You’ve chosen a route or objective and you can’t wait to get after it! In all the excitement it’s easy to forget pre-trip tasks. Creating checklists for the different aspects of your adventure are an easy way to make sure you’ve got everything covered, including your safety.
Before You Go Checklist
Here are the easiest things you can do in preparation to help yourself in case of an emergency.
1. Leave instruction of where you are going. Include the intended destination and route, a time when you should be back, and a time when someone should call for help. This information should be left with a reliable person, and if you do not have that option, leave it in your car at the trailhead.
Local authorities are permitted to search a missing person’s vehicle. There are cases where left behind route information has led to a subject’s rescue (or recovery).
2. Include the local Sheriff’s Department and Search & Rescue Organization’s contact info on your phone.
3. Check for trail closures, wildlife concerns, or other backcountry notifications in the area you are planning to explore. This can generally be found at the local Park Ranger Office, Parks and Wildlife, or local land authority website.
4. Check the weather before, during, and after your planned adventure timeframe. Unexpected (and disrespected) weather is a top contender for causing emergency situations in the wilderness.
5. Review you gear before leaving the house. Make sure you have everything you need, including the “in case of emergency” items.