Whether you’re going on a lengthy backpacking trip or just a short day hike, it’s important that you plan properly and have the right items so you’re prepared for any possible problems. Make sure you have the following essential safety items on your safe hiking checklist and you’ll be ready for anything.

1. First Aid Kit

On any hike, you can end up with cuts, scrapes, or other abrasions. With a portable first aid kit, you can disinfect and patch up any minor wounds. You can either buy a kit or create your own, just make sure that you know how to use everything in it. You don’t want to end up trying to learn on the fly in an emergency.

2. Safety Whistle

A safety whistle takes up hardly any space, but it can be a lifesaver. If you get lost or are injured and unable to move, a whistle can help anyone in the area locate and assist you.

3. Water

Dehydration can set in quickly, and when it does it will affect your concentration and your energy levels. This is especially problematic if you’re in a hot climate, but considering how much of a workout hiking is, you can get dehydrated anywhere. You should always bring water with you when you go on a hike.

4. Map and Compass

You’re much less likely to get lost if you bring a map of the area with you, along with a compass so it’s easier to find your way around. Just like with your first aid kit, make sure that you know how to read your map. Since GPS technology is everywhere these days, map reading has become a lost art.

5. Sun Protection

Getting lost isn’t the only danger when you go on a hike, as the sun can do some serious damage to your skin. Bring some sunscreen with you and apply it whenever the sun is out. Read here for more skin protection suggestions.

6. A Flashlight

The sun can set quickly, and if you misjudge the amount of time it’s going to take you to get back to your car, you could find yourself wandering around in the dark. Bring a flashlight or a headlamp if you’d prefer to keep your hands free, and don’t forget to check the batteries before you go out. You may want to bring a couple spare batteries, just in case.

7. Food

Food may not be as essential as water, but you don’t want to be hungry while you’re out on a hike, especially if you end up in any potentially dangerous situations. Protein bars are a good choice when it comes to food, as they last a long time and have a balanced mix of protein and carbohydrates.

None of the items you need on your safe hiking checklist are expensive, and they’re all small enough to fit in a backpack. You never know what could happen, so make sure you have these items with you on every hike.