Film Project: Don’t Date A Girl Who Treks

Marinel de Jesus 1

By Marinel de Jesus

Editor note: Click here if you haven’t yet read the original post ‘Don’t Date A Girl Who Treks’.

And now to announce a very exciting film project to promote women who love the great outdoors, Marinel shares this exciting development in her own words…

 

BACKGROUND

A few months ago, I attended an outdoor film festival in Washington, DC that focused on the adventure films that were produced by artists from all over the world.  The work presented was certainly admirable.  I was inspired.  A few months later, I watched yet another outdoor film festival and found myself, yet again, inspired.

However, I couldn’t help but feel a sense of disconnect.  The first time around I felt the same feeling but couldn’t understand what it was about.  It was after the second film festival event that it became evident to me that the past two showings I watched were lacking in two things that mattered to me: (1) hiking or wilderness backpacking and (2) women.  It was at that point that I vividly recall noting this concern to my male friends who shared their honest opinion that filming an activity that focuses only on hiking isn’t as exciting or “sexy enough” as climbing, mountain biking, skiing, and all these other adrenaline filled sports.

“Okay, they have a point,” I begrudgingly said to myself.

Months later I was trekking with three guys in the Caucasus Mountains of the Republic of Georgia who were from Egypt, France and Sweden, respectively.  I raised the same question as to why there’s a lack of hiking or backpacking film documentaries at such events.  The answer was similar to the first.

I never asked my male friends about the women aspect.  After all, I was already dismayed at the responses dismissing the idea that pure hiking or wilderness backpacking as the subject of a film fails to even meet the standards that would compel any filmmaker to produce such kind of film.   So, I pushed the idea aside… but ONLY for a moment.

Film Project

Hiking with women trail leaders on the Kilimanjaro trail, Tanzania.

Don’t Date a Girl Who Treks

Film Project 3I was in China’s remote trekking trails in yet to be discovered Tibetan Autonomous Region of the country when I met May.  She was from Thailand who once trekked up the Everest Base Camp in Nepal.  As money was an issue, trekking or traveling for her was a major expense.  By fate, May and I met in some of the most remote trekking regions in Sichuan Province of China.  We ventured out to do the 30 kilometer high altitude pilgrimage trek in Yading Nature Reserve.  It was a trekking region that has yet to be fully explored by trekkers from the western world.  You can read our adventure in full HERE.

The piece, Don’t Date a Girl Who Treks, was inspired by May and all the wonderful solo women trekkers I’ve met in over a decade of trekking in the U.S. and abroad.  To be clear, the piece is not so much about dating, but rather it’s meant to be a way to celebrate women and their love for the mountain trails.  May was one of them.  To not be able to pursue her passion as often as she would want given the location of her home in Thailand that is devoid of mountain trails is a disappointing reality, to which I can fully relate.   In the small city she lives in, life is simple and money is difficult to come by.  For someone like May, it’s a devastating notion to accept the fact that she is unable to pursue her passion as easily as she would like due to her responsibilities in taking care of family members and the lack of finances to afford traveling to hike up mountains.  Personally, I would go crazy without regular access to mountains!

Our meeting was in 2014.  Yet, even now, May still reminisces about our pilgrimage trek in China.  In her correspondence, she often dreams about hiking up mountains, whether within her home country or outside of it.  I figured if May cannot trek an actual mountain, then I can bring the mountains to her from all corners of the world – thru the film project that is now underway.

The FILM PROJECT

Just shortly after writing Don’t Date a Girl Who Treks, I decided in September of 2016 to open my Brown Gal Trekker blog to the public.  I soon came to find out that the world seems to agree that women certainly must be celebrated for their passion and commitment to the outdoors.  I was thrilled to learn that the world echoes the same sentiment that I’ve had all along, and as a result, Don’t Date a Girl Who Treks was published by Dave’s Travel Corner (a pioneer website for independent-minded backpackers), Huffington Post and WHOA Mag (a publication that promotes women in the outdoors).  At the same time, the piece was promoted by various leading entities in the hiking world including BestHike.com and Hike Like a Woman.

Film Project 4You can find the publications via the following links:

Dave’s Travel Corner

Huffington Post

Whoa Mag

Women Who Explore

In late October, 2016, Bernard Chen, an award-winning photographer who I met months ago as part of the Great Himalaya Project (which still is currently a project via Brown Gal Trekker), reached out to me regarding ideas for future projects.  I then brought up to him the idea that has been brewing in my head, which is to create a short film based on Don’t Date a Girl Who Treks by showcasing women trekkers globally through a collage of photos and videos submitted by the trekkers themselves.  Bernard was thrilled at the idea.  We both agreed it’s a perfect means of promoting outdoor women from all walks of life and their presence in the media.

As the idea sank in my head that day, I recalled the earlier conversations about the boring nature of a film on hiking.  Then, my mind redirected me back to the feeling of disconnectedness that I experienced from the lack of female hikers depicted in the media. But then, I felt  a surge of excitement knowing that the landscape of the outdoor media world will change, soon enough.   That change is right within our control.  We just need to make it happen.

