Understanding how to use basic navigation is extremely important when you are starting your backpack adventure, without proper navigation tools, you may lose your trail. Therefore, navigation gear is crucial for any serious exploration. Understanding Your Map The topographic...Read More
In the unpredictable wilderness a reliable knife is a very important tool and knowing how to use it correctly sometimes can make a dramatic change in your travel. There are almost unlimited situations when you need to use a knife – to build an emergency shelter, to make a...Read More
Most plants in the wilderness are totally harmless, but it is a decent idea to be able to recognize ones that could cause you a few weeks of dealing with aching reaction. A Poison Sumac, Ivy, and Oak are toxic plants that are known for horrid rashes, the last thing that you...Read More
Insects like mosquitoes can be carriers of numerous dangerous viruses and rare deceases, so it is best to totally avoid them and protect you whenever possible. Most of the time in the wilderness you are in danger to encounter various insects, animals or even poisons plants that...Read More
Most travelers do not cook their meals on the road, as much as they rehydrate their food, but it is going to take more work than just putting a dehydrated food into boiling water. Having an enjoyable, tasty meal on a journey after a time-consuming day of hiking can be one of...Read More
It is usual for first spring and summer travelers to encounter large snow fields on the way, especially at higher regions. Even if you do not planning winter backpacking expedition, you may still have to deal with crossing snow fields on a road. However, it is important to...Read More
Understanding how to use basic navigation is extremely important when you are starting your backpack adventure, without proper navigation tools, you may lose your trail. Therefore, navigation gear is crucial for any serious exploration.
Understanding Your Map
The topographic map is the basic and the most important tool that you need to understand if you want to have a successful trip. Travel manuals often have a simple map that shows tracks over plain land. Such map comes in many different shapes and sizes, giving you comprehensive information about the area you’ll be traveling to. From other side, a detailed topographical map is a useful tool that will help you to route in the wilds; it is much more detailed, accurate and it provides an altitude outline of an area.
A single contour line marks a given elevation on a map, so the proper way of reading topographic maps is in small lines that cover the whole map, contour lines.
Because contour lines signify various elevations points, they never intersect, but if you travel along the elevation, you will come to a new contour line that signifies another elevation on a map.
Understanding Your Compass
Even if you plan on staying on track for your complete trip, knowing how to use a compass can be very helpful. Your compass is a very important tool that you should use with your map to help you locate yourself in the wilderness. You will need to understand the basic parts of a compass if you wish to learn how to use it properly. The needle always points towards North and the dial is a circular part on top of the compass that spins. Orienting lines are on a back and spins when a dial spins. The Index lines or degree lines are the marks around the dial, and the direction of travel arrow is the direction that you go after you’ve taken your compass bearing.
Finding Your Current Location with a Compass
Here is a handy technique that you can use for your backpacking trips. If you need to find your exact location by using only topography clues around, you should use survival method called triangulation or line location. In the first step, just take your compass and point at the first prominent feature that is also on your map with the direction of travel arrow pointed that feature, turn dial into the North.
To use your device, you will need to find several large objects in the landscape like a hill, mountain or high rock, that are also on your map. In next step, take a compass and place it on the map, line up the edge of your compass with the object that you just pointed out.
Then, twist your compass on the orienteering lines, line up directly with the north lines on a map and use a marker to draw a straight line. Repeat the process with other chosen objects and the spot where all three lines are intersecting will mark the exact position on a map where you are standing.
In the unpredictable wilderness a reliable knife is a very important tool and knowing how to use it correctly sometimes can make a dramatic change in your travel. There are almost unlimited situations when you need to use a knife – to build an emergency shelter, to make a fire, defend yourself against wild animals or even fix broken equipment. On the other hand, ignorance may be very dangerous; not knowing how to use this tool properly can put you in serious danger. In the wilderness you might be hungry and exhausted; using sharp knife hastily can make a bad situation much worse than you can imagine.
