INLAND NW ROUTES
Today, I would like to talk about the 13 ESSENTIALS, and the importance for EVERY outdoor enthusiast to carry their own kit.
There will come a time when you will have to deal with an emergency.
You want to be prepared, because the options are not in your favor.
THE 13+ ESSENTIALS
These item are to be carried by EVERY INDIVIDUAL, whether hiking solo or in a group. Couples are especially encouraged to carry their own 13 essentials, as well as their own food, water, and first aid supplies, just in case one or the other gets separated from their spouse or group.
PLEASE, ERROR ON THE SIDE OF CAUTION.
NEVER rely on others. And know your equipment inside and out, before venturing into nature.
KNOWLEDGE is the most important thing you can take into the mountains.
Waterproof matches, lighters, small road flares (for winter conditions).
There are commercial pastes, matches, and other types of fire starters on the market.
When in nature, you may notice the stringy lichen hanging from tree limbs. Beard lichen is an excellent fire starter, and can be used as a sponge for collecting water.
Another use for something we all have around the house is dryer lint. Wrap it in paper like a tube, in a ziplock baggie, or stuff into an extra light container. Keep them in your 13 essentials for emergency use. See “HINTS”
RAIN GEAR, UMBRELLA, PONCHO.
It is essential that you stay as dry as possible. Rain suits tend to be too hot, while ponchos have more breathing ability. An umbrella is my choice for any hike that may be raining or snowing. Always carry a large lawn bag with many paper towels folded up.
The lawn bag can be used as rain gear, and weights very little.
MAP & COMPASS...GPS
These items are useful tools
A GPS IS NOT A REPLACEMENT FOR A MAP & COMPASS, and the knowledge to use them. Batteries die, but maps stay operational. Always have a copy of the National Forest Map, and topo map to the area you are hiking. A National Forest map, and a topo map are important for each member of the outing to have in case of separation or adverse weather conditions. They can be copies in a ziplock bag.
If nothing else, PLEASE make a copy of the area you will be visiting, for each hiking partner.
You must calibrate your watch that has a compass built into it, as well as your GPS.
PAPER CLIP, PIN, NAIL,
Another way to tell which way is magnetic north, I learned while watching NCIS. In your 13 ESSENTIAL pack, carry several paper clips.
Rub the paper clip against a larger piece of metal to magnetize the smaller piece. When you come across a small pond or stream with still water, place a straightened paper clip on a leaf. Then back away, so nothing on you effects the magnetic field. It may rotate a bit before it settles down. It will show you the south -north line.
You can use your watch, analog or digital. In the case of a digital, you will have to simulate a dial of an analog watch.
Point your hour hand at the sun, then observe the 12 o'clock position. Go half way between the two and opposite is north.
In a clearing, pound the stick in the ground, and place a rock at the tip of the shadow. Wait 15 minutes and place a rock at the tip of the shadow. The first rock will be on the west, while the second rock will be east. half way between the two is north.
USING THE STARS
Thruout life, and observe the stars often for weeks before a hike. By doing this, you will know what constellations are in the south, or the rotation of the Big Dipper in the north.
You can also look for the two stars farthest from the handle, of the Big Dipper. Draw a line from the bottom star to the top star, and continue for about 5 times the distance of the two stars. They will be pointing at the North Star, also known as Polaris.
Always carry extra food, maybe in the form of energy bars, but always high in protein. Choose an energy bar that does not require a lot of water to digest. Change out often.
A way to tell if your energy/protein bars are a good choice, is to look at the carbohydrates in the bar. Then look at the proteins. The proteins should be higher then the carbs.
My choice is a MET RX bar. They are available in the pharmacy at Walmart. They have 32 grams of protein and 18 vitamins and minerals.
EXTRA WATER OR WATER PURIFIER
Becausevwater is not always available along some trails, carrying enough water is paramount. I often drop water bottles along an out and back route, so I don’t have to carry so much water the full distance. Mark location carefully. See “HINTS”
Socks come to mind as an important item to have in case your feet get wet. A micro-fiber cloth works well and dries quickly. Other items may include polar fleece jacket and/or pants, spare wool or fleece gloves, stocking caps, and face masks. See “HINTS”
In the winter, I carry a Road Flare. They burn at 1500+°, and can start wet wood.
PAPER TOWELS & TROWEL
I suggest paper towels over toilet paper, because a blow is very messy. The USFS suggests that all human waste be buried at least 6 inches deep, AND AT LEAST 200 FEET FROM ANY WATER SOURCE. THAT INCLUES PEE.
I carry several ziplock bags of paper towels in my pack. They are light, and can be of great value, if needed.
A piece of plastic sheeting and twine will suffice for a shelter if needed. However, a very light bivy tent is a good choice. There are other options to consider.
HEADLIGHT & EXTRA BATTERIES
I date my batteries when I install them in my headlight. Modern LED/LCD/COB headlights don’t need spare bulbs, so a second headlight is advised. Check the batteries before every trip to make sure you will have light when needed.
A COB type of headlight floods the view with way more lumens , hence I've noticed that depth of field and obstacles awareness is improved substantially. See “HINTS”
I carry several sizes of knives. One for small work like cutting up apples, but a large one if I’m on a potential difficult hike. A large Bowie type knife can be used to make kindling. See “HINTS”
FIRST AID KIT
You must decide what you take with you. Be extra careful in your selection of proper First Aid supplies.
Remember, you are responsible for yourself.
Carry what you may need, and add as necessary. Feminine pads are great items to have in your first aid kit.
Once on a week long ski trip in Kokanee Glacier National Park, one of the women started her period early. She was two weeks early, so she was in a bad way. We made a game of creating pads from the very sparse inventory of materials. It worked. And think of this...you could be a savior in case of a normal emergency. See “HINTS”
A whistle, canned air horn, or a mirror work well.
SUN TAN LOTION & SUN PROTECTION
Make sure your sun tan lotion is always fresh, and close at hand. I prefer a large sun hat like Sunday Afternoon, Solaris, or Sun Blocker. 100% UVA/UVB/IRA sun glasses are wise. If you spend time on snow, side and nose shades on sun glasses will protect your eyes and nose from reflected rays. Snow blindness is a very serious affliction while out. See”HINTS”.
The following are other suggested items to take with you. I personally have 84 essentials I take on every trip. I have a check list to assure I’m not forgetting any items. You may have more or less.
MEDICAL INFO CARD. (MIC)
In our RESOURCE section, scroll down to MEDICAL INFORMATION, and open that file.
Here you will find a MEDICAL INFORMATION CARD tab .
Click on "Download File" and make a copy. Please fill it out and keep it in the top pocket of your pack.
If you are unable to tell the triage nurse your personal information, this card can be of great value.
I once made up my list of absolutely needed items. Items I don't want to leave home without.
There were 83 items on that list.
Now I'm not saying you should carry 83 items, but at least, carry the 13 ESSENTIALS.
Below is an important membership I take with me everywhere.
This one can save you tens of thousand of dollars.
LIFE FLIGHT NETWORK
If you ever need to be transported because of a medical emergency, Life Flight is a small membership fee, to pay for the services they provide.
A helicopter transport may cost tens of thousands of dollars. But for 69$, you and all dependents living at your address are covered.
This membership does not act as a rescue service, tho.
Your transportation is determined by your medical need to be rushed to the nearest hospital.
It also covers ground and fixed wing medical transportation.
Call 800.982.9299, or log onto lifeflight.org.
DO NOT PASS UP THIS OPPORTUNITY. CALL AND BECOME A MEMBER NOW.
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