Film Project 2

SUBMISSIONS

This FILM PROJECT is a collaborative endeavor that is made possible through the help and support of female trekkers worldwide and various leading female-led outdoors entities such as Hike Like a Woman, Animosa, Fat Girls Hiking, Women Who Explore, Adventure Some Women & Camping for Women.

Hence, if you’re a female trekker who has photos or videos that you wish to submit, please send them to bgtrekker@peakexplorations.com

In addition, please provide us with the following:

  1. Your name
  2. Short background story on your photo
  3. Short answer to the question, “What does hiking or wilderness backpacking mean to you?”
  4. Your blog site (if you’re a blogger)

You’ll be notified when your piece is selected via e-mail.  Credit will be given to your submission.  You can subscribe to BGT’s blog if you wish to get updates on the project.

Also, we are raising funds to create the film.  Your donations are welcome!

Start by clicking here to check out some really cool T-Shirts that highlight the film project.

 

And also check out Marinel’s company that take adventurous women on some very impressive treks across the globe:

Peak Explorations

 

Camping for WomenCamping for Women is a proud supporter of the Date Date A Girl Who Treks film project.

We see this as a significant project to showcase the many amazing, diverse and talented outdoor women all over the world.

We are encouraging as many of our subscribers and readers as possible to take a proactive role in supporting this wonderful initiative.  Just can’t wait to see many of your images featured in the film!

 

Don’t date a girl who treks

 

Dont Date a Girl Who Treks

Don’t date a girl who treks

By Marinel de Jesus

She’s the girl with the uneven tanned body

Scorched skin from the rays of the sun from trekking the high passes.

She’s the girl with the high cut boots

And a pair of trekking poles that she depends her life on

She’s the girl who catches the sunrise and sunset

For either of them will suit her just fine.

__________________

Don’t date a girl who treks

For this means you wake up at some ungodly hour

and race your feet to the tops of the mountains.

God forbid if she misses the sun’s spectacle

You’ll see her purse her lips in utter disappointment

__________________

But fear not

Because as soon as she sees the majestic peaks before her eyes

She will smile again in no time

She’s the girl who knows her summits’ names

And their heights from sea level

Her favorite numbers are those that begin at 3000 and above

In meters to be exact

__________________

Don’t date a girl who treks

She will ask you where you are from

And feels a bit torn

When you come from a place closer to sea level rather than a range

__________________

Don’t date a girl who treks

Because she will not want you to wine and dine her

But rather would desire more of your time

As she would have you hike with her in the middle of nowhere

All day and all night.

__________________

Don’t date a girl who treks

Her heart is already taken

By those named Himalayas, Andes, and Alps

Unless you are willing to join in her pursuits of them

__________________

Don’t date a girl who treks

She’s armed with gear you have not even heard of

Like her spot or go girl

And you must be curious to see how she uses them

__________________

Don’t date a girl who treks

She has her battle scars called blisters that she wouldn’t want you to notice

When strolling in flip flops on a beach

__________________

Don’t date a girl who treks

She will bask in the wilderness without a bed

Eating dehydrated food and trail bars

Find you appealing only when you can brave no shower for days

__________________

Don’t date a girl who treks

For her soul is already full

Of memories of peaks and summits

Really, you’re just there to take a photo of her on top of one

__________________

Don’t date a girl who treks

For her longing for mountains is constant

And you will hear an earful of it all the time

__________________

Don’t date a girl who treks

She loves to be present in the moment

Rushing is for the city life

While allowing time to pass by slowly reminds her of that freedom

__________________

Don’t date a girl who treks

For there will be no wild parties or hang overs

Just a meditative moment in the woods

__________________

Don’t date a girl who treks

She will eventually go off the beaten path

And you will have to be there to save her

In times when she needs a helping hand

__________________

Don’t date a girl who treks

For her sense of direction is via a trail map

Place her in a city and she’s lost

And you’ll be stranded in no time

__________________

Don’t date a girl who treks

For she lives life to the fullest

If you cannot catch up to her when she flies

Then don’t think she’d even shed a single tear

If you tell her goodbye

__________________

Don’t date a girl who treks

She will go exploring on her own when her heart so desires

And will only return to you when she finally misses you

__________________

Don’t date a girl who treks

She finds beauty in any situation

Even when the rain is pouring

Or the wind blowing too strong

__________________

Don’t date a girl who treks

For she finds purpose in hiking the tallest peaks

Even if it means risking her health

Or risking her life

__________________

Don’t date a girl who treks

For her creativity can take you to far off places that you never imagined wanting to go

In taking risks she finds a sense of aliveness

Be prepared to match her fearlessness

__________________

Don’t date a girl who treks

For beyond the layer of toughness

There is a heart full of love and longing

For someone like you to cross her path

To share her adventures with

__________________

And if you’re lucky enough to date a girl who treks

She will have you join in her world of trekking

You will marry the mountains like she did

And in return

Her loving you is as honest as her passion for trekking

Your relationship will be treated as holy as a pilgrim’s kora

She embraces challenges like it’s another summit to overcome

And every single day you will savor the sunrises and sunsets like they were your last

She will challenge your limits only to become better each day.

