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Must haves for long hikes/outdoor exploration?

outdoors hiking survival backpacking camping

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#21 Chris Szaroleta

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Posted 31 January 2015 - 02:11 PM

I know people that have medical info tattooed on them in lieu of a bracelet. Always a good idea.

 

Hmmm...that sorta just blew my mind.  


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#22 Stupendous Walrus

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Posted 31 January 2015 - 02:41 PM

Hmmm...that sorta just blew my mind.


Did it? It seems normal to me, but that's years of tattoo work so maybe my opinion is skewed.

#23 Dom

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Posted 31 January 2015 - 02:51 PM

I know people that have medical info tattooed on them in lieu of a bracelet. Always a good idea.


The medical info tattoo can be a good idea. But for me, if any info ever changes, then your changing the tattoo. Not impossible, but certainly not as easy as a new ID. Also, from what I understand, first responders are trained to look for wrist IDs, a tattoo may not be obvious in the heat of the moment if they're looking for something like a bracelet.
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#24 Stupendous Walrus

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Posted 02 February 2015 - 10:22 PM

The medical info tattoo can be a good idea. But for me, if any info ever changes, then your changing the tattoo. Not impossible, but certainly not as easy as a new ID. Also, from what I understand, first responders are trained to look for wrist IDs, a tattoo may not be obvious in the heat of the moment if they're looking for something like a bracelet.


Well usually just things that aren't going to change, i.e. diabetes or medical info like blood type. Personally, I want mine to be O negative because they're a cool band.
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#25 Chris Szaroleta

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Posted 02 February 2015 - 10:23 PM

Well usually just things that aren't going to change, i.e. diabetes or medical info like blood type. Personally, I want mine to be O negative because they're a cool band.

Hahahahaha!!!



#26 James Caro

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Posted 04 February 2015 - 11:06 AM

What a great well put together topic...Chris your two and half hours was well worth it! What a cracking break down of kit ! :)
On long hikes I squeeze all my kit into a 35 litre day pack I concur with you on the tarp choice ...and due to its small pack size carry a Dpm basha due to the damp and cold of living on an island and the continuous European weather we have here ( it seems like 10 months of rain two of Sun! The tarp and basha offer me a dry water proof base choice ! To set up my shelter it also limits my gear being covered in mud. I do find my iPod nano helps me eat up the miles when walking....it's small and can fit in any small zipped pocket.... so I would include it in my hike gear kit.:)
Clothing wise the military have researched and come up with such hard wearing useful clothing I find myself wearing military style clothing but in preference colour of black ...guess I got used to wearing it for first response :) and of course Iowa black waterproof leather mountain boots. :)

#27 Stupendous Walrus

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Posted 04 February 2015 - 11:48 PM

I would like to add: one of the absolute best firestarters is something we ALL have: dryer lint. Take a water tight container such as a film canister, and pack it. That stuff catches fire if you look at it the wrong way!
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#28 Marc

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Posted 05 February 2015 - 08:37 AM

I would like to add: one of the absolute best firestarters is something we ALL have: dryer lint. Take a water tight container such as a film canister, and pack it. That stuff catches fire if you look at it the wrong way!

 

Yes, dryer lint works.  I like your idea Walrus.  My version is a bit bulkier...  I stuffed drying lint and wood shavings in a cardboard egg carton, then I poured melted wax all over.  When in need, you peel one or two "eggs" and light the cardboard.    


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#29 Dom

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Posted 05 February 2015 - 04:31 PM

Yes, dryer lint works.  I like your idea Walrus.  My version is a bit bulkier...  I stuffed drying lint and wood shavings in a cardboard egg carton, then I poured melted wax all over.  When in need, you peel one or two "eggs" and light the cardboard.    

 

that's genius!


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#30 Stupendous Walrus

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Posted 05 February 2015 - 09:47 PM

Yes, dryer lint works. I like your idea Walrus. My version is a bit bulkier... I stuffed drying lint and wood shavings in a cardboard egg carton, then I poured melted wax all over. When in need, you peel one or two "eggs" and light the cardboard.

Those sound fantastic, but like you said: harder to pack/carry. Probably go up awesome though.
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#31 Marc

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Posted 06 February 2015 - 09:44 AM

Those sound fantastic, but like you said: harder to pack/carry. Probably go up awesome though.

 

Yes they burn well and slow.  So if the wood is really wet, they burn long enough to dry it up and start the fire.  I use them for camping and they're not adequate for EDC.


