Do you carry an emergency kit when you go out backpacking? I carry my kit with me even on small day trips, but before I talk about what is in my emergency kit let me explain first what an emergency kit is. My emergency kit has a mixture of survival tools, first aid items, as well as repair items that this kit would only ever be opened if necessary. I also carry a small first aid kit that I will be talking about in a later post.
Contents of my Emergency Kit.
Weight of Kit 5.5 0z
What is in your kit? Is there anything you have in your kit that I did not list?
Day 9: I woke up and got out of the tent absolutely amazed by what I saw. At first I thought it was a weird fog but then I realized it wasn’t fog. We were in the clouds. It was so thick you could cut it with a knife. I enjoyed my last meal on the rock chairs and we set off for Cyphers Mine.
We were all excited for Cyphers Mine because we wanted to pan for gold and they also had a shower. The only downside was the switchbacks lasted the whole way down Mt. Phillips and into camp. The trail was very thin in some spots with a huge drop off on our right. Hiking was overall normal with the beautiful views along with some really boring switchbacks.
We get about 2 miles from camp when Dalton gets too close to the edge and the ground gives way, causing him to fall directly onto his knee. His limping all the way to camp, which was a huge dramatization on his part, slowed us all down. We could see the camp and I saw something I was hoping for, the stream. I wanted to soak my feet in a fresh, icy cold mountain stream again. We made it to the main cabin and Dalton had his knee looked at.
It turns out it was mildly bruised and he was acting like it was broken. The lady then took us to our campsite, which to our surprise had quite a large shack that we could sleep in. It was nice not having to set up tents and the area was nice. We signed up for the mine tour and it was great. It was really cool to see some of the old mine carts they used to transport the gold.
After that, we went to the blacksmith shop where we made a crude candle holder and then went back to camp to do some gold panning for ourselves. I lasted about 20 minuets before I went to the red roof then I went back to camp so I could put my feet into the stream. It felt amazing. Ron, Michael, Robert, and the adults took showers but there was not hot water and our next camp had showers with warm water so I decided to wait and juts relax in the stream. I was sitting there for at least an hour before I helped get ready for dinner.
It was also the first time I check out the swap box at the main cabin. Basically you put unwanted food items into it for others to use. They were at every camp but I never paid much attention. After diner we went to the Stomp show, which was really quite funny, and Red, the main character, was really good. We sat next to a group from Massachusetts and they were shocked by the fact that some of us owned guns! The best part was when Ron told them how many guns he had in his closet. It was like 3 rifles, 2 shotguns, and 2 pistols. I thought it was hilarious! After the Stomp we went back to camp where I was eager to go to bed because I was exhausted. We all crammed into the shack and went to bed. What an eventful day, even if we didn’t find any gold!
This is a continuation of my brothers trail diary of his Philmont Trip in the summer of 2012. To read all of the previous posts you can find them here:
Day 8: Today I am the leader and our destination is Mt. Phillips Camp on top of Mt. Phillips. Not only was it an eight mile trip it was uphill the whole way. We even went outside the ranch’s boundaries for about 4 miles. I woke up with the adults and I have to admit that is was worth getting up 15 min. earlier because the sky was beautiful! There was a cloud right above our camp that was a bright pink color from the sun just getting over the horizon. The cedar trees were covered in dew and glistened in the morning sun. The air was so crisp and fresh it was unbelievable. I then go threw a mental checklist about the day so I could have a basic game plan.
The first step was waking everyone up, then filling our extra dromedaries because Mt. Phillips was a dry camp, so we had to bring in our own water. We had to go find the stream and fill up our water bottles then but the tablets into them before we ate breakfast and headed out. We followed the contour lines of the mountain all the way to the ranch’s boundaries until the trail started to go up. We saw the mountain from a ways away but it was so much bigger when you get close to it. We are forced to go at a slow pace because of the extra 8 pounds of water Ron and Robert were carrying. About a mile in is when the clouds that had gathered started to drizzle rain on us. We stopped and put on our raincoats and pack covers.
I discover my pack cover has a 2 inch rip in it, so I pull out my gear aid kit that Adam gave me and break out the duck tape for the first time. It stays on all trip and never had to replace it. We carry on trudging through the slight rain and slippery trials. We have to take breaks often and we quickly become very tired, but we soldier on! About two thirds of the way there we see another group come down the hill. This was the first encounter with other people in a long time. They said that the peak wasn’t that far away which gave us a small moral boost. I kept singing songs in my head to keep busy when we finally see the peak.