__________________

Don’t date a girl who treks

For she will make you live and appreciate an irregular life

And fill it with so much magic that you will never ever want to walk off trail

without her by your side.

__________________

Brown Girl Tracker Logo Dont date a girl who treks 1

Click on the Brown Girl Trekker logo above to see so much more from Marinel de Jesus.

Crown Jewel of the Winds: Titcomb Basin, Wyoming, USA

Titcomb 1

By Nicole Atkins

Titcomb Basin is one of those destinations that will leave you changed. It’s nestled in the Wind River Range, in Western Wyoming. The primitive nature of the Winds has a way of arousing the deepest passions of your creative soul. With their jagged edges and unforgiving storms, they remind us who is in charge.

Titcomb 2

The Winds are notorious for unpredictable weather. So come prepared for any kind of adventure. The 15-mile trek to the basin can be hiked in a day. But to really appreciate the scenery, plan on spending 2-4 days making the ~30-mile round trip.

With a net elevation change of 1260 feet, it’s a moderate-to-difficult hike. You’ll start from the Elkhart Park trailhead in Pinedale, WY. Make sure you have a vehicle that can handle dirt roads.

After 4.5 miles you’ll reach Photographer’s Point. Prepare for some of the most beautiful mountain vistas you’ve feasted your eyes upon. Grab a snack and head downhill. In another mile, you’ll reach Eklund Lake and Barbara Lake. If you haven’t fueled up yet, you’ll want to. There’s a steep mile climb before you reach the next amazing viewpoint, looking down on Seneca Lake.

Titcomb 3

Some people set up camp at Seneca Lake. The Winds are home to bears and other critters so be sure to bear-proof your camping area. At this point, you’re 9 miles into your 15-mile trek so it’s a good stopping point.

Titcomb 4

Otherwise, continue past Little Seneca Lake. One more climb; after about 2 miles you’ll be looking down at your reward, Island Lake. She’s a beaut. Island Lake is another popular place to set up camp.

Titcomb 5

The push to Titcomb Basin is only another 3.5 miles of easy rolling terrain. Once you get there, drink it in. You can spend a day or so exploring the basin, or go beyond the basin to Gannett Peak (the tallest peak in Wyoming).

Titcomb 6

Take a dip in the lake if it’s a hot day, you earned it.

Titcomb 7

Give yourself time to deal with weather changes and mosquitoes (if it’s summer). They’ll eat you alive. Above all, take in the splendor that surrounds you.

Titcomb 8

When you’re ready, pack up camp and head back toward the trailhead. The story you’ll take with you is will be one of your favorites for years to come.

Titcomb 9

Camping and Hiking on your Period

Period 1

By Oceana Setaysha

Don’t let your period slow you down!

If you’re an active, outdoorsy type, there’s nothing more annoying than trying to schedule your hiking and camping around your period. It always seems to arrive at the least opportune time, and nobody wants to miss out on their fix of outdoor adventures.

But who says you have to miss anything?

It’s actually totally possible to both camp and hike while you’re on your period, and there’s no reason to cancel or reschedule a trip just because you happen to be on ‘shark week’. Here are some simple tips for dealing with your period on an outdoors trip.

Choose An Appropriate Sanitary Option

Period 2The first thing you need to do is choose a sanitary option that is going to work for you. Now you pretty much have three choices: pads, tampons and menstrual cups. The one that you use is going to be dependent on your personal preference above all, but it’s also important to consider how long your trip is. When we’re thinking about tampons and pads they obviously create waste when they are changed that cannot be burned or buried so it needs to be carried with you, which might not be appropriate for a longer trip. On the other hand a menstrual cup is reusable and simply needs to be cleaned, but in wild areas with lots of animal activity you will need to bury your period blood away from your camp and at depth.

Bring Lots Of Unscented Wet Wipes

Period 3If you’re hiking and camping in an area where there isn’t a lot of water it makes sense to take unscented wet wipes. You want to be able to stay hygienic during your trip, and these are a great way to do this. Despite some wet wipe companies advertising that they are biodegradable, many are not and should not be disposed of outdoors. Unless you can find a reputable, natural material based wet wipe you will also need to carry that waste with you. Alternatively you could take a cloth that could be used to clean yourself at the end of the day, and then rinsed and dried for use again the next day.

Take Ziploc Bags For Waste

period 4It’s not pretty to think about but the pads, tampons and wet wipes that you’re taking with you need to be disposed of. In most places that don’t provide rubbish disposal along the trail or in camping spots, you’ll need to carry them yourself. Obviously these items will start to smell very quickly, so a smart idea would be to take a number of Ziploc bags. Small Ziploc bags are great for each item of waste (i.e. one tampon or pad) but you should also bring a larger bag to contain these smaller bags. Remember to pack the waste in tightly, and squeeze the air out, so that you aren’t loosing too much space.

Pack Carefully

When you need to carry extra items like pads, tampons and wet wipes you may need to sacrifice space in your pack, particularly for extended hikes. Take some time in your trip preparation to really think about what is going into you pack to make sure you aren’t overburdening yourself. Consider whether you can cut out some of the larger clothing items you’re bringing and wash overnight, or other space saving ideas. Remember that as well as the menstrual items, you’ll need to leave enough space for your waste bag which, on a longer trip, can get big very quickly.

