10 essentials for backcountry safety
Sunday, August 28, 2011
The images of Colorado Hunter 2011
- U.S. Geological Survey topographic map, magnetic compass and other navigational aids such as cell phones, GPS or personal locator beacons. “Keep the GPS and cell batteries warm in a pocket next to your body and keep the cell phone off until you need it,” Levingston says.
- Waterproof matches in a waterproof container, candle/fire starter. Levingston advises bringing a film canister with Vaseline-saturated cotton balls, weather-proofing matches by dipping the tips in molten wax or even a small bottle of (highly flammable) hand sanitizer gel. You also can pull off a bullet’s tip to access the casing’s black powder.
- Extra clothing, including gloves, hat, jacket and rain gear.
- Whistle. “I’ve seen many rescues where the missing person said he could hear us yelling,” Levingston says, advising a pea-less whistle that won’t freeze up.
- Flashlight (with extra batteries and bulb). Levingston advises intentionally flipping over a single battery to avoid draining the battery in your pack by accident.
- Space blanket or two large heavy-duty trash bags.
- Extra food and water. You never know when you’ll be out longer than expected. Pack extra food and water just in case.
- Sunglasses. If a surprise snowstorm hits, you’ll be glad to have them to ward off the glare.
- Pocket knife. Keep it where it belongs...in your pocket. You never know when you might need it.
- First-aid kit. Accidents come in all shapes and sizes, and so do first-aid kits. Bring one that can handle a wide array of ailments.