5 Essential Tips on Surviving Your First Hiking Trip

Hiking is literally not a walk in the park. It involves walking on trails of various terrains, elevations, and steepness. Given the right weather conditions and preparations, even a couch potato can successfully complete or even enjoy a hike.

Tips to surviving your first hike

The beauty and tranquility that can be offered by Mother Nature is usually a great way to dilute the stress of the daily grind. However, there are certain considerations that you must keep in mind to reduce untoward incidents––and have as much fun as you possibly can.

If you are a novice hiker, you might be at a loss on how to go about it. The list below shares what’s essential for your very first hike––in order of importance.

1. Choose a Trail that is Suited to Your Fitness Level

The best way to increase your chances of surviving any endeavor is to carefully plan ahead. Hence, if you wish to make your first hiking trip memorable in the right way, you must choose a trail that suits your current fitness level.

Given that most hikers post great photos of their adventures, it can be easy to underestimate the trail level if you just rely on “Instagrammable” views. Here are some of the things that you should take note of when you do your trail research:

  • Trail difficulty and trail type
  • Trail length
  • Elevation gain
  • Hiker reviews
  • Best months to go

Once you start your hike, make sure that you don’t rush into it. Pacing is vital to a successful hike. You are not in a competition—you are here to enjoy what’s around yo

2. Prepare an Appropriate Hiking Pack

The contents of your hiking pack will depend on the weather and the season you’re currently in. Outdoorcommand has a number of buyer’s guides to help you choose which gears are best suited for your upcoming adventure. Here are the bare essentials that must you must bring with you in any hike:

  • Daypack: 20L to 35L capacity should be enough, though you can go for bigger ones if you eventually plan to level up.
  • Water Bottle or Hydration Pack: The general rule is 500mL of water for every hour of hiking.
  • Trail Food: Go for food items that don’t need cooking, such as dried fruits, energy bars, biscuits, and nuts.
  • Headlamp or Flashlight: You may not plan on night hiking, but you never know when it would come handy.
  • Multi-tool or Knife: These will always prove to be useful at one point or another.
  • Navigation Device: This can be a compass, a map, or a GPS device. The trail may be well-labeled, but it’s better to be prepared.
  • First Aid Kit: Include antihistamines, antiseptics, bandages, pain killers, and tweezers, just to name a few.
  • Extra Clothes: Weather conditions can be unpredictable, so you’re better off bringing some extra clothes.

3. Wear the Right Clothes

It might be tempting to choose stylish clothes just to look good on your photos, but you will be sorry if you wear the wrong clothes and footwear to your hike. For clothes, go for moisture-wicking fabrics and wool (for cold weather hikes) as these materials dry quickly.

Wear the proper hiking clothes and equipment

You should also bring sun protection accessories such as hats and sunglasses if you are hiking in the heat. Make sure that you do your research on the best hiking clothes for men and women so that you’re well-protected when hiking day comes.

4. Fuel and Hydrate Adequately

The importance of hydrating before, during, and after the hike cannot be stressed enough. Additionally, snacks can also keep you going when you’re already feeling weak. Make sure that you also pack a “victory snack,” or the snack that you will eat at the end of the hike. This will serve as your reward for a job well done.

5. Follow Outdoor Etiquette

“Leave No Trace” is probably the most widely known outdoor etiquette in existence. It just simply means that you should clean up after yourself, and leave the trails exactly as you found it––or even better than you found it, if you chanced upon it in bad condition.

Be considerate of other people and the wildlife that live in the area. As the saying goes, “Take nothing but pictures, leave nothing but footprints.”

Conclusion

Even if it might take a lot of physical effort, hiking can be a tremendously rewarding experience. The key to surviving hikes is to ensure that you know exactly what you are getting yourself into. If you are fully prepared for the challenges of the trails, you’d surely enjoy your first hiking trip.

SHTF Essentials – A Comprehensive Bug Out Bag List

A bug out bag is basically pack of survival items that you can easily carry around with, especially with the aim of reaching your bug out location. The bug out backpack has to be resilient and comfortable enough for you to carry around, at least for 72 hours. The main reason of having a bug out bag is so that you can easily evacuate if there’s a need.  