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#32 Stupendous Walrus

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Posted 06 February 2015 - 03:31 PM

Yes they burn well and slow.  So if the wood is really wet, they burn long enough to dry it up and start the fire.  I use them for camping and they're not adequate for EDC.


A very valuable quality, working in the rain.
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#33 Chris Szaroleta

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Posted 07 February 2015 - 11:32 AM

Yes, dryer lint works.  I like your idea Walrus.  My version is a bit bulkier...  I stuffed drying lint and wood shavings in a cardboard egg carton, then I poured melted wax all over.  When in need, you peel one or two "eggs" and light the cardboard.    

 

Great suggestion, Marc!  Could be something you add to the DIY section.  Or perhaps we need a separate DIY for hiking/backpacking/camping... 


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#34 James Caro

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Posted 09 February 2015 - 12:50 PM

Balls! :) not literally you understand :)

..... cotton wall balls soaked in Vaseline mixed in with pencil sharpening broken up on the cotton wool and three small birthday candle s that relight when blown out covered in nail polish..(don't tell my wife! ).... to combat wet weather sealed in 14oz Tabasco tin with a disposable lighter and flint and steel sealed with waterproof tape is my fire starting kit of choice! :)

Also for those of you with esbit / hexamin stoves in your bug out bag a particularly well dwabbed cotten wool and Vaseline ball on top of a hexamin tablet will aid ignition using flint and steel :)


James :)
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#35 coldwater

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Posted 27 February 2015 - 08:46 PM

I'm a minimalist. Unless I know I'm going in for an extended period, I go with almost nothing. Aside from the usual things everyone keeps on them (watch wallet spectacles testicles) I am never outside my property without a blade, and a sidearm. Ever. Even If Im going afield for a night or two, I generally carry a little rolled up mosquito net, a light blanket, fire starter, water straw, and a couple Ranger bars. The rest I acquire. Longer camping trips, I outfit heavier to enjoy myself. It's good to keep your skills honed, and be familiar  with a little discomfort if you come up dry on resources. 


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#36 Jorruss

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Posted 05 March 2015 - 06:42 PM

I wanted to add just a few things that I think are of vital importance that may get overlooked in many long hikes/trips and in many survival/bug out situations. I apologize in advance if something I write was already mentioned, but I didn't get to read through the whole thread before posting this :-)

 

1. Always account for your party's achilles heel - Many people have them. I'm talking about a physical or medical limitation that must be addressed. In my case it's vision. I wear contact lenses. What happens when I'm out in the woods and I have a problem with my contacts, or if the SHTF and I'm in a survival situation? I need to prepare by having extra lenses and solution available, as well as a pair (or two) of prescription glasses as a backup. For others, the weakness may be a medical condition like diabetes, allergies or asthma. Make sure when you go into the woods that you are appropriately prepared.

 

2. Don't forget related accessories for many of your most essential items.

  • Almost everyone carries a good knife with them when hunting, camping or backpacking. Not as many people carry a good sharpener tool to maintain the knife's edge. Bring one and have your buddy bring one too.
  • Do you have a gun/rifle in your kit? If so I'm sure you brought some extra ammo, but what about a cleaning kit? A dirty gun may increase the chance of a malfunction when you need it most. A clean gun is a happy gun.
  • How many of you bring spare boot laces or insoles on a hiking trip? Even the best boots money can buy are useless without laces. Bring an extra pair, they take up almost no space in your pack. Paracord can work fine as emergency laces, but when it comes to my feet I prefer to be prepared with extra laces.
  • I think it goes without saying, but extra batteries tend to come in handy for flashlights. Even the new LED lights can burn through batteries pretty quick, so it pays to find extra room for spares.
  • Some backpacks have replaceable shoulder and hip straps, and if you have the room it may be a good idea to bring spares. Nothing is worst than having a broken pack strap 3 or 4 days into a 10 days backpacking trip. It happened to me. The stitching that secures the shoulder strap to the pack came apart and the plastic buckle broke when I jumped over a stream, leaving me with a 30 pound pack with one shoulder strap until I could make some repairs.
  • I used to pack an extra tent pole into the stuff sack as a backup for much the same reason why you might want a backpack strap in reserve. Broken tent poles suck. Many of the newer tent designs are much better at reducing the stress on the poles, and newer materials make broken poles a rarity, but still... food for thought.
  • If you use a water filtration system that uses disposable filters, obviously you may want to stash a spare somewhere just in case. I prefer to use a system that allows me to clean the filter and reuse it like the Sawyer Mini.

