Tag Archives: hiking

Silva Orienteering Compass

Survival Kit Component: Orienteering Compass

In the advent of cutting edge navigating mobile phone apps and high-tech GPS units, maps and orienteering compass seem to have existed from the dinosaur era. But while these old survival tools are outdated, they can still be one’s saving grace when technology becomes out of reach. GPS, after all, may be another useless junk when it runs out of batteries in the middle of a jungle.

Having ample knowledge in orienteering can help individuals navigate their way around a point towards their destination. Given that this survival strategy necessitates knowing directions, an orienteering compass should always be kept at hand. This becomes vital for those who are about to venture out in the wilderness with the risks of having electronics dying out. Compasses after all, can help individuals locate terrains and walk towards the right direction.

Orienteering compass was first introduced in the 1930s. Since then, it has been used widely by soldiers and scientists. What makes it highly reliable is the durability brought by the base plate that eliminates the need to carry a protractor around. It is also built with a cover that protects the needle, along with a mirror that allows explorers to see objects easier.

In terms of survival skills, an orienteering compass can be used with a topographic map that can lead anyone to safety. It is thus important to be in the know-how when it comes to using an orienteering compass.

Before using the compass, it is vital for the users to determine the difference between the actual North and the magnetic North. This should be easy, as the needle of the compass always points to the magnetic North. Then again, it is important to keep all metal objects at a distance to avoid having these disrupt the compass magnet. Set key chains, flashlights and knives far enough.

Lay the map flat on a surface, and place the compass on top of it. Make sure that the arrow is pointing to the direction of the travel. Turn the housing of a compass like how a dial is turned. Do this to make sure that the arrows at the base are pointing to the same North in the Map.

Carefully lift up the compass without disturbing the housing and lay it flat on the hand. Hold it steady and towards the direction of travel. Turn around slowly until the needle of the compass lines up with the arrow pointing to the North at the base of the housing.

Walk towards the direction pointed by the orienteering compass.

In this sense, the compass can be used to go around possible obstruction without losing the explorer’s bearing. But this is just one of the ways on how this tool can be used for survival.

Note that orienteering compasses also come with magnifying mirrors which can be used to see objects from afar. This can be used by travellers stuck in the wilderness to see what they are about to deal with.

With this knowledge stored, even Hansel and Gretel could find their way back without leaving bread crumbs along the way.

Backpacker Safety – The Essentials

The following post was written by +Sarah Clarke who blogs for Al Fresco Holidays, specialists in camping holidays in France. For more information, visit the blog

Backpacking can be a rewarding and enjoyable experience. It can be a great workout as well and be a way for friends and family members to spend quality time together. For this to be the case, there are a number of essentials to pack and some safety considerations to keep in mind.

Planning

Before heading out on any trip, it is necessary to do some degree of planning. This is true for a simple weekend trip just like it is necessary for a month long backcountry excursion. In this planning phase, maps and information about the area should be reviewed. Take into consideration the ability and skill level of other backpackers and the type of hiking and adventure that is desired. A basic route for each day should then be planned along with alternative routes and options for leaving the area in an emergency situation. Knowing the nearest hospital, access points and other areas of civilization is critical as well. Once everything is well planned out and any necessary permits acquired, it is wise to leave a copy of this itinerary or schedule with a friend, family member or neighbour. In the event of an emergency, this person will know an approximate location of the backpacking group.

Supplies

The right equipment is important when it comes to the safety of everyone in the group. This would include things such as camping stoves, adequate food and water, and a decent first aid kit. All members of the backpacking group should be relatively familiar with all of these supplies which includesknowing how to use and cook on stoves and be able to take care of minor first aid emergencies that might arise. The more knowledge people have, the better. Everyone on the trip should be able to contribute in some manner.

Clothing

Even in warm summer weather, having the right type of clothing is necessary. Dressing in layers will help to best regulate the body temperature. If a person does not have appropriate backpacking clothing, it is best to borrow some items or make a trip to an outfitter to purchase the appropriate clothes. When possible, cotton should be avoided. Clothes that wick away sweat and moisture will keep a person dry, comfortable and safe from problems such as hypothermia. Well-fitting boots will be needed as well. These should be comfortable and broken in before the trip begins. Otherwise, a person can quickly get painful blisters and find out the boots do not fit correctly.

