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Day trip emergency gear suggestions?
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Dennis Park
(dpark) - MLife

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Day trip emergency gear suggestions? on 02/08/2009 12:44:27 MST Print View

I'm trying to put together a gear list for day trips for emergency situations only with the UL attitude in mind.

Scenario: Solo trip. A day of fly fishing where you're not near your base camp. Now a broken ankle at 4pm with several hours of light left and poor mobility and plenty of pain. What would you want in your daypack/fishing vest to get through the night?

Let's exclude any form of electronic communication devices and, in honor of Mike, no toilet paper.

Also, night temp down to 45-50F with 50% chance of rain.

Edited by dpark on 02/08/2009 12:48:56 MST.

Unknown abc
(edude) - F
"Day trip emergency gear suggestions?" on 02/08/2009 12:50:12 MST Print View

I like your creativity ;)

1)a good first aid kit w/ plenty of painkillers
2)a Bic lighter and/or matches and magnesium firestarter
3)one synthetic jacket(optional)
4)if the weather suggests, raingear
5)(not like I ever carry one, but)survival blanket

at least 50lbs. of survival and first aid knowledge in your head.


Edited by edude on 02/08/2009 12:51:11 MST.

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Day pack items on 02/08/2009 14:21:58 MST Print View

I carry the classic essentials:

Pocket knife
Extra clothing
Extra food
Bug repellent
First Aid kit
Fire starting items
Water container and treatment chemicals

I like the Adventure Medical Thermolite bivy and a poncho for more protection. If you want to fake that, a large garbage bag can act like a 1/2 bivy, raincoat, or shelter roof waterproofing.

It will all easily fit in a hydration pack, giving you a good water supply at the same time. You could get by with a fanny pack if you wanted.

Pamela Wyant
(RiverRunner) - F - M
Re: Day trip emergency gear suggestions? on 02/08/2009 15:05:21 MST Print View

First aid kit with pain meds
bandana to cut strips for splinting ankle
Gossamer Gear nightlite torso pad (serve as sit pad during day)
light weight tarp
trekking poles
rain jacket/pants
light weight insulated jacket
extra food and water
photon light

Given the circumstances, this is what I would want to be comfortable. Would I have it all with me? Probably not in conditions where I would expect the overnight low's at 45-50.

Dennis Park
(dpark) - MLife

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Day trip emergency gear suggestions? on 02/08/2009 15:14:43 MST Print View

Does your last statement suggest that your list is overkill or not enough?

Pamela Wyant
(RiverRunner) - F - M
re: Day trip emergency gear suggestions on 02/08/2009 15:38:38 MST Print View

I probably would not have the GG nightlite torso pad or the tarp with me, and possibly not the insulated jacket if I were on a warm weather trip - which the 45-50 nightime temperature suggests.

On a dayhike in these conditions, I would likely have a worthless emergency blanket instead. ;^)

Along with some firestarter and matches.

Edited by RiverRunner on 02/08/2009 15:41:34 MST.

Dennis Park
(dpark) - MLife

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Day trip emergency gear suggestions? on 02/08/2009 16:23:05 MST Print View

I've never had to use one and I hope to never have to use one but are the thermal emergency blankets functional at all?

Sarah Kirkconnell
(sarbar) - F

Locale: In the shadow of Mt. Rainier
Re: E-Blankets on 02/08/2009 16:32:38 MST Print View

E-Blankets are not useless. Used properly they can work just dandy - but you have to have it so it won't fly away in the wind and exposing you to cold air.

If you use a backpack that is top loading it can be used as a knee high bivy. Not great, but it will protect you.

A sit pad is a necessity in my eyes. It will stop/slow the drain of body warmth if you have to sit on the ground.

I carry the same gear when dayhiking as I do backpacking - the only difference is I carry a sleeping bag, pad and shelter on overnighters. :-) Something to consider!

John S.
(jshann) - F
Re: Day trip emergency gear suggestions? on 02/08/2009 18:53:53 MST Print View

To survive you need to remain healthy, dry, warm and hydrated until rescued (hence the top five on list)

Medical- ID tag, first aid kit, knowledge to improvise splint
Shelter- waterproof coverage in form of rain gear, bivy or tarp
Fire- lighter, matches
Hydration- container, water purification tablets
Communication- safety plan left with family member, whistle, fire for signaling
Navigation- map and compass, flashlight
Nutrition- food
Insulation- insulated jacket, hat, gloves (most won't have their sleeping bag with them huh); minimal ground insulation in form of sit pad sounds good too
Sun Protection- sunblock, other coverage for exposed skin
Tools- knife or scissors

Edited by jshann on 02/19/2012 06:36:07 MST.

