Get to know your group members and understand their teamwork capacity, physical condition, skills and experience. Don't over-stretch their ability.
Be prepared for poor weather and environmental changes during the hike.
In estimating the length of your hike, make allowance for sunrise, sunset, high tide and low tide, as well as any extra time to deal with tired group members or other unexpected delays.
Plan in Place
Prepare your hiking gear, and make sure all group members know how to use all the items properly.
Provide all those concerned (parents, teachers or instructors and organizers) and the contact person with your hiking plan, hiking programme, route map and personal details of all group members. Notify all parties concerned promptly of any changes.
Before Setting Off
Check your gear, everything complete and in good working condition.
Check that all members are wearing suitable clothes, socks and boots.
The leader should brief members about the planned route.
Every member should know the route and the nearest rescue stations, such as a police station, emergency service telephone, location and telephone number of the nearest country park rangers' station.
Make sure all group members are in good physical and mental condition.
Note the weather. If there is a thunder warning, typhoon signal Number One or above - don't tempt fate. Cancel your hike.
During the Hike
The group should stay together. Don't allow any member to lag behind or get too far ahead. Keep an eye on members' physical, mental and emotional state. Be aware of each other - and look after each other.
Maintain a constant speed, without going too fast or too slow. Generally, it is recommended to make a day a hike of 15 km or less.
Stick to regularly maintained trails. Exploring new routes will put you in danger, or at least waste time. Don't walk along any natural watercourses. Mountain torrents after sudden heavy rain are extremely dangerous.
To avoid serious dehydration in hot weather, take frequent breaks around midday - and drink plenty of water, steadily in small drinks.
If you are doing activities or hiking during the night, wear bright coloured clothing and keep your torch on. On roads, always face oncoming traffic.
Remember the route along the way. At every junction, look back and note the appearance of the landscape. If necessary, leave a marker - or draw a simple sketch map of all the turnings. This will help you retrace your steps if you later become lost.
Note changes in the weather. Terminate the trip if the weather suddenly changes for the worse. Head home or go to the nearest safe place. Keep calm and avoid hurrying, which may cause an accident. Tell the contact person immediately when you change the hiking plan.
Take heed of all warning signs along the way. If ever in doubt about any route, stop immediately. Keep calm and judge carefully how to proceed.
Maintain a natural walking rhythm and pace. Never run downhill. Use extra care on gravel paths. Never take shortcuts and, if you can, avoid descending along very steep slopes.