activities like skiing, hiking and mountain climbing are a great deal of fun but come with risks that you need to think about before setting off. Drawing up a risk assessment before setting off is a great way to reduce risks or deal with them. If you want to learn the basics about staying safe during your outdoor pursuits, then keep reading below.
1. Know What Your Limits Are
When you’re interested in a new activity, but have little or no experience, it’s easy to set yourself a harder goal than you’re ready for. Most of the time, you will be able to get by with a few nerve-wracking moments and a story to tell your friends, but the problem of overestimating yourself can be huge: think dismemberment, death or costly legal bills.
If there’s more than just you taking on an activity, then you need to assess the rest of the group’s limits too. A person riding a bike for the first time might underestimate how uncomfortable their saddle is. Just because you are able to cope, doesn’t mean that the rest of your group can.
You need to think about these limitations when deciding what target to set yourselves:
- Technical limits – have you got the training and skills required for the activity?
- Physical limits – is everyone in your group physically fit enough to undertake the activity?
You also need to consider any emotional or mental limits including:
- Can your group cope if they get cold or wet?
- Do you all get on well?
- If one person has had enough of the activity, will all the group turn back together?
These things can cause worse problems than walking further than you should.
2. Make Sure You’ve Got the Correct Gear
Lots of people say that if you’ve got the right gear and equipment, there’s no such thing as bad weather. Many people find walking in the rain and wind enjoyable as long as they are comfortable and warm. Outdoor pursuits certainly don’t have to be completed in sunny weather.
However, your equipment and gear choices are crucial when the weather is poor. Make sure you plan what you are going to wear before organizing the activity. You also need to think about whether you’ve got the correct supplies in case a problem arises. Do you have enough food in case you get lost and have to sleep outside overnight? Have you got a blanket or something to keep you warm and dry? If you’re planning on covering an area that you haven’t covered before, then you should also consider taking emergency supplies such as a flashlight, cell phone, whistle, flare, and a first aid kit.
Another good piece of advice is to wear appropriate safety clothing. These days you can’t be too careful, and wearing a tactical body armor vest under your clothing will give you peace of mind. You may be covering an area that is hard to reach, so safety clothing could save your life. You should also look into wearing the appropriate safety clothing for the activity you’re doing e.g. if you’re cycling, then it’s a good idea to wear a helmet.
Outdoor activities can be a great deal of fun, but we need to make sure that we stay safe. Make a plan before you set off of the area you’re going to cover and give it to someone who isn’t going with you so that they can easily find you if you don’t return. Try not to be too adventurous and make sure you take the right equipment and wear the right clothing to keep you safe.