Even avid hikers can find themselves in peril. Here’s how to stay safe on the trail.

By all accounts, Amanda Eller is an avid hiker. The trail she chose the day she disappeared was one she had hiked before. Eller, a Maui resident who went missing for 16 days before being found, is a fit yoga instructor and physical therapist, yet she still found herself in a life-or-death situation on what was supposed to be a pleasant, three-mile hike.

No one sets out to run into trouble, but even experienced hikers can lose their footing, encounter a threatening wild animal or simply get turned around on the trail. Hiking organizations such as the Appalachian Trail Conservancy, the Pacific Crest Trail Association and the American Hiking Society have must-follow advice for keeping yourself and your hiking partners safe before and during your outdoor adventure.

From hiking boots to SPF, all hiking experts agree that preparing the right equipment is the most important pre-hike step.

A backpack with the essentials — Water and a snack are obvious. Other items to keep in your hiking pack at all times: Sunglasses and sunscreen with an SPF over 30; a headlamp, whistle and lighter are crucial for emergencies; a light waterproof jacket or poncho and one of those silly-looking foil blankets to keep you warm; a knife or multi-tool; a first-aid kit with gauze, tape, scissors and iodine.

A map and a compass — You might think you know the trail like the back of your hand, but accidents happen, and it’s possible for anyone to get turned around or lose the path. If you need to start bushwhacking to get back to civilization, a compass is critical. You can’t always rely on cell service to provide mobile-phone directions.

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