Emergency kit for day hikes

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SirBC
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Re: Emergency kit for day hikes

Post by SirBC » Sat Jul 01, 2017 8:16 pm

Wandering Daisy wrote: 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 starting to become of a same mind on this. My tent (Hexamid duo) is very lightweight but requires both of my trekking poles for support. I have definitely missed having them on day hikes on the last few trips. Earlier today a ordered a new tent for trips with my wife both because I wanted more room than my Hexamid duo has for two people, but also because I just no longer like doing day hikes without my trekking poles. I'm still debating getting a new tent for solo trips but I think I'm leaning that way.
giantbrookie wrote: 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.

Anyhow it is for the reasons above that I do not carry a really heavy first aid or "survival" set up while day hiking 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.
I have to admit that spraining an ankle/breaking a leg while off-trail "in the middle of nowhere" is one my fears. I've never had a sprained ankle but I'd assumed that it would be next to impossible to get over/down a pass without the use of one leg. Were you able to bear any weight at all on your injured leg?


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rlown
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Re: Emergency kit for day hikes

Post by rlown » Sat Jul 01, 2017 8:32 pm

SirBC wrote:I have to admit that spraining an ankle/breaking a leg while off-trail "in the middle of nowhere" is one my fears. I've never had a sprained ankle but I'd assumed that it would be next to impossible to get over/down a pass without the use of one leg. Were you able to bear any weight at all on your injured leg?
It isn't impossible. Ibuprofen works great to get you moving and amazingly, the swelling goes down as you move. I've sprained twice and hairline break once. Don't stop for long though. You can bear weight (compound fractures are different, and you will need rescue.) Friends are nice to have when they can take some of it the weight off your back on off-trail excursions to get out. This is true only for a sprain or hairline fracture. Beyond that, It's not going to be walk able.

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Re: Emergency kit for day hikes

Post by Harlen » Sat Jul 01, 2017 9:56 pm

No one has yet mentioned "medicinal brandy" as an essential in the safety tool kit.
This is the one item in my safety kit that I use on every trip. It is also important to have one or two dogs to help carry the brandy- this is ancient mountain wisdom from the Swiss Alps I am sharing with you all. Cheers ... or Skål!

On a more serious note, I always carry a small bag of "tinder," long wooden matches, and a Swiss army knife for fire starting. My tinder is birch bark that Vermont friends keep me supplied with. The knife is to cut the outer layer off wet wood in the hope of turning it into firewood. Of course, none of this does me any good above tree line, where I usually am... therefore the medicinal brandy.

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Re: Emergency kit for day hikes

Post by rlown » Sat Jul 01, 2017 10:10 pm

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

dryer link helps as well..

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Re: Emergency kit for day hikes

Post by giantbrookie » Sun Jul 02, 2017 1:24 pm

SirBC wrote:I have to admit that spraining an ankle/breaking a leg while off-trail "in the middle of nowhere" is one my fears. I've never had a sprained ankle but I'd assumed that it would be next to impossible to get over/down a pass without the use of one leg. Were you able to bear any weight at all on your injured leg?
I was able to bear weight, but not without shooting pain, so when I backpacked out of base camp I used my dad's walking stick to take most of the weight off. The pain was bad starting off then I got used to it, but I didn't want to stop and have to deal with the "start up" again so I hiked 5 miles out to the car without stopping (took 2 hrs). Far more difficult was the off trail escape in the beginning where I didn't have a walking stick (between the point of injury and my basecamp). I had to initially climb a steep snow slope that I would have normally wanted an ice axe for (slip would have had disastrous consequences) and I couldn't support enough weight with the bad foot to kick steps, so I sort of hand carved steps, which took a very long time and led to very cold hands. That by far the hardest part of the hike out. At the top of the snow slope was a class 3 move to get to class 2 talus boulders. For the class 3 I resorted to a lot of upper body strength stuff so as to avoid any push offs from the bad foot side. Once on the boulders I crab walked and crawled. When I got to mellower off trail stuff I more or less hopped on one leg and took advantage of rocks and vegetation to get extra support. I was carrying a moderately heavy daypack because it had my entire fishing arsenal in it as well as water, trail snacks, foul weather gear (had been raining pretty hard when I got to the the destination). For the backpack from basecamp I did not lighten my pack because I didn't want to overburden my dad. As it was my dad was pretty uncomfortable without his cherished walking stick and I arrived 10 to 20 minutes ahead of him at the car.

I have also suffered a moderately bad knee hyperextension 7 miles from the car. I was about 1 mile off trail when I did that, but I can't say I my mobility was too badly compromised. The knee was a bit shaky and loose, but I could still bear weight on it without too much additional pain. That was a reasonably bad knee injury because the after effects lasted for years (was the beginning of the decline of my left knee which had been the "strong" knee up to that point).

One injury I had in the backcountry that had me a bit concerned at the time was when I broke (hairline) two fingers on my left hand when I did a klutzy fall while fishing Big Harriet Lake. My concern was that the swelling of my ring finger (one of the broken ones) would cause circulation to get cutoff at my wedding ring and I worried about losing the finger. I considered quitting the trip and heading back but reasoned that since it was a full day or more of hiking to get out that whatever bad thing might happen to that finger would happen anyway, so we decided to complete the trip (3.5 more days) which turned out to be a very good one. Hands are not as crucial to getting around as feet and legs are, but I was a bit uncomfortable (mentally, not physically) when I had to go some class 3 one handed a day later.

