If you’re like us, you love being outdoors! Outdoors is where you feel rested and replenished. There is nothing like a hike or an overnight stay under the night sky to both invigorate you and give you a feeling of peace. Viewing nature’s beauty—the trees, the streams, the rocks, the flora and fauna—helps us to re-group, re-energize, and renew ourselves from the toils of daily work and routine.
But, being outdoors for rest and recreation can come with the challenges of unpredictable weather and the potential of dangerous situations. Depending on the time of year, you can find yourself caught in hostile weather events dealing with rain or snow for days. Survival and safety can become your top priority.
Even in perfect weather, accidents can occur causing you to need certain tools and think of survival safety. And, it probably goes without mentioning, the outdoors always has a possibility of encountering animals from which you need to protect yourself. When you are on an outdoor R&R trip, being able to survive through any situation that occurs is paramount.
When you’re faced with challenges that could be life threatening, being prepared is the key to your survival. Knowing what to do and having the proper tools for safety will prepare you to deal with many situations that you can face. Survival and safety requires that you recognize the danger, feel fear, and react.
Here are 6 tips for being safe and surviving dire situations when you need to.
Tip # 1: Have a plan
If you are hiking or traveling on foot to a campsite, plan your route ahead of time. You should use a Geological Survey or Forest Service map. If you're traveling on foot, a good way to calculate your hiking time is to add an hour for every 1000 feet of elevation you gain and an additional hour for every 2 miles. Always be aware of your surroundings in relation to the map and know your emergency exit points. To learn how to be more prepared, see our blog post on hiking safety.
Tip #2: Don’t travel alone
It is best to have a partner or group with you, even if you are a seasoned hiker. We recommend to have at least 4 people in your party. This way, if someone gets injured you have enough people in order for one person to stay with the injured and others to go for help.
But, if you are very experienced and prefer to go alone, always let someone know where you are going and the time you expect to return. This is very important in case you meet with something unexpected and aren’t able to return according to your schedule; so, that person can keep up with you and provide assistance if needed.
Tip #3: Have water and a water filter system
Water is critical to your survival. You need it every day. Be sure you have some water with you and, if you are camping, have a pot for boiling water as well. Carrying a way to filter water is very important if you are near a water source and need to use that water to drink.
Tip #4: Carry enough food
Like water, food is also critical to your survival. Make sure to pack enough food to hold you over for the duration of your trip. Freeze dried meals aren't heavy to carry, and offer a great source of protein and calories. They're advised if you're going on a hiking trip and pack weight is important. Other food options to consider are short-term and long-term food storage. These are heavier to carry and are more advisable if you're stocking for bunkers or food pantries.
Here are a few items you'll most likely need to cook your meals, but make sure you read the meal instructions to make sure you have everything you need.
- If you're using a backpacking stove to cook your meal, at minimum you'll need a gas canister, stove, stabilizer, and pot. The JetBoil Zip is an all-in-one system and comes highly recommended. It includes everything you need to cook your meal, minus the gas canister.
- If you need a more robust cooking system, a single burner or dual burner propane stove might be a better option. Don't forget about your cook set and tableware set!
Tip #5: Wear appropriate clothes for temperatures and dress in layers
Temperatures can vary a large degree in some geographic locations. Always know as much as possible about the temperatures that are predicted for the area.
Dressing in layers is a way to decrease the amount of clothes you have on in heat and increase them when temperatures fall. If you are in a place that can be cold, wear synthetic or wool clothing instead of moisture-trapping cotton. Wet clothes can exacerbate the cold. Life threatening hypothermia cases occur when temperatures are between 30 to 50 degrees Fahrenheit. If you are in a desert climate, you should carry lots of fluids and hike in the morning and wear light-weight clothing.
Tip #6: Don’t run from wild animals - carry pepper spray
If you are faced with a wild animal like a bear do not run. By running you may trigger the predatory instinct of the animal so that it chases you. This is never a good solution. Carry a repellent pepper spray. Pepper spray can actually stop a charging bear as much as 30 feet from you. Remain in the open and make a lot of noise by clapping and shouting.
With these 6 tips, you can be prepared for a safe R & R outing. Here at R & R Essentials, we have put together a great selection of essential survival items and packages. Be sure to stock up on necessities such as survival food kits, emergency and first aid kits, fire starting gear, and blankets. After you have everything you may need to be safe, get outside and enjoy yourself!
Everything You Need
To make sure you're prepared, we put together a list of all the survival safety essentials we've covered that will help you survive in most situations.