It’s Summer and you want to get outdoors and have fun. So many places to go and visit. Planning that amazing vacation or trekking out into the Wilderness for some long over due quiet time. But sometimes in planning the fun stuff, we forget to have a PLAN for real stuff. What do we mean by “real stuff”? The stuff that you don’t think of until that moment of “what do I do now” happens.
Real Stuff like being prepared for some circumstances that happens ALL the time. We call it a “safety plan” Let’s take a look at some of the common issues people have while enjoying the outdoors.
FALLS – Falls while hiking in mountainous terrain typically account for more fatalities than any other direct cause. A fall can result in a few scrapes minutes from the trailhead or life-threatening injuries miles – and hours – from help. This is why it’s especially important to never hike alone.
HEAT: Overexertion on hot summer days can lead to heat-related injuries.
COLD & HYPOTHERMIA: The lowering of your body’s core temperature below normal can lead to poor judgement and confusion, loss of consciousness and death – even in summer! We have seen this first hand when temps are in the 90’s and people get wet from a cold rain. Wind starts howling, clouds block the sun, and the next thing you know, you start shivering.
No matter if you are day hiking, backpacking, kayaking, having the right safety plan is the best thing you can do for you and your family.
According to the Journal of Travel Medicine, From 2003 to 2006, there were 12,337 SAR operations involving 15,537 visitors. The total operational costs were US$16,552,053. The operations ended with 522 fatalities, 4,860 ill or injured visitors, and 2,855 saves. Almost half (40%) of the operations occurred on Saturday and Sunday, and visitors aged 20 to 29 years were involved in 23% of the incidents. Males accounted for 66.3% of the visitors requiring SAR assistance. Day hiking, motorized boating, swimming, overnight hiking, and nonmotorized boating were the participant activities resulting in the most SAR operations. But here is the most important point:
An error in judgment, fatigue and physical conditions, and insufficient equipment, clothing, and experience were the most common contributing factors.
So what do you do? ALWAYS HAVE A PLAN. What’s a PLAN?
Finally. Understand the acronym STOP-A This is the biggest asset to you if your plan has to do with being lost. The number one question we get when taking new people out backpacking is “what if I get lost”.
If there is no immediate threat, like a wildfire or a bear breathing down your neck, then stop and sit down. The goal is to prevent any irrational thinking due to fear or an adrenaline dump.
let’s break out the best survival tool we have, our brain.
Countless books and stories attest to the fact that a positive mental attitude can pull people through even the most dire of circumstances.
Understand the difference between real threats and fears.
Take a look at your surroundings and identify threats. Are there widow makers? How much time until it gets dark? Do you hear vehicles in the distance? Can you smell a campfire?
After thinking about your priorities and observing your surroundings and gear, it is time to make some choices. Like prioritizing, planning is dependent on your situation. Generally, staying put and waiting for rescue is a good plan, but what if you didn’t tell anyone you were headed out and no one will know you are missing for days?
The best plan in the world will not do you any good until it is put in to action. Once you have a plan, start using your skills and execute the plan.
For those who want to leave trusted friends or family your itinerary. Go to hikeralert.com this is an excellent web based platform that alerts through text message when you do not return
In operation since 2012, HikerAlert is a Web-based service that will automatically send an alert text message and email to your emergency contacts (your friends and family) if you don’t check in from an outdoor trip or other event by your scheduled return time.
Remember, your outdoor experience is your responsibility. Make sure you’re stay safe out there. Mother Nature doesn’t care about your weekend plans.
Safety and the Outdoors. We give you some basic safety tips when traveling outdoors or into the backcountry. Don't get caught without a plan! This is a must see show. www.thebackpacker.tv/sign-up/
Posted by TheBackpackerTV on Thursday, July 20, 2017
Us backpackers can spend a lot of time looking at the latest and greatest new piece of gear out there. In fact, according to IBES World, market research say’s it’s a 4 billion dollar a year industry. That’s a lot of gear.