Consider Your Privacy

period 5One thing that you might need to think about, particularly if you’re hiking with others, is your own privacy when hiking and camping on your period. Although there’s a lot to like about sleeping with nothing more than a mosquito fly or a hammock, you’ll be grateful for your own privacy if you’re on a trip during your period. Remember, you’ll want some space to organise your trash bag, clean yourself up, and change your sanitary items in peace.

Bring Extra Underpants

The one thing that you shouldn’t be worried about bringing too many of is underpants. If you happen to dirty your underpants you want to change them as quickly as possible to avoid smell, insect activity and infection. You may not end up using your spare underwear, but it’s still a great idea to have it and it’s absolutely worth packing even just for a shorter trip.

Extended Hiking Options

If you’re planning on taking an extended trip, and by extended we mean several months of hiking and camping, perhaps in the pursuit of one of the many stunning monster trails the world over, you may need to think beyond your monthly period. You can choose to go on birth control, which can be used to artificially avoid periods. Some birth control options like the pill can be a lot to carry, but others like the implant or injections, can be taken care of before you leave and will halt your period.

period 6

Know Your Knots Infographic

Know your knots 1

Making Effective Knots Made Simple

Feel like you are all thumbs when it comes to doing knots?  You are definitely not alone!

As outdoor enthusiasts, we all know that we need to do knots with our ropes for everything from camping to fishing and survival.  It is obviously important when out in the wilderness to ‘know your knots’.

Know your knots 2First of all we all wish we knew more about doing effective knots.  Often knowing which knot to use for each situation can be a challenge.  Which knot is best for which situation?

The other difficulty is knowing HOW to do these knots correctly.  Even following someone else can sometimes be confusing as not everyone can explain things well.

So wouldn’t it be good to have something you could refer to and follow easily?  Kinda ‘Know your Knots 101’.

Knots are something we come across in everyday life, from tying your laces to putting on a tie, but what are some of the simplest, easiest to learn knots that can help you out while out camping, hiking, fishing or even sailing! Here you can check out a very cool infographic on some of the top knots for each situation, how to tie them and what you’re likely to use them for!

Sarah Brown from http://www.ptwinchester.co.uk/ has shared this very useful resource below:

Know Your Knots Infographic

Know your knots:

To conclude, the key to know your knots is to practice the ones you think you will need most.  The knots you choose will naturally depend on the type of outdoor activity you are doing.  Therefore practice, practice, practice…

Most of all keep this knowledge with you when you are out in the great outdoors because you never know when you might need it the most!

Know your knots 3

Camping for Women sincerely thanks Sarah Brown and http://www.ptwinchester.co.uk/ for sharing this fabulous resource.

An Amateur Dirtbag’s Guide to Zion in the Winter

Winter in Zion

By Emily Pennington

“I feel bad about Ben,” J.C. muttered as we tip-toed down the razor’s edge of Angels Landing. “He would have loved this.” I nodded, squinting as I peered off into the brittle, orange canyon, 1500 feet below. At that exact moment, a pair of bouncy, brunette pigtails inched over the top of the trail where the chains meet their steep demise, carried by Emma, who looked nervous, wild, and full of vertigo. Ben’s curly head of hair followed shortly behind, smiling. I laughed out loud, grinning like a maniac. Emma had faced her fears and hoisted herself up nearly a thousand feet of wet sandstone to share this moment with us, suspended in the clouds as the sun began to wash itself over the striped walls of Zion National Park. Welcome to Utah.

Zion in Winter 4

In an epic bid to stretch the possibilities of weekend roadtrips away from Los Angeles this winter, I recently found myself planning my first trek to Utah and its fabled Zion. I’d been hearing about the place for the better part of a decade, clumped, red sandstone hoodoos littered with Pinyon Pine trees forming bright, panoramic canyons of enormous scale.

When you look up “best national parks to visit in the wintertime” online, Zion pops up high on every list, and it’s easy to understand why. The snow-capped rock formations create an all but subtle juxtaposition of copper and white that spans for miles in every direction, plus, the possibilities for off-trail peak bagging are huge. Despite snow melt causing unsafe sandstone conditions for many of our climbing objectives, we still had a gorgeous and varied January tumble through the park, and I hope these tips and highlights can serve to illuminate your own journey!

Zion in Winter 5

First of all, Zion National Park has winter weather that varies greatly. A friend of mine climbed Angels Landing in the snow over New Years, but upon our arrival at the trailhead 2 weeks later, we encountered merely wet, slippery sandstone. Temperatures can vary between 20 – 50 degrees Fahrenheit, which means you’re either dodging ice and snow or watching were you put your hands when you rock scramble so that stable-looking holds don’t crumble in your palms. There are also several chunks of the park, much like Yosemite, that are higher elevation, and therefore hold more snow and lower temperatures than the main canyon where the road traverses though.

