Health & Safety

There are many ways you can make backcountry water sources safe to drink, from chemical treatments to pump filters to UV light emitters, but these days it appears that one particular variety of water filtration system is cleaning up the competition: the Sawyer Squeeze and Squeeze Mini. (Both are essentially the same; the Mini is just…

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They’re baaaaaack… Deer ticks. Scourge of the Northeast. Micro-demons of disease. All-around nasty bloodsuckers. I hate them. So I’m always on the watch for a tick defense that can stop them before they sink their gnarly little mouth bits into my flesh. Now I’ve written extensively about the risks of tick bites (see What It’s Like to Get Lyme Disease….

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Stepping into the backcountry means leaving behind your cushy standards for immaculate hygiene. That doesn’t mean you should sacrifice health or basic cleanliness while camping or backpacking. It just means you need to understand what really matters—and how to stay clean in the most eco-friendly way possible. Handy Tips Dirty hands are a primary cause…

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A backcountry adventure probably means leaving the deodorant at home and embracing your natural self. Follow these steps to remain safe, sanitary, and to control B.O. Turn your undies inside out to extend their life. Keep a small bottle of hand sanitizer clipped to your pack for easy access and regular cleansing. Carry a set…

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Regardless of the length of your trip, from a three-hour hike to a three-day or three-week expedition, all hikers should carry the 10 essentials—a list developed by the New Hampshire Fish & Game Department, the public agency responsible for the majority of search and rescue operations in New Hampshire. In this outdoor skills video, AMC…

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The following simple items can help rescuers find you in the event of a backcountry emergency. A whistle. Shouts for help can only be heard a few hundred yards away, at best. The piercing sound of a loud whistle carries more than a mile away. What’s more, you can blow a whistle in regular bursts…

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The worst has happened. You are severely injured. Or profoundly lost. Or dangerously exposed to the elements. You cannot get out of the backcountry on your own. And now you are going to die. Your only hope is that help comes and finds you. Fortunately, you have a personal locator beacon, or PLB. You activate it,…

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1. Utility cord. Also known as parachute cord, paracord, or p-cord, this essential and inexpensive item typically comes in 50-foot lengths and runs 3 millimeters in diameter. Its uses are almost endless: shoelaces, tent and tarp guylines, clothesline, food hanging, gear lashing, dog leashing, and the list goes on. 2. Duct tape. Create or buy…

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A dead tick can’t bite you—and the single-best way to terminate them in the field is to treat your shoes and clothing with permethrin, which will kill ticks rapidly on contact. (Once you’re back home, you can also crisp ticks to death with a quick spin in the dryer.) A variety of permethrin-based products are available…

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Consider this an adventure into the extremes of ultralight backpacking gear. It’s a place you go once you’ve moved beyond cutting ounces and entered the sub-ounce realm of counting grams. And in this realm lies the genre of ultralight toothbrushes. Here are some of the options. The Toob It’s the “fun go-anywhere refillable toothbrush!” The…

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