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16

Have an emergency kit, and a first aid kit. Keep both of these on your person at all times, but at a minimum, keep the emergency kit on you. People have died less than a mile from camp because they left all their gear at the tent and went for a "short hike" Set up a some sort of check in system. These range from the simple cell phone to the fancy (and ...


10

One thing that should be obvious, but still is worth repeating: If you’re out alone, make sure you can get help when you need it. I recently went on a solo trip into the mountains in the winter and realized that something like hurting your knee in the deep snow can happen quite quickly and if you can’t get help, in the winter you’re in big trouble. Which is ...


7

I've been in the early stages of hypothermia before, and I can tell you from experience that when you're in the early stages of hypothermia, you're convinced you're okay and that nothing is wrong; as in shivering and shaking uncontrollably while trying to convince the people around you, "Oh I'm fine, I don't feel cold at all I don't know why I'm shaking so ...


7

I can think of many reasons why solo-backpacking wouldn't be advisable, but cougars isn't one of them. I'm not saying cougar attacks don't happen, last summer there was a incident in Waterton National Park close to home here, a cougar was menacing hikers along a popular trail, and even attacked a teenage girl that was part of a group. Cougar attacks are ...


6

The precautions are exaggerated. These animals are extremely reclusive. Adult humans are outside their prey schema and will be avoided except in extremely unusual circumstances. From Wikipedia: Fatal cougar attacks are extremely rare and occur much less frequently than fatal dog attacks, fatal snake bites, fatal lightning strikes, or fatal bee stings. ...


5

I often go solo backpacking in mountain lion country. I've had an encounter with one before. It was night and it was lurking around about 50 feet from my campsite. I noticed it after turning on my headlamp and looking around. It must have been curious. I scared it off by growling and yelling at it. Earlier that evening I think I scared it, as I ...


5

I would not recommend camping alone if you have not camped before. There is quite a lot of multitasking - in a group of 4 adults often every single one works simultaneously for an hour or so when we reach a campsite - and you could find yourself trying to do things in the dark (which is dangerous) or when you're too hungry to think straight. Next thing you ...


5

The tent is probably not strictly necessary, a tarp or just the fast setup should probably work fine unless it seriously rains or you are above treeline while it rains or it gets really windy. At the point in the year, the number of ticks/mosquitos should be greatly reduced. Not taking the whole tent will increase your chances of getting soaked and being ...


4

Disclaimer: Despite a comment I made earlier about how I too would like to hear about ways to test for hypothermia, I should stress that relying on this could be potentially dangerous and should be a last line of defense, not first. That is, always assume that you could be even if your test is negative, instead of assuming that you are not until it is ...


4

There is implicitly more dangerous about camping on your own. That is to say that the probability of something going wrong is no worse than with more than one person, in fact one person is less likely to encounter a problem than two from a pure probability theory perspective. The exception is a collaborative exercise like a river crossing, but that's another ...


3

I guess the only difference when traveling alone is that everything is more dangerous, difficult and time-consuming. :D Here are some things I did before undertaking my last long trip alone. Did some research on local wildlife: snakes, bears, wolves. Based on the research, practiced a drill in case a snake bites me, so that I have a chance to act ...


3

It's reasonable to identify stages up to the start of shivering. But shortly after that judgement goes out the window. If you are traveling in a group, set up a buddy system. Each person has a buddy and you monitor the other party for symptoms. Look for the 'umbles. Fumbles -- fine motor coordination. Trouble with zippers. This can also be caused by ...


3

I live in the city; to prepare for my Sierra backpacking trips I jam all my gear in my pack and take off walking, increasing distance as my endurance increases. I stop and eat lunch from my pack, using the actual gear. I pitch my tent in the yard at home when I get back (you can do this indoors) and sleep in it. I make dinner using my stove (careful with ...


1

One simple check that I have used is to touch your thumb to your other fingers. If you can no longer touch your thumb to your pinkie finger (which usually is utterly trivial when warm) and if it is difficult or you can't do it at all, you should definitely think about warming up. I have gotten cold to the point that I couldn't, but it was at a base camp ...


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