Choosing a Perfect Blade
The most important decision that you must make before your trip is to choose a reliable knife. There are many criteria that you should look for as having the right type of blade depends on what you want to use it for. There are several types of knives, the most common is a fixed blade knife.
As the name describes, it doesn’t have any moving parts, the blade is fixed in one position without possibility of any movement. That makes fixed blade knife an ideal tool for many situations, but there are also few disadvantages.
First of all, such knife is heavy, so you will not see many backpackers with such knife on a road. The second type is locking blade or folding knife. It is a more practical blade for daily activities, but it doesn’t have the strength of a fixed blade knife, still it is a consistent tool. Pay special attention when closing a locking blade, accidents with this type of knife are very common. At last, you can choose multi tool blade that comes in combination with other tools.
To have a sharp knife in a wilderness is essential, but it is not so simple procedure as you may think.
If you have an expensive blade, make sure you do a proper research about used materials as there are a lot of ways to sharper a blade, some ways may damage certain knives.
If you have a simple knife, a process is much simpler, all you need is water and sharpening stone. You will notice that the sharpening stone have two sides, one with rougher edges and other for fine sharpening.
Most plants in the wilderness are totally harmless, but it is a decent idea to be able to recognize ones that could cause you a few weeks of dealing with aching reaction. A Poison Sumac, Ivy, and Oak are toxic plants that are known for horrid rashes, the last thing that you want to occur during your backpack trip. Fortunately, the poisonous plants can be easily evaded if you know how to spot them in the wilderness.
Learn about Local Poisonous Plants
It is commonly a good idea not to touch poisonous plants that you cannot classify as risky, especially in the winter when they are without foliage, so you cannot easily categorize them.
Make sure that you know the toxic plants living in the zone that you are a plan to visit, make sure you can classify them before your journey.
About 65 % of the worldwide population is highly allergic to Poison Ivy or some other noxious plant. The harshness of the reaction can vary, so to avoid to deal with the painful reaction, you must learn how to recognize toxic plants in all seasons. Specifically in North America, the Poison Sumac, Ivy, and Oak are most common poisonous plants that you need to look out for.
Proper Identification of Poisonous Plants
Nonetheless, if the plant is a vine or small shrub, Poison Ivy and Oak will always have two leaves close to a stock and one leaf on a small stem. Poison Ivy and Oak can be spotted, and they always form their leads on a group of three. In the summer, the bright green color and in the fall the bright red colors are easily visible.
The leaves are usually dark green, but they can change to orange and red in late autumn. Poison Sumac is a much less known plant, typically found in marshy areas in a form of a bush or a small tree.
It is not enough to evade toxic plants in the wilderness, be cautious not to burn any poisonous plant, the smoke can aggravate your skin and cause very severe reactions. Be sure to check your gear as it can remain on your outfit or shoes for a long time. At all times be sure to check your wears and wash it if needed. If you think you might have made a contact with the risky toxic plant, wash your skin carefully as quickly as possible to evade agonizing reaction.Some of the dangerous plants can be unfairly attractive, but they may give you stark problems, including convulsions or severe headaches. According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, the most common problems with poisonous plants can be avoided if you learn how to spot them in the wilderness.
Insects like mosquitoes can be carriers of numerous dangerous viruses and rare deceases, so it is best to totally avoid them and protect you whenever possible. Most of the time in the wilderness you are in danger to encounter various insects, animals or even poisons plants that can harm you on your journey. Luckily, there are few effective chemical treatments and standard evasion strategies that will help you to seriously reduce such pesky problems.
Bugs, Annoying Bugs!
The winter, early spring, and fall are usually much cooler times of year with fewer insects all around. The best way to have an enjoyable bite free journey is to avoid bugs altogether! You should also control insect exposure by wearing an appropriate protecting outfit with sturdy sleeves so that mosquitoes won’t be able to bite you. An additional way to limit such possibility is to wear a bug defending mesh. Such mesh is a light, effective and cheap method of defense.
