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Hike Safe: It’s Your Responsibility

It is important that people are fully aware of what dangers are involved when visiting the mountains. In many parts of the region, snow and ice are still major factors on the trail, most particularly when hiking above 3,000′ in elevation. Many hikers will lack the proper gear and knowledge and find themselves in a dangerous situation.

The State of New Hampshire and U.S. Forest Service spend hundreds of thousands on rescues annually. Each search and rescue mission averages in the thousands per individual rescue along with thousands of hours and personal equipment are provided by volunteers in order to make these rescues possible. Hikers are able to purchase a Hike Safe card for $25 dollars($35 per family) that excuses any rescue costs involved in the event that they need to be rescued at any time. An individual may still be liable for response expenses, however, if such person is suspected to have intentionally put themselves in a bad situation needing an emergency response.

You can purchase a Hike Safe card only at the N.H. Fish and Game Department’s website.

HikeSafe Hiker Responsibility Code

Educate yourself. Having the proper knowledge and gear is essential to staying safe in the mountains. Learning the terrain and purchasing the right gear before heading out. Always checking up on the latest weather and trail conditions before you start any hike.

Leave your plans. Let someone at home know where you are going, what trails you will be taking, and what time you plan to return.

Hike in groups. Hiking in groups is your best option. Solo hiking poses several major risks that could be fatal. Start as a group, and end as a group.

Use your judgement. Weather changes extremely quickly in the mountains. Under poor circumstances, know when to call it a day and turn around. Fatigue and unexpected conditions are also major factors to consider. Be smart and know your limits when in case an emergency does arise.

Rescue yourself. Learn basic survival skills so that you can help yourself in case of an emergency situation. Even if a SAR mission has been initiated for you, it will likely be several hours before anyone reaches you, so in the mean time know how to rescue yourself.

Share the code. Share the hiker code with other hikers on the trail.

What are the “Ten Essentials”?

1. Navigation (Compass, map, GPS tracking device, personal locator beacon, satellite messenger, altimeter)

2. Water (3-4 liters of water, water purification tablets, water filtration system)

3. Extra layers (Base layer top and bottom, insulated jacket, moisture-wicking layers)

4. Food (high calorie snacks, freeze dried meals (when carrying stove)

5. Sun protection (Sunscreen, SPF lip balm, hat, long sleeve top, long pants, sunglasses)

6. First aid (Bandages, tweezers, Tape, Asprin, foot care, insect repellent, adhesive wrap)

7. Lighting (Headlamp, extra lithium batteries, flashlight)

8. Knife (Gear repair kit, multi-tool)

9. Shelter (Emergency bivvy, tent, repair tools)

10. Fire starter (Waterproof matches, lighter, fire starting kit)

For summer hikes

  • Map
  • Compass
  • Base layer top and bottom
  • Hat
  • Extra food
  • Extra water
  • Headlamp
  • Waterproof matches
  • First Aid Kit
  • Repair Kit
  • Whistle
  • Rain/wind jacket
  • Rain/wind pants
  • Knife or multitool
  • Hiking boots
  • Extra Socks
  • Watch
  • Emergency Bivvy
  • Gaiters
  • Trekking poles
  • Guidebook
  • Insect Repellant
  • Sunglasses
  • Emergency shelter
  • Personal locator beacon
  • Sunscreen
  • Gloves or Mittens
  • Cord
  • Rope
  • Extra batteries

For winter hikes

  • Insulated jacket
  • Extra mittens
  • Glove liners
  • Balaclava
  • Insulated boots
  • Snowshoes
  • Microspikes
  • Crampons
  • Face mask
  • Goggles
  • Snow shovel
  • Hand warmers
  • Ice axe (optional)




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