Friday, May 23, 2014

Heading Bush this Winter? - Here are some safety tips!

Winter is a fantastic time of the year for bush walking - mountains dusted with snow, lush vegetation and cooler walking conditions but there can also be many dangers associated with hiking at this time of the year.

In this article I'm going to cover some tips that you will need to know before you head off into the great outdoors this winter.

In the winter you will generally encounter higher rainfall and in alpine regions lots of snow. Under foot the conditions may be a bit more treacherous, so you will need to be a bit more careful where and how fast you walk.

1. Plan Ahead. Make sure that you have researched your walk and factor in a contingency day or two in case bad weather hampers your progress.

2. Check the weather. Are you a local to the area where you are going to walk? You could always do it another day!

3. Know your abilities and your limits. Have you walked or camped in adverse conditions before? Allow time for the unexpected.

4. Pack for the conditions. You will need 4 season gear, sufficient warm clothing, good wet weather gear and sturdy footwear.

5. Have a plan and tell a friend. Make sure that you leave with a friend, Park Ranger or Police a detailed itinerary of your walk, timings and next of kin.

6. Take emergency equipment. You should have a compass and a topographical map of the area that you are going to visit and know how to use them. Take with you a EPIRB [emergency position indicating response beacon] and/or a satellite phone. If you don't have these devices, they are able to be hired. Pack your personal phone as well, but coverage may be limited.

7. Have an emergency plan. In the event of an emergency you will need to know what to do. Always walk in a group of 3 or more and never leave a sick or injured person alone while someone gets help.
Remember our rule: "Less than 3 shall never be"

If you are not sure of your abilities or have the appropriate gear but want to experience some magical winter walks, consider a guided option in your state or territory.

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