Subscribe Contribute Advertise Facebook Twitter Instagram Forums Newsletter
Backpacking health risks?
Display Avatars Sort By:
Kevin Burton
(burtonator) - F

Locale: norcal
Backpacking health risks? on 05/08/2013 22:30:30 MDT Print View

So is there any database of health risks for backpackers?

Trying to figure out what to prepare for - statistically speaking.

Heart attack, exposure, hypothermia, etc.

I want to see real data though.

Justin Baker
(justin_baker) - F

Locale: Santa Rosa, CA
Re: Backpacking health risks? on 05/08/2013 22:35:08 MDT Print View

I've read that drowning and exposure are the biggest killers.

Paul Mason
(dextersp1) - F
Food???????????? on 05/09/2013 17:59:38 MDT Print View


What did you decide to do about food?

Jake D
(JakeDatc) - F

Locale: Bristol,RI
Re: Backpacking health risks? on 05/09/2013 18:03:33 MDT Print View

crashing while driving to the trailhead

Kevin Burton
(burtonator) - F

Locale: norcal
Re: Food???????????? on 05/09/2013 18:10:25 MDT Print View

Different thread of course but so far , on two trips it has kind of been working.

I lost about 1-2 lbs of weight per trip (but that's ok because I have 10 to lose).

I don't feel hungry at all and these trips have been 2-3 days.

I think that I was at a 2000 calorie deficit per day.

So we will see. I'm not sure what would happen after doing this for like a WEEK.

Paul Mason
(dextersp1) - F
Food, Death, Fears on 05/09/2013 18:51:53 MDT Print View

Update us on the food test.

If you are only interested in death, look at the link above.

In addition to the above I fear water borne illnesses and Lyme Disease.
I don't live in the North East anymore but the disease is spreading.

Get a personal location beacon.

Dirk Rabdau
(dirk9827) - F

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Backpacking health risks on 05/09/2013 19:06:45 MDT Print View

From what I've read, the overwhelming leading causes of death and injury in the outdoors are falls and drowning. This makes a lot of sense, since people will engage in riskier behaviors such as scrambling up steep slopes/rock or crossing streams despite not always being very experienced in either activity. In many cases, the consequences of mishaps carry with it far greater risk than originally perceived - thus one could blame poor judgement on these accidents.

Heart attacks account for a fair share as do lightning strikes. Bee stings cause far more deaths than animal attacks, which are incredibly rare.

Mountain House Chili Mac also inflicts a large number of casualties every year.


Edited by dirk9827 on 05/09/2013 19:08:04 MDT.

Sarah Kirkconnell
(sarbar) - F

Locale: In the shadow of Mt. Rainier
Re: Re: Backpacking health risks on 05/09/2013 22:49:13 MDT Print View

Yeah, the casualties are the tentmates of the eaters of that ;-)

Jay Wilkerson
(Creachen) - MLife

Locale: East Bay
Backpacking Health Risks? on 05/09/2013 23:10:08 MDT Print View

Driving to the Trail-Head is always a big health risk on mountain roads!

Edited by Creachen on 05/10/2013 08:59:51 MDT.

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Backpacking Health Risks? on 05/09/2013 23:38:46 MDT Print View

"Driving to the Trail-Head is always a big risk on mountain roads!"

Jay, that looks almost like California Highway 108 west of Sonora Pass.


Buck Nelson
(Colter) - MLife

Locale: Alaska
One of the best links for backcountry deaths on 05/10/2013 04:52:02 MDT Print View

Natural Causes

Those seem to be the big ones, in order. I'm calling the "lost" fatalities hypothermia. Being lost itself doesn't hurt you.

Leigh Baker

Locale: Northeast Texas Pineywoods
stats on bc deaths on 05/10/2013 05:17:23 MDT Print View

Thanks for posting that....I think :-)
Actually falls are one of my biggest fears, especially on solo trips. As a child I was fearless of heights, but over the past decade I've become the opposite. I think that fear makes it more dangerous than it would otherwise actually be.

Jim W.
(jimqpublic) - MLife

Locale: So-Cal
Water is #1 Backpacking Health Risk on 05/10/2013 11:40:04 MDT Print View

I say "Water" is the #1 cause of death:
Falls: Being swept over a waterfall or slipping on wet rock.
Hypothermia: From being wet due to falling in cold water or cold rain.
Drowning. Of course water is usually involved.
Dehydration (lack of water)
Avalanches (frozen water)

Also non-fatal health risks:
Waterborne parasites (Giardia, etc)
Burns (hot water)

Last week in Yosemite the first person this year fell down Vernal Falls after climbing over the railing. At least there wasn't anyone there to die trying to stop him.

Read up on Search and Rescue reports for plenty of examples.

Edited by jimqpublic on 05/10/2013 11:41:44 MDT.

Steven McAllister
(brooklynkayak) - MLife

Locale: Atlantic North East
Backpacking health risks? on 05/10/2013 14:08:22 MDT Print View

I seem to remeber statistics that stated that lightning was one of the top risks.
I think one year it was the number one killer on the PCT.

I think last year proved that drowning is near the top of the list on the AT.

Michael Gillenwater
(mwgillenwater) - M

Locale: Seattle area
Re: Backpacking health risks? on 05/10/2013 14:33:26 MDT Print View

A fun and simple graphic showing probabilities of dying while hiking relative to other activities. Upshot is that you are twice a likely to die due to a car accident. Although here is food for thought. Skydiving is 16 times safer than hiking.

Of course take these stats with a grain of salt. Its an info graphic, not a rigorous study.

Jim W.
(jimqpublic) - MLife

Locale: So-Cal
How to lie with statistics. on 05/10/2013 15:02:00 MDT Print View

Smoking is 75% likely to shorten a person's natural lifespan (I made that up). Playing Russian Roulette 1 time is 17% likely to shorten a person's lifespan (1:6 odds). Would you rather play one round of Russian Roulette or smoke one cigarette?

Most hikers drive way more than they hike, and most skydivers probably don't do it too often.

Statistics in the news are usually misused. Remember- 87.372% of all statistics are made up on the spot.

Edited by jimqpublic on 05/10/2013 15:03:07 MDT.

Travis Leanna
(T.L.) - MLife

Locale: Wisconsin
Re: How to lie with statistics. on 05/10/2013 15:18:46 MDT Print View

45% of Jim W's posts are misleading.

Doug I.
(idester) - MLife

Locale: PNW
Re: Re: How to lie with statistics. on 05/10/2013 15:23:52 MDT Print View

Statistician's Blues:

Edited by idester on 05/10/2013 15:24:45 MDT.

Bob Bankhead
(wandering_bob) - MLife

Locale: Oregon, USA
How to lie with statistics. on 05/10/2013 16:16:40 MDT Print View

There is actually a book on that exact subject. It was part of my statistics library for many years.

If you let a good statistician pick his classes, he can prove that black is white.


Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Cut it out, guys on 05/10/2013 16:28:29 MDT Print View

You're scarin' the sh!t out of me. I'm thinking of canceling all my trips and taking up backgammon. :(