Health & Safety

I like my brain. I would rather not damage it. So I wear a bicycle helmet to protect my skull and its useful contents while riding. Always. You never know when bad luck might send you hurtling head-first into the road, a car, or some other unyielding object. You probably like your brain too. So…

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I just returned from a trip to Northern California, where I completed a high-elevation overnight hike in Yosemite National Park. Unfortunately, the broad-spectrum sunscreen I had in the car failed to make it into my pack, which I realized only when I entered the open landscapes above 10,000 feet, where UV exposure is much greater…

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The 10 Essentials are more than just a list. They are the basics of survival. Carry them and you will always be equipped for the unexpected. First developed in the 1930s by the Mountaineers, a Seattle-based nonprofit, the original 10 Essentials consisted of a list of specific items—knife, map, compass, matches, etc. Today, several different…

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Summertime, skin damage time. If you spend any significant time outdoors in the blazing sun, you should be wearing sunscreen to protect yourself from skin damage and increased skin cancer risk. These days, a range of sunscreens are available touting SPF protection levels of 50 or more, with some options going as high as 100-plus….

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A heavy-duty garbage bag should be a core item of any survival kit. In a backcountry emergency or survival situation—especially in cold, rainy, and/or windy conditions—a garbage bag can quickly and easily be used as an outer layer for both protection and warmth. A 55-gallon contractor bag in action. To do so, cut a slit…

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There’s ultralight backpacking, and then there’s hyperlight. It’s possible for all your backpacking gear to weigh less than 10 pounds (excluding food, water, and the clothes you’re wearing) but accomplishing it requires some notable sacrifices and expense. Here’s what it takes to experience the lightest, rightest, fastest backpacking experience of your life. Shelter: 0 to…

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Spring is the time of year when adult ticks that have overwintered underground emerge for one last attempt at a succulent blood feast. If you find one attached to yourself or your pet, I highly recommend using the Pro-Tick Remedy to remove the nasty little blood-sucker—it’s been my go-to tick removal device for years. This…

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In more than 90 percent of bicycle fatalities, the rider was not wearing a helmet. Don’t become part of this statistic! Make sure your bike helmet fit is optimized to your noggin. It should feel snug but not uncomfortably tight and sit level on your head. The front should rest no more than one inch above…

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You don’t have to stand on your head facing the sun, mouth agape, to accomplish this unusual (and highly undesirable) feat. You just have to spend enough time huffing and puffing in blistering sunshine on one of Nature’s most reflective surfaces: snow. Snow reflects up to 80 percent of UV radiation, which means that you’re…

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Gliding through open water in a kayak can be a blissful experience, an exhilarating adventure far from the confines of the terrestrial world. But that same waterscape also presents unique risks that paddlers must be prepared to deal with. Understanding common scenarios of potential danger, and carrying the essential gear to deal with it, will…

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