Surviving a night out, injured in below freezing temps and high winds?- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Surviving a night out, injured in below freezing temps and high winds?

    I'm riding a moto alone on deserted trails, late in the evening above 10Kft. The wife/baby sitter knows the general area I'm riding and when I should be home. But I had a wake up call this week when I headbutted a tree in the middle of nowhere about 1/2 an hour before dark. Luckily just a few bruises (including my ego )

    So, I'm reassessing what I pack along and would like any input you guys have.

    I'm going to remove all the tools from my pack and store them on the bike. No point having tools in your pack if your leg is broken and your bike is 50 feet down the side of the trail.

    I'm hoping to keep the pack weight & bulk reasonable (under 12lb), so I'm thinking

    1) Satellite phone - no cell reception when I ride
    2) Wiggy's 0 deg sleeping bag (synthetic insulation)
    3) Gore Tex bivi sac
    4) Sleeping mat
    5) Knife
    6) Water
    7) Lots of gauze and bandages
    8) Chemical hand warmers
    9) Food - not sure what?
    10) Flare not sure what type?

    Edited to add

    11) Storm proof matches
    12) Fire Steel
    13) Duct Tape
    14) Water purification tablets

    As long as I have one functional hand & arm, I should be able to dress any wounds and crawl into the sleeping bag and bivi and call for help with the sat phone.
    Last edited by Steve71; 10-11-2012 at 05:41 PM.
    Happiness is a warm 2 stroke.

  2. #2
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    Not to sound smart, but maybe you should consider bringing along a riding partner for bigger rides on less traveled trails. Glad you are okay.

  3. #3
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    Wouldn't a PLB be easier?


  4. #4
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    more clothing, and the obvious: SPOT

    Bag and bivvy sack are pretty much a serious way to stay warm, but lots of bulk I bet. And there are probably lots of times when you are hurt and/or your conveyence (bike or moto) is not usable, or maybe you have a broken arm and can't ride. But you can walk. Having enough clothing to survive but still walk could be nice. Bivvy means stay put, hard to wear a sleeping bag when you are staggering back toward civilization.

    I carry waterproof breathable shell and pants. Leg warmers, arm warmers, skull cap, warm gloves, extra socks, extra longsleeve upper body base layer (usually Patagucci capilene 2). As it gets colder I'll also carry cap 2 or 3 long undies and upgrade the upper body base layer to cap 4). Cap 4 plus a decent shell is surprisingly warm and very lightweight and packable.

    The one obvious thing I'd recommend is a SPOT satellite beacon. You press a 911 button and Search and Rescue gets a call with a waypoint. I've had some experience with sat phones. I'd personally rather rely on a spot. And they are teeny.

    My moral belief for myself is that I won't press that 911 button unless I think I'm going to die. But now that I'm a bachelor again, I don't even have a GF or Babysitter who's aware of my general plan and location. So if I think I'm going to die, I want that spot with me.

    Head lamp. Just a cheapo Petzl.

    EDIT: Just re-read your post where you describe calling in for help with your sat phone... what if you're a little too jacked up to give them an accurate or coherent description of your exact location? Locator beacon like SPOT or that thing UT posted is more reliable.
    Tom Purvis - Salida, CO - http://teamvelveeta.tom-purvis.com

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  5. #5
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    Not entirely on topic, but ping DWF or Godzilla. Several years ago, they did an experiment of "could we survive a night in the woods with what we had in our packs."

    It was one of my favorite posts ever of all time but I can't seem to find it. It was a very good read.
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  6. #6
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    In addition to all the items mentioned already I'd also add:

    Waterproof matches
    Waterproof wind proof lighter
    Fire starter (or dryer lint in a ziplock with some oil)
    Flashlight

    Let me keep thinking.


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  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Short Bus View Post
    Not to sound smart, but maybe you should consider bringing along a riding partner for bigger rides on less traveled trails. Glad you are okay.
    I live up near Kenosha Pass and there is no one else riding motos here during the week. So it's ride by myself or not at all during the week.

    I've ridden my MTB for years solo with out incident, but that was on more populated front range trails where the temps don't drop so low at night.
    Happiness is a warm 2 stroke.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kstateskier View Post
    ...
    Flashlight...
    Headlamp is better than flashlight. No need to keep a hand dedicated to it, especially if you only have one hand that's working it's helpful not to need to dedicate it to holding a flashlight.
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  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by ignazjr View Post
    Not entirely on topic, but ping DWF or Godzilla. Several years ago, they did an experiment of "could we survive a night in the woods with what we had in our packs."
    That is a dangerous experiment! Good thing they got a positive result

    I think I saw that post.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by ignazjr View Post
    Not entirely on topic, but ping DWF or Godzilla. Several years ago, they did an experiment of "could we survive a night in the woods with what we had in our packs."

    It was one of my favorite posts ever of all time but I can't seem to find it. It was a very good read.
    Found it:

    http://forums.mtbr.com/colorado-fron...de-471614.html
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  11. #11
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    Colorado Search and Rescue Card

    Why Buy a CORSAR Card?
    Colorado residents and visitors are well served by dedicated volunteer search and rescue teams, but mission costs are often in the thousands of dollars. By purchasing a CORSAR card you are contributing to the Search and Rescue Fund, which will reimburse these teams for costs incurred in your search and rescue. Funds remaining at the end of the year are used to help pay for training and equipment for these teams. Anyone with a current hunting/fishing license, or boat, snowmobile, ATV registration is already covered by the fund.

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  12. #12
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    I spent an unplanned night alone in a canyon in California semi-injured after a kayaking accident. A way to make fire, above everything else, is the most important item you can bring (and the item I was pissed I didn't have). Fire does almost everything you need to survive. It can keep you warm, signal to parties looking for you, and help you cook food if you happened to catch something. I now have waterproof matches or a firestarter with me all the time.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by TomP View Post
    The one obvious thing I'd recommend is a SPOT satellite beacon. You press a 911 button and Search and Rescue gets a call with a waypoint. I've had some experience with sat phones. I'd personally rather rely on a spot. And they are teeny.
    I was going to buy a SPOT last year but read too many reviews where the users couldn't get to open sky to get a signal, and/or it took hours to get a confirmation.

