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What's In Your Pack ?


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For a day hike, I carry :

complete first aide kit, with extra gauze and tape to stop bleeding, and dress a larger wound

emergency blankets (body heat reflective type) - 2

lightweight rain jacket and pants

plastic garbage bags

compass

map of area I'll be in (placed in plastic sleeve)

fire starter with a vile of dryer lint

water proof matches

whistle and reflective mirror

roll of bright colored trail marking tape, and something to write with

wood block percussion instrument

LED headlamp - 2

pack of extra AA batteries

garmin emap GPS ...really want one of those Garmin Rinos, to combine the functions of a GPS and 2 way radio, and for better GPS reception in tree canopy situations. Will be on my next year "to purchase" list.

2 way Midland radio (NOAA weather capable)

evidence kit ( empty viles, bags, tweezer, small tape measure, pad to write on )

folder, or something to fan a fire

portable digital audio recorder, and sometimes.. portable dish for listening

digital camera

helmet cam (worn on my helmet of course, for video)...but not carried in the pack

8x42 binoculars (carry on me, and at the ready)

drinking water...as much as I can comfortably carry . A portable water purification unit is also on my want list, for next year.

meal replacement bars

slim jims

insect repellents and head net (in bug season)

multitool and fixed blade knife (carried on me, not in pack)

bear spray

toilet paper and camp soap

extra socks and grundies

antihistimine

Edited by imonacan
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In search and rescue we were taught that blue stands out more than almost any color in the woods (PNW). I then put my kids in various colored clothing and it seems blue stands out among green pretty well. Orange, red, and yellow more often tended to get lost in the background. I was just wondering if anyone else had much experience trying different colors.

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norcallogger, you probably see more flagging than most of us. Any particular use for blue, as a color I mean? I carry blue because it's easy to see in the woods. Blue isn't "naturally" occuring, or so I've been told. Whereas sometimes red/orange becomes a color of leaf/needle at certain times of the year. Every heard the same?

Traditionally, and generally speaking, blue is used to indicate "water". Depending on what state you are in and the on-site conditions, "water" has different definitions and significance. For instance, if you've ever watched that TV show Swamp Loggers, the conditions they usually work in would quite literally put you in jail here in CA. For the last few decades forestry supply companies have offered flagging that has a standardized color coding and comes manufactured with the color's meaning printed right on it. That means that even if you are "dumb as a logger" you still should be able to figure it out. If you see blue and white stripped flagging or the same with "WLPZ" (watercourse and lake protection zone) printed on it, then the area between the flag line and the nearest "water" is a "special treatment zone". I won't go into what "special treatment zone" means but if you see "ELZ" painted (usually in blue) on trees that basically follow the "WLPZ" flag line then the WLPZ is also an equipment limitaion zone which means no ground based tractors.

Here's a very general description of the meaning of colored flagging:

blue= water

red= property line

orange= skid road

neon orange= hazard or something of significant notation

yellow= truck road

neon pink= girl forester in area. Don't just whip it out and start peeing. ( :D OK, I just made that one up.) Pink could mean just about anything.

There's lots of other colors and they may only have meaning to the one person that hung them up. The nice thing about flagging is that you can make it noticable no matter what color it is (well, maybe not white in a blizzard). Tie it between two trees and you have an unnatural horizontal line. Tie some more flagging so that it hangs down from your horizontal flagging and you have an unnatural horizontal line with something moving around below it. You can tie flagging across a road or trail. You can anchor it on the ground with rocks and make arrows or even words. I've even braided it together to make a rather sturdy rope.

But mostly I use it for work. Which means I'm not using it much these days. :(

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Guest NWSquatcher

I really appreciate this thread! I enjoy seeing what others put in their packs, some really good ideas and reminders. I also think it's great to have a member like Ace who can share their experience with Search and Rescue because many of us go into the field, day adventures or back country extended outings and we can never know when an emergency will occur (injuries, weather, lost etc).

I do carry Bear Spray which I just recently bought (a three pack). I always carry a firearm, not for Bear, mainly for Cougar, Wolves and Human Encounters that go bad. I always hike with my Dogs and they tend to be an excellent first alert system as well as a first line deterrent.

I have a large backpack which comes with a smaller backpack attached to it. I tend to use the smaller one for short hikes. My larger pack is stuffed full and I really need to go through it again and incorporate some of the items listed by other members.

Recently I bought a multi tool at Ace Hardware that is a hammer, wire cutter, knife, file, saw, screwdriver, nail puller - really useful tool, doesn't weigh much, about the size of an avg mans hand. I think it cost about $5.99 on sale.

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Thanks norcallogger, I always wondered about that. I've only used flagging to mark trails or travel, or to mark inward and outward direction (tie it a certain way on your way in (one knot) and then tie another knot on the way out so you know you've already gone down that road). Colors though seemed arbitrary, but I figured they probably had meaning to those that used it as an industry tool.

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Food is the least of my concerns. Water is more important to me. In these southern summers, I can't carry enough water. I have had to stash water on occasion when I plan to be in the woods for an extended period of time. I can make a food stash also.

Actually, I don't seem to feel as hungry when I am in the woods as I do, day to day, at home.

