I’m sure everyone in Jefferson County got plenty of rain this weekend, unfortunately it certainly dampened the Snake Hunt! What a difference a day makes, as I write this today, it’s 80 degrees and sunny outside, wow!
This time of the year is magical in many ways. Turkey season is in full swing, the white bass are running up the rivers and creeks and if you are lucky, you are finding a few morel mushrooms.
Whether you are planning a week long trip into the woods or waterways-camping, hunting, fishing, hiking or just getting out to enjoy nature for a few hours, take some time to plan.
Anytime you are out in the wild there is the possibility that something unplanned can extend your stay or endanger your safety. The Boy Scouts always advised to be prepared and they were spot on. Nobody wants to lug around a 100 pound pack with everything you might ever need but it’s a good idea to try to plan ahead for things you might need.
Most of these items are referred to as survival gear and that is exactly what they are, especially if you find yourself in an unwanted situation. Anytime you venture out a small backpack or sling bag packed with water, a couple of snacks, a quality knife, fire-starter kit and of course your phone, along with a portable charger is not a bad idea! If you are going alone make sure to leave specific information about your intended location and the planned time of your return.
To help you plan your next adventure I thought I might include some tips from “Field And Stream”on items you may not have thought of!
Carry fire accelerants in your pack in case you need to start a fire in wet conditions. Products like Solkoa’s FastFire will burn when they’re wet and in the wind, and they require very little heat to get going. Lightweight, inexpensive and easy to use, these little cubes are lifesavers should you need to make a fire to avoid hypothermia, create a signal, or simply make a restorative cup of coffee. Several come in a pack so stack a few in your hunting pack, fishing bag, the glove box of your vehicle, and anywhere else you can think of—because you never know when the need for heat may arise.
A 42 or 55 gallon contractor-grade garbage bag is an indispensable, yet often overlooked, piece of survival gear. Bags are very inexpensive, weigh almost nothing, and take up very little space in a pack. In a survival situation, you can fill it with dry leaves to form bedding or a ground cushion, lay it down on the ground as a seat to keep your pants dry, or make a moisture barrier for your bedding. Cut a hole in the bottom of it and place it over your head and you have an makeshift rain jacket. You can bring more than one and also use it to collect water as a transpiration bag, or a simple pack cover to keep your gear dry.
Hypothermia, the loss of body heat faster than your body can produce it, is one of the top five leading causes of death in the backcountry and accounts for nine percent of all deaths on federal and state property. In fact, accidents, illnesses, and hypothermia are the three top causes of death, but also the easiest to prevent from happening. Always carry a minimum of two ways to make a fire. One of those should always be a disposable lighter. They are inexpensive, easy to use, and lightweight. That is a nice combination for anything that could save your life on a cold, unexpected overnight stay in the woods. A secondary choice is a backup lighter in another location and a ferro rod.
Every time you go outside, your most important source of heat is your own body. If you utilize your body heat smartly, you’ll avoid predicaments like hypothermia. That’s why keeping a small, packable, reflective blanket in your supplies is a great idea. Wrap it around your body so when heat naturally radiates off, it is temporarily captured and reflected back toward you. You can also use it for extra warmth on top of your sleeping bag. Just don’t place it directly on the ground and lay upon it. By doing so, you’ll conduct your body heat directly into the earth through the blanket. Lastly, an emergency blanket is bright and shiny and makes a great signaling device.
Brushing your teeth each day, especially on long hunting or backpacking trips, is not only healthy, it tells your mind and body it’s starting a new day. But did you know toothpaste also has survival uses other than giving you a clean mouth? Peppermint is a natural coolant, and it helps relieve itching on bug bites. It also has cleansing properties and can be used as a hand cleaner and sanitizer. If you find yourself out for a few days longer than you expected, make a spreadable paste with some water and use it to wash off with.
Hopefully, this will give you some ideas you may not have thought about and make your next trip in our great Oklahoma outdoors even more enjoyable!