Zion in Winter 6

We jumped on a ton of trails during our brief time in the park, and I sincerely feel that Angels Landing is the absolute best. You trudge up switchback after switchback cut into the edge of Zion’s main canyon before ascending an incredibly exposed class 3 route up the neck of a massive sandstone behemoth. There are signs everywhere informing you that 6 people have fallen from these cliffs in the last 10 years, so you feel like a complete badass when you push onward, death in your rearview, and begin to ascend the chains.

Honestly, it reminded me quite a lot of the Half Dome trail in Yosemite, an infamous and equally sketchy climb up the steep back of a massive dome. And, much like Half Dome, the crowds make the trail much scarier than it needs to be. Wear boots with good tread, take your time, and screw your head on straight when you need to pass people on the chains.

Zion in Winter 2

If you happen to make it to Zion when it’s below freezing or dry and without snow, there are a multitude of easy, off-trail class 3-4 scrambles to spice things up and satiate your danger bug. Cave Knoll and Firepit Knoll in the Kolob Terrace section of the park are bubbling over with alien landscapes, stacked, round hoodoos sitting like rust-colored teardrops in every direction. The ten mile drive to reach this sparsely populated section of the park will truly make you feel as though you’ve time-traveled into the wild west, with valley homesteads and ranches dotting the horizon.

Checkerboard Mesa was also high on our list of class 3 rock climbing in Zion, but after post-holing up to my thigh as we tried to navigate the drainage around to the back of the rock mass, we decided to call it and take awestruck pictures of the completely unreal texture on the wall’s front end. If you find yourself on the less popular east side of the park, I implore you to jump out of your car and hike off trail a bit near Checkerboard Mesa. The solitude and bizarre rock shapes are noting short of inspiring.

Zion in Winter 7
I’m sure I’m preaching to the choir, but I’d feel remiss if I didn’t take a minute to say it plainly – it is absolutely imperative to remember that, no matter how awesome or easy a route looks, climbing on wet sandstone is never a good idea! I can’t tell you how many times a member of my group grabbed a jug on a canyon wall to hoist themselves up, only to have it break off in their hand. We had at least 5 or 6 climbing objectives that we had to scrap last minute due to the quality of the rock that week in the park. If this does happen to you, do not despair! Angels Landing, The Watchman, parts of East Rim Trail, and the West Rim Trail were all jaw-droppingly beautiful and ready to be hiked.

If you only want a quick excursion or are with family or a less athletic group, the one trail I would implore you to check out is the Canyon Overlook Trail. We sped over to watch the clouds disperse just as the sun was setting, and the way the light trails meander through the Triassic canyon is pure magic.

Zion in Winter 8

With all my weekend warrior road-trips, I try to keep costs down as much as possible. One thing I adored about Utah that I haven’t found quite as close to the national parks in Cali was the abundance of cheap, clean motels that offer a free breakfast. For a thrifty $40-50 per night, you can get a double bed room in Hurricane, UT and drive a mere 20 minutes into Zion each day. I’m a backpacker dirtbag at heart, and we were blessed with weather that would have made camping within the park’s boundaries possible, but there’s something emboldening about knowing I’m going home to a warm bed that makes me push harder and longer in the snow, unafraid of wet gear.

Zion in the Winter 1

I used to get cranky living in Los Angeles in the wintertime. I felt stifled by the fact that all my favorite trails were covered with snow while I was held captive in a smog-ridden constellation of concrete that the sun beat down upon as though time’s essence held no weight. Then, one day I realized that we live in an absolute mecca for road trips, and my quest to become a weekend warrior, in earnest, begun. Winter shouldn’t keep anyone from exploring some of our nation’s greatest treasures. It’s often the most magical time to visit the national parks, and you’re sure to see things that summer simply cannot provide. So go on, declare a snow day. I dare you.

For more information about climbing in Zion National Park and off-trail rock scrambling, check out SummitPost.org

http://www.summitpost.org/

The cheap hotel I stayed at in Hurricane, UT (and would totally recommend for late night hot-tubbing) can be found here.

https://www.wyndhamhotels.com/days-inn/hurricane-utah/days-inn-hurricane-zion-national-park-area/overview

What you must have in your First Aid Kit

First Aid Kit 1

By Oceana Setaysha

A first aid kit is a must-carry for any hiker or camper who understands and respects the wild environment they are exploring. Regardless of the length of your trip, how far you will be traveling, or whether you’ll be going alone or with companions, you should have a personal first aid kit at the very least.

Why Build Your Own First Aid Kit

While you can certainly buy first aid kits in most pharmacies, outdoor equipment stores and online, there are a number of benefits associated with putting your own first aid kit together. The most obvious benefit is that you can tailor it to suit your specific needs, where you’re traveling to, what you’re concerned about and so on. However the second benefit is that you’re familiar with every part of the kit, having put it together yourself. You’ll know exactly what you have, and you’ll be prepared to use it if the opportunity presents itself.

There are some ‘basics’ that we like to include in our hiking and camping field kits, which we feel should be present in most well-stocked kits.  Purchasing a well stocked kit to begin with is always a good idea.  It is more economical that starting from scratch.  You can then build specific items from there to match your intended location.