What would you pack in your Bugout bag?

To have the ‘BEST’ bug out bag, you need to have an awesome bag, and the bug out bag contents has to be planned as well. This would mean you need a comprehensive bug out bag list. Having a quality bug out bag is only half the battle, you need suitable survival gears and survival skills to face the situation.  

Do note, you can further split this into categories too such as children’s Bug out bag or even a bug out bag for the elderly! There’s no hard and fast rule as to how you should pack your bug out bag, but I’ll raise some of the common items everyone should consider putting in their bug out bag.

In my view, there are some fundamental items your bag should contain, and you can customize your bag for different emergency situations.

Important Rules

The purpose of making a bug out bag list is so that you will have a clear idea of what you need (making a distinction between your wants and needs). Although we don’t know what the future holds, you can’t be bringing too many things. There’s no way you can carry it for long hours.  

The goal is to keep only items that help you become self-sufficient, surviving various situations. You don’t need to stuff any fancy shmancy tools that you don’t use. With that said, let’s see what are the top items you need for your bug out bag. 

1. Water

Water is placed number 1 because of its importance. Without getting proper water supply, your success of surviving a bug-out situation will drastically decrease.  I would suggest prioritizing the need to get good water supply before even thinking about food. Especially if you are caught in hot weather, you may suffer from dehydration.

Water can be seen in 2 aspects, (1) Storage and (2) purification.

For Storage, you can use water bottles or even sealed pouches. The water bottle you choose should be solid and has no paint or coating.

Ideally, you should keep 3 liters of water in your bag because it’s suggested that one adult should drink at least 1 liter of water per day. Since you are aiming to survive for 72 hours, you’ll need 3 liters.

You can even get a Platypus Bladder, where most of them has holsters for a bladder container which you can use to store water and drink from it. Make sure to get one that is easily collapsible so that you can store it with ease when you are not using it.

For Purification, you can keep some iodine tablets or some other device to filter the water.

You need to pick your water purification tablets wisely because there are a huge range of products in the market, manufactured for different needs. For example, some tablets are made to purify water you obtain from rivers.

Alternatively, you can pack water filters such as LifeStraw. They are often compact, which makes packing them easy.

To kill two birds with one stone, I would suggest storing a backpack stove because they are an excellent tool for cooking water and food. Let’s be real, it’s extremely time consuming to get an A-frame logwood to ignite. This would be highly dependent on your surroundings as well, if the temperature is cold or its drizzling, the probability of you successfully setting up a campfire would fall drastically.

Since water is heavy, you need to consider how to balance the need to pack clean water, and getting water purifiers as substitute.

2. Food

Next, you may want to ensure that you have enough food supply. There are several criteria to consider, including how long the food can last, how much energy content does it contain and what nutrients it has.

You definitely need to keep some food supply packed in your bug out bag to keep your body healthy and obtain stamina. You should definitely consider the weight of the food as well.

If you live in a rural setting, you can consider packing hunting gears so that you can hunt animals as a source of food when you are en route to your bug out location.

If you don’t want to make things complicated, you can just get any energy bars that is jam-packed with calories. If you want to be more careful with what food you pack, you can check out this list of food which I recommend having:  

Energy bars – It’s important that you distinguish between a food bar, a ration bar and even a candy bar. Candy bar is self-explanatory, so I’ll skip that.

Ration bars are often packed in mylar, which are made of a combination of flour, vitamins and electrolytes. Ration bars usually have a bland taste, made to address a particular emergency situation.

Since there are many types and flavors in the market, you need to test them out to see which one you like. You can check out Mayday Apple Cinnamon Bar which come in individual packets and they come with specific flavours. Or, you can even choose the Datrex 3600 Food Ration Bar which comes with multiple bars with each sub-packaged to ensure freshness.

Some do not consider this as food for your bug out bag because they are designed to save lives (such as being stored in lifeboats).  But to me, they are fundamental items you should store as well.

