THIS SECTION IS EXTREMELY IMPORTANT...... IF YOU DON’T GET ANYTHING OUT OF THIS SITE. HEED THIS SECTION.
THE 13 essentials have a drop down menu page.
PLEASE, make up a complete essentials pouch for every person in your family, and make sure each companion has them, and knows how to use them.
Earlier in the winter of 2021, a father and daughter went to the Cabinet Mountain Wilderness, for a day of backcountry skiing on Engle Peak.
The father was on a cornice when it broke off, sending him sliding down the mountain. He and his daughter got separated. They spent the night out about 600 feet apart, but didn’t know it.
The father, had most all the food and emergency supplies. They both survived, but the daughter spent a terrible night alone on a mountain.
Or, what if you are separated and you puncture your leg or arm. And the other hiking partner has the First Aid Kit?
Each person must be responsible for his or her safety and care.
If one has only a half bottle of water and a candy bar, their chances are poor to survive a night out, especially in the spring, summer and fall.
But it can get cold even in the summer.
This also applies to all food, snacks, and water.. If you carry the supplies for your spouse, and you find yourself unfound, what are they going to do.
Its really simple, DON’T PLAN TO FAIL, BY FAILING TO PLAN.
As a backup, I screenshot images of my route both vertical and horizontal. By using two fingers on the screen, pull down, and the perspective will be horizontal.
Write notes on your phone for reference in the route and turns you need to take.
The more info and maps each person has, increases the odds on surviving a separation or being lost, I mean unfound. I try never to be lost. I said tried!
Clothing is a critical issue for anyone going into nature. If you don’t dress appropriately, you will pay a price. The following information is meant to show you the best, least expensive way of dressing yourself for success on the trail.
First and MOST IMPORTANT...”COTTON KILLS” in the mountains. I love my soft cotton shirts and other clothing while around the house or town, but I never wear cotton in the mountains. Cotton tends to soak up sweat as you work thru tough hikes. Then you are wet. If the weather changes or you go deep into the woods, your bodies core temps can drop to dangerous levels.
Below are some suggestions that have worked for me over the last several decades. They may or may not work for you. And that’s okay.
The base layer is worn next to your skin, and is designed to wick any moisture away from your body.
There are so many options when choosing a base layer. The way you decide, is to try a brand out. If it works, buy it. If it doesn’t, keep researching options until you find a product that works for you.
All major manufactures make state of the art base layers. But that isn’t to say they are the best for you.
For those wanting warmth and wicking capabilities, I’d suggest Indera Two Layer Pro, SEE BELOW. I’ve skied for 62 years and have found nothing to match the Indera Two Layer tops and bottoms. The inside is polypropylene, while the outer layer is Moreno wool. If I have one gripe about the Indera, it is that the waist band deteriorates after a lot of washing. But at for about 22$ per piece, it’s a great buy and works well.
Bunch the excess material on both sides of the waist band and sew it together.
The next layer is the thermo layer. The thermo layer is designed to keep you warm. They come in weights like 200 grams or higher. The thicker the fleece weight, the warmer the garment. For those on a budget, look for an off brand within your budget.
Your outer layer is designed to not necessarily only keep you warm, but dry.
Do not scrimp on your outer layer. They should have features like a hood with a draw string to fit your head snuggly, removable hood, and a small sun visor. Other important features are a powder skirt to keep the snow out, pit zips to cool our self ( the larger the better), easy open and close pockets, and completely waterproof. Look below for washing and treating.
Wool has been used by people for centuries. It’s biggest plus, is when it’s wet, it’s still warm. Secondly, it very inexpensive, as apposed to the high tech fabrics. Don’t disregard the importance of wool.
Pressure breathing is a way of breathing that allows more oxygen into your blood stream. As you are approaching a steeper section of a trail, inhale deeply. Then purse your lips like you would do if you were blowing out a candle at arms length. Blow steadily thru your restricted lips. By the time you reach the summit, you will understand why pressure breathing is important to know. In the winter, it makes you feel warmer.
On lower angle slopes, you don't need to restrict your exhale as much as on steep slopes
A camera with fully charged batteries and lots of memory, can be a useful tool. I have used my camera to shoot back at trail intersections or Y’s to make sure I don’t miss key turn offs, upon returning.
I also carry a dozen 18' lengths of bright pink surveyors tape. I loop the tape over a branch, then pull the ends thru th loop. This allows me to easily retrieve the tape as I walk past it. Do not tie the tape. Future hikers may think its the way to go. and it may not apply to them.
Also, if you are going off trail, take an image of the direction and area you are headed. Once you get way over there, it just doesn’t look like it did from way back there. An image may be useful in choosing the route you need to go.
I use screen shots of goggle maps. I draw the proposed route, and use them to understand my surroundings in the field.
You can shoot vertical and horizontal images of the route, and refer to them on your phone.
Having said this...DO NOT FAIL TO TAKE A FOREST & TOPO MAP ON EACH TRIP. BATTERIES DIE.
Tell someone where you are going & when to call the sheriff if you are overdue. If you change your destination, make sure your reliable person knows where your new destination is. If you don’t, you run the chance of not being found in a timely manor.
BUGS AND INSECTS
While on backpacking trip or around a campfire, you can find old rotting wood (from long downed and rotting trees), and set them smoldering.
Place these chunks of wood on rocks around your area to repel bugs and insects.
BE EXTRA CAREFUL NOT TO IGNITE SURROUNDING DRY FUEL.
