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Packing your fears? What's in your pack out of fear (too much food, extra xyz, etc.)?

I heard this on a Youtube video recently and it got me thinking about what I pack out of fear.  Things that I don't hit the trail without but that I really probably don't need.  I'm curious to see if other folks do the same.  Some of mine are:

  • An "abundance" of first aid supplies.  My first aid kit is too big.  I know it, but I pack it anyway.  It's not an 'off the shelf' kit that I bought that's full of stuff that I don't know how to use but is one that I've curated over the years. 
  • Water.  Whether it's a  2 mile or 20 mile trek, I'm going to have 2 liters of water (2 x 1L bottles) on me and I'm going to stop at every water source I pass to make sure that they're full.  I've also got a 2L dirty water bag (the CNoc bag) that I'll fill up at the last stop before camp.  It's extra weight but I start to panic as soon as I get down to just 1L available.
  • Food (snacks).  I typically plan my meals pretty spot on but I always end up with extra snack bars, etc.
Superusers do not speak on behalf of REI and may have received
one or more gifts or other benefits from the co-op.
17 Replies

@hikermorthese are a few of my favorite things

REI Member Since 1979 YouTube.com/philreedshikes
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That is my point exactly.  Listening to a creek flow over rocks, the hawk up there calling, the wind in the trees, the pika warning, the moose sneaking along the trail....all so much better than any artificial noise.

People in this day seem to forget that old-timers like me had no communication with the outside world, learned to work a compass with a paper map, planned for whatever weather and dealt with it, and luckily in 32 years backpacking never experienced anything bad even being a female backpacking solo for 6 days at a time in wilderness.  I quit jobs to do this.   REI member since 1972 (for bicycle touring).  People I know helped a (stranger) fallen climber with shelter, food and first aid as one runner in the group went for help.  Helicopter came in and he as rescued.  They knew what he needed and were very willing to help.  Rely on people and learned skills not electronics IMO.

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It never hit me that folks may be afraid of silence, but it does make sense.  I'm with you though, I spend too much time a) indoors, b) looking at screens and c) listening to, well, everything.  One of my favorite things about getting on the trail is the lack of all of those distractions.  I do carry some electronics (my phone, PLB and typically a HAM radio) with me but they rarely come out (check weather, check route, phone  home or, for the radio, to play once I get camp chores done).

Superusers do not speak on behalf of REI and may have received
one or more gifts or other benefits from the co-op.

I have a theory about silence and the obvious extension of that, quiet time in nature.  I believe the need for nature is in our DNA but our culture seldom allows for it in a pure form......just being in nature: quiet, observant, present.  So we create sports like fishing and golf so we can be 'out there' but can DO something as an excuse: competition for biggest fish, best score to feel good about ourselves compared to others, lightest pack or farthest  miles.

In truth,  no one needs an excuse to sit at a quiet lake and take it all in as nourishment for the spirit.

I definitely have a large first aid kit - even on my day hikes. It's not "huge" but it definitely goes beyond what I see a lot of people recommending. With a few extra items (tourniquet, sling, wound seal, etc.) and the required training to use it I can immobilize a broken limb, stop bleeding, sanitize and cauterize puncture wounds, and so forth for either myself or another hiker. Sure, my PLB is summoning SAR but it could be a couple hours before they arrive and there are things I can do to make those two hours less threatening.

I understand that bringing excessive gear can seem like you're packing your fears and, in many cases, it is (carrying four bear spray cans for an overnight? I'd call that too much). But there seems to be more and more people claiming that it's not necessary to have more than one bandage, 6-8" of duct tape, needle and thread, and some hand sanitizer. After all, they've never needed more.

But I come from a motorcycle background where I was/am a firm believer in "dress for the slide, not the ride." Or to put it another way, "there's never a problem until there is". I will be ecstatic if, at the end of my days, it turns out that I have never needed to use my first aid kit for anything more than popping a blister. And if that's the case, I'll still never regret having carried it.

I also carry extra snacks (protein bars) and water.

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“Between every two pine trees there is a door leading to a new way of life.” (John Muir)

Superusers do not speak on behalf of REI and may have received
one or more gifts or other benefits from the co-op.

Two hours until the arrival  of SAR personnel sounds a bit optimistic (I actively did SAR for several decades).  If you give location and it is definitely an emergency, you could have a helo hovering over you in just a few minutes, provided conditions don't preclude flying.  If they do, you depend on a ground team which must assemble and then hike to your location.  Weather will be a factor.  It could be hours before they arrive,  If you haven't rendered immediate and proper first aid, you have made their task much simpler.  There is much less hassle when recovering a body as opposed to dealing with an injured person.

This isn't conjecture; I have been on scenes where victims perished due to the lack of timely first aid; it isn't nice....

Advanced first aid should be a required course in middle school, IMO....

 

 

Superusers do not speak on behalf of REI and may have received
one or more gifts or other benefits from the co-op.

@hikermor - I must admit that when I was typing that reply so quickly, my only thought was a helo being dispatched. Completely forgot to take into account bad weather. 

a hiker who hasn’t needed first aid is a hiker who hasn’t need first aid yet

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“Between every two pine trees there is a door leading to a new way of life.” (John Muir)

Superusers do not speak on behalf of REI and may have received
one or more gifts or other benefits from the co-op.

The only funeral I have attended that was directly SAR related was for the pilot of a helicopter returning to base when it disassembled in mid air.  He had just dropped off two of our group at base camp.  

They are wonderful machines and I can personally say they have saved the lives of victims who would have died in route via ground transport but there is a definite downside.....

Superusers do not speak on behalf of REI and may have received
one or more gifts or other benefits from the co-op.