Map, Compass & GPS

Map, Compass & GPS
Wild flowers along Fall Creek on the way to the Green Lakes - Oregon

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

What Should You Carry

As summer winds down with Labor Day behind us, a new group of backcountry travelers have moved into the woods – hunters.

All too often, SAR teams locate folks that are lost, poorly prepared and are not carrying the right gear.  It’s carrying the right gear in the backcountry that I’d like to focus on for a moment.
Check lists for hunters abound on the Internet.  You can find suggested equipment checklists on forums and chat rooms, retailer’s and outfitter’s websites.  All good stuff.
Personally, I like to use a modified form of the “ten essentials” as my base line of what to carry; note that I said modified.  Here is what I use as my baseline:
  1. Navigation (map, compass & GPS)         
  2. Sun protection (Sun screen, sunglasses, a hat)
  3. Insulation (extra cloth)
  4. Illumination (head lamp, flash light)
  5. First-aid supplies (Check with the Red Cross’ web site or McCann’s book listed below)
  6. Fire starting material (metal match, cotton balls soak with petroleum jelly, REI’s storm proof matches, BIC lighter)
  7. Repair kit and tools
  8. Nutrition (extra food)
  9. Hydration (extra water) & filtration system
  10. Emergency shelter (not a space blanket but a windproof water proof shelter, and a blue poly tarp)
I’ll add to the list by including:
  1.  Communications (signal mirror, a SPOT or ACR locator beacon, cell phone)_
I’ll take this list two steps further by checking two of my favorite reference books:
  1. Surviving a Wilderness Emergency by Peter Kummerfeldt
  2. Build the Perfect Survival Kit by John D. McCann
The intent of carrying all this gear is that should you have to spend the unintended night or nights out you will be prepared.  You may not be comfortable but you'll have far better odds at surviving.
I also recommend you involve children in the development of your family’s gear check list.  Listen to their recommendations.  Have them carry their gear too.  Start them early and teach them what you know.  Let them participate.
Have fun and be safe.       

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