Participating in a nocturnal excursion is one of the most interesting and stimulating activities an outdoor sports enthusiast can engage in.
Indeed, during an interview with enthusiasts of treks or excursions, many of them confessed to having never understood or experienced the true wilderness before having taken part in a night hike. On the other hand, night treks do not go as smoothly as they may seem; and especially if you don’t practice often. Let’s see how to go on a night hike safely.
Advice for a safe night excursion
- 1 Advice for a safe night excursion
- 1.1 1. Put on your walking shoes and enjoy the moonlight
- 1.2 2. Gain confidence in yourself and in the trekking routes
- 1.3 3. Make connections with other hiking enthusiasts
- 1.4 4. Never go alone and bring excursion sandals
- 1.5 5. Pick a place away from it all and pack a good jacket
- 1.6 6. Bring a backpack and a rain jacket
- 1.7 7. Do not hesitate to bring more clothes than necessary and think about survival blankets
- 1.8 8. Don’t forget to bring trekking gloves and a flashlight
- 1.9 9. Bring a phone with a GPS and learn about local wildlife
- 1.10 10. The last few tips
1. Put on your walking shoes and enjoy the moonlight
What do you expect from your excursion in the middle of the night? This is one of the questions most often asked by those who have never participated; and that’s a good question, there’s nothing to say.
There are a large number of answers which can all be considered valid and which we have listed for you, to encourage you to start this activity.
Why do a night trek?
To develop their own horizons. This answer is as good on a literal as it is metaphorical level, because that’s why all the beauty of a moonlit walk under a clear sky lies. We assure you that an overnight trek is an experience you won’t soon forget.
If you go to the forest or your goal is the top of a mountain, you will live an experience that few people will have achieved. And in case you practice this activity far from the city and any light pollution, you will take your breath away from the beauty of the stars.
But the stars will not be the only ones to pave your way, since you will also be able to see other planets, as well as the Milky Way, which tends to disappear in the city due to light pollution. But far from city lights and if the sky is not cloudy, it is a magnificent spectacle that will be offered to you.
If the Moon is bright, it won’t be difficult for you to take in the sights: the clear sky above your head, the mountaintops stretching to the horizon, above the valleys covered by night. We’re sure it will make you want to come home and see the woods in a whole new way.
2. Gain confidence in yourself and in the trekking routes
It is also certain that one of the most obvious benefits of walking through the forest at night, surrounded by nature, will bring you a deep sense of self-confidence, strength, cunning and power at their maximum level.
Indeed, during a nocturnal excursion, you will need to have all your senses wide awake and your qualities at their maximum efficiency. You will probably feel compelled to go beyond your limits and overcome the instinctive fear of contact with the dark that might surprise you when you walk on a forest path in the middle of the night.
It should also be noted that during a night hike, once you have gained confidence in yourself and in your surroundings, you will want to turn off all the gadgets you have brought, in order to enjoy the silence and peace in which you will find yourself.
When you have tried this experience once, we are sure that the next time you will have gained even more confidence in yourself and your abilities. You will have gained bravery.
3. Make connections with other hiking enthusiasts
Sharing this experience with other night trek aficionados creates more intense bonds than sharing a pizza or watching a movie together. Getting together in the middle of the woods, far from your comfort and your habits of the city, creates a connection that is difficult to describe, but which can last a lifetime, believe us.
We assure you that there is nothing better to federate a group than to share a common goal while having a backpack on your shoulders. The sense of belonging then becomes very important; and when the sun rises, the people who have shared this experience with you will no longer be just a group of strangers, but a real group of friends who you can count on and reach out to, in the sense literal, as well as figuratively.
4. Never go alone and bring excursion sandals
If you have never practiced hiking at night, we recommend that you choose a time of year when it is not too cold and think about going in a group. It is strongly advised not to go there alone, even if you are an expert hiker.
We are not necessarily talking about a group of 10 people, but go at least 2 or 3. This is necessary to receive help in emergency situations.
However, if possible, and in case you are a beginner in the practice, go with an experienced person, in order to make sure that someone in your group is aware of the simple things to know, or that he or she knows the area where you are going to walk.
If you go in summer, you will need to let your feet breathe, and especially to rest them. That’s why we advise you to bring a pair of sandals, to give you the opportunity to remove your heavy hiking boots and let your toes slide in the open air. This will prevent blisters or burns due to friction.
