Tuesday, December 24, 2013
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Wednesday, December 11, 2013
by Peter Kummerfeldt
Saturday, December 7, 2013
To read the rest of the article go here.
A winter trip participant asked me recently if it was OK for them to bring a three-season tent on a winter backpacking trip in the White Mountains.
Here’s how I replied:
Read the rest of Philip's post here.
Thursday, December 5, 2013
It is just common sense.
You need a good compass to match your needs.
So what works and what is acceptable for the average hiker?
Regretably, most retail sales staff just don't have a clue.
You can by a decent magnetic compass for under $20. You can buy a crummy compass for under $10. So it is not a hard choice.
I recommend a baseplate compass like the one above (Silva Ranger - $50.) or the Burnton 8010G (green baseplate on right; under $20).
Importantly, each can be adjusted for declination.
For more information check here.
Wednesday, December 4, 2013
If you fall into icy water or through the ice on a winter ski or snowshoe trip, you are immediately in serious trouble. How do you get out after you’ve fallen in? Here’s some advice and information from an expert.
My faceplant was inelegant, a complete surprise and the shock of going into the water caused an involuntary gasp. When I emerged, sputtering, my hunting buddies all cheered.
But first things first: How exactly do you get out of a hole in the ice? Is there a best technique for getting back onto solid ice? And how long can you last immersed in ice water?
To read the rest of Leon's post go here.
Tuesday, December 3, 2013
I wrote the following post in August 2012 for www.seattlebackpackersmagazine.com.
In my backcountry land navigation class, I am frequently asked about the need to carry a back-up compass. Students are generally interested in a lightweight model that is low in cost, small in size, and would “fill in” as needed.
I purposefully evaluated several models that many consider to be back-up options. When choosing a back-up magnetic compass, the hiker must ask himself, “What are my priorities? Accuracy? Reliability? Cost? Size and weight?”
To read the rest of the post go here.
Monday, December 2, 2013
Wednesday, November 27, 2013
By Peter Kummerfeldt
Based on what we read there should always be a convenient hollow tree, rocky overhang or cave a person in trouble could use for shelter. It’s strange how when you are not in trouble any number of suitable shelters can be found but when you really need one – they are in short supply. Murphy’s Law I guess!
I have always believed that if you are going to need a shelter you had better have the materials with you to build it! I also believe that it is impossible for the typical survivor to build a waterproof, wind proof shelter from natural materials!
To read the rest of the post go here.
To read the complete post go here.
Thursday, November 21, 2013
Check out Peter Kummerfeldt's short video on signalling with a mirror here.
Wednesday, November 20, 2013
This is a fine article from http://seattlebackpackersmagazine.com/ about the myths associated with Search and Rescue teams.
by Erika Klimecky
So now you know who they are. They are the people that the news stations refer to when “a search is underway”. They are the teams that roll out of bed at all hours and go out into the back-country to find missing or lost people. They find evidence, follow tracks and bring people out of the wilderness and back to safety. But there is still a lot of confusion and questions about how Search and Rescue operates. So let’s straighten that out a bit.
Let’s debunk some myths about search and rescue.
To read the rest of the post go to here.
Tuesday, November 19, 2013
For the last several days I have been working with my Search and Rescue (SAR) team on a forest fire in the Pacific Northwest. The team has helped to coordinate the potential evacuation of a small community and has worked with Forest Service staff to assist stranded hikers. Getting these hikers out safely has been a priority.
To read the rest of the post go here.
Monday, November 18, 2013
Sunday, November 17, 2013
To view Dan's complete post go here.
Friday, November 15, 2013
A few months ago, I was trying to determine a focus for the next CleverHiker video series. For our second season, I wanted get away from gear and focus on teaching skills. The idea came about to make a 10-episode series on the most critical trail skills and I started to scribble down ideas.
It didn’t take long to realize that there were far too many critical skills to cram into a single series. So, instead of filming one full series, I decided to film two. I’m calling the two-part series Essential Trail Skills I & II and I’m excited to hear your thoughts. The series will be 20 HD instructional videos to teach the most important trail skills for backpackers of all levels and it’s set to launch in early 2014.
To read the rest of the post visit sectionhiker.com here.
