Taking a hike across the quiet outdoors at night can be an exhilarating experience, and one that we encourage people to try! However, precautions should always be taken to make night hiking a safe and enjoyable experience.
Whether you want to find the perfect spot for stargazing or just spend a few hours clearing your head in the fresh night air, there are several tips to keep in mind to make your night hike a memorable one.
#1: Choose a night with a Full Moon.
This is a great tip, especially for night hiking beginners. Not only can being guided by the moonlight be a deep and mindful experience, it is also much safer. Your vision will be much better when compared to a night with a crescent Moon, or any other phase. Of course, you should still bring your own lighting with you, as will be discussed in our next tip.
#2: Bring your own headlamp with you.
Of course, if you are hiking at night, maintaining clear vision will be one of your main priorities. A headlamp allows you to wear a flashlight on your head, so the path ahead of you is always illuminated. Plus, you will be able to enjoy the sights and sounds of the night without having to hold a flashlight in your hand!
Browse and try out different headlamps until you find one with the right features for you. From rechargeable battery packs to whistles, there are all sorts of great features for night hikes.
#3: Minimize risk by wearing reflective fabrics.
Investing in some high-quality reflective fabric will make you more visible to other people out at night. Usually, reflective fabrics would help you be seen by drivers of vehicles - their headlight beams will hit your reflective clothing and draw the driver’s attention to your presence. This will help keep you safer if you are hiking in areas where there could be cars.
#4: Pick a trail you have done in the daylight.
Familiarity is safety! If you are walking in the darkness, you will be better able to navigate if you already have knowledge of your route. It can be much easier to get lost at night time, so start out by choosing a hiking route you know like the back of your hand. While you might be excited to try out some new routes, experiencing a familiar route in the darkness can give you a new perspective!
#5: Make sure you layer up.
Even if it has been a swelteringly hot day, temperatures tend to plummet at night. Be sure to pack some extra layers to wear if it starts to get cold during the night. As mentioned, if your outermost layers are made from reflective fabrics, that will keep you even safer. Consider investing in a reflective rain jacket, hat and gloves!
#6: Go with someone else.
Night hiking will always be safer if you go with a friend or family member. Not only can you raise the alarm if anything were to happen to each other, but there is always added safety in numbers. You can both watch out for potential hazards along your route and remind each other to layer up warm.