When backpacking, safety should always be thought about. By having the right gear, making an appropriate plan and dressing correctly, everyone is sure to have a safe and truly amazing and memorable time backpacking in the wilderness.

hiking

Why Hiking Is The Perfect Medicine For a Stressed City Worker

Sitting down day after day with your eyes stuck to a computer screen and a phone glued to your ear may be financially rewarding, but it isn’t a natural way of living. Consequently, it leads to physical and mental stress, which, if left unchecked, can cause serious health problems further down the line. What you need is a hobby that takes you right away from your working environment in the City to a place where you can unwind mentally and use your body as nature intended. In short, you need to take up hiking.

What is hiking?

At its simplest, hiking is a long walk in the country that you indulge in for pleasure. Long is taken to mean several kilometres, and not just a twenty minute stroll around the local park. A more serious definition of hiking is an outdoor activity that involves walking in natural surroundings over scenic terrain that is often mountainous or hilly.

The benefits of hiking

Hiking is great for your cardiovascular system as it involves you in strenuous physical exercise for a prolonged period of time. It’s better than a session at the local gymnasium because it’s done in the open air, which means you can gulp down as much clean, fresh air as you like, unlike when you are exercising in a sweaty room with many other malodorous bodies. Additionally, you improve your overall body strength and feel great physically. You look a whole lot better as well. Gone is the pasty, indoor complexion, replaced by a healthy, outdoor vision that other people warm to. But hiking isn’t just about the physical. As your brain tunes in to the glorious outdoor scenery, you begin to connect with the earth. Soon, you forget about work and think only of where you are as your mind is given licence to roam and revel in your surroundings. Worry and stress are banished as your brain relaxes and refreshes itself.

Is hiking expensive?

To do it properly, you need to buy some specialist equipment. At the very least, you’ll require some stout boots and socks as well as whether proof clothing and a small rucksack to carry such things as food, water, first-aid kit, torch etc. How much you spend is up to you, but as with most things you buy, the more you spend the better the quality. And the question of whether it’s expensive depends on how you view the cost-benefit analysis.

Author: This post was supplied on behalf of Simply Hike, online camping equipment store and stockiest of Hunter Wellies in the UK.

Lavender-flower

The Healing Properties and Preparation of Lavender

Lavender  (Lavandula spp.) is a flowering plant genus found in the Mint family (Lamiaceae). There are 39 species of lavender. It is native to southern Europe, North Africa, and the south-western regions of the Asian continent.

The lavender plant is cultivated for a number of reasons. The plant is commonplace in gardens because of its durability and beautiful appearance. Moreover, lavender has a beautiful and distinct scent. Most importantly however, the plant is versatile and has a number of different uses, ranging from culinary to medicinal.

Appearance

When looking for lavender, there are a few characteristics which are easily identifiable. Firstly, lavender grows as a small shrub.

It has leaves which are a medium grey color and appear to be quite linear. They also appear to be covered with ‘puff’.

The easiest characteristic to identify in lavender is the violet and sometimes blue flowers associated with the plant. They are found growing compactly in spikes.

A lavender plant can be anywhere from 30cm to 70cm tall.

If you are interested in harvesting lavender, the best time to do this is in the morning because that is the period when the flowers have an abundance of active substances.

 

Benefits

Lavender has a number of benefits for the human body, both internal and external. Lavender flowers have antiseptic, calming, and cicatrizing properties. These characteristics emerge because of mineral substances, tannin, and essential oils. In terms of internal relief, lavender has been known to cure digestive problems, headaches, asthma, dizziness, and heart problems. Finally, it is used as a relief for depression.

For headaches or anxiety, lavender tea and infusions are the best method for relieving your ailment. For colds or fever, lavender vinegar is effective. If you are afflicted with acne or have weak, damaged hair, lavender oil is useful. In addition, the oil can be used to cure insomnia, clear nostrils, and disinfect wounds.

