Things You MUST BE PREPARED For on the Trails

May 30, 2013

Everyone has their own personal punch list when heading outdoors. Some like a small Pack to carry all the “Stuff” they may need. Others prefer just the bare essentials. But there are a few things that EVERYONE Must address and understand to have a safe and enjoyable time outdoors on the Trails.

INSECT REPELLENTS: This is a MUST item. No matter how you do it, you have to address the problems with SKEETERS, TICKS and at times, Biting Flies. The old school method is a Repellent with over 70% DEET. Actually illegal in the USA until about 15 years or so ago, this level of DEET will surely keep both SKEETERS & TICKS away. It may also melt anything plastic or rubber you have on you as well. NO LIE.

A combination of a 30% DEET Repellent, just for some of your exposed skin and then a heavy treated clothing, with “Permethin”. This is a much less toxic way to deal with SKEETERS and TICKS. Permethrin is a synthetic form of a natural insecticide found in some flowers. It was developed to be put onto our clothing as the delivery system. And it does work!

Those Biting Flies are a category all their own. Most Repellents say they keep them at bay, but I have not found this to be true. In real Biting Fly country, the only real protection is physical netting. Some people will argue this point with me, but this is my personal opinion and experience with them nasty Biting Flies.

SUN SCREEN: Not really a concern years ago, we have learned that to much Sun is deadly. Again, there are varying opinions on what level of Sun screen is effective and what is overkill. I always purchase the highest Block number I can find. An 85, or a 110. Why play around here. Get as much Sun blocking as possible. It is better then the possible results from not getting enough Block. There very minimum should be at least a number 22 UV Block. Download our REPELLENTS & SUNSCREEN SHEET here.

DIRECTIONS: The regular Hiker should be carrying a Whistle/Compass/Light combo. It is a nice compact way to have these three essential items with you and at the ready.A good method for confirming your directions and cross-referencing North, South, East & West, is the old Stick and Shadow set up. Nothing to carry with you. During a short rest stop, you put aShadowSticks stick in the ground and a second stick or stone at the end of where the shadow falls from that first stick. You wait 15 minutes or so, and put another marker where the end of the sticks shadow is at this point. Lay a second stick across the two Marker points and that becomes your East/West line. Download our ORIENTEERING SHEETS for a more detailed explanation of this method. It works flawlessly, and is very useful at verifying even a Compass reading.

TIME: One of the most often forgotten item while heading out onto the Trails is something for telling time. Many of us like to judge that for ourselves. If you do not wish to carry a watch of some sort, there are some ways to estimate the time, and even better ways to tell almostSuntime-Dial exactly how much time before the Sun will set. This is probably your most important time understanding. When to set up your Camp or head back to the Parking lot, and how much time you have before you loose all sun-light. The SAR BARS Method is a very accurate way to tell the amount of time before the Sun will set.



OneFingerSunAs the Sun sets closer to the horizon, and a full hand will not fit between the sun and the earth horizon, then you can start using just single fingers, as 15 minute increments. You will be surprised at how accurate this system of hands and fingers really is for telling you how much time you have before the sun sets. The time before the sun sets and you are left out on the Trails in the dark, is one of the more important bits of knowledge to have while out on the Trails.

So……there are many different critter comforts we all prefer to take with us while roaming the Trails or Parks. But these things listed here, are the items you just simply cannot forget to bring along with you. Applying Insect Repellent at the Parking lot/Trail-head is good……BUT, you must bring more Repellent along with You. The same goes for Sunscreen, Water, Whistle, Compass, and a small flash-light (halogen). Having a Garbage bag or two, folded up small, and jammed into a pocket or Camera case, are also indispensable. Those Bags have many uses out on the Trails. Quick Rain coat. Shelter starter or even a Trash collector.

Select all the extra things you wish to bring out onto the Trails with you. But do not forget the items listed here. these are not optional things. These are NECESSITIES!

One comment

  1. These are excellent tips for any hiker.

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