Of course there will always be compromises; not everything can be carried. You may also choose to include additional items depending on your specific trip.

Here is a list of some of the essentials that should be in your own first aid kit:

Gloves

Packing gloves in your first aid kit, in a bag of their own so they don’t get tangled in any zips, is always a good idea if you think you might be treating someone else. However if you’re packing a kit just for yourself, they’re probably not required.

Drugs/Meds

If you take any kind of medication on a regular basis, carrying a backup in your first aid kit is a smart idea. Also present, at a bare minimum, should be painkillers, anti-inflammatories and anti-histamines.

Antiseptic Wipes + Betadine

You should always have some kind of antiseptic in your kit. Personally we choose to have both wipes, for cleaning up, wiping blood off tools etc.  We also have Betadine, which is an iodine solution to prevent infections.

Blisters And Minor Wound Kit

While we do carry other plasters and dressings, a specific blister and minor wound ‘baggie’ within your kit is handy.  It is something you can reach for easily. In ours we have wound closure strips for large lacerations, sterile gauze swabs, various sized plasters, padded gel plasters (for blisters).

Bandages and Dressings

In terms of the dressings and bandages we have, it will ultimately depend on how much you want to carry. If you have space we’d suggest an absorbent field dressing (military grade is best), a crepe bandage, a pressure bandage (for immobilizing or snake bites), and a small bandage that can be cut up. A sticky medical tape like leucoplast is also a smart idea.

Syringe + Blunt Needle

You won’t be giving anyone any shots, but a syringe is a useful tool for cleaning up a wound with water. While you can probably get away with just the syringe, the blunt needle increases the pressure to clean the wound out.

Tweezers

For removing splinters and thorns as well as for dealing with infected ingrown hairs on rub areas when you hike a pair of sharp tweezers are definitely worth taking.

Safety Pin

Safety pins are also handy for removing splinters, and offer a way to keep a sharp point in your kit without too big a chance it will stick you. These can also be used to make a sling tidy, and many other things on the trail.

Shears/Scissors/Swiss Army Knife

A pair of shears (with a blunt edge for quickly removing clothing) or a pair of scissors, are a necessity in a first aid kit. Of course if you’re trying to cut down on what you’re bringing a Swiss Army Knife or similar multi-tool will probably be suitable.

Whistle

If you’re injured and cannot seek help, yelling out for hours is exhausting, dehydrating, and not always loud enough to attract the attention of rescuers. A whistle on the other hand can be blown with minimal effort and create a far-reaching sound.

Lighter

A spare lighter is good to have in a kit for disinfecting tweezers or pins when removing splinters and thorns. Also, if you’re treating someone a fire should be your next priority after taking care of their immediate injuries. On a less serious note, some heat applied to a plaster can help it stick better.

CPR Mask

If you’re travelling alone, this is unlikely to be necessary.  Although if you’re travelling in a group a CPR mask allows you to administer CPR on another individual safely.  That is, without worrying about blood, vomit or saliva getting on or in you.

Head Torch

You might carry a torch or head torch with you in your gear.  However if you’ve had an accident and you’re not able to reach that torch having one in your first aid kit is a really good idea. Make sure it’s stocked with batteries!

First Aid Training

While the equipment that you have is pretty important, you should also consider undertaking a first aid course. Most of the time these courses are done over a single weekend, and are relatively affordable.  They provide an individual with all the skills they need to treat a variety of injuries as a first responder. As a hiker and camper you are often quite a distance away from mainstream medical care.  Therefore knowing these first aid skills might save your life or the life of someone with you.

 

And finally…

A First Aid Guide

Camping First Aid GuideAmanda Parent has put together a first aid guide for dealing with all common first aid situations.

This inexpensive and potentially life-saving resource is available electronically from the Camping for Women website.

Whatever you plan to do in the great outdoors, always play it safe by having all the essential first aid equipment, resources and knowledge with you.  You never know when you will really need it.

 

Planning Your Hike while Backpacking

Planning your hike 1

By Janessa Tice Miller

Planning your hike should consider some key things before you head out on a backpacking trip.  Doing this correctly from the start will help ensure your hike goes smoothly and safely.

Planning Your Hike Route & Daily Mile Goal

Planning your hike 2Before you can do anything else on a backpacking trip, you need to plan the route that you will hike. It could take on the form of a long through-hike, a week on a trail, or just a night or two out in the wilderness. Whatever the case, you need to narrow down your route and prepare.

Once you decide where you are going, you should plan how many miles you would like to hike within each day. Be realistic! It’s important that you know your own physical limits, and realize how many miles you can or cannot hike. It’s a good idea to try out a few day hikes first, just to test out your own stamina.

You don’t have to hike the exact number of miles each day, but you will want to hit very close to your goal.

Get Familiar With Your Route Each Morning

Planning your hike 3Before you ever leave on your trip, you will want to be familiar with the layout of your full trip. But the intricacies of the day ahead must be looked at individually before you head off in the morning. Make sure you are not wasting your time by taking an ill move, and check on how far you need to walk each day, and where you aim to camp. You should always carry maps of your route with you to assist in this process.

