Mountain Safety – 7 Simple Ways to Stay Safe in the Hills

Staying safe hiking

Hiking is fantastic form of exercise, enabling walkers to enjoy the outdoors, take in the fabulous scenery, and most importantly, get their heart rate up for a couple of hours. Unfortunately, mountains can be a dangerous environment, and should rarely be attempted alone, especially if in experienced.

Mountain conditions are notorious for changing very quickly; weather can go from clear skies to thick fog in a matter of minutes.

So here are a few tips for staying safe in the mountains

1. Plan your route, stick to it, tell people

Having a well planned route is essential to mountain safety. You must have a very clear idea of where you’re going. Make people who are not in your walking party aware of your plan also. If you are staying out for several days, make sure you check in when you can. Never deviate from your plan without first telling people.

2. Have the correct skills

As a minimum, everyone should be able to use a map and compass, and it is ideally worth having a first aider in your party. In most cases, you don’t need to be an expert at everything, but having enough skills in map-reading and basic first aid is usually a good start.

3. Take the correct equipment, know how to use it.

Make sure you have the right equipment. Remember, it’s always possible that you will be out overnight or need to be rescued. There is basic equipment and supplies you should never leave without:

  • A topographical map of the area of sufficient detail (in the UK, an OS Explorer map, 1:25,000 scale is perfect)
  • A compass (must know how to use it!)
  • A torch
  • A whistle
  • Waterproof matches / firelighting equipment
  • Knife or multi-tool
  • Extra food
  • Extra clothing
  • Extra water

4. Have the correct clothing

It might be quite warm down in the valley, but when you get on a ridge, the weather can be dramatically different, cold, windy, wet. You should always carry waterproof and windproof layers with you, even if you don’t expect to use the. It’s always a good idea to carry a few extra layers in your pack anyway. Take spare gloves, and hats in your pack. There’s often someone in the party who forgot theirs!

5. Take enough food and drink

Hiking in mountains is a strenuous endeavour; make sure you have plenty of food, a good mix of carbohydrates (such as rice or pasta) and high energy food such as nuts, or Kendal Mint Cake. Again, keep in mind that you might be out for longer than you expect, so take plenty.

6. Check the weather before you go

In the UK, the Met Office has a superb web site, the mountain area forecast (http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/loutdoor/mountainsafety/index.html). This site offers advice on the conditions at varying altitudes, the likelihood of difficult weather. If the conditions look too difficult for your level of expertise, don’t go. It’s not worth the risk.

7. Never walk alone

Walking alone in the hills, especially for the very inexperienced is not big, and it’s not clever. It’s true not everyone enjoys hiking, but a lot of people do, it’s a very common form of exercise or and popular hobby.

Cheap Survival Shelter: Discover 2 Outstanding Ways To Keep Yourself Protected

Planning for shelter is important. But here’s the problem. Heavy shelter wont work. For instance, I have a 6 man Coleman WeatherMaster tent. But am I planning on carrying that with me in a bug out scenario?

Better choices for survival shelter would be lightweight material, or natural elements. In this article I want to share two ideas that you might never have thought about.

MAN-MADE CHEAP SHELTERS

LA has many homeless people. A product was developed out of this problem. It’s called the EDAR (Everyone Deserves a Roof). EDAR is a combination tent and cot. It is an outstanding success and it works great. But of course, EDAR is just the start for cheap portable shelters.

Go to Google and type in “6 Unconventional Outdoor Shelters”. What you’ll discover are different tarp and tent ideas. They include combinations of synthetics, canvas, stakes and cordage.

Another idea is the tube tent. Just run some cordage under the middle of a tarp and you have an instant A-frame. If you want a premade tube tent, Amazon has some aluminum coated tubes that will even provide you with insulation.

Want to go super cheap? Check out some extra large construction garbage bags. Cut the ends off and tape the bags together end to end. But if you don’t have a tarp, plastic or trash-bags then go natural.