Preparation

Here are some preparation methods for various mixtures containing lavender:

  • Lavender vinegar: Can be used for colds or simply as an insecticide. To make lavender vinegar, combine lavender flowers with juniper petals, sage leaves, mint, rose, and savory in one liter of vinegar. Allow the mixture to macerate for seven days. After this, filter out the plants and top the remaining mixture off with some vinegar until it once again levels at one liter.
  • Lavender tincture: Can be used for throat afflictions or as a mouthwash. Combine 200g of lavender flowers with one liter of alcohol. Add 500ml of distilled water to the compound. Leave this mixture to soak for four days, occasionally stirring. Finally, filter out the lavender and use as necessary.
  • Lavender tea: Used for stress and headaches. Also has applications for light wounds and minor burns. Combine two teaspoons of lavender flowers with one cup of hot water. It must be drunk while it is hot. If you would like to sweeten your tea, honey is recommended. Additionally, if the tea is being used for cuts or burns, utilize five or six teaspoons of lavender flowers for a stronger mixture.
  • Lavender oil: Arguably the most useful of all lavender mixtures. Combine 20g of lavender flowers which have been dried with approximately 20ml of alcohol. Put this mixture in a medium sized jar and add 200ml of olive oil. Stir the ingredients well. Place the mixture in a steam bath and let it boil for two hours. Stir every fifteen minutes. Once you have completed the steam bath, cover the mixture for two days, after which you can filter it through gauze. Finally, the mixture must be left in a cool, dark place. If you are using lavender oil for skin afflictions, it is recommended that it is applied once a weak, preferably in the evening, to freshly cleaned skin. After being left on the skin for 20 minutes, it should be washed off with warm water.

These are just a few of the mixtures which can be made from the lavender plant.

Apart from the medicinal uses of lavender, the plant can also be used in cooking and baking, as well as in various cosmetic applications. However, if you keep in mind the few mixtures provided as well as the method in which you can identify the lavender plant, you will always be capable of utilizing the healing benefits of lavender to help you in your everyday life.

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hiking-dangers

Common Hiking Dangers and How To Prevent Them

Hiking is a summertime activity enjoyed by families and individuals all around the world. Even an activity as casual and seemingly harmless as hiking in the woods has its dangers though. Below are three of the most common dangers encountered while hiking and tips on how to prevent them.

Dehydration

It might seem like common sense, but it really is surprising how many people forget to bring an adequate amount of water when they go on a camping trip. Many campsites have water spigots these days, but it is always smart to bring along an extra jug or two. In addition, it is always a good idea to bring a water bottle (or maybe even two of them) along if you venture onto the trails for a day hike. The human body can become dehydrated in as little as 3 hours in the heat so it is essential to have something to constantly sip on.

Getting Lost

It’s all too easy to get lost when you’re in the woods. If you’re hiking with children, then it is especially important to teach them to recognize area landmarks. It is also a good idea to never leave a marked trail. Urge your children not to wander around if they become lost and to stay in one spot.

Carrying a whistle is also an intelligent thing to do as it can lead rescuers towards you if you wander off on your own.

Proper Clothing & Equipment

Weather can be a fickle thing, especially in the wilderness. Oftentimes, nighttime is much colder than people expect. In addition, even the sunniest of summer months can bring on unexpected rainstorms. It is always smart to be prepared for all sorts of weather conditions while on a hiking trip. Warm clothes, waterproofs, and a rain cover are essential even for a summertime foray into the wilderness.

Hiking trips are all about fun and that is why it is so important to be prepared and prevent common hiking dangers. The above three tips will help ensure that your hiking trip remains fun while staying safe.


family hike

5 Keys to a Safe Family Hike

Summer is here and with it comes an almost endless amount of fun outdoor activities and adventures to try with your family. For many, a favorite summertime activity is the family hike. Though hiking is a highly enjoyable family activity, heading out for the hills unprepared can have seriously bad results. It’s very important to be well-prepared before you head out so that your entire trip remains fun and safe. Below are five of the keys for a safe family hiking trip.

1. Tell Someone Where You’re Going

Even if you aren’t going hiking in a remote area, it is always smart to let a friend or family member know exactly where you are planning to be. Accidents happen, emergencies arise, and weather conditions can change quickly. If something does come up and you need help, then having someone back at home who knows of your general location is instrumental to your survival.

2. Stay on the Trail

When on a family hike, you should never leave the marked trail. For one thing, it is all too easy to become lost if you venture out into the unmarked wilderness. In addition, leaving the trail is harmful to the natural plant and animal life.