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Food is the least of my concerns. Water is more important to me. In these southern summers, I can't carry enough water. I have had to stash water on occasion when I plan to be in the woods for an extended period of time. I can make a food stash also.

Actually, I don't seem to feel as hungry when I am in the woods as I do, day to day, at home.

Where I go, water is everywhere. I just bring a purifier.

Is there not much water where you go?

Edited by will
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It depends on which trails I decide to follow. Some run close to permanent water sources. I tend to like the trails away from those, because there would be more people on those trails. The trails I like have creeks, but the creeks dry up when we have droughts.

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On Day Hikes that would typically be up to about 10 miles:

Extra water beyond what I might drink. That is the major bulk of the weight and volume. I used to stash water when walking in the desert.

Pepper spray in an easy to get to place. Rarely I would put it in my pocket.

Band aids, at least 10, for possible blisters. That rarely happened to me but I would put on a band aid before a blister might develop. I would usually pull off the cotton and just use the tape.

Anti fungal and antibiotics. Sometimes you get a bad rash after several hours and the AF really helps. It stops it before it becomes a problem.

Sun screen.

Lighter

Sometimes something to eat but not usually.

Camera though it is usually attached to my walking stick or around my neck.

Extra pair of socks or usually two.

Small knife.

Rarely GPS but only if there is no trail.

Cell phone if I wasn't at Bluff Creek.

MP3 player.

Never a flash light. I don't even put one in my truck since find them useless and even annoying in that they mess up your night night vision.

Two squares of a paper towel.

Keys and wallet. I never hike with them in my pockets where they might fall out plus that is easier than keys poking your leg for hours.

1 extra key for the truck and there is also one hidden in the truck

Some extra bills, usually about 20 bucks.

I usually walk in mountains and I pay very close attention to what the terrain looks like. Take some time and look backwards every few minutes. Pay attention to what the trail looks like going the other way and take some time to study where you are on the mountain. Find landmarks both on the trail and far away in multiple directions. Make sure you find landmarks that point your way home like a mountain in the distance.

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All this talk of trails.

I have no trails.

Trails would be cool though cept I would be afraid of running into other people then and I definitely do NOT want to be seen with all my gear on. My wife tells me I look like a Ghostbuster!

S

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Guest Xskeptic
In search and rescue we were taught that blue stands out more than almost any color in the woods (PNW). I then put my kids in various colored clothing and it seems blue stands out among green pretty well. Orange, red, and yellow more often tended to get lost in the background. I was just wondering if anyone else had much experience trying different colors.

Ace, in my work I've gone through many cases of tape over the years. As a septic system designer I am required to dig soil test pits and flag them for review by the local health districts. Most of my work (before the housing crunch) was new development which means I was usually the first one on-site before any clearing. I can tell you that blue does not stand out very well under the forest canopy. The reason is blue is easily hidden in the dark shadows of the forest or brush. Bar none the best color to use for easy spotting is florescent orange or pink. I guess that's why hunters are required to wear it.

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Ace, in my work I've gone through many cases of tape over the years. As a septic system designer I am required to dig soil test pits and flag them for review by the local health districts. Most of my work (before the housing crunch) was new development which means I was usually the first one on-site before any clearing. I can tell you that blue does not stand out very well under the forest canopy. The reason is blue is easily hidden in the dark shadows of the forest or brush. Bar none the best color to use for easy spotting is florescent orange or pink. I guess that's why hunters are required to wear it.

Maybe you should change your screen name from Xskeptic to "Xseptic". I'm thinking about going from Norcal Logger to "Norcal Unemployed Bum Who's Cashing in His IRAs Just to Survive". :P

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Guest Xskeptic

Maybe you should change your screen name from Xskeptic to "Xseptic". I'm thinking about going from Norcal Logger to "Norcal Unemployed Bum Who's Cashing in His IRAs Just to Survive". :P

That's hilarious norcal and I'm with you. Had to start drawing my SS early just so I could have something coming in.

back to topic

My pack essentials

partial roll of fluorescent pink flagging tape

small magic marker (permanent)

first aid kit w/tweezers & small magnifying glass

whistle

dental floss

couple fish hooks

space blanket. (tarp kind)

water (army canteen w/cup)

compass

garden variety garbage bag

bic lighter

two firesteels, one on me and the other in the bag.

small container (wrapped with duct tape) of Vaseline soaked cotton balls.

couple buck knives, 110, 119 special

fold up hand saw.

550 paracord (100')

headlamp w/extra batteries

a small container of peanut butter. (a good pick me up and is great bait for snare traps)

If there is a fire ban I take 8 to 16 ounces of denatured alcohol and a penny stove

made from coke cans.

oh! and last but not least, my Ruger SBH 44 magnum w/a ton of ammo.

Edited by Xskeptic
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There's one kind of hike where these three things are essential to my pack- some Chardonnay wine, extra sour dough bread and swiss cheese. That means that my wife is going and you never know what might happen then! (Wow, I just reread that and I know what you're all thinking and that's not at all what I meant but after reading it that way then I must say, "Yea", that might happen too.) I don't know why but whenever she's along something unusual happens and it's always a blast. Well, not always but a couple of years later it makes for a good story. And that's always fun. :P

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