Wilderness First Aid Basics

Hunters, hikers, mountain bike riders and anyone else who ventures into the wilderness needs to appreciate that injuries are a very real possibility. One of the reasons backcountry trips are exciting is because you’re disconnected from most aspects of civilization. And while being far from the urban sprawl can mean incredible stargazing it also means that if someone in your party gets hurt you, or one of your fellow adventurers will need to be the first responder of record.

Below, we’re going to take a look at some typical wilderness injury scenarios and the best ways to respond. This is not intended to substitute for real medical training. Instead, the goal is to provide you with some basic knowledge so you can respond in a productive way should an injury occur. (more…)

How to Prepare for a Wildfire

The past 5 years have seen story after story of wildfires sweeping through residential areas of the west and southwest conjuring images straight out of hell, causing billions of dollar of damage and killing and injuring scores of people.

The images coming out of states like California have sparked a national debate with some putting the blame for the fires on climate change, others blaming poor forest management and still others pointing out that in the past 100 years California’s population has grown from 3.4 million to 39.5 million, suggesting the fires aren’t coming to us, we’re going to the fires.

But while well-intentioned people can debate the cause none of it matters when a wildfire sweeps over a ridge and descends on your home. When that happens the only thing that really matters is your level of preparedness. And that’s what we’re here to discuss today: how to prep for a wildfire. (more…)

How to Survive a Hurricane

An F4 tornado is a devastating natural phenomenon whose winds top 160 mph. It’s capable of reducing a house to a pile of splintered wood in the few seconds it takes to pass over.

Now imagine an F4 tornado that lasts, not for a few seconds, but for hours and you have some idea what it was like to live through Hurricane Camille (1) in 1969 or Hurricane Andrew (2) in 1992 or Hurricane Michael (3) in 2018.

Andrew not only produced wind gusts of nearly 200 mph in some spots and wiped entire neighborhoods in Florida off the map, but as it made landfall again in Louisiana it spawned 61 tornadoes as it moved inland. There have been other hurricanes that spawned even more (4).

But devastating winds are not the only threat from hurricanes. In August 2017 Hurricane Harvey (5) came ashore in Texas and promptly deposited more than 40 inches of rain in the Houston area and more than 60 inches in Nederland, TX.

Catastrophic flooding followed, more than 100 people lost their lives, power was out for weeks in some locations, while property damage was estimated at $125 billion. The Texas Department of Public Safety reported that 185,000 homes were damaged and 9,000 completely destroyed.

So while it’s understandable that some would dismiss the hysterical, end of the world reporting that typically accompanies any tropical storm, you do so at your own risk. Because even if 4 out of 5 hurricanes turn out to be little more than a windy day at the shore, the 5th could send your community back to the stone age. (more…)

Hardtack: What it is and How to Make It

When Columbus set sail in 1492 hoping to find a short cut to the Orient by going west his vessels were stocked with, among other things, cheese, honey, raisins, rice, garlic, beans, salt-pork, anchovies, sardines and an early version of what became known as hardtack. Without this “sea biscuit” as it was called at the time, chances are many in Columbus’ crew would have died of starvation before they stumbled ashore in what is today the Bahama’s.

In the centuries since Columbus hardtack only increased in popularity, especially among the world’s armed forces. In fact, a version of hardtack was being issued to Japanese and Korean soldiers late in the 20th century, and word has it the Russian army still includes it in some ration kits.

If you plan on heading into the wild on a hunting or hiking adventure you might want to bring some hardtack with you. If you get lost, snowed in or otherwise stranded for a prolonged period of time hardtack could be the difference between life and death. And, of course, should the apocalypse descend upon us and civil order break down, having a generous supply of hardtack and vitamins on hand could ensure your survival, while others are scouring through trash cans to find scraps. (more…)