    The PLB uses a different/dedicated S&R signal network and is far more reliable. Ties into S&R crews directly.

    The SPOT uses cellular networks IIRC.

    Just my 2 cents.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cletus View Post
    Colorado Search and Rescue Card...
    Good call adding that to this thread. I think Steve71 probably already has the covered because he is riding moto so would have the OHV sticker, but lots of us bikey people who don't also do Hook and Bullet stuff or twist throttles are not contributing to the fund. AND, if S&R has to do a big huge effort to haul our broken bodies off the mountain we can actually be charged directly for the cost.

    They are stupid cheap. Good to contribute even if you don't need the service, and if you do and you'd rather not have to fork over a couple grand after the fact, buy the card. I think I'm three years into a 5 year card.

    Hmm. Note to self, check expiry on COSAR card...
    Tom Purvis - Salida, CO - http://teamvelveeta.tom-purvis.com

    "I like my wimmen like I like my beer--cold and bitter!"

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by UncleTrail View Post
    I was going to buy a SPOT last year but read too many reviews where the users couldn't get to open sky to get a signal, and/or it took hours to get a confirmation.

    The PLB uses a different/dedicated S&R signal network and is far more reliable. Ties into S&R crews directly...
    Interesting. Good to know.

    I think like lots of bikey people, my primary interest in a beacon was being able to have somebody track my breadcrumbs. Doesn't look like the ResQLink does that...

    The way I've used it for the last couple years is to tell the GF to keep an eye on where I'm at if she's wondering why I'm not back yet using the tracking page. And I had the help button set to send email to her. (There's an OK button, a Help button, and a 911 button). My intent was never to need the 911 button.

    But now I'm single again. Free to go drink beer wherever and whenever I want, free to chase loose wimmen, free to either hit 911 or freeze to death if I break myself too badly to get out of the woods.

    EDIT: if anybody is curious about how the SPOT tracking page works, you pay a subscription (just paid for a new year, 160 clams... not cheap) and you get a page that will show where you are every ten minutes, assuming your SPOT can see the satellites in the sky. Here's mine, and you can see breadcrumbs from when I did WRIAD last weekend:

    Tom's SPOT Tracker Page
    Tom Purvis - Salida, CO - http://teamvelveeta.tom-purvis.com

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  16. #16
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    Sack up, Nancy and shiver a lot. You'll be fine...

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kstateskier View Post
    In addition to all the items mentioned already I'd also add:

    Waterproof matches
    Waterproof wind proof lighter
    Fire starter (or dryer lint in a ziplock with some oil)
    Flashlight

    Let me keep thinking.


    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk

    Opps, yes I forgot to add the headlamp and storm-proof matches - also got me a fire steel and some water purifier tablets.

    I've camped out at Kenosha Pass late in the season many times and I needed a freaking big fire to keep warm, especially if there is wind. If I'm injured there is no way I'll be able to collect enough wood.


    Quote Originally Posted by TomP View Post
    Bag and bivvy sack are pretty much a serious way to stay warm, but lots of bulk I bet. And there are probably lots of times when you are hurt and/or your conveyence (bike or moto) is not usable, or maybe you have a broken arm and can't ride. But you can walk. Having enough clothing to survive but still walk could be nice. Bivvy means stay put, hard to wear a sleeping bag when you are staggering back toward civilization.

    I carry waterproof breathable shell and pants. Leg warmers, arm warmers, skull cap, warm gloves, extra socks, extra longsleeve upper body base layer (usually Patagucci capilene 2). As it gets colder I'll also carry cap 2 or 3 long undies and upgrade the upper body base layer to cap 4). Cap 4 plus a decent shell is surprisingly warm and very lightweight and packable.

    The one obvious thing I'd recommend is a SPOT satellite beacon. You press a 911 button and Search and Rescue gets a call with a waypoint. I've had some experience with sat phones. I'd personally rather rely on a spot. And they are teeny.

    My moral belief for myself is that I won't press that 911 button unless I think I'm going to die. But now that I'm a bachelor again, I don't even have a GF or Babysitter who's aware of my general plan and location. So if I think I'm going to die, I want that spot with me.

    Head lamp. Just a cheapo Petzl.

    EDIT: Just re-read your post where you describe calling in for help with your sat phone... what if you're a little too jacked up to give them an accurate or coherent description of your exact location? Locator beacon like SPOT or that thing UT posted is more reliable.
    The good thing about the moto is all the armor keeps you pretty warm when your not zipping along at 30mph. If it's below 60 I usually wear a gore tex shell to keep the wind out. If I'm not hurt I think I could either walk out or start a fire and use the bag as a blanket.

    Really I'm not worried about the scenario when I'm not hurt. It's when your jacked up that things get serious real quick.

    I thought that the Sat phone gave GPS co-ordinates but I'll look into the spot thingies again. I thought you needed to use them with a smart phone?

    Quote Originally Posted by ignazjr View Post
    Not entirely on topic, but ping DWF or Godzilla. Several years ago, they did an experiment of "could we survive a night in the woods with what we had in our packs."

