Summer has arrived! The urge to get outdoors and make the most of our incredible surroundings is strong right now and we all want to make every second of summer count. Regardless of whether you’re planning a week-long backcountry hiking trip, a weekend rafting trip, or just a quick run up Elk in the morning, we encourage folks to please take a few of those summer seconds to complete a Trip Plan.

Sure, it’s easy to feel as though that ‘quick hike’ doesn’t warrant filling in a form, but the smallest mis-step can result in serious trouble (and few people head out thinking that they’re going to have something bad happen!). Should something go sideways, if you’ve completed a Trip Plan and given it to your Emergency Contact, you can take comfort in knowing that help will be on the way. Solo adventurers should certainly leave details of their travels with someone at home too. If no one knows you’re away, it’s going to be a long time before anyone is able to locate and assist you. Cell phones aren’t the solution either. While you likely have a phone, you may not have reception, so if that’s your Plan A you should reconsider.

Trip Plans are not onerous – they are a essentially a Who, What, Where, Why, When and How for your excursion. As a bonus, it also acts as a checklist before heading out. Are the essentials in your backpack or still in the closet? Maybe you should bring a flashlight after all? These little prompts will better prepare you for your trip.

The other half of the equation is the Emergency Contact, a responsible individual who can calmly call for assistance if you haven’t returned by your arranged time. They should also be clear on who to contact, which is 911. Calling the local Search and Rescue hall hoping someone will be there or floating a message on social media are not effective courses of action. Please ensure that your Emergency Contact knows to call 911 straight away, and to inform the dispatcher that you provided a Trip Plan. This way, when the dispatcher or RCMP officer has questions, the answers will be at hand. Please tell your contact not to be afraid to call! Even if you return home 15 minutes after your arranged time and have to call 911 back to say you’re fine, teams would much rather stand-down with a happy ending.

The Trip Planner on our website takes only a few moments to complete, but it can save hours of searching later, and if you happen to be in medical distress that time can be critical.

For more trip planning tools and advice, visit the AdventureSmart website. Stay safe everyone!

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