3. Pilots have to submit a flight plan before most flights, so that the authorities will know what your point of origin and destination was to help locate you in case something goes wrong and you drop off the radar. Before heading off into the woods for that backpacking trip, it might be a good idea to submit a written itinerary along with an inventory of supplies you have with you to a trusted friend or family member in case something goes wrong and you don't return as scheduled. The more info a search and rescue team has to help them locate you, the faster they will find you. Unless of course, you are going off the grid and don't want to be found... 

 

4. Do your research! Many moons ago I was a trip director for a summer camp and was in charge of planning and preparation of all canoe trips (overnight trips to 10 day jaunts) that the kids would be going on all summer. In other words, if your kid got lost in the middle of the northern Quebec wilderness, it was my fault. So before you walk into the mountains somewhere, read up on the local topography, climate and vegetation. What plants can you eat, what plants are harmful? What kind of animals are you likely to encounter and how do you repel them if you come face to face with one? Can you make fires and pitch a tent or are you in a conservation area where you must stay in designated campsites? What kind of weather conditions will you encounter? Are you going to be above tree line or in dense forrest? Try to answer these questions before your trip so you can plan for every contingency before you leave. The more prepared you are, the smoother your trip will be and the faster you can react if something goes wrong.

 

5. Practice breeds confidence - I don't know about you, but when I get a new piece of outdoor gear the first thing I want to do is test it out! Don't wait until you are 20 miles into the woods to test out your fancy new stove. If it malfunctions you'll be stuck with your pants around your ankles. Test your gear and challenge your preparedness with day hikes or short overnight trips. Some of my friends like to go car camping with their trailer camper and I like to tag along. I'm the "Bear Grills wannabe" sleeping in a bivvy under the stars, eating MREs and starting a fire with my ferro rod and tampon pieces while everyone else is watching DVDs in their pop-up camper with A/C and eating filet mignon on the gas grill. Those short weekend trips are the perfect time to test out your gear and learn new techniques without the level of stress you'll encounter in a survival scenario. Familiarity with all the items in your pack is of critical importance, and will save your ass when you are in a bind. Try to challenge yourself by learning new ways to start a fire, or fashion some tools from rocks and sticks instead of using your knife. I've even tried to get myself lost in order to practice my orienteering skills with a map and compass and find a way back where I came. I must admit, it's hard to get lost on purpose! Anyway - experiment and have fun with it!

 

That's my two cents. Hope those points help some of you out on your next trip!


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#37 Stupendous Walrus

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Posted 05 March 2015 - 08:40 PM

Good post Jorruss!
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#38 Marc

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Posted 06 March 2015 - 12:31 PM

I enjoyed that post, Jorruss.  I plan on taking my kids (14-16yr old) canoe camping this summer for 3-4 days.  But as soon as snow melts, I will take them out on a few afternoon walks in the woods to test our gear and their abilities.  It's one thing to see Bear Grylls start a fire on TV, and another to actually do it with damp wood and a kid going into hypothermia!  Thanks for sharing your thoughts and advice.


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#39 coldwater

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Posted 06 March 2015 - 05:27 PM

!!!!!!!! Bear Grylis is an IDIOT. He gives me the horrors every time I see his insane antics !!!!!!!! TV at it's absolute most irresponsible worst.


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#40 Chris Szaroleta

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Posted 06 March 2015 - 05:51 PM

!!!!!!!! Bear Grylis is an IDIOT. He gives me the horrors every time I see his insane antics !!!!!!!! TV at it's absolute most irresponsible worst.

 

I always loved and appreciated the way Les Stroud approached outdoor survival in Survivorman (I was always in the anti Bear Grylls camp).  Les gave good, practical advice and when he did something that was outside the acceptable survival norms, he would inform the audience and explain why.  He traveled to his destinations in advance so he could learn how natives survived in the area and then implement those concepts into the show.  You'd never catch him risking his health or bodily harm jumping over an enormous crevice or traversing river rapids to get across just for the sake of the shot.  Remember, he had no crew.  It was just him, his cameras and the minimal amount of gear he brought along.  Man, I miss that show!  

 

It was in 2006, when I saw my first episode of Survivorman, that I shifted from a comfort minded hiker to more of a prepared outdoorsman.  I took the time to actually learn and practice outdoor survival techniques, which have paid off on a couple of occasions.  Ultimately, i now reside somewhere in between those two worlds.  Once you've learned those skills, you can go back to being more comfort minded/minimalist on the trail.  The knowledge goes a lot further than the gear, but the gear sure is nice to have!   ;)


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