    It was one of my favorite posts ever of all time but I can't seem to find it. It was a very good read.
    Yeah I do remember reading that post a few years back. IIRC they basically froze their asses off and said the emergency milar blankets were useless.
    Happiness is a warm 2 stroke.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve71 View Post
    ... If I'm injured there is no way I'll be able to collect enough wood...
    That's something I think lots of people don't realize, that fires aren't a universal savior because they need to be fed. If you have no headlamp, foraging for wood is almost impossible (another reason a flashlight is the wrong tool--hard to carry one when you're trying to carry wood). If you can't survive the cold away from the fire because you don't have enough clothing to be 5 feet away from it, you're fscked because you keep needing to go farther and farther away to find fuel. And like you say Steve, if you're really jacked up it's hard to do anything but lay there and groan.
    Quote Originally Posted by Steve71 View Post
    ...I thought that the Sat phone gave GPS co-ordinates but I'll look into the spot thingies again. I thought you needed to use them with a smart phone?...
    There is a new thingy that you can buy that allows you to send a text from your smart phone via bluetooth into the spot and it goes out via satellite assuming there's no cell service. Pretty pricey. But unless you want to have that functionality, you don't need anything but the SPOT itself.

    For your needs I think maybe that little device UT is talking about would be a better tool for the job.
    Tom Purvis - Salida, CO - http://teamvelveeta.tom-purvis.com

    "I like my wimmen like I like my beer--cold and bitter!"

  19. #19
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    You have a moto that's full of gasoline. You could burn it up to stay warm and the black smoke will be a sure signal for rescuers.

  20. #20
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    Thanks for all the suggestions guys, mucho appreciated.

    I didn't know that my OHV sticker covered search and rescue, but I'll double check - would be nice if it did.

    I'll also check out uncle trails PBL suggestion. A sat phone would also come in handy in the car as there is really no reliable cell reception for from Failplay to Grant or maybe even Bailey. Maybe I should get both...

    If the wiggy's sleeping bag doesn't pack down enough, I have a 15 deg 800 fill down bag that packs down really small, but you're not supposed to store them compressed so it would be a PITA to compress and uncompress every time. Not to mention down does not insulate if I bleed all over it .

    The synthetic fill in the wiggy's is supposed to work when stored compressed - they even sell them vacuum packed in a little compressed brick.

    I'm sure I'll have to get a bigger pack than the mule I'm using, but it shouldn't be a big deal on a moto.
    Happiness is a warm 2 stroke.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by zrm View Post
    You have a moto that's full of gasoline. You could burn it up to stay warm and the black smoke will be a sure signal for rescuers.
    Reminds me of that scene in 'On Any Sunday' when the lost desert racer accidentally sets his bike on fire - "That's a $1,000 signal fire" LMAO.

    Good idea if you can get to the bike. I figure with the exposure up here a crash could easily separate you from the bike if you're injured.
    Happiness is a warm 2 stroke.

  22. #22
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    Ditch the sleeping pad you dont need to be comfy plus its huge. Look into primaloft upper and lower instead of the sleeping bag, keeps you warm even if it is soaked and you can still walk in it and sleep just as cozy as a sleeping bag. I always carry at least 2 if not 3 ways to make a fire. Get a topo of where your going and a good old fashion compass incase batterys die or things break (you did just land on the pack hard enough to hurt yourself afterall). Headlamp, a premade first aid kit will normally do I just add a tourniquet that can be applied with one hand. A leatherman or gerber, Sat phone or spot something to hold water and nasty iodine tabs. gloves extra socks a skull cap and it all should fit in there compressed down.
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  23. #23
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    I have one of those therma rest pads that compacts very small, but you have to store them uncompressed....

    They are not just for comfort though, I though they were to insulate you from the ground

    The wiggy's bag uses a prima loft type synthetic fill that works when wet.

    Good call on the tourniquet, hadn't thought of that!

    I have a compass, but need to get some lat40 maps. I'll always carry a big sharp knife after watching 127 hours

    Quote Originally Posted by hitechredneck View Post
    Ditch the sleeping pad you dont need to be comfy plus its huge. Look into primaloft upper and lower instead of the sleeping bag, keeps you warm even if it is soaked and you can still walk in it and sleep just as cozy as a sleeping bag. I always carry at least 2 if not 3 ways to make a fire. Get a topo of where your going and a good old fashion compass incase batterys die or things break (you did just land on the pack hard enough to hurt yourself afterall). Headlamp, a premade first aid kit will normally do I just add a tourniquet that can be applied with one hand. A leatherman or gerber, Sat phone or spot something to hold water and nasty iodine tabs. gloves extra socks a skull cap and it all should fit in there compressed down.
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  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by turrialba View Post
    I spent an unplanned night alone in a canyon in California semi-injured after a kayaking accident. A way to make fire, above everything else, is the most important item you can bring (and the item I was pissed I didn't have). Fire does almost everything you need to survive. It can keep you warm, signal to parties looking for you, and help you cook food if you happened to catch something. I now have waterproof matches or a firestarter with me all the time.
    Thanks for joining to post your story! What was your injury that caused you to spend a night out?

    The one time I had to walk my bike out after dark, I got charged by a small pack of dogs. B!tches!
    Last edited by Steve71; 10-11-2012 at 07:29 PM.
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  25. #25
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    This is my standard survival pack that I take when I am anywhere that I could get in a spot. Basic first aid kit, Waterproof matchs & Flint stick, leatherman, headlamp, batteries, nylon pancho, survival blanket, chocolate, topo map & compass, orange flagging tape, string, stocking cap, gloves and wind proof jacket.
    I am also very detailed with my wife when I go solo anywhere and I don't wonder from where I say I will be. I spend much of my time on foot, but also on my bike or on horse depending on the time of the year and area. I have also carried my bivy sack but it is not ideal to spend the night because it seems to collect a lot of moisture on the inside from the humidity.

  26. #26
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    I try to stick to a pre determined route, but I can't resist scoping out a new bit of trail and/or the weather changes etc.

    As soon as my bag and bivi arrives I will be testing it out overnight to sort out any problems ahead of time.
    Happiness is a warm 2 stroke.

  27. #27
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    Big Agnes

    Quote Originally Posted by Steve71 View Post
    I have one of those therma rest pads that compacts very small, but you have to store them uncompressed....

    They are not just for comfort though, I though they were to insulate you from the ground ...
    Yeah, they do also insulate you from the cold coming up from the ground.

