Emergency kit for day hikes

Share your advice and personal experiences, post a gear review or ask any questions you may have pertaining to outdoor gear and equipment.
User avatar
Jimr
Forums Moderator
Forums Moderator
Posts: 1943
Joined: Fri Jul 31, 2009 2:14 pm
Experience: Level 4 Explorer
Location: Redondo Beach

Emergency kit for day hikes

Post by Jimr » Fri Jun 30, 2017 3:06 pm

I was thinking about Marv who was recently rescued from the Whitney area. He had a mylar blanket and mirror. Not sure what else he had, but he seems to have been prepared in some way for an emergency.

Recently, I’ve been playing around with a “survive 24 hours” set-up for my day hikes that includes a 20F or so quilt, mid weight fleece, extra water and food, a sit pad and headlamp. Other things can be included or excluded depending on the situation, but I think that’s a good start for its intended purpose. I’m trying to strike a balance between weight and comfort in case of a forced bivy or injury. I played around with this for the first time last month, but purposely took more than I would need at a bare minimum because, well, I’m heading in over Sawmill pass in less than a month and wanted to start hiking with weight on my back. That will scale back as I get more actual backpacking trips in this year, so I’m now looking at light, yet functional.

Here in So. Cal., we have had numerous day hiking incidents on Mt. Baldy in the last couple of years, so I guess I’m throwing my thoughts out here in hopes for a discussion that may inspire new hikers to consider the possibility of needing to “survive 24 hours”.

Your thoughts?


“Posterity! You will never know, how much it cost the present generation, to preserve your Freedom! I hope you will make a good use of it. If you do not, I shall repent in Heaven, that I ever took half the pains to preserve it.”

-John Adams






User avatar
rlown
Topix Docent
Posts: 7298
Joined: Thu Oct 25, 2007 5:00 pm
Experience: Level 4 Explorer
Location: Petaluma, CA

Re: Emergency kit for day hikes

Post by rlown » Fri Jun 30, 2017 3:10 pm

Bic lighter and a bright shirt to wave at the helicopters as they circle around after you've left your reconn form with a loved one, including the phone numbers for the sheriff's office. Also, any meds you absolutely need if you're gone for more than that 24 hrs..

[youtube_vid]<iframe width="854" height="480" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/9xKWfnzfcR0" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>[/youtube_vid]

User avatar
neil d
Topix Regular
Posts: 150
Joined: Tue Aug 24, 2010 12:46 pm
Experience: N/A

Re: Emergency kit for day hikes

Post by neil d » Fri Jun 30, 2017 3:42 pm

Timely post, after having a hiking experience this past weekend that set me back 4 hours past the standard check-in call with the home team. Not good.

In my case, I was lacking extra food and means of treating water. I know this sounds like extreme rookie behavior, and I'm not proud of it...my plan was for a 7-mile loop in an area I know well, but I was not able to close the loop due to snow. Had to backtrack the entire loop. An unforeseen circumstance, for which I should have been prepared.

So, going forward, water treatment and extra food. I like having a mylar blanket and always have extra clothes...add a hat and buff, and I'm not sure I would need a blanket under most conditions.

- First aid kit: i always have emergency meds, sunscreen, and footcare items in case of blisters.
- Always have means of fire.
- Often have a stove to make backcountry tea, probably good to have if I get stuck.
- Not sure if headlamp is mandatory.

This gets pretty close to the 10 essentials.

User avatar
zacjust32
Topix Regular
Posts: 330
Joined: Thu Apr 16, 2015 12:50 pm
Experience: Level 3 Backpacker
Location: Fresno, Ca
Contact:

Re: Emergency kit for day hikes

Post by zacjust32 » Fri Jun 30, 2017 7:27 pm

+1 on the space blanket. I have all my ten essentials in a bag and I take the whole thing out whether I day hike or backpack

User avatar
Wandering Daisy
Topix Docent
Posts: 4674
Joined: Sun Jan 24, 2010 8:19 pm
Experience: N/A
Location: Fair Oaks CA (Sacramento area)
Contact:

Re: Emergency kit for day hikes

Post by Wandering Daisy » Fri Jun 30, 2017 7:52 pm

I have done plenty of unplanned bivouacs on climbs. Because you need insulation layers on high altitude climbs, and weather-proof outer layers, we already had enough to survive a night. On a planned bivy, I sometimes added a bivy sack (bright safety yellow). You can survive even if you are not comfortable; I would not take a blanket - just have enough clothing. Clothing is multi-use; also useful if you need to walk out in poor weather. Personally I would not worry about water treatment. Chlorine tabs are light enough, so take them if you prefer. Otherwise, anything you pick up from the water will affect you long after you are out. The more important issue is simply a water source. A few extra trail bars will do for food. Signal mirror, is good. Have at least one piece of clothing be bright colored. First aid kit same as regular backpacking, but you can leave out the moleskin and sewing kit. Still need enough to stop bleeding and wrap a wound. Headlamp. Waterproof matches (I like the long REI emergency matches- when my hands are really cold I have a hard time working BIC lighters). I have even taken a small cook pot (or mug) that I can heat water over a fire. When cold, even hot water helps. A few soup mixes are great too. Balaclava is one of the greatest benefit for weight items you can take. Extra dry pair of wool socks.

A "kit" alone is not going to save you. Positive attitude and experience are needed. You can experiment with various levels of emergency gear in a safe location. Even your back yard during a winter storm works. Good to have a buddy while you are experimenting. A solo person often does not recognize that they are getting hypothermic. When I have spent the night out, unplanned, I did not just sit there. I spent a lot of the night doing jumping jacks, all sorts of wiggling, etc. to stay warm. The key is to start exercising before you get too cold. If possible, keep a fire going all night. Pick a good bivy spot. Make a grass or leaf bed if possible. Get out of the wind.

User avatar
Wandering Daisy
Topix Docent
Posts: 4674
Joined: Sun Jan 24, 2010 8:19 pm
Experience: N/A
Location: Fair Oaks CA (Sacramento area)
Contact:

Re: Emergency kit for day hikes

Post by Wandering Daisy » Fri Jun 30, 2017 7:55 pm

Also, have a small square of insulating foam. My day-pack has a foam back pad built in. If you have to sit on the ground or on rock, you will loose a lot of heat regardless of warm clothing.

User avatar
SSSdave
Topix Addict
Posts: 2841
Joined: Thu Nov 17, 2005 11:18 pm
Experience: N/A
Location: Silicon Valley
Contact:

Re: Emergency kit for day hikes

Post by SSSdave » Fri Jun 30, 2017 10:39 pm

Do what you need to do especially if you have loved ones that depend on you.

For decades as a single person without dependents, have been solo day hiking both from my vehicle and from backpacking trip camp spots. And do so much more than others because I do landscape photography rambling about much terrain. Much of that is also off trails where the chances others might notice me if I got into trouble are low or nil. What I do is often dangerous in places where night time temperatures can kill. I wear clothing only appropriate for day time hiking conditions and not for night conditions if I became incapacitated. If I had a serious injury out in some remote place, the chances of dying are considerable and I accept that level of danger for the way I play my game of life. Be conservative, be safe, be smart, live to a ripe old age.

My day hiking carrying weight is more than what some backpackers carry at over 25#. So I already am carrying too much weight and not looking to add much for what ifs. In any case I have sizeable knife plus a Classic Swiss Army knife, 2 lighters, Kleenix tissues, whistle, LifeStraw, Gorilla Tape, compass/mirror, headlamp, 1 AAA flashlight, and a waterproof covering for my camera day pack. There are a lot of situations where the above won't be much help but others it can.

David
http://www.davidsenesac.com/2017_Trip_C ... les-0.html

User avatar
Wandering Daisy
Topix Docent
Posts: 4674
Joined: Sun Jan 24, 2010 8:19 pm
Experience: N/A
Location: Fair Oaks CA (Sacramento area)
Contact:

Re: Emergency kit for day hikes

Post by Wandering Daisy » Sat Jul 01, 2017 1:46 pm

Serious injury, solo, in a remote place is bad news, no matter what kind of emergency kit you have. A PLB location will locate your body, but pushing the button does not bring immediate rescue, especially in bad weather. Alpine climbing is a bit like your photography outings, you take just enough but not too much. Speed is safety, and if you carry enough for a comfortable bivouac, likely, you will do just that because the weight really slows you down. I do not think it is a matter of having other family members at home or not. The will to survive is quite strong in most everyone. Each person has their own personal tolerance for risk.

All day-hikes are not equal. Honestly, I do not carry the "10 essentials" on every one of my day-hikes, particularly if I am fishing. In fact, I tend to take the most risk when fishing. Alpine climbing?- very careful about having all I need and am prepared for very severe conditions. Day-hiking on a backpack trip? - most of the 10-essentials but light on food and clothes. Some of the items, such as a small signal mirror and whistle, are so light and compact that there is little reason not to take them. Clothing is a more complicated decision. I still feel that simply having someone else along (assuming they are a competent outdoors person) is the biggest safety item.