Over the next five years, as total recreation expenditure expands, demand at hiking and outdoor equipment is anticipated to grow
We are always looking for that piece of “WOW” gear that is the lightest and sometimes the trendiest. However, we have a piece of gear that doesn’t cost anything and we think is essential. It’s lightweight, it will stand the test of time, and it will get you through more uphills, downhills, and weather than you will believe.
The most important piece of gear a backpacker will ever need is a POSITIVE ATTITUDE. No piece of gear will ever help you embrace the trail and Mother Nature than a positive mental attitude will.
Let’s face it, sometimes there is a suck value to hiking in a cold rain storm that seems to last forever. But the one thing that you have going for yourself is your ability to be grateful for that suck value. I mean really, you are out there! You are doing what you wanted to do! Of course it’s going to have suck value. All things worth while do. But it’s going to be your positive mental attitude that will make or break how you experience your hike.
After 20 years of backpacking we can tell you that a positive mental attitude is everything.
For new people just getting into backpacking, getting started is the hardest part. That is why you can “Ask Us”, via a LIVE desktop or smart phone conference and get some help.
On this episode Ariane goes Solo….on a 300 mile trek on the Appalachian Trail and she’s taking you with. Ariane will be backpacking through 3 states and hiking on up some of the toughest mountains in the Southeast. Including the Great Smoky Mountain National Park. This first episode shares with you, Ariane watching the Sunset on Springer Mountain (the southern terminus of the AT). How the first day went and her feelings what her experience is. On day 3 she shares her experience being at the Justus Creek campsites by herself.
Check out Ariane’s Gear List and see how she got her total pack weight (with food and water) down to 25.6 pounds.
Want talk LIVE with her and ask a question? Find out how.
Thanks for listening. We hope you continue with her on the journey.
On this episode we discuss what exceptions are of a long distance hike. We also reveal which one of us (Scott or Ariane) starts their 300 mile section hike of the Appalachian Trail. How much weight does “Social Media” add to your total pack weight? You would be surprised.
Ariane has a new piece of gear she is testing in her quest to go super lightweight. It’s the Hyperlite Southwest 3400. Here is her complete Gear List. Her total pack weight with water and food, 25.8.
Have you had expectations of a long distance hike? Were they met? We would love to hear from you. Also how much does your pack weigh?
On our 25th Podcast we our LIVE on the Cumberland Island National Seashore. Our 2 night, 3 day backpacking trip on the island was absolutely awesome.One of our favorite places to go and see some amazing sunrises and sunsets. We also interview Laura who is the head Caretaker of the Island, and who by the way hands out your backcountry permits. She explains the need for Volunteers and how the “Park Needs You”. She is so passionate about what she does it’s infectious. We really loved meeting her and so grateful that she came over to talk to us.
What makes it so cool is that most people don’t backpack into the Wilderness section of the island which gives you access to the beach. Beach? Yea, it’s an Island and you could possibly have the whole beach to yourselves.
The one thing you should know is that permits have to be made well in advance, and before you get one, you will have to take a quick Leave No Trace awareness class before the Caretaker will hand one out.
To get to Cumberland Island you have to take the St. Mary’s Ferry which departs from St. Mary’s. It’s a smooth ride to the Island and you maybe able to catch a view of a Dolphin playing around the Ferry. You HAVE to make reservations and secure permits however.
We really enjoyed this backpacking trip and bringing this podcast to you. Please let us know what podcast’s you would like to hear in the future, or just say hello. We love hearing from you guys.
You would be surprised at how many people get sick on the Appalachian Trail due to the spreading of germs. In fact, Appalachian Trail hikers had a 45 percent diarrhea rate, implying that poor hygiene is a major contributing factor. How to prevent getting sick is to make sure your First Aid Kit has the some basic medications and ALCOHOL WIPES to keep your hands clean.
Ariane has gotten the Flu while backpacking and she explains how hard it is to hike out when you get sick. Some basic medications, like benadryl, tylenol, Mucinex, and Diarrhea tablets can help you when you feel like you maybe getting sick on the Trail.
