Scouting got us started with this basic thought…Be Prepared.
What does being prepared mean to you and your outdoor adventures? Is it just about deciding to go somewhere and going? For us, it is not. We like to have good solid plans on where we are going, how we are going to get there and what we are going to do once we are there.
Why does where we go or what we decide to do matter?
Hunting in our lease is different from hunting in someone else’s with them vs hunting public land. We always want to know the lay of the land. We want to see a map of the roads as much as an aerial that shows the environments. Hunting in a swamp compared to a sandhill makes a difference. Elevation maps may be needed too. Hunting with 2 or 3 people you know vs by yourself with an unknown number of people is critical information. All of these dynamics to where we are helps us properly prepare for a successful hunt.
Fishing on the river vs the flats make a difference. Your gear, your tack and boat is all influenced by where you go. If you are going to a new location, try to take someone who has been there before with you the first time. Knowing the average depths of your water source makes the difference between fishing or floundering.
Hiking or backpacking a local trail vs a trail 5 hours from home makes a huge difference. Think about how much the terrain varies in a 5 hour circle around your home. There is no way to properly prepare unless you pinpoint the location, reference maps, trail guides, hiking group websites from that area and ask questions.
Camping at a park vs camping in the wilderness is a huge difference. Knowing whether you will be parked at your site or having to hike to your site is crucial information. Face it, we all take more stuff when we know the vehicle is located where we are camping. The tent is usually bigger too.
Gathering all of this intel, regardless of what type of outdoor activity you are venturing out to do makes the difference in how you prepare. Being prepared is important. Having enough water, food, supplies and proper equipment determine your success…it may even determine your survival.
We try to always be prepared for the worse when we go anywhere. A day hike still involves a backpack, water, extra water, water filter, first aid kit, survival kit, whistle, compass, lighter, matches and flint, rope, rain poncho, emergency blanket, knife, flashlight and lots of small lightweight foods.
Are we over the top for being prepared? We see people on trails all the time with nothing. No water or anything.
Short hikes can be just as dangerous as long ones.
People lose the trail, get turned around, confused and lost a lot more than most realize. Some areas have experienced this happening so much that the local emergency response has put up posts with signs indicating the post number so that rescue can find them faster. Personally, I find those type of posts a huge distraction on what I am there to see and experience. Sadly, they are needed because most people simply don’t properly prepare for adventures.
So, if there are no signs, no cell service, no quick route in sight to get you back to your vehicle…then what? Do you know what to do? What if someone with you or someone that you come up on is hurt? Hurt to the point that they are incapacitated? How will you handle this? What if dark has fallen before you have found a route out?
It’s dark, getting colder and I just heard…wait…what’s that?
One thing we like to do is educate and empower others on how to survive.
Good planning and preparations with what you take will make it easier for you to survive until you are found. So once you calm down, think…did I tell anyone where I was going? Will someone know where to come look for me? Having a plan and providing it to someone is all part of the initial planning.
Now, what is the next most important thing to do?
Start whistling loud! You did bring a whistle right? Your lips, lungs and/or voice will wear out fast otherwise. Blow 3 short whistles, 3 long whistles and then 3 more short whistles. Yes, that is the distress signal that some of us remember being taught in grade school. Start that while you work on what is most important…what is most important?
So, we have air…we need shelter in 3 hours, water in 3 days…hopefully we have some water, if not we need to try to locate some in the area or figure out a way to catch some. Yes, I said catch some. Rain, dew or other techniques will work in extreme situations. For now though focus on locating a good shelter or building one. Again, extreme situations may have you with only a fire and your emergency blanket…if you packed it. A fire is critical for staying warm. Even in southerly states, nights can get chilly without a fire. It’s no time for a bonfire…conserve as much wood as you can…you have all night to stay warm. Look around and decide…time goes by fast from this point on. The more you can get done in day light or before your flashlight batteries die, the better off you are. You did pack a flashlight right?
So, you are prepped for surviving the night…what next? How will anyone find you out there? You don’t even know where there is…how will they?
Yes, there is that darn distress call again…3 short, 3 long and 3 short. I know what you’re thinking…I thought I would use Algebra long before I used this!
Hopefully this has you thinking about what you pack…not just for a hike, but for any outdoor adventures. We will be diving into each of these rules of 3 deeper with our next posts so stay tuned for – 3 Minutes Without Air!
Share with us – how prepared are you when you pack for adventures? It’s safe here…be honest and tell us what you do to be prepared.