Check group for proper gear based on location, time of year and length/time of hike: footwear; clothing layers; bug repellent (clothing, clothing-only repellents and/or other commercial products); daypack/backpack (a school backpack is okay for short hikes); snacks and water; first aid.
Don't forget your Ten Essentials:
Updated Ten Essential "Systems" from REI
- Navigation (map and compass)
- Sun protection (sunglasses and sunscreen)
- Insulation (extra clothing)
- Illumination (headlamp/flashlight)
- First-aid supplies
- Fire (waterproof matches/lighter/candles)
- Repair kit and tools
- Nutrition (extra food)
- Hydration (extra water)
- Emergency shelter
See hikeSafe | from REI | from Backpacking Leightweight | Included in ACA Outdoor Living Skills program
PROGRESSION OF HIKES
WALKABOUTS and NATURE TRAILS
Start with short hikes in a closed recreation area such as a school yard, town park or scout camp. Remember to Leave No Trace. Use the Buddy System.
Easy trails at scout camps, Audubon properties, urban walks, etc.
Moderate trails at town and state parks/management areas, etc.
Remember to Leave No Trace
BACKPACKING LEVEL 1 & 2
Wilderness Hiking including an Overnight
Level 1 with lodgings, sanitation and potable water
Level 2 backcountry location where you pack in shelter, sanitation tools, and water purification method(s).
Including wilderness scout camps, state park/management area sites; AMC Lodgings: camps, cabins, huts, lodges; etc.
Trail food needs to be “packable” in and out (minimal packaging or reusable). They should be compact, not crush easily, contain good nutrition (complex carbs, super nutrients, with minimal processed sugar if at all) and be high in calories. Visit Leave No Trace for more planning tips.
Meals should be planned with consideration of fuel and water resources. Check local regulations beforehand for allowable fuel use. Freeze dried foods are available for snacks or meals but can be costly.
KNOW HOW TO GET FOUND:
Have each hiker carry a whistle and know how to use it if they get separated from the group.
KIDS: Hug a tree, blow your whistle three times, listen. Repeat. (more from YOSAR)
TEENS and ADULTS: Learn your surroundings, explore carefully, and be able to return to the last known point (more from YOSAR) S.T.O.P. Stop. Think. Observe. Plan. Stay put if you need to.
RI DEM Maps
American Hiking Society: National Trails Day - 1st Sat. in June
NYS Department of Environmental Conservation: Hiking Safety
Yosemite Search & Rescue: Hiking Safety includes Risk Factors, Prevention, If You Get Lost: How to Get Found/If Someone is Missing hikeSafe
Hiking Boots: http://www.consumersearch.com/hiking-boots/important-features