In a article written by Blissful Hiking:
The chief complaint on the Appalachian Trail is the Norovirus, which seems to strike every hiking season. Noroviruses are found in the stool or vomit of infected people and on infected surfaces that have been touched by ill people. Outbreaks occur more often where there are more people in a small area like hostels, shelters and privies contaminated by sick hikers.
The best way to prevent getting sick is to make sure your hands are always clean. Bear cables are filled with germs, wipe your hands off after using them. Prevention is the key. Make sure you keep clear of sharing food or area’s where you see other hikers being sick. Again, using alcohol type hand sanitizer and trying not to share food, it going to go a long way.
If you do get sick on the trail, you are going to have to REST. Drink plenty of fluids and replenish your electrolytes. Chicken Soup and Lemon Tea is a great way to start your rebound. But rest and a day off is probably going to get you back on the trail.
You can always schedule a LIVE one on one Q&A with us with your smart phone and get answers LIVE.
On this episode we share our 3 day, 2 night paddle in one of the most unique places in the Southeast. The Okefenokee National Refuge Area. In other words, a swamp in the wilderness.
The Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge is an impressively vast expanse of wilderness swamplands covering approximately 700 square miles, located within the southeast corner of Georgia.
The Okefenokee is crisscrossed by over 120 miles of paddle and motor boat water trails. It is a major destination for wetlands, nature lovers and paddlers alike. The swamp has a distinctive and fascinating natural history. Okefenokee means “land of the trembling earth” in Choctaw Indian language, a reference to the quivering ground of boggy areas. The Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge was officially established in 1937 to preserve one of America’s oldest freshwater systems, an important habitat for an abundance of plants and animals that live in its 400,000 acres.
Through our guiding company, Full Moon Adventures, we took our guests on a 3 day paddle in some of the most remote places on the swamp. You can view our video on our YouTube Channel.
We saw almost 300 Alligators.
How do you buy your backpacking gear? Do you buy all of it online? Or do you physically go into your local Outfitters Store? We do both. Buying backpacking gear, or we should say “the right” backpacking gear can be a daunting experience. You get advise from social media or friends and just about everyone has their opinion.
The truth is….You have to buy what’s right for YOU! You try on shoes yourself when you need new shoes right? You have a specific preference based on what you know fits. Same thing with gear. My rain jacket I love, but that doesn’t mean you will love it. It has to feel comfortable and (has to keep you dry). So, we put together some “GO TO” online shops that we absolutely love.
If you do buy your gear online, which are your go to web stores? We share our top 4.
The Best Deals For Outdoor Gear –
1. thebackpackerstore.com – This is NOT a website, but a database of ALL outdoor online stores that put “daily deals”out there that change (of course) daily. Lot’s of categories and coupons to use also. Most gear is overstock and 35-75% off.
2. campsaver.com – Campsaver is a great resource for backpacking gear. In fact, had the lowest price for the Hyperlite 3400 backpack (that we just recently bought). It generally has coupon codes for first time buyers also.
3. altrec.com – We’ve been shopping at Altrec for years. They have great Customer Service and some great deals on outdoor gear.
4. moosejaw.com – Moosejaw is another place to recieve great online Customer Service. Rumor has it that Walmart maybe going to buy them. If you are looking for some discounted prices on gear, always check them out on your top 3 list. We do.
If you have some good places to look for gear, let us know. Us Backpackers are always looking for gear deals right?
After 10 years teaching backpacking, we put together our top 10 suggestions for new backpackers. For people just learning or getting ready for a backpacking trip, it can be pretty intimidating knowing you will be out in the wilderness. Rest assured that there is no reason to be worried. However, we have seen a lot of mistakes that could be pretty easily avoided if people learned some basics before buying their gear, or just heading out.
If you have some we might have missed, let’s hear from you.
1. Plan and Prepare
2. Make sure your backpacking is fitted correctly
3. Learn how to pack your pack
4. Test your gear BEFORE you hit the Trail
5. Make sure you know your Water Filtration System and how to use it.
6. Practice How to hang a Food Bag (or Bear Bag)
7.Treat your Blisters, BEFORE they are actual blisters.