For Food bars, they are portable bars which taste better than ration bars. Most of them taste like candy or even cookies. These bars are made to give you energy and sufficient nutrition as well. However, ration bars tend to give more nutrients because they are ‘made’ that way.

You can check out Clif Bars to get food bars that have a good source of protein and fiber.

MREs – Meals Ready to Eat (MREs) or “wet food” often taste better than energy bars. Also, most MREs are made to last for years. If you would like to prioritize long-term storage, MREs would be your top pick.

However, your body may have some reactions to MREs if you are not used to consuming them. This can be solved by getting your body used to it. 

Dehydrated Food – Dehydrated foods are excellent for long-term storage but they are a bit pricey. Dehydrated food requires a reasonable amount of water to re-constitute, which cause you to use-up some clean water-supply.

Mountain House is THE company to look out for when it comes to dehydrated food. They are known for producing survival food kits and dehydrated food that taste awesome!

Pack your bugout bag to survive

3. Clothing

Clothing comes hand in hand with shelter, because both of them are aimed to protect you from external elements.

Although there are various disaster scenarios that you may be caught in, you can still reasonably predict what environment you will be in when Shit Hit the Fan.

To make your thought-system more systematic, you can think of what layer of clothing you need to pack for.

For myself, I would like to see it as Base Layer Clothing, Mid-layer clothing and outer-layer clothing. Each layer has different functions and purposes.

The base layer is meant to keep your body as dry as possible. This means that getting a fabric that easily absorbs moisture would be ideal. Keeping your body dry throughout the bug out scenario is important to avoid bacterial growth and it helps keep you comfortable. I’ll suggest that you use cotton or wool for base layer clothing.   

For mid-layer clothing, its purpose is to help maintain your body temperature. Therefore, it’s important that you get a mid-layer clothing with good insulative qualities. For this layer, the materials which you can look out for is cotton, wool and fleece.

The Outer layer should be waterproof and durable but allows moisture to escape. One excellent material you can consider is jackets that are coated with membrane.

With that said, here are some general ideas for what clothes you need to pack – spare clothes, long pants, coat, boots, extra socks, mid-layer shirts and a hat.

4.Shelter                                                                                                                                                                                           

In your bug out bag, you need to include some type of shelter to protect your body from external elements. You can either pack a tarpaulin sheet, a tent or a sleeping bag.

Tents are really comfortable to be in, but they are heavy and bulky. Try to get a tent that weighs less than 5 lbs so that you won’t go overboard on the weight.

If you are looking for something more portable, you can opt for tarps. Since you can set them up into different configurations, they are definitely more feasible to be used in most situations.

Since ‘shelter’ include anything that protects your body from external elements, it will include fire starting kits as well.

A general list of items you can consider include a space blankets (first aid blankets), poncho, Tarp, sleeping bags and tents.

As for a list of items to help you maintain surrounding heat., you can consider getting a firestarting kit, single Burner Folding stove, hand warmer and windproof torch lighter. 

Shelter is important because exposure to cold temperature for long hours can kill you. If you stay in a place with extreme weather, you need to take shelter SERIOUSLY. For cold weather, you will need to find ways to create heat sources so that you can retain your body heat. Make sure you don’t lose your body heat unnecessarily.

If you live in an area with warm weather, you may have to consider bringing more water and packing more loose clothing.

5. Medical Supplies

Getting ready a first aid kit in your bug out bag is a MUST-HAVE. Usually, they won’t take up a lot of space.

Medical supplies are highly personalized, so you need to mull through what you need to use. This includes going through what are the potential diseases that you will likely contract.

To do this, you need to know what are the injuries that you will most likely face in a bugging out situation. There are various categories of injuries including Traumatic injuries, burn injuries, minor wounds, mobility injuries, infectious diseases and your individual medical needs.

To understand your individual medical needs, you need to go through a personal screening by talking to your doctor and ask what are the medicines you need.

Generally, it’s important to include some basic items such a bandage, disinfectants and scissors. Other items you can consider are Tourniquets, Israeli Bandages, Hygiene Kit, Wet Naps or even ThyroSafe Potassium Iodine Tablets.

