Canoeing: Prepare For When Your Boat Flip-Flops

by Donna 26. May 2012 20:42

Use Care when Getting into a Canoe

With summer on the horizon, many backcountry adventurers take to the waters by way of a canoe. To play it safe, you need to be cognizant of the right way to get into your canoe as well as paddle it. For example, it’s best to have someone steady the canoe while you are entering the vessel so you don’t tip it over. Crouch low in the boat when preparing to sit down. Keep your knees bent and hold onto the sides of the kayak for extra leverage. Always walk across the center of the thin vessel to keep the boat from rocking. Once you have paddled away from the shore too, you want to make sure that you continue to stay low, or don’t stand up in the boat.

Start Paddling toward the Shore if the Currents become too Swift

As a canoe is one boat that can easily tip over, you’ll no doubt want to make sure that you wear your life jacket as well. Also, avoid any sudden movements if you want to keep the boat firmly in place. Once you are out on the waterway, note the water’s currents as swirling waves can pull you towards rocks and other kinds of dangers. So, if you notice that your canoe is steering you along more swiftly than what is comfortable, immediately start paddling away from the area or direct your canoe toward the shoreline. Guide your boat so it moves at a right angle to the waves in the river or stream to stay on a steady course.

Sit in the Center of the Boat

Again, you want to focus on the center of the boat for sitting too as situating yourself on the side of the boat can cause the vessel to tip. If your canoe does cause you to take an unanticipated plunge, try to concentrate on staying calm. Either push the boat or paddle it to the shoreline. Once you reach a shallow depth, you’ll be able to empty the boat of water and climb in again.

Bring Along Additional Clothing, Sunscreen, and Provisions

Since canoes do have the notorious distinction of tipping over, it’s always a good idea to bring along additional clothing in a watertight container too. Also, you’ll want to make sure that you have the following equipment on-hand as well:

  • Plenty of water; 
  • Food;   
  • Sunscreen;  
  • The aforementioned life vest; 
  •  GPS or map.

Like the clothes, pack your equipment in a waterproof container or bag and tie the contents to one of the beams in the center of canoe so the items will remain intact if the boat flips.



Backcountry Travels: Staying Safe on the Trail

by Donna 19. May 2012 19:58

Check the Weather before your Leave on your Trip

Regardless of where your backcountry treks take you, you should always anticipate any potential hazards that you may encounter. So, before embarking on your journey, check the weather conditions of the area you’re planning to visit. If you are caught, for example, in an unexpected rainstorm, stay away from open fields and isolated trees, both which are magnets for lightning strikes.

Always Carry Rain Gear

As a sudden change in the weather can occur frequently in backcountry locations, make sure you are well-prepared to meet a shift in the climate by packing rain gear and wearing sturdy, water-resistant boots.

Don’t Drink from Streams unless you Filter the Water First

Staying safe on the trail also means carrying plenty of bottled water. Water filters are available that make backcountry water potable to drink as well. Although it may appear refreshing and inviting, don’t drink the water from a stream as any untreated water should be considered unsafe. Again, just make sure that the water you have at your disposal is consumable and will keep you sufficiently hydrated while you’re on the trail.

Stay Hydrated

To maintain your energy level and keep from succumbing to warm weather sicknesses like heat exhaustion or heat stroke, you should drink two to four quarts of water per day, depending on your activity level and elevation. Drink at least 8 to 16 ounces of water before hiking and drink water during your hike as well. Avoid cola drinks, coffee, and alcohol and take breaks in shaded areas when possible.


Protect yourself from the sun by wearing clothing that is lightly colored as well as loose and lightweight. Be on guard against hypothermia. The condition occurs when the body cannot produce enough heat to keep it from chilling.  In turn, the body temperature drops, which, if left untreated, can result in a life-threatening situation or even death.

Hypothermia often occurs when the victim perspires in a cold environment. Wind chill temperatures registering below 10 degrees Celsius or 50 degrees Fahrenheit often contribute to the development of the condition.  Symptoms can include shivering, exhaustion, drowsiness, and forgetfulness.  To prevent hypothermia make sure you stay hydrated and keep your skin and clothing dry.

Watch for Snakes on the Trail

Snakes can be a safety hazard on the trail, especially in the warm weather months. Be especially alert when you are going through areas containing underbrush as the reptiles love these areas. Wearing rugged hiking boots and staying on cleared paths should help prevent any mishaps or injuries with this guys.