8.Reduce your pack weight by a little meditation before you pack it
9. Clean your GEAR after your trip.
10. Trust the Trail. It will always provide everything you need.
Join our LIVE show every Thursday on our Facebook Page 12:00 AM EST
3 Mistakes New Backpackers make. If you are new to backpacking, we will send you 3 free videos to get you started. www.thebackpacker.tv/3-mistakes
If you are like us, then you love your cup of coffee in the morning. Anytime we are on the trail backpacking into the wilderness, the first thing we do in the morning is get out our stoves and get our water HOT. There is nothing better (in our humble opinion) then to look out from your tarp, gaze into the woods, and sip your hot piping cup of coffee.
We put together a list of what we think is some of the best coffee for backpacking based on price, weight and taste. We started with what we usually bring on the trail.
Rating System: High “Like”. Medium “Like”. Low “Like” on Taste. Same for Price.
Starbucks Via Instant Pikes Place
We give this a High “Like” for it’s strong coffee taste and caffeine. However, we give this a “Low” Like for Price.
You can purchase this at REI online or locally.
Cafe Bustelo Espresso Instant Coffee
Instant Micro-ground Ready Brew Coffee
We give this a High “Like” for it’s taste and a High “Like” for price.
You can purchase this at Target online
Nescafe Clasico Instant Coffee
We give this a Low “like” on this coffee. It’s powered and not real coffee. However we give it a high “like” for it’s price.
You can purchase this at Target for 99 online
Folgers Instant Coffee Crystals
We give this a Low “Like”, and a High “Like” for the price.
You can buy these in bulk at Amazon online. We have seen these go for a 1.00 for 7 packs. Check the expiration date however.
Folgers Coffee Singles
Folgers Coffee Singles Are Single-Serving Coffee Bags Made W/Mountain Grown 100 Percent Pure Coffee
We give this a High “Like”, and a High “Like” on Price.
These tea bag coffee packs are REAL coffee grounds. We have used these for years and love them. TIP: put two in a cup to get a stronger cup of coffee. You can buy these at Walmart Online and get a much better price point per cup.
Trader Joe’s Instant Coffee w/Creamer & Sugar
All dressed up with creamer & sugar
Pack of 10
Made with 100% Arabica Coffee
We give this a Medium “Like” for taste but a High “Like” for price. For just $1.99 – that’s about 20¢ a cup! AND you don’t have to pack creamer and sugar. You can buy these at Trader Joe’s. If you want the price break, you have to buy them IN the Store.
Trader Joe’s Pour Over Brew in a Bag
Self contained filtered coffee system with rich taste of French Press
Included are six pouches of Brazilian Dark, Medium Roast Arabica
2 servings each pouch, just add water and you decide the strength
We give this a High “Like” for taste, but a Low “Like” for packing it in your pack. We give it an extra High “Like” for the price. At 1.49 you can squeeze two cups of coffee from one bag. It’s real coffee. So you can’t go wrong with the taste. However, they are big and bulky and hardly going to fit nice and snug in your food bag.
You can buy these at Trader Joe’s. OR Amazon if you want to buy in bulk. If you want the price break, you have to buy them IN the Store.
Folgers Cappaccino French Vanilla
Instant Micro-powdered Coffee
We give this a Low “Like”. However, that is just us. We have seen many backpackers use this. We just are not cappuccino drinkers. We give this a Medium “Like” for price however. We found that Target had the best price.
We probably missed some of your favorite coffee. This is what we usually see on the trail. Post what you like. Do you even drink coffee in the backcountry? Maybe Tea?
Drinking a morning cup of hot coffee while backpacking or camping is amazing…But what's the best coffee you can buy? Instant? Real grounds? We will do a LIVE taste test and let you know. We may start talking a bit fast however, so try and keep up. www.thebackpacker.tv
Posted by TheBackpackerTV on Thursday, March 16, 2017
On this episode we discuss what happens if you get the Flu on the Trail? We all prepare our first aid kits for cuts, burns and blisters. But are we really personalizing our first aid kit based on our needs.