To Sum Up

I hope that the bug out bag list has helped you consider different aspects as to what you should pack. This list is aimed to help you create a new bug out bag list, which is definitely not an exhaustive list. Feel free to give your suggestions in the comments on what to add in the list.

Bear in mind the important factors when considering which items you want to store in your bag. Be sure to take into account other considerations too such as what location you live in, what bug-out skills you have, what are the likely threat you will face and how many people you need to protect. With all these factors considered, I am sure your success of surviving a calamity will drastically increase.

By Peter Betts

Peter Betts
I have been an active prepper since 2016. Although it’s only been a few years, I have learnt a lot along the way. I have spent hours reading before purchasing a gear. Also, I have spent hours practicing survival skills such as building a lean-to shelter or getting an A-Frame fire kindling. Hope you love the blog as much as I enjoy writing it.

Create A Simple Portable Stove From An Aluminum Can [video]

Easy enough to create a few of these simple portable stoves for your survival kits. Lightweight carry for hiking, backpacking or in your bugout bag.

You can store the fuel in a small shampoo bottle, and add when needed.

5 Prep Tips to Keep Your Family Safe from a Wildfire

Wildfires

Image from Skeeze via Pixabay

It doesn’t matter how small the likelihood of a wildfire is for your area–when it hits, you want to be ready. So even if you think the chances of a wildfire in your area are moderate to low, know that it’s better to spend a bit of extra time now preparing yourself and your family than to be thrown into a state of panic should a wildfire ever hit.

 

  1. Keep Up with Regular Home Maintenance

 

There are a few chores you can do regularly to help lessen the effects of a wildfire on your home. Minimize the amount of debris around your property by cleaning the roof and gutters, raking away leaves and dead limbs, mowing your grass, and making sure your trees and shrubs are pruned regularly.

 

  1. Stay Informed

 

Educate yourself on the fire conditions in your area and stay in the know on breaking weather news. Watch the news regularly, check the weather online, or download a weather app for your phone. Turn on notifications for your weather app so you’ll know of any risk of a wildfire in an instant. Ask your child’s caretaker or school about their disaster plans so you can rest assured that your child will be in good hands if disaster ever strikes.

 

  1. Compile Your Emergency Supply Kit

 

Build your family’s emergency supply kit and include items like a compass, clean drinking water, nonperishable foods, a flashlight, a battery-powered radio, and copies of important documents.

 

It’s also wise to document all of your belongings and keep a copy of this list in your kit. This will come in handy for insurance claims or for receiving aid from charitable organizations. Include descriptions and photos of furniture, appliances, electronics, and other valuable belongings. Collect any relevant serial numbers or receipts.

 

  1. Create a Plan

 

In a time of crisis, clear communication can be the best tool in your toolkit. That’s why you should make it a priority to talk to your family about what you’ll do in case of a wildfire. Practice designated evacuation routes. Discuss what actions should be taken if a family member is separated from the group. Make sure children (and adults!) have necessary emergency numbers memorized.

 

  1. Know Where You Stand with Insurance

 

Fire damage can be a tricky topic when it comes to insurance coverage, so it’s better to know your plan’s limitations ahead of time. Insurance may not cover certain landscaping costs following a fire, or may only cover a certain percentage of damaged personal items. You may even want to increase your coverage depending on your area’s level of risk for wildfires. Check with your agent to see what your coverage entails.

 

It may sound like a bit of a hassle to prepare yourself and your family for a wildfire even when one may never hit, but don’t underestimate the power of having a plan of action during a moment of crisis. It’s better to make plans now and never have to use them than to come up short should disaster strike. Prepare now and you’ll be glad you kept your family’s safety in mind.

 

Bradley Davis is a retired firefighter and SoCal resident. He has seen is fair share of natural disasters and knows all too well the damage they can cause when people in their paths aren’t prepared. He created DisasterWeb.net to share his emergency preparedness knowledge and to offer the many emergency planning and natural disaster-related resources he has compiled from his online research. When he isn’t adding new information to his site, Bradley enjoys relaxing on the beach with his wife.