Except when fishing, I take my trekking poles. If I sprain an ankle I can hobble back. This is one reason I am not keen on tents that set up on trekking poles. And the older my knees get, the more the trekking poles are the "11th" essential!

I am not big on knives. I really see little need for huge multi-functioning knives. I have a small scissors for cutting bandages. I have never felt the need to have a big knife in any survival situation I have been in.

Preventing emergency is the best strategy for day hikes. I always have a set turn-around time- no fudging. I have been mighty close to the summit and turned around.

Just like a backpack trip, leave a note if you day-hike or tell someone where you are going. I will tear a small corner off my map and write where I am going on it, and leave it inside my tent, if day-hiking on a solo backpack. To prevent the embarrassing mistake of not being able to find my tent at the end of the day, I tie a bright colored item in a visible place nearby or on the tent. Not needed for my orange Big Agnes tent, but essential when using my Tarptent.

User avatar
giantbrookie
Founding Member & Forums Moderator
Founding Member & Forums Moderator
Posts: 2945
Joined: Wed Dec 28, 2005 10:22 am
Experience: N/A
Location: Fresno
Contact:

Re: Emergency kit for day hikes

Post by giantbrookie » Sat Jul 01, 2017 7:27 pm

Wandering Daisy wrote:Serious injury, solo, in a remote place is bad news, no matter what kind of emergency kit you have. A PLB location will locate your body, but pushing the button does not bring immediate rescue, especially in bad weather. Alpine climbing is a bit like your photography outings, you take just enough but not too much. Speed is safety, and if you carry enough for a comfortable bivouac, likely, you will do just that because the weight really slows you down. I do not think it is a matter of having other family members at home or not. The will to survive is quite strong in most everyone. Each person has their own personal tolerance for risk.
This very much echoes my own personal approach. The only thing I'd say with a slightly different slant is for the last sentence, which is that every person has their own personal tolerance for risk and they also have a different perception of risk levels in different activities, too, whether that perception is accurate or not. My having kids did change my risk tolerance in the mountains, at least initially, but the reaction did not involve bringing more survival gear. Instead, I dialed way back on 3rd class stuff after the first one was born.

I tend to usually pack foul weather gear in case of sudden weather changes and I carry a very basic (and lightweight) first aid kit, a flashlight. There are certainly other tools that are with me that can be handy, such as the Swiss Army knife I always have (as a part of my fishing gear).

Really serious injuries (or other trauma such as a heart attack) in the wilderness which render someone more or less immobile do not tend to be the type for which a survival kit enhances one's chance of survival. Most injuries one may sustain in the wilderness are much less serious and one tends to be more mobile in those situations than many folks realize. In those cases, having less stuff (ie lighter) as WD notes is more optimal.

When I was younger folks would always tell me "what happens if you sprain your ankle in the middle of nowhere"? As if a sprained ankle would prevent one from hobbling out to safety? Sure, it would be more difficult hiking than with an uninjured ankle but... I broke my right ankle (hairline fracture, not real horrible compound one) and more or less hopped on one foot 8 miles out of the backcountry. The first 3 or so miles were off trail (class 1 & 2 and one or two class 3 moves) and w/o a walking stick whereas I appropriated my dad's walking stick for the 5 mile on-trail hike with full pack to the car after overnighting at our campsite. My bro badly sprained his ankle about 6 miles from the car once and I found him an appropriate sized branch to use as a walking stick which got him out (we didn't have walking sticks before that) via a trail----we were a bit slow getting to car. As noted by WD, the foul weather clothes carried in both cases would have sufficed for an emergency bivouac if he or I were unable to get all the way out, but our preference was to go as fast as we were able so as to get out without a bivouac.

Anyhow it is for the reasons above that I do not carry a really heavy first aid or "survival" set up while dayhiking or backpacking. It is not that I am cavalier about risks, but I try to be practical about what sort of first aid etc. gear is actually helpful.
Since my fishing (etc.) website is still down, you can be distracted by geology stuff at: http://www.fresnostate.edu/csm/ees/facu ... ayshi.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

User avatar
rlown
Topix Docent
Posts: 7298
Joined: Thu Oct 25, 2007 5:00 pm
Experience: Level 4 Explorer
Location: Petaluma, CA

Re: Emergency kit for day hikes

Post by rlown » Sat Jul 01, 2017 7:35 pm

Broke my left ankle (also hairline) 20 years ago on the way to Virginia Lk in Yose. Still got to V. Made it out from Mattie and back to the parking lot. I tend to carry enough stuff in my kit so as maybe to assist others on the trail I might run across who need help. Glad I haven't needed to use it.

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 3 guests