Going in a group with an expert will calm the nerves of a person who has never practiced night hiking and who could be paralyzed by the fear of the dark. Additionally, an experienced person may also be able to recommend a certain trail over another that is just as beautiful to walk at night, and perhaps less terrifying.
You can also choose trails that are not very difficult to walk at night, so as not to get lost or risk injury. The important thing is to follow the rules that you will have decided with your group, because it is not a good idea to walk alone at night, in the forest or in the mountains.
5. Pick a place away from it all and pack a good jacket
Once you’ve formed a group, it’s time to intelligently decide where to walk. In order to obtain the desired effect, it will be good for you to choose a place which is rather far from the lights of the city, so as to be able to fully enjoy the spectacle that nature will offer you.
Obviously, you will also have to decide to go to a place where you will not be disturbed by the noise of cars or by the headlights. Avoid forests along the highway, for example. If you have an expert in your group, perhaps it will be better to let them choose the trail you will hike.
Choose clothes suitable for this type of hike, and even if you do one during the hot season, don’t forget that the ambient air is necessarily cooler in the woods; thus, it is necessary to carry a good jacket with you, in order to protect you from the cold when the temperature drops sharply.
The beauty of such a hike is not difficult to understand: walking at night on a forest path without artificial light, which puts you in peaceful contact with the wild nature and which is able to remind you of the life that our ancestors before us and above all our current comfort.
6. Bring a backpack and a rain jacket
After you have assembled your group and chosen your destination, you will need to consider the equipment you will carry in your backpack.
First of all, you will need to find out about the area in which you will be walking: if it is subject to climatic variations; the condition of the walking paths; if the place is wet or muddy; if there are steep climbs to climb; the type of shoes you plan to wear.
You can also look on a map to see if there are camping areas not too far away, in case you want to stop over during your trip. This will let you know if you should pack your tent, in case the idea of sleeping under the stars is too scary for you.
Also look for available drinking water points on your route before setting off, as this will ensure you have the opportunity to refill your water bottle throughout the walk and have peace of mind.
Once you’ve thought about all of this, you can start making a list of everything you need to pack in your backpack.
7. Do not hesitate to bring more clothes than necessary and think about survival blankets
This paragraph is intended to make you understand that you are going to be walking in the woods or a fairly deep forest.
There is no question of going for a walk in private gardens, nor in the city park that you know well, nor of taking a two-hour walk with occasional hikers; although there is obviously nothing wrong with all that if you want to stretch your legs, quite the contrary!
But, since you are going to go to a wild place, probably far from home, it is important to try to foresee everything that could happen and therefore to bring a sufficient quantity of clothes, as well as one or more blankets. survival gear capable of keeping you warm no matter what climate you face.
On the other hand, we all know that mountain temperatures and climate can change quite suddenly. You could see the temperatures drop quite quickly and find yourself in difficulty, if you have not thought to bring your winter jacket.
The majority of deaths in the mountains are due to two main reasons: falls or bad weather. It is therefore crucial to have with you all the clothes that could be useful to you, in order to have peace of mind in any situation.
If it starts to get cold, put on your padded jacket, if it starts to rain, take out your raincoat, and if it starts to snow, wrap yourself in your blanket.
Don’t forget to cover your extremities well too! Remember to bring a pair of light socks and a pair of thicker socks to protect your feet. Also remember to bring a pair of gloves to keep your hands warm. Having cold hands, getting frostbite or getting an accidental cut can really compromise your walking.
8. Don’t forget to bring trekking gloves and a flashlight
We have just insisted on the fact that carrying a good pair of gloves in your backpack is absolutely essential for your safety and for the integrity of your body; indeed, they will keep you warm and they will improve your grip, in case you need to grab hold of a rock, a tree trunk or anything else.
Moreover, since your hike takes place at night, it is necessary to address the subject of flashlights, which represent a basic to have on you to practice this outdoor activity in complete safety.
Of course, there’s no question of turning yourself into a Christmas tree, but bringing a flashlight or two is always a good idea!
Indeed, one should not frighten all the wild fauna by carrying too powerful lamps.
Our objective is, in reality, that you experience the wild nature during a super sporty night. You will therefore need light that is sufficient for you to walk safely along your path and so that you can illuminate your surroundings to calm your mind, but that’s it.