    Thermarest is old skewl. Two words: Big. Agnes. Don't need to be stored uncompressed. Nice little package no bigger than your bivvy.

    Downside though is that they blow up like a balloon. A big balloon. They take some effort to inflate, and if you're hurt it could be an effort you don't have in you.

    I bivvied Friday night and Saturday night last weekend using a B.A. pad and an OR Bivvy sack. Blowing up the Big Agnes pad was no big challenge on Friday after the physical challenge of driving over to Utah from Salida. Blowing it back up after the challenge of doing WRIAD then eating bratwurst and drinking 5 Dale's Pales was a bit more...
    Tom Purvis - Salida, CO - http://teamvelveeta.tom-purvis.com

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  28. #28
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    Has anyone mentioned a watch/time piece?
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  29. #29
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    A whistle too.
    While starting a fire sounds easy if you have lighters, matches, etc. from the stories i have been told most that have been in the situation couldn't start the fire or keep ir going long do to immobility and /or lack of fuel /difficulty collecting enough.

  30. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by TomP View Post
    Bag and bivvy sack are pretty much a serious way to stay warm, but lots of bulk I bet. And there are probably lots of times when you are hurt and/or your conveyence (bike or moto) is not usable, or maybe you have a broken arm and can't ride. But you can walk. Having enough clothing to survive but still walk could be nice. Bivvy means stay put, hard to wear a sleeping bag when you are staggering back toward civilization.

    I carry waterproof breathable shell and pants. Leg warmers, arm warmers, skull cap, warm gloves, extra socks, extra longsleeve upper body base layer (usually Patagucci capilene 2). As it gets colder I'll also carry cap 2 or 3 long undies and upgrade the upper body base layer to cap 4). Cap 4 plus a decent shell is surprisingly warm and very lightweight and packable.

    The one obvious thing I'd recommend is a SPOT satellite beacon. You press a 911 button and Search and Rescue gets a call with a waypoint. I've had some experience with sat phones. I'd personally rather rely on a spot. And they are teeny.

    My moral belief for myself is that I won't press that 911 button unless I think I'm going to die. But now that I'm a bachelor again, I don't even have a GF or Babysitter who's aware of my general plan and location. So if I think I'm going to die, I want that spot with me.

    Head lamp. Just a cheapo Petzl.

    EDIT: Just re-read your post where you describe calling in for help with your sat phone... what if you're a little too jacked up to give them an accurate or coherent description of your exact location? Locator beacon like SPOT or that thing UT posted is more reliable.
    Man! Nicely said! Tom has got his **** straight, SPOT is key...

  31. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by thickfog View Post
    A whistle too.
    Ditto. Costs and weighs almost nothing and could save your ass if you see potential rescuers who are out of earshot.

    There as that story several years ago about the xc skier who was jacked up and spent a few nights out... the search and rescue crew passed several times within earshot and he didn't have the strength to yell.

  32. #32
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    I'm a big believer in vapor barrier (VP) clothing when dealing with the back-country.


    Ironically, Gore Tex/Gore Wear waterproof jackets and pants are great because they do not breathe. They make great VP for keeping heat in.

    When I do back-country snowshoe camping, I use my Gore Packlite jacket as a semi-base layer (Over polypro long sleeve shirt) and my Gore Tex expedition jacket as the outer layer.

    Just like cycling; When I'm humping and pumping on the trail, I'm only wearing the polypro shirt and Packlite jacket unzipped. When I stop for, say, a meal break I wait until the sweat evaporates before I zip up. If I need to I'll put on a fleece hoodie.


    Another awesome VP material I use when playing in the snow and below-freezing temps is neoprene. I use 3mm knee-high kayaking neoprene socks for riding as well as snow shoeing. They're a great insulator as well as a VP.

    When snowshoeing my boots don't get damp on the inside because the neoprene doesn't breathe at all. All the heat and moisture stays in the neoprene sock.


    Of course; What is Bar Mitts made of? 5.5mm neoprene! A great VP for the hands while riding.
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  33. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by turrialba View Post
    I spent an unplanned night alone in a canyon in California semi-injured after a kayaking accident. A way to make fire, above everything else, is the most important item you can bring (and the item I was pissed I didn't have). Fire does almost everything you need to survive. It can keep you warm, signal to parties looking for you, and help you cook food if you happened to catch something. I now have waterproof matches or a firestarter with me all the time.
    Fire makes a good companion too.
    Don't forget toilet paper.

  34. #34
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    Tp

    Quote Originally Posted by Treebumper View Post
    Don't forget toilet paper.
    Brilliant!

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    Ha! Those were good times. Need to do that again.
    A man must have enemies and places he is not welcome. In the end we are not only defined by our friends but those against us.

  36. #36
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    I ride at night by myself a lot. I recently looked into PLB and devices such as SPOT. In the end I got the new Delorme InReach for Smartphones.

    The one thing I liked with this over SPOT is that it is two way communications. No, it's not a satellite phone but it is a lot cheaper. It can work stand alone, can track you, but can also communicate with your phone via bluetooth for two way text messaging as well as the usual "call SAR" functions.

    The device is pretty heavy (about a pound - but I can't remember) but it is not too bad. It fits in the top pouch of my Camelbak Mule along with spare batteries and flashlight. If I am on an all day ride and need the space in my pack, then it clips onto the light strap on the exterior of the pack using the belt clip. So far I am quite impressed with it.

    The main reason I got this and not the SPOT is that it has the two way communication capability. With SPOT being send only, you never know if the track point or message was sent. Also I read horrible things about SPOT's customer service. This was enough to persuade me to go for the slightly more expensive InReach. Still in the end a couple of hundred bucks a year is nothing if you truly have to rely on it in a resue.

    On a side note, I don't plan to spend a night out in the wild. If I get into that situation I would hit SOS button.....I have a wife and kids to get back to....
    Last edited by TheNormsk; 10-12-2012 at 09:22 AM.