Check out Dave Collins' web site at www.cleverhiker.com
Thursday, November 14, 2013
There is nothing magic here. Nothing novel. Nothing original.
People enjoy talking about new technology, equipment or skills that they have learned. They are justifiably proud of their new knowledge.
A good friend got me very interested in using an alcohol stove while backpacking. It is economical, takes up little space and weighs but a few ounces. The problem is, that I can't get mine going reliably. I need more time with it to learn the basics; how simple can that be. But still, it is not working for me.
In SAR training two years ago, one team member told me how a computer mouse pad is great as a stove platform, in the snow while winter camping. So I try it out. I accidentally spill come Coleman white gas fuel on the pad. When I light the stove, of course the pad catches on fire; just great. The spot fire on the pad quickly burned out and just singed the top surface of the pad other wise it was just fine. This works for me.
There are a lot of books out there on backcountry travel and survival. Survival has become very popular. I suggest reading these with a critical eye. If there is a particular technique or skill set that you want to adopt, test it at home first. Though the author may be on the speaking/sportsman show circuit, has his own cable show or is repeatedly on network news be critical. Remember, when you are in a jam, you are responsible for you.
Become cautious when reading old and dated material. For example, in the late 1960's I was give a copy of Colin Fletcher's book, "The Complete Walker." This book got me hooked on backpacking. That said, the book is based on lessons and experiences from almost fifty years ago. Doing some research and review of current methodology may be best.
Interestingly, I am hearing from my students more often, "I heard this was used by the Special Forces," or "I read in a magazine that this is what Special Forces do." Well, OK, but is that really true or better yet, is that important for your needs. It gets down to research and experience.
So my point would be, as you prepare for a trip or hike, as you put new gear into your pack, test it in advance. Make sure it works for you.
Wednesday, November 13, 2013
by Peter Kummerfeldt
The single most important step in getting rescued quickly is to leave a trip plan with two reliable people you can count on to raise the alarm when you don’t show up on time. It follows, then, that having left a trip plan you abide by it and if you deviate from the plan, inform those with whom you left the original plan.
Include in the Plan:
To read the rest of Peter's post go here.
Friday, November 8, 2013
This is a site that is serious about land navigation and GPS in particular. I subscribe to their newsletter - great info.
Here is a sample from Peter at their site. This came in their latest newsletter.
He has a info sheet on using Google Earth too.
|About Google Earth|
"Your Did you know how easily you can use Google Earth as a planning tool? Gone are the days when GPS owners had to pay for access to Google Earth; anyone can now import/export gps data to/from Google Earth, create a pathway in Google Earth (the equivalent of a GPS track),save to a computer and import into their gps device or favourite computer mapping software.
The secret of easy exchange of data is the compatibility of computer mapping
like Basecamp with Google’s file format (KMZ) and or an ability to accept and
exchange gps data in both KMZ and the International GPS file format GPS eXchange
OK in some cases it may be a two-step process and you may have to use something like BaseCamp to convert a saved KMZ file into a GPX file, but it’s still a straight forward process. If you would like to know more we've added our worksheet to the technical support pages of team membership and a new lesson to our online resource."
Wednesday, November 6, 2013
Read my other post on topographic lines here.
Monday, November 4, 2013
There are lots of references to help the hiker use a topographic maps.
Sometimes there is nothing better than using a quality power point presentation.
There are two that I recommend taking a look at.
www.landnavigation.org is a comprehensive site dedicated to map and compass training.
A site at the World of Teaching presents a good introduction to topographic maps. Go here to their web site.
Thursday, October 31, 2013
The following post is by Rebecca Walsh at www.seattlebackpackersmagazine.com. Good info.
"Just because it’s autumn doesn’t mean that hiking season is over. In fact in many parts of the United States hiking is at its best once the temperature drops and the leaves change color.
However, in most parts of the United States hiking during the fall also means sharing the wilderness with hunters. Here are a few tips for hiking safely during hunting season."
To read the rest of the post go here:
I will add to Rebecca's recommendations that it is extremely important to file a trip plan to be left with a responsible person. For more information on a trip plan review my post here.
Sunday, October 27, 2013
Friday, October 25, 2013
During my wilderness survival classes I am frequently asked about finding a multi day, hands on and rigorous survival course of instruction.