Regarding medicinal brandy, the time-honored "more miles to the gallon" backcountry alcohol--151--would be great emergency fire starter, to be sure (note that all brands of 151 always comes with "flammable" on its label). Of course I never started a campfire with 151 because I didn't want to waste the 151 supply but I did ignite it for cooking purposes doing flambee with trout (very tasty). I can say that it indeed ignites very readily.
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;

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Re: Emergency kit for day hikes

Post by rlown » Sun Jul 02, 2017 1:35 pm

that is why they put that cute little strainer on the top of a 151 bottle as a flame deterrent when doing the pour. Unfortunately, it makes it very difficult to move it from a glass bottle to a backpackable bottle. And on our last day if there is 151 left before hiking out, it is lit on a rock as an offering to the Sierra.

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Re: Emergency kit for day hikes

Post by Wandering Daisy » Sun Jul 02, 2017 2:37 pm

I too sprained an ankle- bashing through brush, and over a hidden cliff into a tree which caught my foot as I dangled upside down. (Trinity Alps where vegetation hides cliffs). Getting out of the tree was a major problem! Luckily, once on the ground I was next to a stream and snowbank. Iced the foot and soaked in cold water an hour. Wrapped the ankle next morning and walked out 8 miles. My experience was that the walking actually dulled the pain and reduced swelling. Once home, the entire foot was swollen, black and blue.

Worst that has happened to me is being hit by a rock on the Grand Teton. Temporarily paralyzed my arms and I had to rappel down six pitches- everyone was experienced at cliff rescue. I was in a group of four. We walked out, the other guys carrying all my stuff. Never went to a doctor (was dirt poor then with no insurance). Could not open a door for over a month; ten years of residual shooting pains in the palm of my hand. Eventually all that healed. Really, no "first aid" was needed. Just lots of pain killers. Just being with other experienced people kept me from freaking out. I think the mental aspect of getting injured is about as bad as the physical damage.

Do not forget the canine first aid kit for that brandy carrying dog! Seriously, we take a first aid kit/ vet supplies specifically for our dog when she goes with us. If you backpack with a dog, get some advise from your vet. Some people medicine works on dogs too but some can be dangerous. The canine first aid kit goes in the doggie pack.

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Re: Emergency kit for day hikes

Post by rlown » Sun Jul 02, 2017 2:45 pm

Wandering Daisy wrote: Do not forget the canine first aid kit for that brandy carrying dog! Seriously, we take a first aid kit/ vet supplies specifically for our dog when she goes with us. If you backpack with a dog, get some advise from your vet. Some people medicine works on dogs too but some can be dangerous. The canine first aid kit goes in the doggie pack.
Benadryl, booties, that salve that stops bleeding of the nails, and Rimadyl (doggie anti-inflammatory "aspirin") and anything your vet recommends. But I totally agree that dogs and kids are a LOT alike out there, and you need to prep for them as well.

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Re: Emergency kit for day hikes

Post by gdurkee » Fri Jul 07, 2017 10:27 am

Good discussion. Since I started as a ranger, I always carried a fairly complete day pack on the assumption -- often correct -- I'd be out overnight (I called it my Mead Hargis pack after the ranger I worked with in the 70s who was a major fan of being absolutely prepared for anything). So: a small bag with headlamp, extra batteries, 2 smoke flares, signal mirror, compass, several fire starting stuff (regular wooden strike anywhere matches, some sort of kerosene (?) soaked heavy match, lighter) and very light space blanket. Also light first aid kit (4x4's, triangular, roll of kling, good adhesive tape, band aids). A light weight bivvy sack (about 10 oz). Rain jacket and pants, heavy or medium weight jacket, balaclava, two pair insulated gloves, zip shorts/long pants. In fall or early spring, pile pants in addition to jacket.

Of all that stuff over the years, the only thing I never used were the fire starters. I'd emphasize the light weight bivvy sack and, especially, the signalling devices (signal mirror and smoke flares). The former, if aimed right, can be seen from a very long distance -- miles. Helicopters are great but it's really, really, really hard to see people on the ground. Even waving a shirt is marginal. Smoke flares are only good when the helicopter is within, say, 1/4 mile or less. But starting a smokey signal fire is really effective. Most all helicopters & crew work fire. They're totally tuned in to smoke.

This last couple of years has had a number of day hikers and overnight campers go missing without a trace. I know the philosophical tradeoffs but I've become a major fan of SPOT or InReach in tracking mode -- not just depending on the emergency activation button. Those searches become huge with hundreds of people and aircraft and a major potential for injury to searchers. True, it's a tiny, tiny minority who go missing or even get hurt, but if it's you, you'll be happy the search can narrow pretty quickly. (and if it's me on the SAR team, I'll be even happier!).

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Re: Emergency kit for day hikes

Post by AlmostThere » Fri Jul 07, 2017 10:37 am

rlown wrote:
SirBC wrote:I have to admit that spraining an ankle/breaking a leg while off-trail "in the middle of nowhere" is one my fears. I've never had a sprained ankle but I'd assumed that it would be next to impossible to get over/down a pass without the use of one leg. Were you able to bear any weight at all on your injured leg?
It isn't impossible. Ibuprofen works great to get you moving and amazingly, the swelling goes down as you move. I've sprained twice and hairline break once. Don't stop for long though. You can bear weight (compound fractures are different, and you will need rescue.) Friends are nice to have when they can take some of it the weight off your back on off-trail excursions to get out. This is true only for a sprain or hairline fracture. Beyond that, It's not going to be walk able.
One of the most useful things I learned in the NOLS wilderness medicine course I took was how to make a walking splint with a couple shirts and a couple of ace bandages, or a couple rolls of vetwrap. You use clothing instead of sticks or poles or anything uncomfortable. Works like a charm and much easier to wear. It would be hard to do your own arm, but I could do my own leg.

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