NATURAL MATERIALS FOR SHELTER

Here is an idea that plays off of the use of natural elements like trees, branches and leaves. Take two stripped down branches. One will be 3-4′. The other will be 8-10′ long. Dig a hole just small enough to mount the short branch in the ground, sticking straight up out of the ground. Next lean the large branch on the shorter one. You’ll have a triangle with one vertical side. Now start placing branches with leaves on the angled branch. Do this for both sides. What you’ll end up with is a nice lean to shelter that you can crawl into.

Want to take that idea a step further? Then consider your location, your roof, the walls and adding layers of protection to your shelter. For instance, maybe a cave would work better. As a matter of fact, caves, crevices, overhangs, thickets, hollow logs or boulders will work. Any of these can provide an adequate shelter and give you insulation, wind proofing, and concealment.

HOMEWORK: PRACTICE MAKING SHELTER

Now lets step things up even further. Take a hike with friends and make a shelter while on the hike. Bring a tent with you in case the project doesn’t turn out as you expected.

Give yourself the time to practice while you aren’t under a lot of pressure to perform. And even if it doesn’t work the first time, remember, practice makes perfect. After just a few times, you’ll be an old hand at making cheap and portable survival shelter.

Tyvek Tents: 4 Ways To Improve Your Disposable Tent

Tyvek tarps are pretty cool. But when you start putting a Tyvek tent together, then its “disposable home improvement” time. Things get a little challenging. Soon enough, you’ll be asking yourself these questions.

  • Do I need to make the tie outs?
  • What kind of glue will I use to piece your tarp shelter together?
  • Will an improvised Tyvek A-Frame Shelter hold grommets?
  • How do I make a Tyvek tarp shelter work in a practical way?
  • How do I tie down corners of a tarp tent?
  • How do I seam seals?
  • How about connecting edges with one another?

So let’s deal with these questions. I’m going to show you 4 tips on how to improve Tyvek emergency shelters. The four tips are:

1) grommets

2) Tyvek tape

3) seam sealer

4) Velcro

After reading this article, you’ll know how to take Tyvek in a survival setting to the next level. So here are the four ways to improve your disposable tent.

METHOD #1: GROMMETS

Tyvek tents have a special challenge. Connections. Will it hold grommets? Can you grommet Tyvek?

Well, house wrap is just one big sheet of stuff. There’s no built in way to connect it with other things. By adding some kind of connection points, you make it more functional.

So here’s where you start. First, “punch” holes with a hot nail into the material. Move the nail around to make the hole bigger. You can even use a soldering iron tip on a butane torch to just melt the hole.

Also, fold the edge over two times. And make sure to seal each fold with PVC glue. Do it right and your Tyvek Tarp will last for years. But if grommets are overkill, then maybe tape is a better choice.

METHOD #2: TYVEK TAPE

When you need some last minute way to cover tears or connect pieces, tape is the way to go. Tyvek tape can fasten down the edges of your Tyvek tent as you are installing grommets on your folded over edges.

METHOD #3: SEAM SEALER

If you are attaching anything to Tyvek, then you will have seams. The material you use with your house wrap tent will be important. Two suggestions are Fulaprene or Gripset. Another thing you can do is make your own seam sealer. But Grommets, seam sealer and tape aren’t the only options you have. There’s one last method for fastening sections of your Tyvek ultra-light tarp together. Velcro.

METHOD #4: VELCRO

The last method you can use is Velcro. Depending on the type you get, it might be a good idea to double over the section you want to attach Velcro to. Then sew it down to the Tyvek fabric, to keep it permanently in place.

So that’s it in a nutshell. Grommets, Tyvek Tape, Sealer and Velcro. You might want to start your Tyvek Shelter journey this week by swinging by Home Depot and picking up some Tyvek tape. Then go to a local building site and see if you can snag some Tyvek sheets for free. (be sure to ask first… be polite). Let me know what you discover!