Here are some skills I could think of while sitting down after a hike I had today. What skills should we know before we embark on a hike?
Learn how to navigate
There are many things we can use to navigate in the outdoors; such include apps; such as Wikiloc and even Google Maps. But most importantly, it is worth investing on a compass and learning how to use it. Unfortunately, the UAE does not sell maps for the outdoors, so we have to rely on our phones, GPS devices and watches. And in times when they fail us, we could use a printed map from Google maps, a compass and some basic understanding of our surroundings.
2. Look out for the weather forecast
Check online for reputable sites on the weather of the area you are heading out to. Especially around the time where the weather changes, it can become a bit unpredictable and it can start raining and if you are hiking in a valley it can become pretty dangerous, pretty quick.
3. Learn how start a fire
I have seen a few times before people using gas and fire starters to start a fire, not knowing they can start it with easier and more basic items. There are many youtube videos on how to make fires and different types of fires for different usages i.e. cooking.
4. Learn how to ask for help
What do you need to do if there has been an incident while hiking? Do you know who to call? Here are some of the numbers you can call in the UAE.
- 999 for Police
- 998 for Ambulance
- 997 for Fire Department (Civil Defense)
5. Learn wilderness first aid
I think this is a responsibility every leader should have. From the point above, till the right authorities are able to reach you, you will be responsible for taking care of the injured, if any. Taking a first aid course can probably save a life.
6. Learn how to find or make shelter
One basic survival skill. This is more important in case you got lost, than looking for food. In case it rains badly or it gets really hot, you might not survive as long as you can survive without food. Fact: you can survive without food for three weeks. With that, if you just bought a new tent,set it up at home first before you embark on your trip.
7. Learn to pack the right things
What you pack is important. Water, food, right clothing, first aid kit, navigation tools, and many more can either make or wreck your trip.
8. Learn how to communicate
If you are a large group, it would be essential to know how to communicate with not only your fellow members but your assistant leaders. How to communicate via walkie talkies, radio and even whistles. And how to signal for help if it arises.
9. Learn to manage your group
With that, managing your group is as important. Apply a buddy system for example; assign two people to each other so no one walks off wandering alone. Have the assistant leader at the back of the group always..
10. Learn to clean up
The last thing we like to see, if finding a nice hike we heard about online, and we are there it is full of trash. If you like to see clean pretty places, then we too should keep it clean pretty as we found it. Pack In / Pack out is a concept I like.
Of course, these are some out of so many other skills we should learn and do learn with experience in the outdoors.. If you have any you’d like to add, please do so. We are all here to learn!