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Backpacking and hiking on an outside nature hike in the woods or forest with your family, friends, and loved ones can be a very fun and memorable experience. But, you need to be prepared for your hike! Below are some warnings and tips that will help you avoid certain situations that can damper your trip.
Whether sitting around the campfire and telling stories or taking scenic photos and exploring nature on day hikes… being on an outdoor nature hike can leave you with unforgettable memories. Now, what memories you will leave with depends on how well you are prepared.
If a backpacker is not knowledgeable about his surroundings, nature can give some pretty nasty surprises.
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Keep the Bugs Away On Your Hike
Bugs are always a very annoying problem on your outdoor nature hike. These critters keep flying around your food and buzzing in your ears.
Also let’s not forget about more serious problems from some insects, like mosquitoes, which love to bite and give you itchy bumps. They can carry disease as well.
Then there are lice and ticks which can pass on diseases. Here are some tips to help keep the bugs away.
Beware of Ticks On Your Outdoor Nature Hike
- Try not to use fragrant lotions or products. Sweet smells attract insects.
- Try to stay cool. Bugs are attracted to sweat.
- Bring insect repellant. This is my favorite spray is Natrapel with 20% picaridin. Picaridin is safer than DEET, which is a neurotoxin.
If you prefer a lotion then this is the one I recommend.
4. Spray your clothing with permethrin repellent before hiking. It kills ticks & mosquitos and lasts 6 weeks or 6 laundry cycles.
5. Avoid eating bananas … this fruit secretes an odor through your pores which attracts mosquitoes. However, you can eat garlic or take garlic capsules. The odor penetrates through the skin and mosquitoes hate that odor!
Ticks can be a problem due to the fact they can spread diseases. Ways to prevent yourself from exposure to ticks are to avoid grassy areas, wear a hat, and do not wear shorts when you are on a trail.
In addition, spray your clothing with permethrin before venturing out into nature. It will kill any ticks that might be crawling up your pant legs or shirt sleeves.
You should check for ticks and if any are detected remove them as early as possible. If you find a tick attached to your skin, use tweezers close to your skin and pull off the tick, but do not squeeze its body.
You should have the doctor check the bite as soon as possible after your outdoor nature hike to make sure you haven’t been infected with a tick-borne disease.
I had a bad experience with a tick bite a year ago. Trust me, go to your doctor!
You can learn how to safely remove a tick here. Ticks can spread diseases such as Lyme disease and ehrlichiosis to humans, which is fatal if not treated.
General Advice To Follow Before You Hike
All of these tips are important in helping to keep your outdoor experience an enjoyable one. Like the Boy Scout motto says “Be Prepared”. You can check out additional safety tips in my post 21 Simple Survival Tips for Hikers Over 50.
Here is some useful advice that is good to know on every backpacking or outdoor nature hiking trip:
- Bring and keep a picture of the travelers with you, in case anyone gets lost or hurt. The Geez had to be helicoptered out of the Grand Canyon a couple of years ago with no ID, no money, and a dead cell phone.
- When hiking remember to bring water, electrolytes, food, a headlamp, and bandages.
- NEVER hike by yourself. Especially if you are an older hiker, medical emergencies can occur without warning. Also, wild animals are less likely to bother you if you are in a group.
- 80% of your body heat is lost through your head, so to keep warm, wear a hat. As a senior hiker, it is important to maintain body temperature. This is a hat I really like to cover my bald head when I hike in colder weather.
5. Don’t forget your hiking poles. Balance and stability are mandatory for us old geezers. Check out this great set of budget hiking poles.
These quick tips can make for a safe and more enjoyable day hike or overnight backpacking weekend.
As a younger hiker, I was like a mountain goat! I never gave any consideration to jumping off rocks, hiking solo, or extreme weather conditions. Heck, I did not even use hiking poles. But, now… hiking safety and comfort is always the first thing I think of.