Before leaving, we recommend that you check that your flashlights are working properly, so that you don’t find yourself in total darkness unexpectedly. You can also bring along a pair of batteries or a spare battery, just in case.
There should be no reason for your flashlight to go out, absolutely none. On the other hand, it could be the specific task of one person in your group: to control the operation of the torches and their battery level.
Giving someone such responsibility is bound to instill in them a duty to do it well, because flashlights are truly essential in such conditions, and they can even prove vital on a nighttime excursion.
9. Bring a phone with a GPS and learn about local wildlife
If the sun is starting to set and you’ve decided to take a night hike, it’s time to do a final check of all the stuff you’ve brought. Make sure you have a flashlight, as well as a cell phone with internet data enabled, so you can still send your location in case of an emergency.
When you set off, follow the pace of the people in your group and make sure everyone can follow it: don’t take too many breaks (to allow everyone to get used to the long walk waiting for you), and don’t go too fast, at the risk of getting tired quickly.
You have no reason to keep your flashlight on throughout your walk, because night hiking has a special charm that should be taken advantage of; because if you have decided to practice this outdoor activity, you might as well go for it and discover the nature that surrounds you when it is lurking in the dark.
That’s the whole point of such a hike, isn’t it? On the other hand, if the path you take is muddy, rocky or cracks too much between the trees, you can use a headlamp, if you find that the light from your flashlight is too powerful.
If you are more expert in the subject or you are not afraid of anything, you can also turn off absolutely all your lights and risk being guided by the moonlight, in order to live this magical experience to the fullest.
However, remain attentive to the wild animals of the forest. Before leaving, you will obviously have to find out about the local fauna that inhabits the place of your destination.
If you are in Italy, you might come face to face with wild boar or deer. And depending on the area you are in, you might come across a Marsican brown bear.
And if you find yourself in South or North America, you might come across quite different animals. Not to mention those on the African continent. You should not be so afraid, but you will have to find out before your departure about the potential dangers and the more or less pleasant encounters that you could have.
Whether you encounter a mouse, a skunk or a grizzly, you will in any case need to be attentive and prepared, without fearing everything around you, but above all to know how to best act in the event of an impromptu encounter.
10. The last few tips
Now that you have more or less become an expert thanks to us, here are the last tips we have for you.
Not all the people around you or who are dear to you are passionate about hiking, whether they are nocturnal or daytime, for that matter; thus, you will have to think carefully about the people who will accompany you during your trek.
But don’t go with complete strangers either, because not knowing the people you’re going with is synonymous with not knowing how the hike is going to go. And you wouldn’t want to interrupt every five minutes because someone got scared seeing a firefly.
If you or someone else were to get scared or were under a moment of temporary stress, always be able to find your reason: light an extra torch and be ready and attentive.
Another thing, since we touched on the subject of GPS a little above: the mobile phone is crucial for this type of activity. Everyone in the group should have a fully charged mobile phone on them. You will still need to be able to communicate your location in an emergency.
Participating in a night hike is not an opportunity to take selfies every five minutes, but it is the time to find yourself in contact with nature. Your mobile phone will only be used for communication or to find your way if you get lost. It is also not advisable to use it to listen to music.
Respect the people in your group, because you are traveling together. Respect your desire to escape from your everyday life. Savor the beauty of nature that surrounds you in silence and darkness, to make the most of an extraordinary experience.
Going on a night hike brings us closer to our ancestors and allows us to relive our human past. It is an activity to be carried out with great respect for your group, for nature, but also for yourself. Also be aware that hiking in the great outdoors can be dangerous so you need to be able to do it safely, and if you’ve followed all of our advice then you should be fine. Enjoy your urge to walk in the moonlight, on mountain ridges or in deep forests. You will live an unforgettable moment, believe us, you will thank us.
If you liked this article, do not hesitate to continue to follow us for other advice. Now that you are ready: good walk! Be careful !
Aiden is a freelance journalist and content writer who writes about the outdoors, the environment, and travel. He is a Survival and Preparedness enthusiast who loves everything outdoors. Aiden has always enjoyed pushing people to step outside their comfort zones. His mission is to help others get out of their homes to have fun and stay active in nature.
Leave a Reply