Hike smart

Stock up before you head out on the trail.

A walk in the woods is a great way to get your steps in, but something as small as a bee sting or as painful as a broken ankle can suddenly turn your hike into a rescue mission. A total of 46,609 people required search and rescue aid in this country’s national parks between 2004 and 2014, and according to research, wandering off trail, injury and bad weather are the main culprits. To prevent the worst from happening, take a few precautions before you head out. Whether it’s a day hike or a backpacking trip, experts suggest always taking these 10 essentials: first-aid supplies, extra clothing for unexpected weather, food, water, fire, sun protection, a light source, tools for emergency repairs and a shelter. If you get lost, remember this simple acronym—S.T.O.P. Stop, think, observe and plan before you lose your cool. Happy trails!