It’s also important to be continually aware of and checking on water sources. Some days you may need to hike a bit further than normal. Or you may need to readjust your route slightly if water levels are down, for example. So always keep a larger goal in mind, but focus on the day ahead on each individual morning.

Take Consistent, Scheduled Breaks Throughout The Day

Planning your hike 5If you are planning your hike to go all day, experts say you should consistently stop to rest. With each rest stop plan to grab a protein-boosting snack, drink some water, and sit down to rest or take a quick nap.

The length of your rest will depend on your own body and the amount of miles you are hiking. Some people like to take 5-10 minute breaks every hour. Others take 15-30 minutes every two hours. Some people just sit down and grab a snack.  Others always take off their shoes and enjoy a 15 minute nap.

The point of these rest breaks is to give your body the boost it needs to stay healthy and energized. You can play with different systems to figure out what works best for your own health and hiking style.  Then ensure to be consistent in whatever you choose.

Make Sure Someone Knows Where You Are and When You Plan to Return

Before you leave, you need to make sure that someone knows where you’re going and when you should be back.  This is most important when planning your hike. It is a preventive safety measure that is always wise. If you go missing, someone will know where and when to look for you.  Camping for Women’s free P.I.N. (Planned Itinerary Notification) is something that is specifically designed for this purpose.

It is also important to make sure that you have obtained any permits or passes you might need for the area you are planning to hike. In many places, these permits are also an added safety measure.  This is because the authorities know when a person has not appeared that should have left a trail.

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Dry but delightful: Hiking in the desert

Hiking in the desert

By Lynley Joyce

Deserts are dry, dangerous and often barren.  So why would anyone go hiking in the desert?

It’s because deserts can also be stunningly beautiful with a wide range of plants and wildlife tenaciously hanging on to the rugged and sometimes dramatic landscape.

Desert trails

Hiking in the desert 2If you are considering hiking in the desert, the United States hosts some of the world’s best desert walking trails, and there are plenty to choose from.  Most are in the Southern and Western states.  Popular spots include Big Bend’s Outer Mountain Trail in Texas, just about anywhere around the Grand Canyon and national parks such as Canyonlands, Arches and Zion in Utah.

The United States haven’t cornered the market on desert walks, though.  Australia boasts some scenic routes through its red centre. There is the Larapinta trail in the Northern Territory, the McDonnell Ranges and Kings Canyon, to name a few.

For adventurous travelers to Africa, the Namibian desert offers many hiking in the desert options ranging from gentle strolls to challenging treks.  South America’s deserts also include some desert hiking trails.

Water

Water, or rather the lack of it, is obviously the biggest issue when walking in desert or semi-arid areas.  Hikers usually need to carry all their own water.  There’s no way to get around it: it’s heavy, so most people only do shorter desert hikes.  Each person needs at least a gallon/ 4 litres every day, or up to 1 ½ gallons / 6 litres if it’s hot. Most people could only carry enough for a two day hike at most.  Many people stick with day walks or shorter walks.  For longer walks with no reliable water sources along the way, hikers have to organise water caches to collect every second day or so.

Hiking in the desert 3Check with locals such as national park rangers if there are local water sources that can be used for drinking.  Some deserts may have springs, oases or other water sources but they can dry out.  Just about all water in the desert should be purified by tablets and/or filtering.  Take sterilisation tablets or a filter with an iodine resin.  Desert rivers, such as the Colorado River, can be silty and so difficult to purify. Some water sources may also have contaminants which filtering cannot remove.

Ironically, when it does rain in deserts it can lead to dangerous flash flooding.  Dry river beds are not the place to pitch a tent.  They can flood if there is rain anywhere in the catchment.

Hiking in the desert: Be prepared

As well as having enough water, desert hikers must know a bit about the area they are going in to.  They need to take good topographical maps, a compass and maybe an EPIRB or similar.  It can be easy to get lost in the big wide world, and the lack of water makes this super dangerous. Most of us can last a while as long as we keep warm and have water.  People can die from dehydration in just days.

It’s important to be prepared even if just planning a quick foray in to the desert.   Just about every day the rangers in the Grand Canyon National Park have to rescue people who have taken on more than they bargained for.

Time it

Hiking in the desert 4Avoid deserts in summer as they are way too hot.  Many deserts and semi-arid areas can be delightful in spring when wildflowers bloom.  It’s worth researching the best time for hiking for specific areas.

If it is hot, consider walking early in the morning, resting during the middle of the day in the shade, and walking again in the late afternoon and evening.  As well as escaping the worst of the heat and glare from the sun, the sideways sunlight and shadows can add to the landscape.

Some places are good for moonlit walks, if the tracks are clear.  For example, some of the shorter hikes in Utah’s Arches National Park can be amazing by moonlight.

Keep the energy up

Most hikers crave salty and protein rich food.  There are salt tablets but most people use a hot hike as an excuse to get stuck in to the salty snacks we should avoid most of the time. Too much salt though can lead to extra thirst and the need to carry more water.  Nuts, most seeds or legumes, salami or meat jerky are great protein rich foods.