  37. #37
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    One thing that I carry with me (on every ride) is a road side clean up bag. It is large enough to get most of my lower body in, it's water proof (although not breathable), it's thick plastic for warmth and durability, and it's orange for high visibility. I also have a space blanket, although the general concensus on those is that they don't stand up to real world conditions. I keep those in the bottom of my bladder compartment so they don't get messed up or lost.

    For general stuff, I carry a leatherman (used to at least--recently lost it), a lighter, a compass, a head lamp, latex gloves (great waterproof warmth, and important for dealing with other people's blood). I also have a backup food source (usually a few stale granola bars that I keep in a separate compartment).

    With all of this stuff, I would hardly say I'm prepared to spend a cold night outside, but if I had to, I would be significantly less miserable than without it!

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    Quote Originally Posted by TomP View Post
    Interesting. Good to know.

    I think like lots of bikey people, my primary interest in a beacon was being able to have somebody track my breadcrumbs. Doesn't look like the ResQLink does that...

    Tom's SPOT Tracker Page
    Right a PLB should only be used in emergency situations.

    I got interested in the SPOT because of the breadcrumbs also. A friend of mine flies his Cessna into the backcountry in ID and he uses a SPOT so we can track his breadcrumbs. Sometimes though it's the next day before the breadcrumbs show up.

    With a PLB/GPS someone is going to locate you a lot quicker IMHO.
    That could save your life.

    This might help.
    Choosing and Using a Personal Locator Beacon (PLB)

    "Two Types of PLB Signals
    When activated, a PLB sends 2 signals: 406 MHz (which carries the UIN and GPS data to the satellites) and 121.5 MHz, a homing frequency.

    If you use a PLB without a GPS, ....it takes an average of approximately 45 minutes to alert search-and-rescue teams of your position.

    If you use a PLB with a GPS interface, ..... it takes only 5 minutes to alert search-and- rescue personnel of your position."


    I thought this was pretty good advice also.

    "Keep in mind that it's always a good idea to have a visual and/or audible distress signal such as a signal mirror, whistle, or a strobe light to help catch search and rescue's attention when they get close. Many PLBs include a built-in LED signal light for this purpose."

    I always carry a whistle on the outside of my pack so that it's easier to get to if mobility is restricted. I clip it on with a carabiner.

    The SPOT.
    "What about the SPOT Satellite Messenger?
    A SPOT satellite messenger is a more recent GPS-based innovation that allows you to send your coordinates and status to family and friends, as well as send calls for help. It relies on commercial satellites rather than the military network used by PLBs. While it's a handy tool for casual hikers and backpackers, a SPOT signal is considerably less powerful than a PLB signal and is not intended for serious mountaineering use. An annual subscription fee is required."

    My situation is a little different since I'm vision impaired. If I loose my contact lenses I can't even see the trail to try and walk out. (yeah I do carry spares also). But still the PLB makes more sense for me.

    I do think the breadcrumbs are cool though.

  39. #39
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    Fire and water are key. Food is not necessary, but more for comfort. Candy bar, nutrition bar, etc.
    Also, a whistle is good to have. You may be unable to even yell, and most likely if it is a bad crash,
    you may not be anywhere near the actual trail.
    I would suggest picking up the book "98.6 Degrees" by Cody Lundin. Basic 72 hour survival explained.
    Best/simplest rescue scenario book I have read to date.

  40. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by UncleTrail View Post
    Right a PLB should only be used in emergency situations.

    I got interested in the SPOT because of the breadcrumbs also. A friend of mine flies his Cessna into the in ID and he uses a SPOT so we can track his breadcrumbs. Sometimes though it's the next day before the breadcrumbs show up.

    With a PLB/GPS someone is going to locate you a lot quicker IMHO.
    That could save your life...
    I have to say, my general focus has always been to be prepared to take care of yourself. Have clothing. Have food, don't take stupid chances when you are alone, etc. Don't rely on anybody to save your buttocks, whether it's somebody you call using a cell phone, S&R summoned with a SPOT or other PLB, a random person out 4-wheeling where you are exploring, etc.

    Six years ago when I got divorced, I kind of went out there for a while. It was sort of a way to express my alone-ness. I would take off and be away, in a place where nobody knew where I was. I would do things like WRIAD in the cold off-season when there was not a soul on earth who knew I was down there. Agate Creek at 3 AM alone. My general attitude was, fsck it. If I get in trouble and can't get myself out of it, so be it.

    I did take care of myself. I did not get into any trouble I couldn't get out of myself. I did not have a noteworthy experience needing something I did not have with me.

    But in the past couple years, this year particularly, a couple of things have happened to me that made me realize that sometimes the unexpected happens. Sometimes you are very well-prepared, except for the fact that you forgot to actually put that jacket into your pack before you left home.

    Now I'm about a month into being on my own again, having broken up with a 4.5 year GF. Difference is, this time I'm not really pissed off about it like I was following my divorce. Just want to enjoy my life. Just want to be practical about doing the things I want to be able to do, in the absence of a significant other who will be checking to be sure I get home.

    Oh, yeah, about the SPOT: I'd have to agree that it's a flawed and not terribly robust solution. One thing I've learned is that the batteries need to be really fresh. Just because it turns on and the lights flash doesn't mean it has enough juice to really store those breadcrumbs. Also, if you're hauling a$$ it often doesn't manage to store a crumb until after you slow down or stop...
    Tom Purvis - Salida, CO - http://teamvelveeta.tom-purvis.com

    "I like my wimmen like I like my beer--cold and bitter!"

  41. #41
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    What was your injury that caused you to spend a night out?
    It wasn't the injury so much as the canyon. We were kayaking the Giant Gap section of the North Fork of the American. Here is someone else's writeup of that section for reference: (It won't let me post a link because I don't have enough posts - but if you are interested it is on the Oregon Kayaking website) I swam at somewhat boxed in rapid (nutcracker in the above website) and got myself to shore without problem. My friends chased my kayak down river and around the corner. I tried to make my way downstream but the canyon walls were either vertical or near vertical. I started climbing up and around, but lost my grip slipped and fell about 15 feet. I landed on my side and my head. I shattered my helmet and was unconscious for a bit. I also put a hairline crack in my hip bone. I could walk, but it hurt.