John S.
(jshann) - F
Re: Re: Day trip emergency gear suggestions? on 02/08/2009 19:26:20 MST Print View

Medical ID tag

Next of Kin: spouse, adult child, parent, sibling (usu in that order)
Family Physician:
Medical History: significant history such as diabetes
Medications: blood pressure pills, etc.
Last Tetanus Shot:
Allergies: drugs, bee sting, etc.

Edited by jshann on 02/08/2009 19:37:16 MST.

Greg Mihalik
(greg23) - M

Locale: Colorado
Re: Day trip emergency gear suggestions? on 02/08/2009 19:40:09 MST Print View

Did you tell someone where you were going and when you'd be back? If not you might be out there a long time.

Given your scenario and that I Did tell someone my plans, I drop into Wait and Signal mode. Locate near water, in a clearing, gather wood, fashion a shelter, get comfortable.

At a minimum I typically take 3 bars or more, a water container, a sit pad, some sort of warm top, a hat, often raingear, and the package below. It weighs 10 ounces and contains


1) a space blanket Bivy – completely enclosing, with hood
2) a lighter
3) hexamine tables for fire starting
4) a whistle and ear plugs
5) a signal mirror
6) two military smoke signals
7) a Swiss Army knife, with a saw
8) 12 high potency pain killers, per my Dr.

It is in a reinforced waterproofed ziplock and is never broken into except for an emergency.

Edited by greg23 on 02/08/2009 19:47:34 MST.

Michael Wands
(walksoftly) - F

Locale: Piney Woods
Day trip emergency gear on 02/08/2009 19:51:55 MST Print View

Note to RiverRunner:

You have just written down my normal 3-season gear kit!!
But, I guess that is the point - if you pack on the light side then your gear is never really a burden due to weight or size.

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Day trip emergency gear & emergency blankets on 02/08/2009 20:42:45 MST Print View

Mr Park queried: "I've never had to use one and I hope to never have to use one but are the thermal emergency blankets functional at all?"

You should try one before you need it!

The mylar ones tear easily, but they will cut the wind and reflect heat. The Adventure Medical blankets are tougher, and more expensive, heavier and a bit larger. I put one in a Seal a Meal bag and sucked the air out, reducing the size by about 50% and the Seal a Meal bag is much tougher.

They can be used like a blanket, or placed behind you as you face a fire. I think they have good worth as a shelter roof-- build a simple lean-to, add brush for a roof, add a space blanket and then another layer of brush for a waterproof shelter. A large garbage bag will do about the same for shelter-building.

The Thermolite bivies are about as good as any bivy on the short term, but not breathable, so the foot vent has real purpose.

If you have an extra layer of clothing like you're SUPPOSED TO, the bivy sack style space blanket or the Thermolite bivy will get you through a long night. You will wish for your down sleeping bag, but they will keep the wind off you.
I think they make a good paring with a poncho shelter. The dawn will find you tired. grumpy and cold--- but alive.

If you are stuck out below treeline, I think you can forget about leave no trace principles and build yourself a nice fire and insulate yourself with boughs. You just need that nice Swiss Army knife with a saw and some sort of fire starter.

If it is in the dead of Summer and fire danger is high, it gets iffy--- like if you don't you might be really cold, but if you do, you might get more attention than you want after burning down a few hundred acres of forest. Use your head!

Piper S.
(sbhikes) - F

Locale: Santa Barbara (Name: Diane)
Emergency day-pack gear on 02/08/2009 21:24:51 MST Print View

A few weeks ago my boyfriend and I decided we'd do some crazy off-trail adventure. We weren't sure when or if we could make it to our destination, and if we did, we weren't sure how long it would take to return home. So we put Emergency blankets and headlamps in with our normal day-hiking gear, which only included lunch and a jacket and water. There was a slight chance of rain so we also knew where to find some caves. I think I added a hat, too.

John Sixbey
(Wolfeye) - F
what i would take on 02/08/2009 22:02:29 MST Print View

For trips that hint at being an overnighter, I'd pack my normal day hiking gear, plus:
- poncho shelter (instead of raingear)
- spectra cord, a few stakes
- Gossamer Gear torso pad or a thin 3/4 pad
- lightweight quilt, like a Bozeman Mountain Works 60
- ~1-liter titanium pot & a spoon
- some food to boil

I had to spend an extra night out once. A friend and I took a trip to a mountain by boat, and when we got back the tide had gone out, leaving the boat high & dry. I was glad we'd come prepared.

