An injury out in the back-country can be anything from a minor inconvenience to a serious life-threatening situation. Even if it is only minor, it can still ruin your day.
So carry a First-Aid Kit to treat common outdoor ailments, such as:
- insect bites
Learn how to treat:
Learn to recognize, avoid and treat:
The following are some other safety tips to keep in mind:
- Walk slowly and purposefully - Step over logs when possible, you're less likely to twist a knee or sprain an ankle.
- Use a walking stick - Maintain two points of contact with the ground. It helps keep your balance on rough terrain. Use it to turn over rocks and logs, keeping your distance from snakes, spiders, etc. It can also be use as a defensive weapon against animal attacks.
- Shield your face when walking through dense brush - the last thing you need is a stick in your eye. Use your arms to shield your face.
- Wear gloves when processing firewood - Prevents cuts and splinters. Adds a layer of protection against spiders, ticks, etc. Also helps keep your hands clean.
- Wear adequate clothing for the weather - Be prepared for rain and cold.
- Wear long pants and long sleeved shirts to protect from ticks, scrapes from brush, and even sun burn.
- Wear a hat, insect repellant and sunscreen.
- Keep your feet dry.
- Don't overly exert yourself by pushing, pulling or climbing. A walk in the forest doesn't have to be a cardio workout.
- Don't put your hands into crevices where biting insects or animals might live, use a stick to explore those places.
- Keep your pack as light as possible.
- Avoid touching metal surfaces near fires or stoves.
- Avoid confrontations with wild animals. Even a squirrel will bite.
- Be particularly careful around water.
- Watch for dangerous overhanging trees, exposed tree roots loose or slippery rocks.
- Learn to safely use knives, axes and other cutting tools.
- Keep your cutting tools sharp. A dull tool requires more force to use. Applying more force can lead to slipping and accidents.
The military's way is will-power and determination, and pushing forward in spite of the pain. These are acceptable for short-term gain, but can lead to serious injuries in the field.
A better way is to flow in harmony with the natural world around you. A walk in the woods should reduce your blood pressure and your level of stress. If it doesn't, then you're doing it wrong.
Try not to concern yourself with minutes and seconds. Slow down... and try to think in terms of hours and days instead.
"Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished." -Lao Tzu
So whenever you venture into the wilderness, it's best to be prepared with a basic First-Aid Kit and always thinking "Safety First".
Be Prepared and Be Safe.