    When I came to I had no way to contact my friends who were somewhere downstream so I began hiking out of the canyon. I began making my way up river to the spot where we put in (my only reference point) which was about 10 miles up river from where I swam. It was slow going, and I didn't make it out before dark.

    All of us on the trip, myself included, had a lot of helpful gear in our boats - first aid, head lamp, clothes, food, matches, etc. Unfortunately it all went downstream so I was basically on my own for the night with the gear I had on my person which was basically a knife, whistle and snickers bar. It was very cold sleeping that night.

    I woke up. Finished the hike to the put in. Got to the road and hitchhiked to a gas station and called my friends. A Search and Rescue helicopter had already been dispatched by that point. Thankfully California doesn't charge people search and rescue costs.

    That's the story. I still think fire is what I missed the most. Because of where I was I think I could have found plenty of fuel to keep the fire going, but I see how that would be an issue if you were seriously hurt.

    A topo map would have been helpful as well. I hiked upstream because that was the only place I knew for a fact I would find a road. Turns out that there was a road not far from where I was if I had hiked up and out of the canyon at a point where I could have done that fairly easily. If I had a map with me I would have known that.

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    Ditto for osue077's suggestion on the survival blanket. Those foil plastic thingies you wrap around yourself. They are very effective at radiating your heat back to you. Super small and light and very effective. Warmth is key, of course, particularly if you are injured.

  43. #43
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    Thanks for all the posts guys. Looks like I have a lot of research to do on a PLB's etc. Tomp, thanks for the suggestion on the air mattress, I will check those out.

    A whistle or some sort of signaling devise is going to be a must. Kind of a dumb choice, but the wiggy's bag and the bivi are both camo... i know, i know, but the bag was $115 and the gore tex bivi was $30.

    I'm going to look into an LED flair and/or maybe a subcompact .22 pistol with blanks for signaling - depending on cost/weight.

    I really can't overstate just how harsh the conditions can be up here. The wind can be monstrous to the point a whistle might not do much, but they are so light and cheap I'll pack one anyway.
    Happiness is a warm 2 stroke.

  44. #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by turrialba View Post
    I started climbing up and around, but lost my grip slipped and fell about 15 feet. I landed on my side and my head. I shattered my helmet and was unconscious for a bit. I also put a hairline crack in my hip bone. I could walk, but it hurt.
    Glad it all turned out all right for you. Concussions, especially when your alone could really make for a bad day. I've had two when I was a kid and one about 2 years ago.

    It must have been a shock to regain consciousness with no gear and no one around to help.
    Happiness is a warm 2 stroke.

  45. #45
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    Quote Originally Posted by wahday View Post
    Ditto for osue077's suggestion on the survival blanket. Those foil plastic thingies you wrap around yourself. They are very effective at radiating your heat back to you. Super small and light and very effective. Warmth is key, of course, particularly if you are injured.
    The problem is they don't actually work in the outdoors when put to use. If you read the thread you'll see our experience with three different brands; they all failed in short order.
    A man must have enemies and places he is not welcome. In the end we are not only defined by our friends but those against us.

  46. #46
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    Instead of a satellite phone or GPS, get a Breitling Emergency watch. In the event that you need rescue, you just unscrew a crown and pull out the antenna to send out a distress radio signal. Here's an example of it working in real life and better than a Personal Locator Beacon.

    WILTON, Conn., Oct. 2, 2012: Breitling Watch Saves The Life Of Stranded Hunter | PRNewswire | Rock Hill Herald Online

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    Very 007... But dirt biking with a $5000 watch?
    Happiness is a warm 2 stroke.

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    The SOL Escape Bivy ($50) at 8 oz plus the Space All-Weather Blanket ($17) at 12 oz seem to be a decent combo (both can be found at rei). Not real light but not too heavy for what you get. The blanket is pretty tough/durable and versatile (it can be used as a tarp (it has 4 grommets), ground cloth, etc.) - much better than those flimsy e-blankets.

    I have my whistle and knife (Gerber Paraframe - 2.7 oz) hooked into the front of my backpack where they are easily accessible, even if I fall off my bike and go down a ledge. I have a leatherman mutitool but it seems awfully heavy.

    This thread has some good ideas to think about!

  49. #49
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    Quote Originally Posted by DWF View Post
    The problem is they don't actually work in the outdoors when put to use. If you read the thread you'll see our experience with three different brands; they all failed in short order.
    They are great at lining a lean-to to radiate heat from a fire back at you. They suck as blankets (zero breathability) for the most part.

  50. #50
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve71 View Post
    Very 007... But dirt biking with a $5000 watch?
    On a $7000 bike, why not! I guess you could always leave it in your pack.

  51. #51
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    Well the sleeping bag and bivy arrived. Gotta say they seem amazing quality for the money.

    The bag is made right here in Colorado and has a life time warranty. I wish it had a little pocket and glow in the dark zipper tabs like my North Face bag, but for the money ($115) I can't complain. I'm 6'1" and 150lb and I found the bag pretty snug with just jeans and a t-shirt. Don't know if I would fit with all my body armor on. The make a wider one, maybe I should have gotten that? The hood is also a little small.

    It also seems pretty bulky, so I don't know if it's doable to fit in a pack. I can always just use the NF bag, or Wiggy's will vacuum seal their sleeping bags into a brick.

    Can't believe you can get a quality gore tex bivy delivered for under $40 . It's light and should pack down pretty small. It doesn't have any extra space and it's a little claustrophobic when it's closed, but for emergency use or the occasional over nighter, it's going to be great.

