Archive | May, 2010

10 MANDATORY Backpacking Skills

Did you ever go on a backpacking trip which turned out to be a complete disaster, despite the fact that you carried along all the things you would need? Perhaps you brought matches, but weren’t able to get a fire to start anyway. To make sure you have an enjoyable and safe experience in the wilderness, you will need much more than just good gear. You have to know how some things are done, and here is a list to help you get started:

1. Learn how to start a fire. If you need to, practice on your own yard, but try to do so with a single match alone. Then, try it again when it’s raining.

2. Learn how to pitch tents. If this is done incorrectly, rain can enter and the wind could tear its seams. Tents need to be pitched very tight. Also, you have to be able to set tents up within just a couple of minutes.

3. Know how you can keep warm. Practice your camping skills in your own yard, to find out how you can block the wind and how eating foods filled with fat and wearing hats before going to bed can help you stay warm.

4. Learn how to cook over fires. This is not as simple as it sounds. The wind needs to be blocked; the pan needs to be covered; the fire needs to be kept concentrated and small. Practice a lot and set a timer. Doing things faster is always better in emergencies, and keep in mind that there is a possibility of your stove breaking.

5. Learn which plants are edible. Learning how cattails are identified, as well as several edible berries in the wild could turn your trip into a more enjoyable one, most of all if you end up losing all of your food when a bear comes along.

6. Know how you should walk. By knowing how you should pace yourself, as well as walk comfortably on rocky terrain, you can end up less tired; in fact, you could even save yourself from a twisted ankle.

7. Learn all about animals. Find out how you can tell if bears are stalking you and what to do in such a situation. If he makes a lot of noise, he probably just wants to scare you away.

8. Watch the sky. It would be helpful to know whether a storm is coming. Know the basics in weather prediction to ensure more safety.

9. Know simple first aid. An important thing you may want to know is how to recognize hypothermia symptoms and how to treat blisters.

10. Know how to navigate. Maps and compasses will not help if they aren’t used properly.

There is no need to turn into a wilderness survival expert in order to enjoy hiking trips, but it does help to learn something. Use these skills to learn something useful and new.

Posted in Backpacking, Wilderness SurvivalComments (1)

7 Tips For Building Survival Shelters

If you plan on building a survival shelter in the wilderness, you will need to follow several simple criteria. You may not be able to make use of every single one of them due to the various situations you may find yourself in, but the more of them that you use; the more comfortable you will end up being.

My very first shelter ended up looking quite similar to Swiss cheese. It even rained and the wind just blew right through it. Probably the single great part about it was that an endless fire was burning for me. I ended up learning a lot of lessons that day, though, so I hope you learn a lot from me.

There are seven pieces of criteria that you will need to succeed in building your wilderness survival shelter:

1. Keep It Simple!
Keep things simple. It is understandable that creative juices simply flow sometimes, but keep in mind that it could get dark and cold out very soon, so keeping things to a minimum is essential for survival. Remember that your goal is to only stay for a short while; this isn’t going to be a very long vacation.

2. Stay high
Build your shelter around seventy-five feet high from the canyon floor. Cold air tends to settle while warm air tends to rise, so you will want to say away from the bottom in order to keep yourself warm.

3. Build it small
Smaller shelters are come with an ease in building and keeping you warm.

4. Have your slopes face to the south
Slopes that face to the south will stay open, allowing the sun to warm it, while those that face to the north usually end up damp, dark and cold.

5. Build it strong
No matter what kind of emergency, it is essential to refrain from doing any harm. It wouldn’t be good if your shelter ended up falling on you; plus, it wouldn’t be very warm for you, either.

6. Make sure it is warm
Try to create a space of dead-air, so that you can trap the heat inside your shelter. You can do this by building low doors.

7. Ensure it is waterproof and windproof
If water can reach your shelter and if the wind can easily blow through it, you will never stay dry or warm. Make sure there are no holes in your shelter!

These are all of the basic wilderness survival shelter criteria you need to know. The more of them you follow, the better your shelter will be. Keep in mind that: the more shelters you build, the more professional you will get at it, so never give up!

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3 Essential Tips for Backpacking with Children

Backpacking with kids could prove to be a real challenge. However, it would be a great way for children to learn more about the great outdoors, as well as develop responsibility and independence. Also, it is a good way to have some fun. Here are three essential tips that can help:

1. Get Them Interested.
If you force uninterested kids to go backpacking, they will resist, start problems, and simply ruin the entire trip for everyone. Therefore, you need to get them interested first. Several great outdoor movies might help. Search for movies with actors of the same general age. Then, suggest going backpacking to gauge their response.

If your children seem a bit too young for backpacking, though, you might want try camping out in your own backyard first. They can help pitch the tent and you can see how they will survive through that night. Do your best in making the experience as fun as possible for them.

2. Make the Kids Part of the Plans.
It is much better if the children are more involved with the entire process. Let them help you out in picking the hiking trails, but narrow down the options beforehand to more appropriate ones. Give them the chance to suggest which foods to pack, but (again) narrow down their meal options to those that would make sense on backpacking trips. Teach them how maps are used and how they can judge hiking distances by the day. They can also help you pack.

3. Give Them Certain Responsibilities.
Children who are of age can make fires or set up tents. Younger children can collect sticks that will eventually be burned or get their sleeping bags and pads ready for the night ahead. Give each child things they can actually handle and make sure you always tell them what a good job they are doing (provided they are doing so).

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