HURTHEART has a very timely reminder. Winter camping has much less margin for error. Even a day hike can turn bad. How bad things can get seems to be directly related to how prepared one is. People talk about lions and tigers and bears. The real dangers are exposure and injury. Yes critters are a danger. But the larger danger is all the little stuff that preparation heads off. I am not afraid of the wilderness. But I have a VERY health respect for it. There may be people who can survive weeks alone in their underwear with only a knife. I am not one of them. Unless one has been to S.E.R.E school, I am betting most folks are not either. It seems like every year I hear about people found dead from exposure with enough weapons and ammunition to hold off a zombie horde. I take these as cautionary tales for what is important to remember in the great outdoors. These are the rules I try to live by when I venture out of civilization. These rules apply whether I'm in a state park or in the remote wilderness.
Remember my skill level
Don't let ambition kill me. I am older, slower, and much fatter than I used to be.
Know my limits
I am not trained in alpine mountaineering or desert solo survival. Don't do these things alone! I can't jello naked wrestle bears anymore I should avoid having to do so. (Summer job don't ask)
Pack to survive the worst case
Don't over pack. But plan gear for blizzards, broken legs, blistering sun, being stuck extra days, and etc, etc... Also, my idea of worst case is MUCH worst than most peoples. Planning for the worst case was my job for a very long time. EXAMPLE: http://xkcd.com/883/
. Seriously don't plan for "Meh, what's the worst that could happen?" Plan for "Oh my God what if (x) happens?
The more remote I am, the more redundancy I need for critical things
I may need a back up shelter, extra fire starter, extra protective clothing for the environment, a secondary/tertiary way to get water. These are not comfort items. These are things you could die without if they fail.
Always have a get home plan
Be ready to revise it on the fly.
Tell someone where you are and when to come looking for you