    It got down to 40 last night on the deck and I was warm as toast even with a gusting wind. In fact I was getting hot after a few mins with the bivy closed. So nice to not be in a tent and to be able to see the shooting stars.

    Now I just need to get a bigger pack and a couple of compression sacks.

    Should be fun testing out different combos on the deck this winter until I find a balance between warmth, size and weight.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Surviving a night out, injured in below freezing temps and high winds?-img_7858.jpg  

    Surviving a night out, injured in below freezing temps and high winds?-img_7863.jpg  

    Surviving a night out, injured in below freezing temps and high winds?-bivy.jpg  

    Surviving a night out, injured in below freezing temps and high winds?-wiggy.jpg  

    Happiness is a warm 2 stroke.

  52. #52
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    Quote Originally Posted by FTC Rider View Post
    The SOL Escape Bivy ($50) at 8 oz plus the Space All-Weather Blanket ($17) at 12 oz seem to be a decent combo (both can be found at rei). Not real light but not too heavy for what you get. The blanket is pretty tough/durable and versatile (it can be used as a tarp (it has 4 grommets)
    Thanks for the suggestions, more options is always a good thing. The bivy I bought is about 2lb so considerably heavier. If it ends up being too big or heavey I can give the SOL a try.

    Quote Originally Posted by rogerfromco View Post
    On a $7000 bike, why not! I guess you could always leave it in your pack.
    Haha. I was lucky enough to find a 06' KTM 300 XCW (two stroke) in mint condition with less than 20 hours on the meter for 1/2 that cost.

    If I spent $7K on a bike and $5K on a watch I would be getting plenty of use from my bag and bivy sleeping on the deck for a few weeks.
    Happiness is a warm 2 stroke.

  53. #53
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    Quote Originally Posted by ignazjr View Post
    Not entirely on topic, but ping DWF or Godzilla. Several years ago, they did an experiment of "could we survive a night in the woods with what we had in our packs."

    It was one of my favorite posts ever of all time but I can't seem to find it. It was a very good read.
    That thread was awesome..

    And informative.

    Nutjobs.

  54. #54
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve71 View Post
    I'm 6'1" and 150lb
    WTF? Do they not make cheeseburgers where you're from?
    A man must have enemies and places he is not welcome. In the end we are not only defined by our friends but those against us.

  55. #55
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    Quote Originally Posted by DWF View Post
    WTF? Do they not make cheeseburgers where you're from?
    Darwin will eat this dude alive during an unexpected night out in the woods.

  56. #56
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    Quote Originally Posted by SkaredShtles View Post
    Darwin will eat this dude alive during an unexpected night out in the woods.
    What's the saying, "the closer the bone, the sweeter the meat?" Or is it, "we eat the skinny one first."?

    As we used to say back when it was hard, "if you don't have survival gear, you are the survival gear."
    A man must have enemies and places he is not welcome. In the end we are not only defined by our friends but those against us.

  57. #57
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    All the survival gear in the world won't do you any good if you don't have it with you. If you can stay dry or build a fire, you're going to be fine no matter what. At least in the short term & assuming no life threatening injuries. At one point in my past, I slept on the ground, in the woods, with no fire and no snivel gear in the winter for a couple months. The first few days are the hardest, but after that you begin to acclimate. You'd be surprised what you can get through if you can just survive the first few days. To that end, if the temps at night will get below 50 or so or if there's a chance you'll be wet, carry fire making gear on your person. A knife & direction finding aids are good. Simple rain gear that you'll likely have in your pack will get you through some incredible weather; it will suck and your discomfort will be high, but you'll likely survive.

    Common sense and confidence is essential. For confidence you need training and training should be as realistic as possible or even worse than what you're likely to experience. Kind of like what we did in that thread. It's really about your mental state, IMHO.
    A man must have enemies and places he is not welcome. In the end we are not only defined by our friends but those against us.

  58. #58
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    Quote Originally Posted by DWF View Post
    All the survival gear in the world won't do you any good if you don't have it with you. If you can stay dry or build a fire, you're going to be fine no matter what. At least in the short term & assuming no life threatening injuries. At one point in my past, I slept on the ground, in the woods, with no fire and no snivel gear in the winter for a couple months. The first few days are the hardest, but after that you begin to acclimate. You'd be surprised what you can get through if you can just survive the first few days. To that end, if the temps at night will get below 50 or so or if there's a chance you'll be wet, carry fire making gear on your person. A knife & direction finding aids are good. Simple rain gear that you'll likely have in your pack will get you through some incredible weather; it will suck and your discomfort will be high, but you'll likely survive.

    Common sense and confidence is essential. For confidence you need training and training should be as realistic as possible or even worse than what you're likely to experience. Kind of like what we did in that thread. It's really about your mental state, IMHO.
    Dude.. not all of us could handle your advanced Girl Scout training.

    I'm no survival expert, but I did stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night... pretty good way to practice for deep mountain conditions.

  59. #59
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    Quote Originally Posted by thump View Post
    Dude.. not all of us could handle your advanced Girl Scout training.

    I'm no survival expert, but I did stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night... pretty good way to practice for deep mountain conditions.
    Just because I volunteered doesn't mean it wasn't against my will.
    A man must have enemies and places he is not welcome. In the end we are not only defined by our friends but those against us.

  60. #60
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    Quote Originally Posted by DWF View Post
    WTF? Do they not make cheeseburgers where you're from?
    Back home we mostly eat emu, crocs and kangaroo.

    Good point on training with your equipment, but fire will not keep me warm. We have a large fire pit on our land at 10k feet and it's too cold when the wind comes up and temps are below 40.
    Last edited by Steve71; 12-06-2012 at 11:46 PM.
    Happiness is a warm 2 stroke.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SkaredShtles View Post
    Darwin will eat this dude alive during an unexpected night out in the woods.
    It's worse than I thought. Search and rescue doesn't fly the whirly birds and night.

