Friday, June 23, 2017

Playing it safe

One of the most important aspects of going out in the woods is safety. We need to be prepared, bring everything we need for survival, and be equipped in case something goes wrong. Hopefully we never have to use some of the items we bring. We have been adding some items to our kit for safety. Just because we haven't been faced with anything too scary, it doesn't mean it won't ever happen.

First and foremost - PFDs, personal flotation devices. As discussed in a previous post here, I wear my lifejacket when I'm in the canoe 99.99% of the time. And I encourage LT to do so as well.
Ready to go
First aid kit - we've been building on this and probably are carrying more first aid items this year than we have in the past. Like I said, just because we haven't needed it before doesn't mean we shouldn't have it on hand. We have some alcohol wipes, gauze pads, tape, and a tensor bandage. We also have some after bite, which is not an emergency item, but well used during June and July. L.T. has added some antibiotic cream, gauze and tape. 

I've added a tick remover. It's not very big and we've been lucky so far, so I'll tuck that into my pack. I also picked up a waterproof match box. We both carry a couple of lighters and I have a great flexible long-nose lighter that is refillable. It's another just-in-case item.

Match box and tick remover
I have a bear bell on the outside of my backpack. Although I probably don't need it as I'm usually talking as I'm walking through the woods on a portage to distract myself from the effort of what I'm doing. 
We have bear spray, which is a large can of pepper spray. The range is about 9 meters, so that bear has to be pretty close if you decide to use it. And the wind better be blowing in his direction not yours! I'm probably more likely to just toss the canister at the bear. 

This is a picture from the MEC website, check it out here.

We both carry Aquatabs, which are used to make lake water potable. We've never used them as we have two forms of water purification in our kit, a filtering system and an ultraviolet light Steripen. I have the Aquatabs handy in a side pocket, easy access.

In the same pocket I have an emergency fire starting kit with several fire starters and a lighter in a Ziploc plastic bag.

I've added an emergency blanket, I got it at the dollar store, so it wasn't a big investment. It's really only a silver plastic sheet that when placed against your body is supposed to reflect the heat you generate back to you. Cheap, small and light.
Pen for perspective
LT has added 2 whistles and 2 LED light beacons to our life jackets. The light is primarily designed for bikes, but it's a button-type light and he's managed to secure it in a fashion that it points forward and is flush with the vest.

And this may not seem like much of a safety item, but having a second set of car keys with us adds to a sense of security in case the first set is lost.

We both carry the same map with us. We use Jeff's maps, which are plastic and will float. One of us just might set the map down on a portage end and forget to bring it with us.  We double up on some items, like our stoves. This is in case one of the stoves fails during the trip. 

We carry an extra paddle. This is one that sometimes comes along with us. Or we bring a regular paddle. We've collected a few, we have 5 total including this one:
Do you have any extra safety precautions you take that you would recommend?

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