A thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail can take anywhere from four to 12 months. It will push your physical and mental limits.

Be a smart hiker and learn safety basics. Always bring water and a way to treat it (solar, chemical, filter or stove). Leave a map with a description of your route and a schedule of when you will be back.

Basic First Aid

It’s possible for a hiker to get injured on the trail, no matter how careful they are. There are also many things that can go wrong in the wilderness, from bad weather to getting lost or falling off the trail. Fortunately, having the proper first aid equipment and skills can make a huge difference in the outcome of an accident or injury. It’s a good idea to do a first aid course or refresh your knowledge before embarking on a wilderness hiking adventure.

The most basic first aid kit should include a few basic items that are easy to store and transport. For example, a small kit should have some bandages, gauze, scissors and antiseptic wipes to cover wounds. A pair of gloves is also important to prevent contamination. Some kits also include epinephrine auto-injector for allergic reactions (such as to bee stings) and some antihistamines.

In addition to these basics, a kit should contain antacid tablets and/or bismuth powder for heartburn relief. It’s also a good idea to include some allergy and sinus medication, such as pseudoephedrine (Sudafed), cetirizine (Zyrtec) or loratadine (Claritin). If a hiker is experiencing severe nausea or vomiting, an anti-nausea suppository can be helpful.

If a hiker is severely injured, it’s important to try to immobilize the injury by using splints. A splint can be made of wood, metal or plastic, depending on the severity of the injury. Once splints are in place, the injured person should be able to rest, eat and drink. It may take a while for a rescue team to arrive in the wilderness, so it’s important that hikers know how to call for help.

It’s also a good idea for each person in a hiking party to learn and practice CPR, so that they are prepared in case of an emergency. A good place to start is with a first aid training program offered at a local hospital or community center. There are also courses available for those who want to learn more advanced wilderness first aid. Hopefully, hikers will never have to use their first aid skills, but it’s always better to be prepared than not.


The main challenge of cross-country hiking is navigation. Unlike hiking on trails, there are no signs to guide you and you must learn how to read topographical maps to identify landmarks and understand their significance. You should also take orienteering classes to prepare yourself for the challenge. If possible, you should travel in groups of 2 or more to minimize your chances of getting lost. Also, you should always bring the ten essentials and make sure that you have enough food and water to last through your trip. Check out the meals ready to eat and 2 other things you’ll need in the link here.

In addition to a map and compass, you should have a whistle and fire starter with you. This is especially important if you are planning to camp in remote areas. You can also carry a waterproof emergency shelter to protect yourself from rain and wind. These items are often overlooked by hikers who want to save weight but should be included in your survival kit if you will be doing any off-trail hiking.

When you are traveling off the trail, it is a good idea to avoid crossing private property. Instead, look for natural parks or large state-owned areas that don’t have much private land. This will help you stay out of trouble with local landowners and their countryside dogs. If you will be hiking through a river or creek, remember that rivers can flood in heavy rains and may be impassable. You should also have a backup plan for getting across the river in case it becomes too dangerous to cross.

Another thing to keep in mind is that cross-country hiking can be more dangerous than hiking on trails. This is because you are much more likely to get lost and may not be able to call for help if you do. In addition, you will be exposed to more wild animals and other dangers while off the trail.

Despite the challenges that cross-country hiking poses, it is still a great way to experience nature and enjoy its beauty. With the proper preparation and the right equipment, it is easy to stay safe on a cross-country hike.

Wild Animals

As a cross-country hiker, you will likely encounter different types of wild animals along your trail. Luckily, most animals are not going to be hostile towards humans. However, you should know what to do if you are threatened by these creatures. In most cases, animals only attack when they feel threatened or hungry. Therefore, you should never provoke them and keep your distance.

You should also know how to treat common ailments such as dehydration, hypothermia, and heatstroke. Moreover, it is essential to know the basic first aid techniques for injuries that you may sustain while hiking. This is because you will be exposed to a lot of scrapes and cuts when hiking. If not treated properly, they can deteriorate into something serious. In addition, you should also have a survival kit that can come in handy in case of an emergency.

This kit should include first aid items such as a bandage, sterile swabs, saline solution, etc. It should also contain a map of the area you are hiking in, a compass, and other important survival gear.

Furthermore, you should be able to navigate through difficult terrains like snow and rocks. For this reason, you should carry a pair of boots with strong traction and durable treads that will enable you to walk easily. You should also wear long pants that are abrasion-resistant to protect yourself from dense bushes and other vegetation. You should also carry an ice ax to help you out of the snow in case it gets too deep.

If you are new to hiking, you should practice beforehand on regular trails before taking up cross-country hiking. This way, you will become accustomed to the conditions and be familiar with the risks involved. In addition, you should also research for the safest trails to hike at.

You should also carry a can of bear spray in case you encounter one on your hiking adventure. Additionally, you should be aware of the presence of other predators such as wolves, mountain goats, and puma. You should also know how to recognize their tracks and signs, which include scratched up tree trunks, fresh animal poop, and the sound of them growling or barking.


In cross country hiking, you’re exploring trails that aren’t marked and oftentimes, you’re going off trail to get to your destination. This can increase your risk of injury, but it’s possible to stay safe as long as you follow certain primary guidelines and basics.

First, choose a safe trail. It’s best to choose a trail that has been marked for hikers or has a map available online so you can check for any safety warnings and alerts. Additionally, you should be familiar with basic first aid because scrapes, cuts and bruises are common in cross country hiking.

Next, you should know how to identify and treat your symptoms of fatigue. It’s important to recognize signs of fatigue as early as possible because it can have serious consequences if not treated properly. Fatigue can be a symptom of other medical conditions, so it’s important to see your doctor as soon as possible for an accurate diagnosis.

Lastly, you should also be familiar with the weather patterns of your hiking destination. You’ll want to know what kind of clothing and gear you’ll need for a variety of temperatures, including wind and rain. Also, you should be familiar with the wildlife that can be encountered while hiking and how to protect yourself from attacks by wild animals.

You should practice with your equipment in safer conditions before your trip to avoid any surprises and ensure you’re comfortable using it. Additionally, you should be familiar with how to use a map and compass and understand the basics of navigation. It’s also a good idea to learn how to communicate with others in an emergency, such as the use of an SOS satellite device. This is especially important since you may not have a signal or the ability to call for help while hiking in cross-country terrain.