Easy to Make Fire Starters from Wood Chips, Shavings and Sawdust

If you’ve been using old newspapers and dangerous amounts of lighter fluid to get your fires going, believe me, there is a better way. Even better, much of this can be done with leftover materials most already have sitting around the house. Well, what sort of materials are we talking? 

saw dust fire starters

 

Wood chips are easy enough to find, especially if you live in a heavily wooded area. These shavings can come from cutting down trees, trimming trees, or just general woodworking – assuming you have some of those tools around the house. One of the best materials to use is easily sawdust, as all of your woodworking projects will leave you with an abundance of the stuff. All your drilling and sawing will create more than you’d first imagine. Also, sawdust is much safer and wildly more effective than what most people generally use when attempting to start a fire. Discover on housetipster.com how sawdust has several uses ranging from fixing awful oil and gas spills to killing weeds. It’s surprising how beneficial this material can be for solving particular issues around the home.

 

First-rate fire starters

  • Pack sawdust into paper muffin cups, above, or a cardboard egg carton.
  • Melt paraffin wax in a double boiler, pour over the sawdust and allow to cool.
  • Slow-burning when lit, these hotcakes make great starters for a fireplace or campfiresawdust-fire-starters

A great way to use up scrap wood chips, shavings and sawdust to make these easy and effective fire starters. Be sure to use paraffin wax not candle wax, as it is food grade and burns completely.

Now that you have these hotcakes, they are easily brought along on camping trips or a simple walk to the backyard fire pit. Folks will be wondering just what in the world you’re using to start your fires so effectively. They’ll be shocked when you tell them you packed wood chips, shavings and sawdust into muffin trays and made the most efficient fire starter around. They’ll be begging for your secret, which, is simply, castoff materials that most take for granted.

 

 

source: Wood Magazine

How To Identify Dry Firewood

Using wet wood to get a fire going will leave you cold and frustrated…regardless of how much effort you put into it.

Even if you do get a fire going (which in a survival situation is better than nothing) your fire will be inefficient and will require much more maintenance to see it through the night.

dry tinder and wood start the best fires.

The reason why it won’t burn is that the water contained in the wood is absorbing the heat, preventing the wood from absorbing enough heat to ignite.

As heat continues to be applied to the wood, the water turns to vapor, absorbing a huge quantity of heat in the process. It isn’t until this process is finished that the hydrocarbon gasses start leaving the wood so that they can then catch fire.

Basically your best bet is to make sure that you have the driest tinder, kindling, and fuel possible.

tinder, shavings, sawdust, fire starters

It’s one thing if you have a cord of wood neatly stacked out in your woodshed, but how do you find dry wood in the wild?

Below are three quick tips you can use in a pinch:

The Snap Method:

The Premise: dry kindling is devoid of a high water content and will snap easily instead of bending.

How To do it: take your smaller bits of kindling no thicker than your thumb and grasp them at both ends.  Pull the ends towards the middle, the kindling should snap in the middle.

What to look for:  twigs, sticks, and other kindling that snaps cleanly and easily is an indicator of dry kindling.How do you know if your fuel is dry?

The Percussion Method:

The Premise: as wood dries out, its acoustical properties change.

How to do it: grab two sample pieces of wood at one end and let them dangle, one from each hand. Swing the bottom ends together, and listen to the sound at impact.

What to look for: dry wood will “ring” or “bonk” when they hit each other. Wet wood, however, will issue a dull thud on impact.

Cracking the code:

The Premise: as fuel wood pieces dry, the wood fiber shrinks, which causes visible radius cracks to open up on the ends of the wood.

How to do it: examine the ends of a sample piece, looking for cracks that radiate from the core to the bark.

What to look for: big, deep radius cracks are a good indicator of well-seasoned wood.

