Backwoods Wisdom with Taj- Being Prepared

September 2, 2017

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     Hello folks! Taj here again with a few more tips and outdoor advice. One thing I see very often is that a lot of people go out completely unprepared for the slightest mishap. I've met people that have broken down on the side of the road with absolutely no emergency gear, first aid kit, or even basic tools. I've seen folks who will attempt to hike or backpack with the wrong kind of clothes, shoes, and some neglect bringing gear altogether. Flip flops are NOT shoes! They are NOT good for hiking, walking on rocky terrain, gravel, hills, or basically anything that isn't a beach or other flat terrain. Sorry about that. I had to rant for a moment. I seriously detest flip flops.

     So, for this article, I wanted to give some advice on a few basic things to have on your person, in your pockets, and in your car. The first thing is going to be clothes. Always dress for what you're planning to do. If hiking in the woods, for example, you would want to wear hiking boots or trail shoes that have good tread. Tennis shoes would work, but they don't have the necessary traction. I do a lot of hiking and rock hounding wearing Teva sandals, but only if I'm going to spend a lot of time in water. Crossing streams or rock hounding in the creek are ideal activities for Teva sandals. 

     Now, for basics, I recommend that everyone have a good med kit in their vehicle. Basic tools are also a must have. This includes wrenches, a screwdriver, pliers, etc. Always have a spare tire or tire repair kit handy. I also recommend keeping at least one gallon of water, a few snacks, a pen, a notepad, an emergency poncho, an umbrella, gorilla glue, duct tape, zip ties, and a light jacket. I always advise others to carry a good multi tool, either in your car or on your belt. My personal favorite that I never go without is my Letherman Wave. I've used it to do repairs on my car, glasses, house, gloves, etc. I also like to keep a Swiss Army knife. I've kept one in my pocket since I was seven years old. 

     Something else you may want to consider is carrying a change of clothes and spare shoes for emergencies in your vehicle. I usually have a set for work and one for afterwards. I carry a set of thermal underwear as well. Since I work outdoors, it's nice to be able to change out of wet clothes if I get caught in the rain or misstep in the creek. I carry spare shoes that are suitable for work and a pair of Teva sandals just in case I have to be in the water. During the winter, you'll want some extra warm clothes. I always carry a zero degree sleeping bag in my car. If I break down in the middle of nowhere, I know I won't freeze to death. 

     For my last piece of advice; always carry super glue, duct tape, mechanics wire, paracord, and a roll of paper towels. Each one of these items has thousands of uses and can be used to repair just about anything. As for your pockets, carry a small folding knife of aforementioned Swiss Army knife, a lighter, a paper clip or two, and a small flashlight. I also keep a small tube of super glue and some first aid supplies. I carry a small tin with assorted band-aids, alcohol swabs, folding scissors, tweezers, a safety pin, and a sterile (single use) razor blade. My small tin kit has taken care of most of the injuries I encounter on a regular basis. I keep a large, fully stocked, comprehensive medical kit in my car at all times just to be prepared.

     That's it for now. Just remember that keeping a couple of emergency supplies or a few basic tools on hand can save your life or the life of someone else. You can purchase premade kits or make your own. 

     In my next article, I will go over how to make a basic survival kit and provide a full inventory list of my personal emergency pack.

Happy rockhounding to all!

Blessed be,

Taj

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