"I still can't believe we can track a package with RFID around the world but can't figure that out for those seeking nature..."
Correct observation and a challenging problem. Fundamental to the issue raised is that anyone, with no training or experience can "seek nature" - no vetting whatsoever. Do you need to show any level of expertise to obtain a hunting or fishing license? I don't believe so.
I have dealt with hundreds of victims of unfortunate incidents in the outdoors. The vast majority share one common denominator - inexperience and lack of knowledge. Also, many victims were seeking party time outdoors, free from the prying eye of Authority- overconsumption of alcohol/other substances was very common. Not surprisingly, this was coupled with a complete absence of first aid principles and practices.
Education is the answer. REI supports programs that provide relevant info on safety principles and practices. The National Park Service, for whom I labored, over the years has steadily increased information to visitors concerning safety practices, in some areas even requiring equipment checks and safety orientation before embarking on an adventure. Still most people get the impression from sensational movies and TV that wild animals are a major outdoor hazard. They might be, in some relatively rare situations, but far more people come to grief from falls and drowning that animal aggression - definitely an bearable situation. More effective dispensation of correct, rational safety practices is definitely required. For starters, if it were up to me, no one would graduate from high school without passing a required course in First Aid, complete with generous information on preventive measures. But I am dreaming......
... View more
I am pretty sure many backpackers have carried more than 20% of their body weight with no ill effects. I know I have many times and I have encountered no problems. That is not to say that 20% body weight is not a reasonable guideline.
Only you can know for sure. Give your equipment some trials. Load your pack with your gear and do some short walks, perhaps gradually longer, and see how it goes.
I am not sure i would remove the brain. Its benefits in organization and ready access may be worth the increase in weight.
Make a quality sleeping bag high priority. you can use a light weight bag i situations where a heavy bag would work, but not the other way around.
Have an enjoyable trip, whatever the weight!
... View more
Let me encourage you to do so. You are correct that outdoor skills are useful in SAR, although situations vary considerably, from fairly trivial to vitally important. Obviously, first aid skills and experience are also significant.
I regard SAR participation as the most significant undertaking of my entire life, more so than my NPS career or work in archaeology and paleontology. SAR can be inconvenient and you will occasionally be functioning in conditions that normal individuals eschew (rain snow, excessive heat or cold - often at night). If you have experience and/or interest in technical climbing, that will come in handy as well, especially when dealing with victim extrication and transport, or if you are functioning in diverse terrain like southern Arizona with cliff, caves, flash floods, and significant mountains (my normal stomping ground).
The rewards are significant, primarily in my estimation from working in well functioning teams which excelled at improvisation and adaptation to circumstances that were often bordering on the bizarre. Despite the occasional inconvenience and disruption, I came to realize that the rewards considerably exceeded the costs and I still maintain that opinion, although I have been inactive for several years. And of course, you are helping victims and their survivors....
A brief resume - more than 470 field operations varying in length from minutes to several months, primarily in southern Arizona ; from 1958 to 1985.
Your experience may vary; different outfits follow different models. We were a bunch of competent (more or less) civilians who worked when summoned by the county sheriff, supported by our own resources and public donations. Other outfits may be more militaristic and rank conscious, which may or may be suitable to you. I wish you the best in that regard....
If you think you are spending a lot of money at REI now, just you wait!!!
... View more
I can't remember when I last broke a shoelace. What is available is incomparably superior to the offerings of the last Stone Age. Most of my boots are Vasque brand, if that makes any difference, and day to day, I am usually in some sort of sneaker.
Seriously, I have been impressed with the recent quality of laces - they seem to be most synthetic fiber....
... View more
It was 1964 and I had started with the National Park Service about six months earlier and I was making real money - $$4,000 a year!! Living was pretty cheap at Wupatki National Monument where I was initially stationed. I knew of REI from a friend who was a 4-digit member and I remember an instance where we were outfitting for climbs of the Mexican volcanoes (Orizaba, Popo) and we needed some last minute gear for his girl friend. He called REI, explained the situation, put a check in the mail (pre-credit card era), they put the gear on a plane, and we had the stuff in time. I have this mental image of the twoplanes crossing paths midway....
I thought OK, I'll risk two bucks for this lifetime membership. Definitely one of my better decisions.....
... View more