The Australia bush is amazing - but also deadly if you don't plan for all contingencies. So with this in mind here are five tips that could save your life in the wilderness.
Never underestimate nature The most important tip and one that everything hereafter relates to. Always be respectful of the place you are passing through. Respecting nature includes making the best decision based on what you can control and being honest with yourself about your limits. Before this I had never walked in such trying conditions and I am grateful we were well prepared. If you know your limits and are well prepared for the worst possible conditions there is a certain thrilling pleasure in witnessing the might of nature.
Have the right gear for the job Upon entering the dome emergency shelter we were met by a tent set up inside filling almost the entire space. The couple inside told us it was their second night in there. We heard of how they had summited Kilimanjaro and been to Everest basecamp but their clothing and shoes weren’t up to the thick and unrelenting snow and rain there.
This is all about doing thorough research and packing accordingly. (Often comprehensive packing lists are listed on official websites.) Knowing what the local weather can do and how it can change is only half the job. Not cutting corners on quality and quantity of clothing and shelter is the important part. My dad always told me when packing it is better to have something and not need it, than to need it and not have it. Within reason of course!
Don’t skimp on the first aid kit A good idea is to talk to other experienced hikers and develop a good essentials first aid list. When you have your kit together, keep the list with it and check over the kit before each adventure. It is a good idea to familiarise yourself with how to apply everything (bandages, medications etc.) to avoid misusing or extra discomfort if/when the time comes. This first aid could not only help you in a tight spot but others on the trail.
Carry a PLB Especially important for those who like to stray off the beaten track. If you know you’re going to be out of reception and/or walking for multiple days it is a good idea to have a Personal Locator Beacon. You may only have a minor problem but in an isolated place or with difficult conditions this can become disastrous. If you don’t walk enough to warrant buying one, they can often be hired from shops or service centres.
Invest in some emergency equipment I would consider emergency equipment as the things that you pack for safety but rarely need to use. One piece of equipment that springs to mind from this rescue was the emergency bivvy. It kept our mate sheltered from the worst of the weather and gave him a chance to have some much needed rest. They’re not overly expensive they pack down small and are very light. I started shopping around for one the next day. Emergency equipment will vary depending on the hike but might include maps, water purifier, space blankets, excess food etc.