The last 200 yards or so were the worst because we knew we were almost there but it was about 70% slope and all loose rocks. It took us 30 min. but we finally make it. We take our pictures and proceed to find a camp. We heard rumors about rock chairs at one of the camps and that was going to be our camp. We found it and the chairs were amazing. Who would have thought that rock would be so comfy, but it was. It takes hour to find the dang bear bag cable and latrine but we did eventually find it, along with some bear scat and us. Undeterred by the fresh poop, we set up camp and make dinner. We really didn’t get that much time in the chairs because by the time we had camp set up we were exhausted and just wanted to sleep. And we did right after we ate and did our usual nightly routine.
This is a continuation of my brothers trail diary of his Philmont Trip in the summer of 2012. To read all of the previous posts you can find them here:
There is nothing worse when you head into the wild to enjoy the great outdoors, only to become ill and sick. Turning your dream get away into a nightmarish prison. If you were to fall prey to any of the following conditions, there is no doubt you will immediately want to end your trip early and go home.
For some of these conditions, there is very little you can do to avoid it, others require you to specifically make mistakes. But all of them are a pain to endure, and its important to understand them if you are to determine what is affecting either yourself or another while in the wild. If you don’t know the symptoms, you may very well misdiagnose it and by trying to make it better, you may end up making it worse. So without further ado, let’s go over and explain 4 outdoor ailments that hopefully will not happen to you.
Causes: It is impossible to determine who is susceptible to altitude sickness as there are no specific factors that dictate it. A common misconception is that there is a lack of oxygen, but oxygen levels of around 21% remain the same up to about 69,000 ft.
The reason altitude sickness occurs is that the air density drops as altitude increases. Meaning the number of molecules per given volume is less. Most people can stay up to 8,000 ft. without trouble.
Symptoms: Lack of appetite, nausea, vomiting, fatigue, feeling of weakness, dizziness, lightheadedness, insomnia, nosebleeds, persistent rapid pulse, Drowsiness, swelling of hands/feet/face, persistent dry cough, fever, shortness of breath while at rest, and headaches.
Prevention: There are only two preventable measures that can be taken to prevent altitude sickness from developing. One being not to go over 8,000 ft., which happens halts many outdoors activities. The other is to ensure you ascend slowly. Again, its impossible to determine who would get sick. So for this, sadly, its all trial and error for the individual. By staying at higher altitudes long enough, you will eventually acclimate.
Causes: Gastroenteritis is a nicer, or rather more scientific, way to say diarrhea. Wilderness diarrhea is mostly caused by various pathogens that are found in the wild. It occurs due to insufficient washing of foods, utensils, dishes, hands, and untreated water. These pathogens include bacteria, viruses, and parasites. The most common form of wilderness diarrhea is Giardia.
Symptoms: On average, it takes around a week for the incubation period to complete in order for you to begin to feel sick. As you would imagine, the main symptom is diarrhea. However nausea, stomach cramps, lack of appetite, and a high fever are common symptoms as well.
Prevention: Since it’s difficult to pin point where one could become sick, it’s best to try and cover all your bases when in prevention mode. This means ensuring the water you drink is treated, you are taking in sufficient levels of vitamins, and you properly wash yourself and the utensils used.
Immersion Foot Syndromes
Causes: There are three types of immersion foot syndromes; Trench Foot, Paddy foot, and Warm Water Immersion Foot Syndrome. All three are caused by extended exposure of the feet to wet, unsanitary, and cold conditions. These Foot Syndromes are also made worse by wearing constricting footwear that does not allow the feet to breath or dry out.
Symptoms: These conditions can begin to form after only 13 days worth of exposure. The affected person may feel numbness in their feet, red or blue colors may appear due to poor vascular supply. A decaying odor will begin to emit from the infected areas, and eventually swelling, blisters, and opens sores will develop.
Prevention: Keep your feet dry at all costs, or at least as best you can. Drying out used socks, and allowing your feet to dry if they’ve been wet for a while helps dramatically to avoid foot rot. Keeping extra pairs of socks is always recommended regardless of the conditions you expect.
Causes: Water intoxication is also known as water poisoning and overhydration. As the name would imply, this is the result of the body taking in more water than it can handle. As a result, it offsets the balance of the body’s electrolytes beyond safe limits. This is extremely easy to do, especially when dealing with other ailments such as heatstroke or nausea.
Symptoms: Overhydration is potentially lethal, and I have sadly known a person who has died from this in the past. But prior to death, various other symptoms will arise that should be a warning sign. Though these symptoms can easily be confused with other problems. But the list includes; headaches, personality changes, changes in behavior, confusion, irritability, drowsiness, difficulty breathing, muscle weakness, twitching, cramping, nausea, vomiting, and thirst (which is a problem).