Note: this is the least reliable indicator, as the cracks won’t close back up if the seasoned wood is subsequently allowed to re-absorb rainwater.

via Three Quick Tips To Identify Dry Firewood 

Unique Improvised Grills – Ideas For Cooking In A Survival Situation

 

By Dian Thomas

 

A few weeks ago, I got a call to give a presentation on preparedness. My approach was not to focus on preparing for a rainy day, but to get out and have a great time learning outdoor cooking and camping skills. Then when the rainy day comes, your skills are up to speed.One of the key places to practice your skills is in the backyard, a park, or in the woods. Decide to take the time now to enjoy your family and prepare them for their summer camps, outings and rainy days.

My parents were raised in the depression by pioneer parents. Creating and improvising was the norm. I grew up watching my mother and father make do with what we had instead of running to the store to buy Survival Food Supplies the next item that was needed. A great by product of challenging times is that we have to look inward for solutions, instead of looking out. What a great skill to teach your children which will prepare them for whatever challenges come.

If you do not have a grill, here are some fun creative ways to use your ingenuity to make one. When you create using items you have, it shows you children it is possible to make do with what you have. What a great skill to develop.

Tin Can Grill

An improvised, inexpensive grill can be made in just a few minutes. This is a favorite of children at scouting and campfire cookouts. All that is needed is a #10-size can, tin snips, aluminum foil and a pair of safety gloves.

Beginning at the open end of the can, cut 2-inch-wide parallel slits down the side, to about 3 inches from the bottom, repeating around the can. Bend the strips away from the center of the can to form a low basket like container. Fill the bottom of the can with dirt. Cover the dirt and strips with heavy duty aluminum foil. You have now created an improvised tin can grill. Place the charcoal on top of the foil and lay the grilling rack on top of the metal strips. It is important to keep

the distance between the grilling rack and the charcoal at about 3 to 4 inches (Bend the strips to this distance.)

Bonus of this grill is that it can be discarded after one use, and replaced at very little cost. Individual stoves can be made by a group to involve more people in the fun.

A #10-size tin can will make an easy and economical grill.

Use tin snips to cut two-inch strips down the sides of the can

Line the tin can with heavy duty foil before adding charcoal

Add a rack, and you’re ready to grill

Unique Improvised Grills

If you don’t own a barbecue or if you are having a “dry run,” enjoying a day at the beach, visiting a picnic area, or camping in your backyard, you might be happy with a child’s wagon grill, a wheelbarrow grill, a metal garbage can lid, or even a terra-cotta flowerpot.

The wagon or the wheelbarrow might tote your supplies to your site. Adapting it for grilling is as easy as filling the base with 6 inches of gravel, sand or dirt to insulate the bottom from the heat. Cover the dirt with extra-heavy-duty aluminum foil, which prevents coals from sinking into the dirt and insures that air will circulate. On top of the foil in the center make a pyramid of charcoal briquettes.

Pour lighter fluid over the charcoal and light. Drape a pair of oven mitts over the wagon tongue or wheelbarrow handles so they’ll be close by when needed. When briquettes are burning, arrange bricks around the outside edge, adapting them for the gill or rotisserie. If you simply want to do stick cooking, omit the bricks. The most efficient height for grilling is 3 to 4 inches about the coals.

Dirt can be stored between uses by covering the wheelbarrow or wagon with an old plastic tablecloth with Velcro stitched to seal the corners. Moisture will rust out the bottom of the wagon or wheelbarrow if it gets wet.

 

Backpacker’s Grill

A backpacker’s rack can be purchased from a sporting goods store. To use the backpacker’s grill, place coals on the ground; the backpacker’s rack sits on legs about 4 to 8 inches above. If

the dirt is loose or sandy, assure uniform heat by placing a piece of heavy-duty aluminum foil over the dirt to keep the briquettes from settling into the sand and causing the briquettes to lose heat.

The heat for the backpacker’s grill is very simple to regulate. To increase heat, simply push the rack toward the ground. To decrease heat, raise the rack farther from the coals.

 More survival cooking ideas…

How Much Fuel Is Needed To Power A Light Bulb For A Year?

What-it-takes-to-power-a-light-bulb-for-a-year

What items would you add to your survival preps to give you a power source if the electrical grid goes down?

Please comment below and share your prep ideas.



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