    I've been testing out various clothing & bag combos on the deck and will update this thread in the new year, but I'm back in Australia right now and I hate using this iPad to post.
    Happiness is a warm 2 stroke.

  62. #62
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve71 View Post
    It's worse than I thought. Search and rescue doesn't fly the whirly birds and night.

    I've been testing out various clothing & bag combos on the deck and will update this thread in the new year, but I'm back in Australia right now and I hate using this iPad to post.
    I bought a hoodie, made by Nautica, at a thrift store the other day.


    It's made of nylon/poly that's about 90% non-breathable. Very light and can pack to a small wad.

    My idea of packing light yet have a windproof/waterproof insulating layers that's good for temperatures down to about 10*F with little wind:

    Upper body:
    Base layer: Polypro shirt

    Vapor barrier/mid layer: Gore Wear Packlite jacket

    Mid layer: fleece hoodie

    outer layer/vapor barrier: Nautica hoodie I just acquired.

    Legs/feet:

    Mid layer (Over what I'm already wearing): Wool underpants

    Outer layer/vapor barrier: Nylon kayaking pants

    3mm neoprene kayaking crew socks

    3mm neoprene kayaking knee-high socks
    2012 Cannondale Trail SL 29ER 4

    1994 Cannondale Super V 1000

    1996 Cannondale F500 rigid-fork 69'er

    Motiv 26'er

  63. #63
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cletus View Post
    Colorado Search and Rescue Card

    Why Buy a CORSAR Card?
    Colorado residents and visitors are well served by dedicated volunteer search and rescue teams, but mission costs are often in the thousands of dollars. By purchasing a CORSAR card you are contributing to the Search and Rescue Fund, which will reimburse these teams for costs incurred in your search and rescue. Funds remaining at the end of the year are used to help pay for training and equipment for these teams. Anyone with a current hunting/fishing license, or boat, snowmobile, ATV registration is already covered by the fund.

    COSAR
    We get very little to no money from this fund not to mention SAR doesn't charge for rescue in Colorado. What you will get charged for is the helo or ambulance and at that point you need good medical insurance to cover that.
    In regard to what to bring. Even if you have a Spot or something like that it could be hours and hours before someone can get to you to help, obviously this is location dependent. Be prepared to spend time in the elements and deal with large critters Bring the 10 essentials at a minimum.

  64. #64
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    Quote Originally Posted by peanut09 View Post
    We get very little to no money from this fund not to mention SAR doesn't charge for rescue in Colorado.......... Be prepared to spend time in the elements and deal with large critters Bring the 10 essentials at a minimum.
    Probably important to note as we jump off the "cliff".

    Search and rescue operations in Rocky Mountain National Park and numerous other services in national parks across the country could be severely curtailed if the United States goes over the fiscal cliff, a group of National Park Service retirees warned Wednesday.

  65. #65
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    The reason they say this is most park rangers are not only law enforcement they are supposedly medical and SAR. What I can tell you is all the teams in CO are volunteer so the cliff could impact as we are donations based and people will probably have less to donate. Again the general theme in the U.S is no charge for rescue but in some areas they do. Things to think about while going back country

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    MTB episode. Good for trainer fodder while watching it snow.

    <iframe id="dit-video-embed" width="640" height="360" src="http://snagplayer.video.dp.discovery.com/813181/snag-it-player.htm?auto=no" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" allowtransparency="true"></iframe>

  67. #67
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    Quote Originally Posted by UncleTrail View Post
    MTB episode. Good for trainer fodder while watching it snow.
    A little silly, but I watched it anyway. Who packs a big survival knife but no means to start a fire? And why doesn't Codie wear shoes?

    ...anyway, I should update this thread sometime soon. I've got a shelter solution I'm very happy with, good for 10-20deg and packs small.
    Happiness is a warm 2 stroke.

  68. #68
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    OK, here is my update.

    As good as the Wiggy's bag is, it just doesn't pack small enough - not even close. I thought for $10 they could vacuum pack it into a 10x10x4 brick. Well that was a mistake on their website and the price to vacuum it is $180 or so - and that's in addition to the cost of the bag. Pass!

    I took a look at the suggested Big Agnes stuff, but ultimately I think it required too much inflation. I've had a collapsed lung before, so I wanted a solution that was mostly self inflating.

    The other thing I was noticing is that zips on sleeping bags are just such a pain in the ass when you're able bodied. Forget about it if you were injured.

    This is what I ended up with.

    From left to right last pic:
    (1) Bivy - USGI

    (2) Sleeping bag - Thermarest Haven 20 Sleep System (Large)
    20 deg down bag (700 fill). Packs tiny, it's very warm and doesn't have zips.

    (3) Pad - Therm-a-Rest ProLite Plus (medium)
    Billed as a 4 season pad and only a few breaths to fully inflate.

    (4) USGI Green patrol bag (put in a Northface stuff sac). This bag might be OK for warmer weather. It's synthetic so it can stay compressed in the backpack.

    First pic is the bivy, 20deg down bag, thermarest pad and first aid kit all packed into a go-lite bag. Camelbak mule is there for scale.



    I'll also be picking up a ARC Beacon that works on the 406 search and rescue satellite system.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Surviving a night out, injured in below freezing temps and high winds?-img_8705.jpg  

    Surviving a night out, injured in below freezing temps and high winds?-img_8712.jpg  

    Surviving a night out, injured in below freezing temps and high winds?-img_8708.jpg  

    Happiness is a warm 2 stroke.

  69. #69
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    +1 on the SPOT. I don't own one personally, but I have carried one for work when I was working alone in the mountains. When I worked for an air taxi in Alaska, all of our pilots carried one that would mark their location every 10 (I think) minutes. This was all with the larger orange SPOT. I've heard that the smaller ones are less reliable, but that was second- or third-hand. It will try several times if it has problems picking up satellites.

  70. #70
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    Here is a vid I found helpful on spot vs acr. Seems like the 406 network is the way to go.

    Happiness is a warm 2 stroke.

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