Prevention: The human body, as evident from this, can only take in so much water. The average healthy kidney can go through 1 liter of water per hour. Which means that unless heavy exertion or physical activity is occurring, no more than 8.5 ounces every 15 min. Now its not threatening to slightly exceed this, but it’s important to note that by drinking quickly does not translate into hydrating your body faster. Rather, take slow steady sips, not gulps and allow your body to regulate and know how much is going in before it alerts you to how much more is needed. Remember, being thirsty is not necessarily a symptom of being dehydrated. Your mouth could simply be parched from mouth breathing, or eating dry foods.
The author of this article is Damien S. Wilhelmi. If you enjoyed this piece you can follow me on Twitter @HotMocs. If you are looking for the right outdoor style and gear to keep you happy and healthy, check out HotMocs.com!
As anyone who has spent time long-distance hiking can attest, nothing makes a person appreciate the creature comforts of our modern world like a week or longer sleeping outside and carrying everything you need on your back. Of course, people hike the Appalachian Trail (AT) because they love the wilderness and the escape it provides, so when you’re coming back to civilization, why not make the best of it by timing your reemergence with the many festivals and events that occur along the AT each year?
Even if you’re past your prime or simply not cut out for overnight hiking, these events welcome everyone and are a great chance to get a taste of camping and the trail experience in an accessible, fun way.
Trail Days — Damascus, Virginia
Certainly the most well-known and established of the trail festivals, this annual weekend-long party deserves its top placement on any list of AT related events. Typically held the weekend after Mother’s Day (May 17-19 this year), the event includes a “hiker’s parade” and live music throughout the weekend. It also attracts gear companies from around the country who perform free repairs and giveaways. Attendance can stretch into the thousands, with many non-hikers coming out just for the festivities and vendors and pitching tents at local campgrounds.
Nantahala Outdoor Center’s Jamboree and Founder’s Bridge Festival –
Wesser, North Carolina
Hikers who get an early start can hoof it to this weekend-long festival held April 4-6, a welcome break before the difficult climb through the Smokies. Vendors attend and conduct gear repair and there’s live music from local bluegrass band the Rye Holler Boys and outdoor adventure-themed film screenings. Also notable is a clinic by the Appalachian Trail Conservancy on phenology — the study of life cycle stages. After hiking amidst trees and flowers in all stages of blooming, it’s certainly nice to have a better grasp of what’s going on in the natural world around you on the trail.
Spring on Springer — Dahlonega, Georgia
If you’re up for kicking off your journey at the peak time, this spring equinox fest (held March 22-24 this year) brings together notable speakers and vendors to get hikers started on the right foot. Live bluegrass and presentations are made in downtown Dahlonega, and there’s even a 5K run for those not overwhelmed enough by the task ahead.
The April Hiker Fool Bash — Franklin, North Carolina
For those getting started in late March, it may feel like there’s a party waiting for them every week on the trail. This annual festival in Franklin will be held March 29 and 30 this year, with the usual bluegrass pickin’ parties and vendors. Now in their 9th year, there’s no telling what April Fools the locals have in store for the hikers passing through.
French Broad River Festival — Hot Springs, North Carolina
Although not formally a ‘hiker’s festival,’ Hot Springs is one of two towns that the trail passes directly through (Damascus is the other). And because it’s a seriously legitimate music festival, it may have the most appeal to some hikers eager to let loose. Held May 3-5 this year, the lineup includes Langhorne Slim, Col. Bruce Hampton, Sol Driven Train, and Yarn. Perhaps best of all, after boogying to the music all day you can soothe your bones in the town’s namesake hot springs.
Trails End Festival – Millinocket, Maine
For those who make it all the way to Mt. Katahdin, the Mainers have a party planned for Sep. 14-16 this year. After a summer’s worth of hiking, stretch out with bluegrass, Dixieland bands, a chili cook-off and the annual pie auction. There are also opportunities to canoe and kayak around Baxter State Park. After putting all that effort in to get there, why rush off?
When you’re out on the trail, even a gas station to refill on snacks can feel like an urban oasis. With the right scheduling, it’s possible to experience so much more along your journey, with festivals designed with the hiker in mind all along the Appalachian Trail.
About the Author
Joe Laing is the Marketing Director for El Monte RV Rentals, your nationwide source for RV rentals. El Monte RV also sells used motorhomes through eight different locations across the United States. For more information on purchasing a used motorhome see http://www.elmontervsales.com/.