-Types of headlights. Now a days, we have LED and LCD headlamps to show our way. There is, however, a new type of headlight to consider. A (Circuit On Board) COB headlamp, scatters the light and allows for more depth of field as you walk. I carry one of each with extra batteries, on every outing.
THIS IS MY OPINION. YOU MAY NOT AGREE, AND THATS OKAY.
What would you do, if you were on an extended hike, and it gets dark, and your batteries die. Obviously, you would replace them.
But many outlets and online stores are selling rechargeable headlights.
What do you do if the batteries die?
I know a lot of you are younger hikers, and use electronics in the woods.
Like electronic compasses, rechargeable headlights are not your best option
-First Aid Kit are a must for EVERY participant. If you get separated from your group and gouge you leg, you will need your own FIRST AID KIT. They should include a variety of band-aids, compression bandages, antiseptic creams, butterfly bandages, alcohol wipes, gauze wraps, Conan wraps, hand sanitizer, and feminine hygiene pads (even if you are a guy), to name a few, are a must.
“2nd SKINS BURN PADS” by Spenco are a must. If a heel feels hot, STOP Immediately, clean the area with an alcohol wipe and apply a Second Skin Burn Pad. I prefer the type you have to cut to size, as apposed to the patches. After cleaning the area, cut to size and apply as directed. I carry athletic tape to secure the Second Skins. You will be amazed at how well this product works, and your ability to get up and walk away without pain. I also carry several different types of Coban’s self adhesive wraps for a verity of needs. Whatever you decide to carry, practice placement and proper cleanliness, so you know how to properly treat an injury.
Im not a fan of Ace bandages. If they are applied too tight, you could restrict blood flow.
PLEASE don’t stab yourself at home to make it real!
It is imperative to change out old or used supplies for new items. Nothing is more frustrating then to need an item you are out of. If anything gets wet or dirty, toss it out and resupply your First Aid Kit. Always pick up your bandage papers and wipes before you leave the area.
METHODS TO SYTART A FIRE
Always carry waterproof matches, extra lighters.
A BOW FIRE HAND DRILL
Items you will need.Twine, rope, or shoe lace
Find a 2" diameter bowed (arched) shape branch about 2-3 feet long. Tie the cord to each end to look like a bow (bow & Arrow).
Find a dry 2' diameter stick, and carve one end into a point.
Find a piece of wood that you can split with your knife, and dig a 1' diameter divot into the the wood close to the edge, then cut a slot out of the edge.
Wrap the cord around the pointed stick, and place the pointed stick into the divot.
Have ready some small dry kindling, atop a piece of dry wood.
Place the upper part of the stick against your knee for stability.
Use the bow to rotate the stick in the hole. Soon the pointed stick will start to smolder. Blow on the smoldering wood to fan the fire.
Once the kindling starts to burn, sweep it off onto the kindling. Blow on it to fan the flames.
This method may take some time if you can"t find dry wood.
If the tree branches around you have stringy moss hanging off the branches, use it as kindling.
There are commercial fire pastes, fire sticks that look like fat matches with strickers.
Make up a small tin of dryer lint saturated with vaseline
On winter hikes, take a road flare. They burn at 1500° or more, and can start wet wood on fire.
I always carry several ziplock bags for table napkins, paper hand towels, toilet paper, etc. They can be used for many needs.
You can use the 6" knife and a small 16", 3" diameter branch to chop wood.
Place some wood on a rock vertically, and your knife blade down on top of the wood.
Holding your knife steady, use the branch to pound the knife down thru the wood. The smaller the kindling the easier to start.
As stated above, if the tree branches have stringy lichen hanging from its branches, collect a lot of it to use as "kindling" starter.
You also can pull bark off a tree, and use the driest wood inside as starter.
Use your imagination to create and carry what you may need in an emergency.
Start by sticking a long piece of kindling into the ground above your tinder at about a 30-degree angle, with the other end of the stick pointing into the wind. Then lean smaller pieces of kindling against both sides of the longer piece to build a tent. As the kindling catches fire add more kindling, followed by your firewood.
FLINT AND STEEL STRIKERS
Flint and Steel strikers work very well to start fires. before you go out on a hike, practice how to use them.
Use an eye glass lens and the sun to start a fire.
Listed below are types of fire starters, but the following can help getting damp or wet woods to light. In a forest, there usually is the light green or black stringy moss that hangs from tree branches. Not only does it make a good fire starter, it can be used like a sponge to collect water.
Solid fuel fire starter. Some look like thick matches.
Magnesium Fire Strikers do well if they are dry.
Fire Starter Pastes are another option.
PACK IT IN- PACK IT OUT.
The USFS does not have the staff or time to clean up the many trails and campsites within their districts. Please clean up after yourself and others if needed. And please remember, aluminum foil and glass DO NOT BURN. Please pack them out.
-An old saying goes...”if you can carry it in full, you can certainly carry it out empty.”
LEAVE NO TRACE.
As states and the USFS don’t have the staff to clean up after you. Please clean up your, and others messes.
FREEZE DRIED FOOD MANUFACTURERS
On a recent trip up near Priest Lake, we noticed that if you let the pouch sit for over 15 minutes, the freeze dried meals taste much better.
The following are companies that make freeze dried meals for hiking and backpacking, with a twist.
I would like to invite you to tell us about your experience and taste of the foods listed below. Contact Chic thru this website.
Recently we realized that after you pour your boiling water into the food pouch, seal it and let it sit for about for a total of 20+ minutes.
This tends to soften the freeze dried food more and mixes the flavors better
If you have any suggestions on the above topics, please use our contact form. When I include it in this section, I will credit you for your advise.
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