Archive for November 2012

Equipment Review: The BioLite “CampStove”

Equipment Review: The BioLite "CampStove"

I came across a product about six months ago that I thought might be very useful in the backcountry, but, since I was busy with other projects, I filed it away with the genuine intent of reexamining it later when I had some more time.  However, after watching repeated news updates about the sufferings of residents in the metropolitan New York City region following Superstorm Sandy a few weeks ago, I decided that I needed to pull out that file and take another look.  The product is the CampStove by BioLite. Initially, my problem was needing to recharge my iPhone while on extended courses or outings.  I am not an active technology user, especially in the woods, but I have  found that a smartphone can be a terrific safety and teaching device.  Before I even venture out, alone or with a group, I use various applications to check such things as […]

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Are You Prepared for a “Day Hike”?

Are You Prepared for a "Day Hike"?

While a terrific bunch of folks from Venture Outdoors met in Frick Park with instructors from True North last weekend to learn the basics of dealing with wilderness emergencies, a man in Orgeon started out on a day-hike.  Unlike the VO group, however, this lone hiker apparently wasn’t as concerned about the possibility of unforeseen dangers, or being prepared for them.  At one point, to stay warm, he actually lit his hat and backpack on fire! Earlier in the day, the hiker had set out along a trail (apparently with no map) near the Columbia River Gorge in Oregon that he once followed seven years earlier.  Dressed only in jeans, a cotton tee-shirt, and a windbreaker jacket, he realized by 5:00 pm that he was lost.  Not knowing the time of sunset, he was surprised by the onset of darkness and he had no flashlight.  At 5:40 pm he contacted […]

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Wilderness Survival 101

Wilderness Survival 101

Yesterday was splendid.  Not only was it the most beautiful Autumn day so far this year, with the sun finally bursting out in the late morning, helping temperatures to settle in the low 60s, but a terrific bunch of people gathered at the Frick Environmental Center to share their enthusiasm for learning the fundamentals of wilderness survival. The group, all members of Venture Outdoors, took part in True North’s Wilderness Survival 101.  The primary focus of WS101 is to offer a one-day introduction to the basics of wilderness survival.  It is a great way for folks to begin learning about survival philosophy, skills, and what is involved.  It is particularly nice too for those folks who aren’t quite ready for an overnight, or who are just getting involved in the outdoors and want to learn about gear and local resources.  Either way, beginner or advanced, we always talk about the […]

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Improvisation: The Lifeblood of Survival

Improvisation: The Lifeblood of Survival

This past summer on an EMS call, a paramedic taught me a simple, but important, lesson.  We needed to move a patient from her bed to our stretcher, which we had momentarily left in the foyer, for transport to the hospital.  However, since her bedroom was so tightly packed with furniture, and hallway access to it was also too tight and limited, we weren’t able to bring the stretcher the rest of the way to her bedside.  I assumed, then, I would need to make a run to the ambulance to grab another piece of equipment that is specifically engineered to be used in such instances.  However, the medic simply asked me to grab a sheet off the stretcher.  A sheet?  What good, I thought, could a sheet possibly do us now?  When I handed it to him, he unfolded the sheet next to her, and gently helped her slide […]

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