Apr 22, 2015 8:00 AM

Author: Office of Public Affairs

Hundreds of hikes are within a short drive from Salt Lake City. “Even if you’re close to home, the adventure could take an unexpected turn, so it’s important to be prepared,” says Scott McIntosh, MD, an emergency room physician at University of Utah Health.

First and foremost, know where you’re going. Research the route and weather forecast before you head out. Take a map, compass or GPS device. “Tell someone where you’re going and when you’re planning to return,” McIntosh suggests. “And it’s always best to hike with a buddy.”

Pack these items just in case your day hike turns into a longer adventure. 

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Food and water

“Your body needs lots of water during physical exertion, especially at higher altitudes,” McIntosh says. “Plan on at least 2 liters a day—more if it’s hot out.” Eat a hearty breakfast before you go, and snack throughout the day, even if you don’t feel hungry.

Protection from the elements

Weather can be unpredictable in the mountains, so be prepared with warm layers and a raincoat. Also, wear sunscreen and bring sunglasses and a hat.

Light source

Even if you don’t plan on being out past dark, a twisted ankle or missed turn may find you on the trail in twilight. A flashlight or headlamp can help you see the trail or signal for help.

First aid kit

“Pack a small first aid kit in your bag, and make sure it’s stocked with bandages, gauze pads, medical tape, antiseptic towelettes and antibiotic ointment. Bring ibuprofen, acetaminophen and allergy-relief tablets. Moleskin is important to help prevent and treat blisters,” McIntosh says.

Food: Fuel for Your Journey

Ready to hit the trail? On this episode of The Scope, Stacey Wing-Gaia, a registered dietitian and the director of the sports nutrition program at University of Utah, explains what to eat to bag that peak. And here are some easy recipes for trail mix and granola bars. 

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