- When you get a new GPS device, practice using it at home before you are in the middle of a dark forest and are relying on it for direction. Very important.
- You can not under estimate the need for good shoes when you are traveling distances on your feet. You wouldn't feel safe driving around on half flat, threadbare tires so why would you use crappy shoes when you are relying on your feet to get you where you want to go?
- If you think you are going to "head for the hills" when TSHTF, you should be heading to the hills each weekend. I hadn't been out in the wilderness for quite a while so the hopping over trees, crawling under trees, fording creeks, and quickly maneuvering wet muddy trails was a physical experience that takes practice and experience (recent experience!).
- As I learned from my (much better in shape) friends, your diet is just as important as getting regular exercise. A crappy diet will give you crappy results during physical challenges.
- Bring a couple extra pair of dry socks when you are out in the wilds. Your feet will thank you.
- If you are feeling lousy, Thera Flu works like a charm.
- For blister fixes: carry band aids and moleskin. My son prefers to cover his blistered feet with duct tape. To each his own...
- Leave an itinerary. As I was in the middle of the woods in a place I was quite unfamiliar with, having no cell signal, a GPS that I couldn't figure out, and was only briefly catching glimpses of my friends' red jackets as they sprinted far ahead of me, the thought occurred to me that the spouse wouldn't event know where to start looking for me should the need arise. Oops. I'm sure I would eventually find my way out if I got lost but causing the spouse undue worry is not a good thing.
- Tips from grandpa--stay hydrated throughout the day, always carry high energy food (fruit, nuts, jerky, etc) with you, and don't forget the ten essentials.
- When it is the first sunny day of the year and your skin is as pale as a snake's underbelly, bring sunscreen.
- Alcohol pads are a must in your essentials kit. They are good for: fire starters, sanitizing wounds/needles/etc, and cleaning your hands after using a nasty outhouse.
- You need to challenge yourself physically every once in a while. I am not a cross country runner but the opportunity for a challenge is something I didn't want to pass up. There were a couple times when I was hyperventilating as I was clamoring up a slippery mountainside that I had to tell myself to keep moving forward and eventually I would reach my destination...that's kind of a motto for life too.
- If you want to learn a new skill, or build on an old skill, learn from people who know what they are doing. Reading a book or watching a video is OK but there is no better way to learn than from someone who can give you hand-on, in-person training.
- Layering your clothes--three or four thin layers--is better than wearing a t shirt and heavy jacket. With layers you can adjust for the weather and temperature. On another note, wet and cold equals dead in the mountains. You need to be warm and/or dry.
- On a side note, firearms are now allowed in national parks!
Sunday, February 21, 2010
15 Tips I Learned This Weekend (Preparedness-Related)
It's been a busy weekend. A couple of friends who run cross country (they say cross country, I say cross mountains) wanted to mark out some new trails and invited me to come along. As always, new experiences can also be excellent learning experiences. Here's what I learned: