Research prior to your expedition is an essential part of whether it will be a success or not.
This research should cover a number of areas:
- Local hazards
- Limitations of camping area due to private property
- Expected weather
Local hazards could include the wildlife native to that area. In many areas around North America bears, varieties of wolf, and mountain lions can be found. As much as these creatures are unlikely to attack you in normal conditions, you shouldn't gamble that conditions are normal.
Understand what the present threats are and take the necessary precautions to avoid them.
Wildlife are not your only concern. If you're hiking up mountains, for instance, you may encounter large patches of shale in certain areas. If you happen to be in an area with rock formations similar to this, you could be putting yourself in danger by not knowing about it or not knowing where to expect to find these conditions.
You don't want to find yourself sliding down a mountain in a mini-avalanche of rocks.
Be sure to research the weather in depth before you leave. This will affect both the packing preparations you make and the decisions you make during a hike.
Do you set up camp here for the night, or can you make it over that hill in time to set up there? If you don't know what time the sun is going to set or whether rain is expected in the next hour, you're unable to make that decision safely.
The most important part of being safe is being prepared.