There are a few schools in the Pacific Northwest that cover backcountry survival, GPS navigation and primitive sustainability. Generally I direct folks to Peter Kummerfeldt's summer program because I know that his instruction is first rate and based on years of experience; visit www.outdoorsafe.com.
I frequently visit the web site www.equipped.org. There is a thread running now that discusses vetting a survival instructor. One response was by Bruce Zawalsky who is the Chief Instructor at the Boreal Wilderness Institute. The institute can be visited through their web site www.boreal.net.
Bruce has several thoughtful articles posted on the site that outlines how to become a survival instructor (instructor), instructor development (development) and choosing an instructor (credible).
I also learned of a web site that lists many survival schools throughout the US; schools.
Monday, October 21, 2013
The following post is by Erika K at www.seattlebackpackersmagazine.com. Erika is an accomplished long distance hiker in her own right.
"What’s in your first aid kit? It might vary based on your health, your concerns and your hiking location."
"Your kit might look nothing like mine. You might be prepared for things that I am not and vice versa. The group of things here are meant to make you think about trail emergencies and the items you might use to handle them. Some people are comfortable sewing up a gaping wound with used fishing line and a fish hook. Others might lose their cookies at the sight of blood. Whatever you decide to pack, pay attention the terrain you will be travelling in, the weather, and how near (or far) you will be from help, should you need it. If you are out overnight and slice yourself open so you can’t walk, it may be 24 hours or more before Search and Rescue can get to you. These are merely suggestions."
The following is what my SAR team requires as a minimum; go here.
A good first aid kit complements the "ten essentials."
Friday, October 18, 2013
"I am feeling sore all over today. I’m surprised because our bushwhack over to Southwest Twin Mountain turned out to be easier than we expected. Still bushwhacking is much more strenuous than regular trail hiking and we had a long hike out which must explain it." From Philip Werner's post.
To read his complete post go here.
Mini, pocket sized survival kits are in every outdoors store. But, really, what good are they?
Several years ago, the editor at the newspaper I worked at tasked me to write a practical winter survival guide for Central Oregon. It was an investigative reporting assignment, and I interviewed local experts from the Deschutes
County Search and Rescue, as well as local survival equipment tester, the late Jim Grenfell, and internationally-known survival expert Peter Kummerfeldt.
The end result of months of research and testing was a system that included a personal, pocket-sized kit as well as a complete backpack setup for hardcore winter survival. (No survival kit system is perfect, and no kit will work for everyone. View any system as a baseline for developing a kit that will work for you.)
The pocket-sized kit, which was designed to fit into an Altoids tin, drew some fire from the local “survival guru” due in part to his not reading the entire story and the warnings.
To read the rest of this post, visit Leon's web site here.
Wednesday, October 16, 2013
titled Why Humans Get Lost. Through interviews and case studies she evaluates what causes hikers to get lost in the backcountry. She identifies that in some case carelessness is a contributor as is our loss of the natural ways of navigating by the stars and sun. At one point in a section of the article called “Use it or Lose IT” she states:
rise and fall of ground topography, the location and direction of water sources and manmade travel aids such as roads and trails. These maps also identify hand rails.. Hand rails are the hiker’s visual cues of the land. Hand rails include linear features such as roads, streams, ridgelines, trails and fence lines. Hand rails must be visible on the map to be of use.
Monday, October 14, 2013
Sunday, October 13, 2013
I have received a few emails about what coordinate system to use with a GPS?
To read the rest of the article go here.
Wednesday, October 9, 2013
A hiker's trip plan and an essential part of the planning for a backcountry hunt or hike. Never leave home without leaving one behind.
Tuesday, October 8, 2013
From CBS news:
"When Cathy Frye and her husband Rick McFaralnd arrived at Big Bend Ranch state park last Wednesday, they set out for what was supposed to be an afternoon hike, but by nightfall they were lost and in trouble.
"We discovered that there had been quite a bit of rain and what looked to be flash flooding that had knocked a lot of the trail markers out of the way," said Frye.
Tired and out of water the couple had no choice but to spend the night outside."
And they spent several days outside.
I have to wonder what kind of gear they had with them? The ten essentials, don't leave home with out them.
To read the rest of the CBS post go here.