On the Kiwi tramping calendar, the long Easter weekend is eagerly anticipated as it provides the opportunity to undertake an extended multiday trip and really get into the great NZ bush with friends and family.
The outdoors is a great place to be, but many unfortunate incidents occur and often they involve people who underestimate the planning, preparation and sometimes the skills required for the trip they are undertaking.
With longer trips comes the need to plan and prepare even more carefully as you could find yourself more than a few hours from the road end, and from help if it is required.
“Becoming compromised by inclement or a swift change in weather, your own physical limits or becoming injured could have serious consequences for you and your party,” says Chris Owens, Bushcraft Programme Manager for the Mountain Safety Council.
The New Zealand Mountain Safety Council (MSC) advises that before dusting off your pack and checking that the camp stove works, that you fully consider what is required before heading out into the outdoors.
“Following the five simple rules of the Outdoor Safety Code could save your life,” added Mr Owens.
The New Zealand Outdoor Safety Code:
1. Plan your trip
Seek local knowledge and plan the route you will take and the amount of time you can reasonably expect it to take.
2. Tell someone
Tell someone your plans and leave a date to raise the alarm if you haven’t returned. Use the Outdoors Intentions process on the adventuresmart.org.nz website before you leave your house.
3. Be aware of the weather
New Zealand’s weather can be highly unpredictable. Check the forecast and expect weather changes.
4. Know your limits
Challenge yourself within your physical limits and experience.
5. Take sufficient supplies
Make sure you have enough food, clothing, equipment and emergency rations for the worst-case scenario. Take an appropriate means of communication, such as a Mountain Radio or a Personal Locator Beacon (PLB) and know how to use them.
The New Zealand Mountain Safety Council runs courses nationwide to help people learn the outdoors skills required to safely enjoy their recreational activities. Courses vary depending on area but may include bushcraft skills; navigation with both a map and compass and GPS; river safety and outdoor first aid.
For more information about courses in your area plus a range of free information you can download, visit www.mountainsafety.org.nz