Night Hiking Safety 101

Tips on how to have the best experience night hiking.

Map it Out

Realistically, this is important to do for any trek. However, since it is easier to get disoriented in the dark, it’s important to have a clear plan on where you want to go, when you want to go, and how best to get there. It’s also a good idea to have a backup plan in case of an unforeseen circumstance such as weather or the trail becoming unnavigable.

Let Someone Know Where You are Going

Again, this is just a good practice to keep. Especially since hiking in the dark is not the usual time for such an excursion, it’s a great idea to let someone know ahead of time what your exact plan is. Give them as many details as possible, including the location of where you plan on going and your timeframe. And, make sure to check in with them when you get back.

Bring a Headlamp

This is an absolute necessity for hiking in the dark. Even if you are planning to hike by the light of the moon, it’s always a good idea to carry a head lamp. Maybe even two. And extra batteries! Even if you don’t plan on using it, it could come in real handy in an emergency situation.

Pack Layers

Hiking in the dark usually means cooler temperatures, so warmer layers would be a smart plan. Pack layers that are light weight and easily portable. Packing hats, headbands and mittens is a good idea, even in warm locations.

Carry a Thermos

Who doesn’t love a hot mug of coffee during a cool hike? Or tea? Or hot coco? Pick your poison. Bringing a warm drink is nice way to stay positive and enjoy your nighttime adventure.

Take a Picnic Breakfast

I love an early morning breakfast hike. If you are planning on completing a sunrise summit, beach walk or panoramic overlook, packing a picnic breakfast is a superb way to celebrate your victory. It also gives you a chance to enjoy your surroundings and catch your breath before beginning the trek back.

Go with a Friend

I am all about independent hiking! But, if hiking in the dark is something you are nervous about, then bring a friend! You can help keep each other motivated and keep each other accountable. Heck, even if you aren’t nervous bring a friend! Friends make everything better, right??!

Take Your Time

Hiking in the dark is not a sprint, it’s a marathon. You are there to ENJOY the experience, not hurry up and get it over with. Plus, rushing might lead to a twisted ankle, which could really put a damper on your trek. Don’t be afraid to walk a little slower and stop more often. This is YOUR experience. So make the most of it!