You would be surprised at how many people get sick on the AT due to the spreading of germs. In fact, Appalachian Trail hikers had a 45 percent diarrhea rate, implying that poor hygiene is a major contributing factor. How to prevent getting sick is to make sure your First Aid Kit has the some basic medications and ALCOHOL WIPES to keep your hands clean.
Ariane has gotten the Flu while backpacking and she explains how hard it is to hike out when you get sick. Some basic medications, like benadryl, tylenol, Mucinex, and Diarrhea tablets can help you when you feel like you maybe getting sick on the Trail.
The best way to prevent getting sick is to make sure your hands are always clean. Bear cables are filled with germs, wipe your hands off after using them. Prevention is the key.
Have you ever gotten the flu on the Trail? What’s in your First Aid Kit. Let us know, and share your knowledge with others. We love to hear from our hiking community.
Backpacking in the cold, especially in the Winter months can be a beautiful experience. After all, there isn’t any foliage and high elevation views can be pretty spectacular. That’s why it’s important to understand the Layering System. We like the 4 layering system and there are many articles out there explaining it.
There are three main components to a layering system.
The first layer is next to skin: The main job of this layer is to wick sweat away from your skin, then dry quickly so you don’t get chilled. Cotton sucks at this because it takes forever to dry. I still am amazed at how many hikers I still see wearing a cotton t-shirt. Big NO NO. Our favorite base layers are wool. They are very efficient, warm when it’s cold, cool when it’s hot, and they don’t stink up like so many synthetics do. The bad news is that wool tends to dry slowly when it gets wet (either from precipitation or sweat). Synthetic materials (polyesters) also make good base layers, and people with very sensitive skin often find wool itchy, so poly is a good wicking, quick-drying option. Perhaps the best of all are wool/synthetic blends which are becoming more and more popular because they have the quick-dry ability of synthetics, with the warmth and ant-stink talents of wool. A note about fit: For cool or cold weather, your base layer should be snug, because if it’s not touching your skin, it can’t wick sweat. That means your sweat sits on your skin until it evaporates, which leaves you shivering.
Second Layer is Insulation: This is the layer that traps your body heat. It can range from lightweight fleeces and wool sweaters to full-on puffy down jackets; it just depends on the season. In all but the coldest of weather, your insulation will remain in your pack while hiking, so your body heat can escape and dissipate. But as soon as you stop moving, put it on so you won’t get cold as your sweat dries.
Third Layer is the Shell: The job of a shell is twofold: it cuts the wind and keeps you dry. In summertime, you can get away with a wispy windshell, but for more challenging weather and extended trips, you want a waterproof/breathable shell (like Gore-Tex or eVent) that keeps water out, but lets sweat vapor escape, so you don’t get wet from perspiration inside your layering system.
The Forth or Optional Layer is the RainJacket: When it’s cold, many people have their second layer as a lightweight pull over. Third Layer is then the lightweight puffy down jacket, THEN the forth layer is your windshell or rain jacket. In our video we like the 4 layering system as you can see.
The main principle of layering is that you are regularly adding and removing layers to keep your body temperature even. An example. We start off on chilly morning hike wearing my base layer and a light fleece. As our body warms up, we stop and take off the fleece. At lunch break, on a breezy ridge, we immediately put the fleece back on, and possibly our outer shell to cut the wind. After lunch, it all comes off (except the base layer) and we start trekking again. If it’s starts raining or a big thunderstorm roll in. We throw on our rainjackets and open up the pit zips (underarm vents) and continue. We always make sure our extra layers are conveniently located in the outer pockets of my pack, so we can always reach them.
What is your Winter Layering system when you go backpacking? We would love to hear from you.
What is your favorite National Park? Our’s is Isle Royale National Park. On this episode we are going to share one of our favorite backpacking adventure trips. Where to go, and how to get there. You maybe suprised to hear it’s on an Island and in Michigan. Then give you 2 tips on the best way to travel with your backpack. Lastly we share one of our subscribers e-mail question
As guides for Full Moon Adventures, every year we get a chance to travel to Isle Royale National Park. It’s an Island that is 45 miles long and only 9 miles wide. It’s actually a part the State of Michigan.