Protecting yourself from Mountain Lions

In some areas you can come across mountain lions, particularly if you choose to trek over certain wilderness paths in the Rockies. If you do meet up with one of the big cats, don’t run from the animal. Otherwise, he might chase you. Instead, make yourself look larger by opening your jacket widely or raising your arms. Don’t crouch down or turn around either as it sends a message that you are an easy mark. If the cat attacks, throw dirt in its eyes or make use of your walking stick or trekking poles to defend yourself.  When a cat attacks, it's basically a fight to the death.  Either the cat or you isn't walking away.

Keep Away from Poison Oak and Poison Ivy

Quite a bit less threatening, be careful of poison oak if you are hiking in the higher elevations. You can identify the plant in the summer by its green, waxy leaves that feature three lobes.


Backpacking | Safety

Backcountry Camping: Preparing for Rain

by Donna 15. May 2012 19:45

Wet weather camping is not always something the weather man tells you to prepare for, but be ready anyways.

Get in the Habit of Preparing for Rain even if it isn’t in the Forecast

Come rain or come shine, you have to make sure that you are prepared for all types of weather when you are traveling outside the boundaries of civilization. However, if you make provisions for rainy weather when you pack for a camping trip, you can turn what might have been a bad experience into a tolerable trip.

That being said, before you plan your camping or hiking trip, you should always check the forecast first. Carry a weather radio (and plenty of batteries) so you can stay up to date about current and future weather conditions. If scattered showers are in the forecast, make sure that your belongings and food are stored in resealable plastic bags, including any maps, first aid kit, socks, and especially matches. You’ll also want to place your sleeping bag in a plastic liner as well. In fact, you should regularly make it a habit to place your food and gear in plastic, just to ensure that a rain storm does not catch you by surprise.

Establish your Campsite on Higher Ground

Naturally, rain gear should be included in your belongings as well as a tent that is treated with waterproofing. When choosing a campsite, you don’t want to set up your tent on lower ground as it’s not necessarily the safest place to land, particularly if it starts to rain quite heavily. Therefore, make it your goal to find a site that is in an area protected from floods and excessive winds. Keep a tarp beneath your tent and be on the alert for blowing winds in case of a downpour. Make sure that the stakes and ropes for your backcountry home are set firmly into place.

Protect Yourself from Lightning Strikes

Don’t set up your tent next to tall trees either, as their height makes them an easy target for a lightning strike. Also, it’s not a good idea to fish during an electrical storm as the pole you are holding is not safe and can cause you to get struck.  You might as well wear a sign that says, "Hey Lightning, strike me."

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Camping | Weather

MSR HyperFlow Filter Review

by Donna 7. May 2012 23:44

An Ideal Filter for Anyone who Regularly Camps and Hikes

For anyone who likes pursuing the backwoods and outer boundaries of civilization, then a portable water filter is a must for making sure one’s drinking water is sanitized and safe. Used by relief agencies as well as backcountry travelers, the MSR HyperFlow filter is a portable microfilter that is an ideal device to carry, especially if you are traversing through the wilderness. Campers as well as backcountry hikers use the MSR HyperFlow filter for making stream, lake or river water more potable and safe to drink.

Some of the Features

Hikers and adventure seekers use the lighter-than-light filter for day trips as well as journeys lasting as long as several weeks. The filter is able to pump approximately three liters of H20 per minute and is also equipped with bottle adapter which enables you to use the filter and pump with a variety of containers. The dimunitive gadget, which measures a mere 7 by 3 ½ inches and weighs in at only 7.4 ounces, has been shown to efficiently eliminate protozoa, debris, and bacteria from water derived from lakes and outdoor waterways.

A Little about the MSR Brand

The three letters of the brand—MSR—stand for Mountain Safety Research, a company that also provides gear for backpacking and camping as well. Besides the water filter, MSR showcases such outdoor items and accessoires as tents, winter shoes, cookware, and stoves.

Consumer Reviews

When you scan the reviews of the product on MSR HyperFlow Microfilter, the assessments are a bit varied. While some users have stated that the pump operated much more slowly than what they liked, others have given the item high marks with respect to compactness and design.

As most consumers give the filter and pump rave reviews, any problems with the device may have possibly resulted from improper backflushing or not understanding how to use the pump. Also, in the past, some of the filters have had flow problems which the manufacturer has stated have now been corrected and therefore are no longer an issue at the present time.

Take some Time to Review the Features of the Filter if you Plan to Spend Some Time in the Wilderness this Summer

Given that most users like the MSR HyperFlow filter, it certainly is one item that is worth investigating, particularly if you plan to travel in the backcountry quite a bit this summer.



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