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Hiking In The Dark

We all know during the winter time it gets dark pretty early. But does this mean we can’t go for a walk in the evening after work? Definitely not! There are just a few precautions that need to be taken to make sure you stay safe.

 

Stay visible – Wearing all black on a dark night can be very dangerous, not just for you but for other people. There are more than one way to remain seen no matter how dark it is.

  • You can wear clothes that are designed with a reflective detail – this may not be the most effective way as it is usually only a few seams that reflect in the dark but it may make the difference between being noticed or not.
  • You can wear a high visibility jacket. It may not be the most flattering attire, but for the more rural routes this can be a better option as it will easily highlight your presence without the need of a torch.
  • But then again, a torch is another option. Whether you like to keep it simple with an on/off switch, or prefer something a bit more technical with all the different functions, it doesn’t matter. As long as you shine a light you can mark out your path making it easier for you to see your route and any dangers approaching. It also makes it easier for other walkers to see you in advance.

 

Be prepared for the worst – Having a little stumble or taking the wrong turn is much easier to do when it is dark so make sure you are fully prepared for when things don’t quite go to plan.

  • Make sure everything is fully charged. Whether it is your phone or your torch, or any other device you may need to help you out. The last thing you need is to be stuck without any light or communication to help you get home.
  • Know how to navigate your way around. Even if your planned trip is along a trail you have taken time and time before, you should always carry a map or other navigation device to guide your way if you find yourself getting lost.
  • Check the weather conditions before you leave to make sure you have the right gear with you. There’s nothing worse than heading out and half way through your walk the temperature all of a sudden drops or the rain starts to pour and you don’t have the clothes or equipment you need. Take a look at our weather forecasting post for tips on the best apps.

 

Be sensible with your attire – We all know the temperature drops at night, so even if you set off when it’s light and warm, make sure you are prepared for the cold to hit you. It’s always best to predict the worst and be prepared then not be prepared at all.

  • Layering up is the best way to keep your body temperature right. It’s easy to take layers off and put them back on again, but it’s a bit more difficult to get the right temperature if you just have one big coat on. Check out our range of layering system blogs for the best way to do this.
  • Winter essentials are just as the name states…essential. Gloves, hats and scarfs can make the difference between feeling the chill and not. And again, they are easy to take on and off, so you can set out with them in your backpack and when the dark sets in and the chill starts to creep up on you, you can bring them out and instantly feel much better.
  • Sturdy footwear is very important when hiking in the dark. You are more inclined to bump your toes and step on an unsteady surface, so if your boots are designed to handle this then your feet will be just fine, and you can stay standing on two feet rather than slipping on to your behind.

 

Don’t forget to stop and take a moment to look at the stars. There’s nothing more beautiful than nature.

 

Have you got any more tips on hiking in the dark? Leave them in the comments below.

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Comments

Frank McLoughlin 05-02-16 10:46
Use your torch sparingly. It spoils your night vision, so close one eye if you have to use the torch. This will also ensure best battery life, so it is available if the worst happens and you REALLY need it.
Dave Pape 06-02-16 14:28
Wear a hat/cap with a peak so you can protect your eyes from bright lights. A flash of car headlights across your eyes will destroy your night vision for several minutes.
Millets Team 08-02-16 12:43
Great tips! Keep them coming
jim baker 09-02-16 20:03
try and walk with someone, if out alone, inform someone of your route and ETA, all-ways carry water, brew kit, food, first aid kit, torch, light sticks in a backpack, it might be use-full for yourself or someone else, i also carry a sleeping bag, and a light tent.
even a days walk in the winter can be a joy-full time, if you have the right kit.
any fool can be uncomfortable, the right kit makes all the difference.
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