The main things that a person needs to know about ahead of time when it comes to hiking and nature include their water, food, and fire source. These are key ingredients to being able to survive in the wild if anything goes wrong. Many people do not think seriously of these parts of hiking and then find themselves in need of these items. You will find that many of the people who do not take these seriously are not experienced hikers.
A fire source is important to survival in the wild for many reasons. Not only can fire be used in well known ways such as cooking and as a heat source but it can also be used in others ways such as making a small smoke signal for help if needed. Fire is a great source of heat and as long as a person knows how to correctly make a camp fire and keep it going can actually save live by helping people not freeze to death or die of over exposure. Fire is also needed for emergency food. It you run out of the food that you have brought with you, you may end up needing to eat something that you find in the wild and many of the edible parts of nature need to be cooked before being consumed.
This brings us to hiking food sources; one thing that many people do not think of when they are packing and have not been hiking before is the weight that they are putting on their shoulders, literally. While a person may want to bring an entire weeks change of clothing, a potable music player and more the things that a person would concentrate on are the essentials such as food. Even if a person does primarily pack food and then gets lost, they may need to rely on a different food source or the food that nature provides. This means knowing what is or is not safe to eat. There are animals as well as plants that may seem inviting but that could be poisonous to people. You will want to know ahead of time if what you are going to be eating has any of this which can mean bring a guide to the nature in the area that you are camping.
Bringing a nature guide about the area you are coming to can also be important for other reasons, one of the main reasons being water. While you will see in movies people drinking from the first water source that they see this is actually not how it works in nature. There are many different types of water that have dangerous algae, bacteria and other substances that could potentially harm a person or even poison them and make them sick if they are not careful about their water source. There are however also healthy waters and as long as you know which water is healthy and which is not you are able to survive for much longer in the wild.