It’s the #1 rule. Come back alive. But every year, totally capable and experienced people don’t make it back. I’ll provide the most common injuries, show you how to avoid them and treat them if they occur so you can make it home to your family.
“We were on what we thought was a casual 5 day backpacking trip in the snake river canyon. It quickly got scary on day 2 as we ran out of water in 100+ degree weather. There were a number of mistakes we made in retrospect that could have been easily avoided.”
I will never forget that trip and have not made the same mistake again!
Follow the article to the end to see the 5 biggest quick takeaways from this article and to………..
Grab a water purifying kit here for about the price of a few cups of coffee.
People get in trouble and die every year while outdoors. This may seem pretty far out there and something that won’t happen to you. But I’m here to tell you, as someone who has spent years in the wilderness, it can get really bad really quickly.
I want to cover the basics so you are aware of common risks while outdoors and discuss how you can survive if something crazy happens.
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The 7 Most Common Wilderness Injuries
1. Falling and Drowning
It has been noted by numerous sources that Falling and Drowning are the most common mistakes that lead to death in the wilderness. I’ve been in situations where I was closer than I wanted to be to death. And it happens really fast!
“Many years on the river and many canyon hikes have put me in some crazy situations.”
The best thing you can do to avoid these problems is to have the proper gear and be well rested for your journey. It is also important to have a well stocked survival kit. Add extra items like Duct tape to your kit if you don’t have it already.
This link discusses how to save yourself from drowning. One big tip on crossing streams: use a wading stick or trekking pole to stabilize yourself.
Tip: Always look at the weather forecast and know about potential flash floods and other associated risks.
2. Sprains, Strains and Fractures
What is your plan if you sprain your ankle and can’t walk on a trip? What if you break a bone and can’t get out?
This link discusses tips to treat fractures while outdoors. In many situations you will want to immobilize the fracture as you find a way to seek help. What if you break a leg and are on your own? Do you have a plan?
Tip: Letting someone know where you are going beforehand is the most important thing you can do. Do you do this now regulary?
3. Hypothermia, Heatstroke and Dehydration
All of these risks are also very common outdoors and the scary thing is that most of things come upon you very rapidly. So what can you do to avoid these 3 killers?
Having the right gear and a survival kit is always important outdoors. This article discusses some tips to avoid and treat hypothermia in the wilderness.
Tip: In order to avoid heatstroke and dehydration, drink water regularly even when you’re not thirsty. A hydration bladder comes in handy in these situations. You should be drinking at least 3-5 liters per day.
4. Getting Lost
It can be pretty easy to get turned around when in the wilderness. When you add poor weather or an injury to the situation in can be life threatening.
This article discusses a few tips to avoid getting lost while on a hike.
Tip: Always bring a map and let someone know where you are going and when they should expect you back. It only takes a minute and might save your life.
This is another common risk that can put you in a very bad situation. Like most of the other risks, proper gear is king.
This article gives you a couple of tips to avoid this risk.
Tip: If you do get diarrhea, the most important thing you can do is replace the lost liquids. So drink lots of water, broth, etc. Bring a water filtration kit or purifying tablets even on a short hike to avoid getting it in the first place.
6. Cuts, wounds and head injuries
Early in my life I made a mistake I would not make again. I wore a pair of boots that weren’t broken in properly and I had the worst blisters of my life. Mole skins helped but it was an easy mistake I could have avoided.
Backpacker walks you through some quick tips here. For any wound, the first thing you need to do is stop the bleeding. Sometime a bandaid is all it takes?
Tip: Have a good first aid kit that includes extra’s for the wilderness like mole skins and duct tape.
7. Snakes, Insects and Other Wildlife
“I looked up from my journal as I was standing on the deserted gravel road and the cougar was staring directly at me. 30 meters away, he was frozen like a statue. He didn’t move a muscle for the next 5 minutes. My next move would be critical.
I’ve been around lots of poisonous snakes and have had my fair share of encounters with Bears and cougars. What have I done to minimize my risk? Make noise, give the animals room and expect you’ll run into them in the first place. That is what I did and it’s saved my life more than once.
This article reinforces some common tips to deal with wildlife.
Tip: If you run into dangerous wildlife, give them room. Don’t panic but let them know you are not threatening them.
My big takeaways
If you don’t remember anything else today just take away these 5:
- Make a plan and tell someone where you are going
- Stay hydrated and drink regularly even when not thirsty
- Put together a wilderness survival kit (even basic is good)
- Verify that you have all of the required gear (make a list)
- Learn basic first aid and practice it
I wanted to leave you with one big actionable item and a link that will help you get started. Your action task is to do one thing today to prepare and minimize your risk outdoors.
Do one thing today to prepare and minimize your risk outdoors
Maybe that’s a survival class or getting a new survival kit. Do one thing today. It could save your life.
This link provides a very basic survival and water purifying kit that can get you started if you don’t have anything.
The price has been reduced today to help you get started.
It includes a collapsible bottle and purifying tablets. Along with fire starter and a very basic first aid kit. All included in a nice little bag.
I find that the bottle and purifying tablets don’t take up any room and are a nice backup in case I forget my filter.
Here are a few of the resources we mentioned in this article and a few extras.
How to treat hypothermai: https://www.trails.com/how_9360_survive-hypothermia-wilderness.html
How to avoid getting lost:
Avoid getting lost:
How to treat diarrhea outdoors
How to treat wounds in the wilderness
Dealing with wild animals
Treating broken bones
4 common wilderness injuries
How to treat common backcountry injuries
Water purifying and first aid kit