Sun and heat

When you go hiking in the desert, expect heat and glaring sunlight during the day but it can get extremely cold at night in deserts due to the lack of cloud cover.  Campers may be able to skimp on wet weather gear and a full tent in a desert, but they should be prepared for cold.

Cover up with light weight and light coloured clothes to both block the sun and to reduce evaporation. Light long sleeved shorts and trousers are probably the best way to go.  They provide protection during the day and can help with warmth at night.

Sunglasses are essential.  Take tape to repair them if needed – usually medical tape from a first aid kit will do the job. Deserts tend to be windy places, and sunglasses can help prevent grit and dust in eyes.

Sun screen is another must. Even when wearing a hat, it can help protect skin from wind burn and the dryness. It’s also a good idea to take a decent moisturiser – maybe the end of a tube so as to not carry too much extra.

If someone does overheat, find a shady sport, rest and drink plenty of water.

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Further Information:

The following are links to some additional information available online:

http://www.desert-survivors.org/des_hike.html

http://www.desertusa.com/

http://www.outdoorgearlab.com/Backpacking-Water-Filter-Reviews

http://www.epirb.com/

Camping in Less Developed Areas: A Simple Guide

Less developed areas 1

By Oceana Setaysha

Camping in less developed areas can have its fair share of challenges.  Here are some things to consider before you travel to a non-traditional camping destination.

Explaining Camping In Spots People Don’t Camp

There are so many things to love about camping. However despite its ubiquitous nature in many Western countries, it’s not practiced widely all over the world.

That means that sometimes when you go to other countries, often less developed areas, it can be difficult to explain what camping is, and why you want to do it.

less developed areas 2Why Don’t People Camp?

In many developing countries, travel is a luxury that few can afford. When people do choose to travel, it’s often a pretty big deal and tends to involve pre-organized accommodation, hotels, resorts, homestays and more.

The idea that a person with the opportunity to travel would intentionally spend their evening sleeping outside in a temporary structure isn’t just unlikely, it’s difficult to comprehend. Travel is seen as a status symbol, particularly in less developed areas. So by extension the places people stay, where they eat out, the vehicles they travel in and so on are all signs of their wealth and standing in the community.

Explaining The Draw Of Camping

Trying to explain the draw of camping comes in a couple of levels. First, you have people who might have heard of camping before, or seen it in a Western movie, and are therefore open to the idea. Then you have people who haven’t heard of camping, or seen it, but can be swayed with some explanation and information. Then you have group three, who simply cannot (and often will not) take the time to understand camping.  This group of people will continually offer other options to save you from spending the night outdoors.

camping-984038_960_720Unfortunately, encountering the third group can be a challenge, but for groups one and two it’s not impossible to explain just why you want to camp. Learning a few local words will often help you out, particularly in less developed areas where English is not a commonly spoken language.

The message you want to get across here is not necessarily that you’re trying to save money. Rather that you want to experience the natural environment in a purer way. Lots of compliments about a country’s natural beauty tend to go down well in all local groups. Explaining that you’re eager to see the stars, the sunrise or similar might also be a good idea. Talking too much about how you want to save money isn’t likely to get you very far.  Particularly so in countries that survive on a tourist dollar, so don’t focus on this.

Finding Spots To Camp

When you’re travelling in less developed countries, it pays to do a little bit of research prior to arriving.  This is to get an idea of where you might find camping areas. Camping on private land is fraught with complications, as it would be in any country.  So it’s best to avoid this unless you have express permission from the landowner.

camp-439277_960_720In Asian countries, you’re likely to have more luck looking for camp spots on the grounds of churches, temples and mosques.  This is provided that you present yourself respectfully and seek permission from the head of the temple. Many backpackers have found Buddhist establishments to be the most open to the idea of camping.  However even then there are no guarantees that you’ll be allowed to stay.

Outside of these sorts of establishments there are also national parks.  These parks often provide grassed areas for free (or very cheap) camping. Of course, national parks can be a bit out of the way, and they aren’t always available.

You can also chat to local businesses, particularly accommodation and restaurants, to see if you can swap camping for other things.  Things such as a small cost (less than the price of a room).  Or even a loyalty promise (to eat at the restaurant/café everyday).

If you’re heading to an area where you haven’t done any pre-research on camping options, don’t arrive too late in the evening or afternoon. Arriving later in the day doesn’t give you as much time to explore your options.  The last thing you need is not finding yourself somewhere to stay. If this does happen, ensure you have some local currency on you in order to barter for another accommodation option.

When camping in less developed areas, always remember:

When you’re a travelling camper, it pays to remember to maintain a positive attitude at all times. Some people can become rude, angry or frustrated when they hear you want to camp instead of utilizing local accommodation.  This is even if that accommodation is overpriced and not as comfortable as your camp set up.

In instances like this just keep your cool, and understand that you might not always be able to camp. That being said, there’s no point allowing yourself to be bullied by others.  So be assertive, but friendly, shaking off any rudeness, and continue getting on with your adventure.

To obtain more information and read further about adventure-related destinations, there is not a lot available.  However we have managed to find the inexpensive book Adventure Travel and Trekking available through Amazon.

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