Friday, June 29, 2018

The Prepared Woodsman, 1980's Style

We're heading out on a backpacking trip relatively soon, and we're bringing along some newbies. While I've no doubt as a group we'll be well prepared, I want to make sure they're never without essentials. Many a backpacker has been caught after dark because he wandered away from his campsite and left his flashlight behind. Heck, last year we walked 50 yards from our campsite at night to hang the bear bag and got turned around. A couple of flickering Shabbat Candles got us out of that pickle, but it was a sharp reminder that conditions can change quickly and you don't want to be caught unprepared.

Another less dramatic (though no less real) challenge: how do you keep track of important, yet small items like your knife, flashlight and spork? While hiking, they may live in your pack, but what happens once you arrive at camp?

To solve both of these issues I picked up a few small fanny-packs and filled them with essentials. Here's what I stashed inside:

  • Bandana - a classic multi-purpose item, usable for everything from drying off and handling a hot pot, to delivering first aid.
  • ~20 feet of cordage - another multi-use item.
  • A pack of tissues - when nature calls, you want to be ready to answer.
  • Compass - helpful for orienting a map and avoiding walking in circles.
  • Whistle - the first tool to reach for when you're lost.
  • Nitecore TINY - this flashlight is both comically small and comically bright.
  • Lighter - another required woodsman item, and handy to have at the ready when preparing meals.
  • #7 Opinel Knife - useful for a variety of camp chores. As an aside, I've never used an Opinel before and am curious to see how it performs this trip.
  • Spork - best not to lose your spork.
  • Heatsheet - The second tool to reach for when you're lost. It has a myriad of uses: hunker down under it to keep warm and dry, slice off pieces to use as flagging material or use for signaling rescuers from a distance. Here's something I just learned: a new Heatsheet packs perfectly in a portion size snack bag.

The above items fit into the fanny-pack with space to spare. Being prepared never looked so rad!

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