A hike can be a wonderful experience if one stays healthy throughout the journey. But due to the nature of this activity, injuries and health issues can strike at any moment. As an avid hiker myself, I have had my fair share of debilitating injuries and painful heartburns on my longer hiking trips. Health problems arising on a hiking trip can have a major impact on the overall experience and should be nipped in the bud. Going armed with the right supplies and a bit of caution can go a long way in making your hikes wonderful.

1. Pack Light to Avoid Pain

It may seem obvious, but really, don't put too much stuff in your backpack. An overloaded backpack can result in back pain and overall inconvenience during a long hike.

2. Avoid Stomach Troubles by Being Cautious

Stomach problems can easily be avoided by being cautious throughout your hike. Pack an ample supply of sanitizer and keep it in the front pocket of your backpack so that you can access it easily. Use it generously after a hand wash before you eat your food. In case you do not have a water supply nearby, you can use it in isolation as well. Do not be too courteous on a hike and avoid shaking hands with random strangers. Who knows where their hands have been?

Accidentally drinking contaminated water on a hike is a real possibility. Bacteria in water can irritate your stomach and lead to many troubles. I have seen my whole crew have an episode of diarrhea once, which forced us to return home without completing our hike. To prevent this from happening, always boil water taken from natural reservoirs. Boiling removes bacteria and the result is water which is safe to drink.

3. Prevent Chafing

Don't wear clothes which are too tight and have skin-to-skin contact. Bathe using wet wipes and apply hand sanitizer to dry excess moisture.

I advise that you use a lubricant to reduce friction between your clothes and your skin. Using Vaseline, Body Glide, and Bag Balm can help a great deal in preventing your skin from getting chafed.

4. Avoid Anxiety and Boredom, and Keep Yourself Motivated

The grueling nature of a hike may make you forget the real reason you set out on your adventure. Before starting a hike, make a selfie video on your phone motivating your future self to stay on the path and fight the elements. Wide open spaces and eerie nights can make even the bravest hearts anxious. If you feel you can’t spend the night time alone, bunking up with your mates and chatting till you fall asleep is not a bad idea.

Boredom is one of the major adversaries of a hiker. Pack some board games in your backpack and keep busy with your mates. If you have likeminded people travelling who want to bring back childhood memories, you can even turn back the clock and play hide and seek. Avoid drifting too far from the origin in your lust to win.

5. Pop Those Blisters

Blisters can be excruciating and inconvenient when you are hiking. It is better to pop them in order to avoid niggling pain throughout the journey. Follow the steps below for popping them safely:

  1. After washing hands thoroughly, disinfect a needle or safety pin with fire or alcohol.
  2. Use the needle to pierce the blister and then massage the fluid out.
  3. Leave the blister intact after removing the fluid.
  4. Rub some antibiotic ointment on the area and cover with tape or a Band-Aid.