Hiking/Outdoor Preparedness

Here are some tips submitted to us by one of our customers who often writes about preparedness. He was in the military and is an outdoor enthusiast.

Being prepared helps alleviate panic as does, training and practice. Practice techniques; make every movement a natural one. Your hands will know what to do until your mind catches up. Muscle memory is repetitive actions without thought. Practice is the only way to achieve this. You must be mentally prepared. You must understand you did not cause the disaster, but your actions going forward are critical to you and your family's survival. You should practice any techniques described below before a disaster strikes. Use your own judgment, and verify every piece of equipment, tool or technique. Do not stake your life on anyone else's word. As the saying goes in the military, never let someone else load your weapon or pack your parachute. Survival is up to you.

Clean Water Is the First Priority You Cannot Survive Without It

Water weighs roughly 8.5 pounds per gallon. This means you will not be carrying much in your backpack. You must learn how to collect and make water safe to drink. Boiling is the preferred method. Filter sediments from the water before boiling. You can use a coffee filter, cheesecloth or even a tee shirt. It must rapid boil for three minutes. Use a lid if you have one to collect the condensation caused by the steam. Drain the water from the lid periodically and save for drinking. Boiling removes the oxygen from the water, so once it has cooled shake or stir it well. Note the bubbles; these collect dissolved oxygen from the air. Dissolved oxygen helps control bacteria growth in the water.

Rainwater is safe to drink if it is not runoff, for example, from a roof, sidewalk or roadway. However, collect it and boil it or purify it using household unscented bleach or tincture of iodine. Use unscented Clorox bleach. Eight drops of bleach per gallon is the recommended ratio to kill the bacteria. Boiling or purifying water will not remove harmful chemicals or radiation. Iodine and bleach are the main ingredients in most purification tablets or drops. Tincture of iodine kills bacteria in water as well. Sixteen drops of iodine per gallon is the recommended ratio. Use two percent liquid iodine. Use these methods carefully, and only if boiling and rain collection is not possible. The water must set for an hour before drinking if it is purified using iodine or bleach. It must set longer if it is cool, below 65 degrees Fahrenheit.

Collect rainwater by opening an umbrella and turning it upside down. The water will channel to the center. Drain carefully. Let it rain for about 30 minutes before you begin collecting. This washes smog, pollen and any other airborne contaminates out of the air. You can collect rainwater by using clean plastic or your rain gear, as well.

You may be out in the wilderness and may have to collect water where there does not appear to be any. You can ever do this in your own backyard. Scoop out a shallow depression. Your pack should contain plastic or a poncho. Place the plastic over the hole and secure it with stones along the side. Place a small stone in the center to create a depression. Radiant heat will sweat the moisture from the ground and it will collect on the plastic. You can also place some green foliage in the depression, as well. Plants have moisture in them and the sun will sweat the moisture from them. The water will then run toward the center. It is safe to drink because it is essentially distilled by the sun. Collect morning dew using the plastic. Drape it over some low bushes and create small depressions for the dew to collect.

Never drink water from a still pool. Drink or collect water from a fast moving stream, or find seepage from an underground spring. Nature is one of the best at purifying water. Bacteria grows in stagnate pools. Moving water collects dissolved oxygen. Typically, it will not contain as much bacteria. Water that seeps from underground has been filtered and is generally safe to drink. However, do not drink it if it has collected on the ground or in rock crevices. Drink directly from the source.

  • Have a First Kit in Everyone's Pack
  • Alcohol Wipes
  • Compression Bandages
  • Aspirin
  • Vitamin C Tablets. (You Can Also Add Vitamin C Tablets To Boiled Or Purified water To Improve Its taste)
  • Scissors
  • Bandages
  • Two Percent Liquid Tincture Of Iodine
  • Eye Dropper

Ensure everyone carries a first aid kit. The rule of thumb is to use the injured person's kit to treat them. This ensures there is a kit for you if you are injured. Follow this rule because it is important. Other first aid items you should have are splints for broken bones, heavy surgical tape, rubbing alcohol and hot and cold packs.

Any wounds must be treated quickly. Stop the blood flow using a compression bandage. Once the flow is stopped, it must be cleaned to prevent infections. Iodine and alcohol are the best ways to kill bacteria around the wound. Bandage the wound well. When splinting broken bones you must allow for swelling. Besides the loss of blood, infection is the main concern with any open wound.

The list of things a person may need could fill a book. However, some things should be in everyone's pack. The list is by no means comprehensive. Use your own judgment but begin assembling items now.

  • All Purpose Knife With Needle Nose Pliers Cutting Blade and Various Other Handy Items
  • Small Sheet Of Plastic
  • Compass
  • Magnesium Stick And Flint To Start Fires
  • Rain Gear
  • Needle And Thread Include Heavy Needles Similar To The Ones That Can Thread Leather
  • Heavy Fish Line On  A Spool
  • Coffee Filters Cheese Cloth Or Some Other Suitable Material To Filter Water With
  • Small Folding Shovel