3. Bring Plenty of Water

Staying hydrated is one of the most important things that you can do when on a family hike, especially in the warm summer months. Always bring enough water for each member of your family – but not too much more than necessary. While it’s never bad to have extra water, it does weigh a lot. A litre weighs in at 1 Kg, so plan accordingly!

4. Wear Comfortable Hiking Shoes

It’s always a smart idea to wear hiking shoes on a hike. While other types of shoes or sneakers will do, they are more likely to leave your feet a blistered and painful mess. It’s especially important to fit your children with a pair of high-quality and comfortable shoes if they are going along for the hike. Children’s feet are especially sensitive and you don’t want to have to carry them down part of the trail after a long day of trekking.

5. Teach Your Children the Dangers of Wild Animals

Even if you’re hiking in a fairly populated area, there is always the chance that you might stumble upon a wild animal. Even animals as relatively tame as raccoons, can be dangerous. Make sure that your children know not to get too close to or feed any sort of animal encountered on the trail. If you are hiking in an area frequented by dangerous animals (bears, wild boar, etc), then take extra time to inform your children what to do in a situation involving one of them.

 

Family hikes are a great way to spend a summer’s afternoon or a weekend, but preparation is needed. The tips above should ensure that any hike you go on this summer stay fun, and, most importantly, safe.

 


survival skills: hiking

6 Common Hiking Injuries and How To Prepare For Them

Whether you like to hike long distances or in short spurts, you can encounter hazards along the way. Hiking trails are often located in parks and wooded areas where rocks, tree limbs, insects and lack of fresh water can all create problems for hikers.

Blisters

Even the most experienced hikers can get blisters on their feet. Unfamiliar terrain and inclines add more stress to footgear. Blisters often form on heels, anklebones and on big toes when going downhill. Carry a small sheet of moleskin to cut into shape and apply to the blistered area. This action will allow you to continue your hike without undue discomfort.

Skin Injuries

Another common injury on hiking trails is the skinned knee or elbow. These injuries often occur when hikers neglect to watch the ground as they walk. Tree roots and loose rocks can cause slips and falls that break the skin. Another typical skin injury is from branches that scrape the face and neck. You can find a number of very small first-aid kits small enough to slip into your backpack that contain everything you need to treat scrapes and puncture wounds on the trail. These kits contain a variety of bandage sizes, gauge pads for cleaning wounds and antibiotic ointment in tiny packets. These kits add only a tiny amount of weight to your backpack and can be a big convenience on the trail.

Sprains

Along with falls, sprains can occur on hikes when you are not paying careful attention to uneven terrain. Sprains can cause pain, tenderness, swelling and discoloration at the site. Carry an ace bandage in your backpack to help support sprained ankles or knees while on the trail. Also, carry a small container of aspirin or ibuprofen to manage pain and inflammation until you get back to civilization.

Insect Bites

Unfortunately, you can never tell when you will run into a stinging insect on hiking trails. Bees, wasps, mosquitoes and flies are just a few of the creatures that can deliver painful, itchy stings. Ensure that the first-aid kit in your backpack also contains an anti-sting medication to reduce discomfort from insect bites. These medications are available in individual dose packets and easy-to-pack pens. Always rinse and dry the bite area before applying medications. Remove stingers if necessary.

Sunburn

Sunburn is always a danger on long hikes in hot weather. You may have to hike through long, open area with no shade. Always apply sunscreen before you begin your hike, and re-apply the sunscreen periodically during the day. Pay special attention to re-application after sweating a lot or getting wet in streams or waterfalls. Small, easy-to-carry tubes of sunscreen are available that fit easily into backpacks and do not add extra weight.

Dehydration

Dehydration is the hikers worst enemy. A long strenuous hike can use up fluid reserves in the body quickly in hot weather. Sometimes, hikers miscalculate their water needs and find themselves running out of water on the trail. Bring enough water to allow you to quench your thirst every 30 minutes. Drink before you are thirsty to prevent fluid loss. Tuck a few water purification tablets into your backpack in case you run out of water and are forced to refresh yourself from a stream or creek. Signs of dehydration include increased thirst, dry mouth, dry skin, light-headedness, weakness dark-colored urine and headache. Dehydration can lead to heat stroke, a serious medical problem. Be aware of signs such as vomiting, headache, cramps, rapid pulse or confusion. Get into the shade and seek medical attention immediately.