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Eight essential emergency items.

No matter where you decide to go or what you decide to do, it is wise to be prepared. There are a few essential items that should always be packed in a safe place in your backpack, canoe, or kayak. Planning ahead, telling people where you are going, and carrying the following items all make for a safe trip. Emergencies happen; be prepared.

1. Comprehensive first aid kit: band-aids, gauze, arnica, bandana (can be used as large bandage, sling, etc.), aspirin, individually packaged alcohol swabs, small amount of rope, whistle!, waterproof matches, and a non-applicator tampon (you may think I am crazy but you can use this for anything from nosebleeds to packing for large wounds).

2. Map and compass. Not only do you need to carry them, you need to know how to use them.

3. Flashlight. Yes, you plan to be back before nightfall. But what if you're not? Remember Gilligan's Island? They expected go on a three-hour tour.

4. Knife or multi-tool. This will help you cut bandages, clothes, rope, etc. Don't use your fishing knife to cut cloth for a bandage; it is unsanitary and gross.

5. Extra clothing. This includes a warm hat and jacket, extra pair of socks, and a waterproof outer layer. Hypothermia is real; avoid it by staying warm and dry. It can rain on days the sky starts out crystalline blue, with nary a cloud to behold.

6. Emergency shelter. I always bring a small space blanket. It folds down smaller than a pack of cards, it is waterproof, it reflects your body's heat back to you so it makes an emergency sleeping bag, and it reflects light--in case you need to flag down a plane, person, etc.

7. Water treatment. It is important to stay hydrated. Either a few extra iodine tablets or a purification system will ensure that if you run out of water, you won't get sick drinking from that little creek or puddle.

8. Extra food: energy bars, nuts and raisins, anything that won't go bad sitting in your pack for weeks at a time.

If you are paddling, always wear a flotation device. When kayaking and rock climbing, always wear a helmet. For all outdoor adventures, don't over estimate your ability and put yourself in harm's way. It is good to challenge yourself, but if you seldom hike, don't plan a trip that is fifteen miles in one day and crosses four mountain peaks. Above all else, have fun!
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Publication:New Life Journal
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jun 1, 2006
Words:413
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