Health & Safety

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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Consumer Reports recently released its 2016 sunscreen ratings (subscription required), which tested and ranked 70 lotion, spray, and face varieties. Surprisingly, many of its best sunscreen brands are quite inexpensive. This is especially true if you order through Walmart online, which has markedly better prices on most of these products than Amazon. Here’s the quick…

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» CLICK PHOTO ABOVE TO LAUNCH SLIDESHOW   When a Boston medical-supply company introduced The Appalachian Emergency Outfit at $2.50 apiece, circa 1920, initial sales were slow. Manufactured by Boylston Street’s E.F. Mahady Co. specifically for AMC, the backcountry first-aid kit failed to entice club members because, as a 1921 AMC report claimed, “so confident…

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A few weeks ago, my friend told me that she and her friends had just attempted a winter Presidential Traverse. I thought it sounded like a miserable undertaking – low visibility, high wind, general exposure, and just plain cold. Then this week rolled around. I found myself with no plans for my one full day…

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When it comes to biking, you can never be too apparent to drivers on the road, especially at night. Reflectors, bike lights, and bright, high-visibility colors should all be no-brainers, but what if you want to announce your presence with an even more striking display? Here are three options to consider. Spin hypnotic color There’s one…

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Oooh baby it was cold outside this past weekend, with temperatures dropping deep into the sub-zero range across New England. Add in some stiff northwest winds and you had the ingredients for severe wind chill and rapid frostbite on any exposed skin. How fast can you get frostbite? This handy wind chill chart from NOAA…

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If you’re planning on heading up to Tuckerman or Huntington Ravine, always check the latest avalanche advisory from the Mount Washington Avalanche Center, which posts daily updates throughout the winter season. And if you’re hitting the slopes, make sure that everybody in your group carries the avalanche safety essentials—shovel, probe, and beacon—and knows how to…

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