Ticks and Bees – Avoid the Danger
If you find a small tick on your body, you may use a pair of tweezers to grip as close as you can to the skin and pull away evenly. To avoid annoying and dangerous ticks, regularly check your body for ticks while you are on a break and keep far away from tall grass.
It is important to wash the area with alcohol after removal, but if you develop a severe fewer, you must search for an immediate medical help.
Along with escaping irritating bugs techniques, you can also use some biochemical treatments to seriously increase the level of your protection.
For example, a Deet is a resilient chemical repellent that should only be used on open skin. It is effective against mosquitoes, biting flies, ticks, spiders, bees and other insects.
Most travelers do not cook their meals on the road, as much as they rehydrate their food, but it is going to take more work than just putting a dehydrated food into boiling water. Having an enjoyable, tasty meal on a journey after a time-consuming day of hiking can be one of the best parts of the whole day.
Lightweight Cooking Options
What you need is a simple cup for water, singe pop to boil the water, and a simple spoon. If you are looking for something very cheap, use plastic cups, they are very easy to find. Titanium pots tend to be very light, but they are also the most expensive. Typical spoons are also very light, so they will not affect the total heaviness of your backpack. If you use modest, lightweight cooking options you will save a lot of weights on the trip.
Alcohol Stoves – Alcohol stoves are among lightest options out there and for that reason they are very common for skilled hikers.
All you have to do is to pour alcohol on your stove, light it up and let it burn. They are made of tin or aluminum, so they burn really quiet.
Solid Fuel Stove is very appropriate and very easy to use. All you need to do is to take fuel tabs, open them up, put them on your stove and light it on.
It is usual for first spring and summer travelers to encounter large snow fields on the way, especially at higher regions. Even if you do not planning winter backpacking expedition, you may still have to deal with crossing snow fields on a road. However, it is important to cross snow carefully; it will mean the difference between having an effective trip and either jeopardizing an awful fall and sudden injury.
Hidden danger – Sudden fall
In such situations, it is crucial to consider all possible options, what you would do if you slip? In such surprising weather circumstance, tracking pools may help you keeping balance, but they are not intended to stop you from sliding if you slip and fall.
Use them for steadiness on flat ground, but you should bring an ice axe if you might face a hazardous slide. The problems may occur, especially if you are not confident in yourself, therefore always take an ice axe when crossing snowy hills and mountains.
An Ice Axe – Practical Use
An Ice Axe is a universal tool, but mainly it is designed to prevent a sudden fall. When you are holding an ice axe on a slope, always carry axe up with the pick of the axe facing backward. It is an imperative skill, and it is desirable to take a snow skiing course where you can exercise your ice axe usage in an adequate learning atmosphere.
Dropping an ice axe may be catastrophic; therefore, a rock-hard grip is very significant part of your gear. It is also very essential to have a decent grip and to place yourself in the correct position you need to bring an ice axe to your chest, going crosswise your body with a right hand on the top of an axe and left hand on the base.
If you slip down the slope, it is imperative to place safe in the correct position and stop yourself from moving as soon as possible.
Hold Your Feet Up!
In a case of a sudden fall, retain your feet up until you slow your slide significantly. If you try to stop quickly, you might find yourself in a hazardous situation. It is particularly important if you ran traction devices or crampons on your feet, as such sudden stoppage that can cause grave lag injuries.
That is why it is essential to get into correct posture position from the variety of diverse positions, from any sliding position; the central goal is to rearrange your movement to the simple correct posture as quickly as possible.
Falling down with your feet facing downhill will make it fairly easy to stop, but in a real slip, your body may be in any position while you are falling down. Therefore, it is important to practice proper sliding technique.
It is always better to be skillful and trained in ice axe technique, self-assured and safe then to take pointless perils that could put you or your group in unnecessary threat.