What do you do to prepare for emergencies on the trail?
Where safety is concerned for wilderness adventure we always think of things we should take like a first aid kit, enough water, a little extra food, foot care like mole skin, fire starter, compass and a signaling device or something. Then there's those anal ones, like me, who might add things to the list like an emergency blanket, knife, 20 or 30 feet of cord and some duct tape, etc. These are all worth more than their weight in gold should you find yourself in need of them. The hard truth is, however, that more often than not we run into bad situations exactly when we are least prepared. A unexpected fail on a short hike leaves us helpless away from camp without our gear or something. Whatever.
So the fact remains and warrants continued consideration...
The skills to 'make do' will get you through adverse situations exponentially better than any piece of equipment you carry. Preparing yourself is simply THE most important thing you can do to mitigate dangers and what ifs. Of course, pack those things but...
Basic first aid and wilderness first aid, physical fitness and navigation are all things every adventurer should know and practice. Books and online sources are great and you should study but, book sense only gets you so far. At some point you need to practice and it is best to practice with somebody that knows what they're doing. Your local recreation shop and the red cross are good places to start looking for classes.
Why not take it to the next level?
Skills only get good with practice. Why not practice when you are actually out in the wilderness? Put what you learn to the test when you are out in the elements. I realize this sounds like "prepper" stuff but there is a reason first responders do drills in their down time.
THINGS TO PRACTICE on your next backpacking adventure:
- MAKE FIRE There is nothing like a fire to lift your spirits and make sheltering better. It is also a defense, signal, warmth, light, water purifier, etc. Try making fires in different ways. No matches or lighter. After using your sparking rod in a bundle, try a bow-driill, hand drill or magnifying glass. If you have to do it in bad conditions you'll be glad you worked through the details in good ones.
- BUILD A SHELTER. What materials are in your vecinity to use? What kind of shelter would be easiest and most effective? How long does it take? How can you make a shelter with limited resources or gear? i.e., all found natural items or just a trash bag and piece of string. (kids particularly love this one. A fort!)
- BOIL WATER. Without a pot. What can you use in nature or maybe out of your pack? Could you build a solar still? How much water can you get from one?
- REPLACE TOILET PAPER with things in the wild. What works best?
- BUILD A SIGNALING MARKER. SPECIAL NOTE: DO NOT LEAVE IT UP. How would you get a rescue team to find you? What would be the best signal for your location and conditions? For safety and to make sure you do not waste the precious resources and time of our amazing first responders, do not finish a signal and be sure to take down and clear any signal you make.
- FIND EDIBLE PLANTS. What plants in your area are safe and nutritious? How do you prepare them?
Just a few basic skills you will be thankful to have practiced if you ever get into a bad spot. Rubbing 2 sticks together is extremely difficult and 10 times more frustrating when you are tired, cold, dehydrated and hungry.
This can also be a very fun way to spend some time in the wild and rewarding when you accomplish the task. Kids get so much out of it as well.
ADD YOUR EMERGENCY/SURVIVAL TASK TO PRACTICE IN THE COMMENT SECTION BELOW.
I am curious to know what others do or if anybody else thinks about this crap (and will admit it) or if I'm just nuts.
Now go play outside. (After adding your suggestion.)
Tread lightly. www.raisedbyraccoons.blogspot.com
#backpacking #survivalskills #firstaid #goplayoutside