Tad Englund
(bestbuilder) - F - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Day trip emergency gear suggestions? on 02/08/2009 23:05:52 MST Print View

Dennis, I pulled out my regular fishing vest (I don't take it hiking) to weigh it (I've never done that before)- It is 7 lbs 3 ozs definitely not even Lightweight. ( my base weight is about this same number!) I do walk up to 5 miles when day fishing in remote drive in locations.
Besides every fly I can possibly carry in 12 fly boxes, extra glasses, Thermometer, and an assortment of stuff I don't even remember. I looked in the back pocket and found-
First aid kit
Duct tape- on popsicle stick
Garbage bag- large size
Fire starter
Mylar EM blanket
Elsewhere is vest-
Clif bar
I also carry
Katadyn water purifier bottle
I think I carry all the "Hiking Essentials" as well as the kitchen sink- I think I have every fly that a trout might eat.

Now for my backpacking kit- remember you have a base camp, this is a day excursion. It would be impracticable to bring:
Torso pads, poncho tarp (can’t fish while wearing it- I fish in the rain), quilt, pots, spoons, bivy’s, etc.

I take 2 fly boxes, gink, nippers, hemostat, 3x,4x, 5x and 6x tippet, 3-4 hand tied leaders, very small box of split shot, 2 strike indicators. I’m trying out different ways to carry the above. Right now I use a small codura pouch, but it is a little heavy for what it does. I’d like to find something that can carry the stuff and hang on my lanyard.
I also carry my regular hiking essentials kit that is always with me on hikes- depending on the weather (50%) I would take a rain jacket. You should be covered with this in an emergency.
I think Greg has a good kit though I might drop the smoke signals and the saw.

In any emergency situation Knowledge is the most important thing you take with you- knowing how to survive in the wilds is can save you pounds of “things”.

Edited by bestbuilder on 02/08/2009 23:13:34 MST.

Mike W
(skopeo) - F

Locale: British Columbia
Day trip emergency gear suggestions... on 02/09/2009 00:22:52 MST Print View


Edited by skopeo on 04/27/2015 14:53:49 MDT.

Sarah Kirkconnell
(sarbar) - F

Locale: In the shadow of Mt. Rainier
Re: Day trip gear on 02/09/2009 18:56:49 MST Print View

I carry a stove/pot/lighter/matches and utensil on all trips....and a windscreen, drinking cup and a cozy. And a bag of a couple small meals that I rotate through to keep fresh. And tea bags and some honey.

A long time ago I realized that if something happened I wanted to have hot tea and dinner ;-) Being civilized helps bad things better - it calms one down emotionally.

I am more than sure that my daypack scares some of my hiking partners. We pull up for lunch and it can look like a trail sale going on if I unload my pack.

I carry rain pants/jacket year round - they will add a wind barrier if needed. I also carry a thin/light beanie and liner gloves year round.

charles freeland
(cmfreeland) - F

Locale: Great Lakes
Day trip emergency gear suggestions on 02/11/2009 15:02:35 MST Print View

I just stumble in and read some of these entries...
In 2004 I was staying at a friends hunting cabin in northeren Wisconson and was the last to be leaving on the last day there.
I said good bye to everyone as they pulled out at first light and decided to take a half day hike before leaving.
About 3 hours out I was rockhopping over a stream and slipped, falling into the stream and blowing out my knee.

The contents of the hydro pack I was wearing,
Water in the bladder,
a small can of toasted almonds,a Snickers bar
a rain jacket and a victronox knife and an old Boy scout compass.....
and a Mountain Rescue Council, All Purpose Storm Kit.
the thing was purchased back in 1984 and had been tossed into a number of fanny or day packs through the years. (Many of my buddies kind of joked about it.)
it contains matches, a candle, a sugar cube,a salt pack, a tea bag, a beef bouillon cube, snare wire,whistle, signal mirror and a plastic bag intended as a tube tent...and the tin it all came pack in....
I spent 2 nights out trying to get back to the cabin, often hopping on one leg and in great pain.
The content of that little Storm Kit tin and the can from the almonds made the ordeal much easier.
I now carry an updated 10 Essentials kit,
and a poncho and mylor bivi bag in my daypack when ever I walk or bike onto a trail....oh ya and a small pack of Vicodin, you never know.