On this episode we come to you right from the Appalachian Trail itself tucked, in our sleeping bags. Backpacking on the AT offers so much excitement and beauty. Especially hiking in the Winter. Much better views, less people, and often more stars. However, the sun goes down rather fast and quickly becomes pretty chilly. That leaves you with getting in your bag often by 8:00 pm with nothing to do. We call this, Hikers Midnight.
This episode was from our LIVE show on our Facebook page. We thought it had good value and wanted to convert it into our weekly podcast. Our Top 10 Suggestions for New Backpackers was a lot of fun.
Here they are:
Do you have any suggestions for new backpackers? Share them with us. You’re never too old to learn. 🙂
Do you have that special piece of backpacking gear that just makes you feel warm and cozy? We absolutely do! On our LIVE Show we discussed what our favorite “GO TO” piece of Gear is. We also share our New Year Resolutions and what we want to accomplish in 2017.
So we did a field test of the MSR Flex Skillet and I fell deeply in love with this pan. A durable, nonstick surface makes this hard-anodized aluminum skillet perfect for everything from stir-fries to the perfect pancake. Conveniently nests inside a Flex™ 4 Cook Set and outside a Flex™ 3 Cook Set. It does weigh 7 oz which in my standards would be considered a bit heavy. However, you have to be who you are in the backcountry and both Ariane and I love to cook. So the MSR Flex Skillet gives the chance to enjoy easy clean up with the non stick service.
There are also some really cool companies that we think are on the move in 2017. One of those companies is Eddie Bauer and their First Ascent Gear line. Now don’t get confused with the first version of First Ascent. That gear also rocked. But this version is a re-brand. But even now, this gear looks really bad ass.
Another company we think is going to rock out gear is of course, Sea To Summit. They have really been innovative is the last few years and they keep coming up with new and lightweight gear.
We wrap up with a Primus Stove give a way and some New Year Resolutions.
On this episode we sit down with Robin League and discuss what backpacking in South Africa is like. Most people know what “backpacking” in the US is. But in different countries around the world, the word “backpacking” is or can be a little different.
Our guest Robin League spent 2 years in the Peace Corps in Swaziland Africa. She often went backpacking from Hostel to Hostel on the Wild Coast of South Africa. How is backpacking on the Wild Coast different than backpacking in the US National Forest’s? Robin gives us the low down on what it’s like and what to expect.
We also discuss the different water treatment systems and what to expect when driving around South Africa. You would be surprised to find out what taking Public Transportation is like.
We also give you a few tips and how to’s if you ever travel to South Africa and want to go backpacking on the Wild Coast.
This podcast was a lot of fun. Robin is a good friend of ours and has gone backpacking with us in the US. Have you ever gone backpacking in another Country? Let us know where and what your experience was like.
On this episode we are going to discuss use of technology and is it useful on the trail? Do you need it, and how do you use it? We’ll also do a Throwback Thursday and look back as to what was used to communicate while on a Thru-Hike all but 15 years ago. Wow! Has it been that long?
Can you effectively use technology without it disengaging you from your outdoor experience? We find it goes both ways. Yes, it can be beneficial to bring a little tech out into the Wilderness, but it can also be aggravating as hell when you find cell service.
What’s your opinion? If you bring your cell phone on the trail, what do you use it for?
#throwbackthursday Do you remember the Pocketmail device? – Back in my day (Wow, never thought I would say that) there was no cell phones on the trail on a large extent. It was a huge debate to bring or not to bring.
Wireless mobile data is extremely expensive or entirely unavailable, high speed broadband just a dream. Pocketmail was a PDA type device which featured an acoustic coupler modem which you could slap onto a phone after dialing a number and download/upload e-mails over the phone. The PDA itself had memory internally to store e-mails awaiting transmission, and ran off two AA batteries.
We had a blast doing this podcast. Share your stories with us and let us know how you feel about technology on the trail.
Thanks for listening.