View topic - Added safety precautions when going solo?

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PostPosted: March 18th, 2013, 8:46 pm 
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Location: Montreal, QC
I'll start us off with this glorious new forum.

What kind of added safety precautions do you guys take when travelling solo?

Personally the only difference I take is that my timeline and route are well documented and disseminated to family/friends and I don't stray far from where I say I'll be. I also tread a little more carefully on portages, but that's about the only changes that being alone in the wilderness puts on me.

I'm curious as to what kind of safety precautions you guys take, whether it be sat phones, SPOT units, bear spray or just a couple extra meals worth of food when travelling alone.


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PostPosted: March 18th, 2013, 9:58 pm 
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Joined: June 23rd, 2006, 4:25 pm
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Location: Milton
I always take some extra food, usually some freeze dried stuff, for 2 days.
fishing line, hooks and flies.
Bear spray,
Bear bangers,
flare pistol,
2 tarps, one for camp larger and another small nylon one 6' X 8' for day hikes paddling.
Same as the trip documentation, and if I am on one of my hikes, and note in the tent.
And on the water, always a PFD, I have fallen in more than once.
No spot or sat phone or spot .. yet,
But since my preferred time is shoulder season, I carry a little more gear to stay warm and dry.
Jeff

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PostPosted: March 18th, 2013, 10:13 pm 
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Location: Toronto, Ontario Canada
Extra "extra smokes" :lol:

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PostPosted: March 19th, 2013, 12:25 am 
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Joined: February 19th, 2004, 9:53 pm
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Location: Atlanta
I guess my attitude for canoeing has been that I take the same stuff whether I am solo or with a group.

I've also done miles of river and creek exploration where I've been wading, swimming, and clambering. I can't take much gear at all, so I confine such efforts to months when the night time temperature is survivable.

Oh, and I always carry a saw in case I have to cut my arm off.


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PostPosted: March 19th, 2013, 6:29 am 
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Location: Rattlesnake Pond ME
I carry a PLB when solo and usually a SPOT for reassurance of family back home. I go at my own pace on portages, being careful not to twist an ankle. No need to impress anyone. The object is to finish upright.

I NEVER daytrip when solo without the full complement of camping gear needed in shoulder season. I have seen people get in trouble with hypothermia when getting winded and soaked away from their solo camp and they cannot make it back to that camp.

I don't carry much bear avoidance gear. I have seen bears on many trips and at home and all were busy being bear and grubbing or berrying or fishing.


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PostPosted: March 19th, 2013, 6:41 am 
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Location: Geraldton, Ontario Can
Haaa haaa, I'm with recep........extra, extra smokes...the booze I lighten up on because i don't have to share....girlfriend makes me take Sat phone, that's about it. Oh ya, and on solo's lately I have been leaving the chainsaw at home, starting to slow down a bit.


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PostPosted: March 19th, 2013, 7:26 am 
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Location: Ontario
I don't change my gear all that much. Different, lighter tent, extra novel for windbound days, 2 compasses and 2 watches, instead of one of each.

The biggest difference is attitude - I am much more cautious when I'm alone - I'll make an extra carry trip instead of trying to do one so I have less chance of turning an ankle etc., and I almost always carry around swifts, even ones that I would pretty much always run if I weren't alone. And i paddle shorter days, so I am well set up in a good spot long before dark.

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PostPosted: March 19th, 2013, 8:26 am 
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Joined: June 25th, 2004, 9:42 pm
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Location: Calgary, AB or wherever life takes me
For me, the planning and gear is the same as when going tandem. Maybe an extra book due to lack of conversation (other than talking to myself, of course). My wife is starting to talk more and more about some sort of communication device like a SPOT or sat phone, we'll see.

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PostPosted: March 19th, 2013, 4:27 pm 
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Joined: November 2nd, 2008, 11:15 pm
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Location: Collingwood Ontario
I carry a Spot to reassure my family, although every time I wander off route they get anxious about why I am doing it. A SAT phone would probably be better but more expensive. Extra knife, compass, map, paddle. I tie my boat down more carefully at night or if I leave it during the day, since if it blows away I'm in trouble. I carry a bear banger since on my first solo I noticed I was anxious on the trails and at night. On a trip last year I lost it on day 1 and found that I no longer need the security blanket.

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PostPosted: March 20th, 2013, 7:32 am 
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Location: Lethbridge, Alberta Canada
Take the same stuff too but because I do solo I got an InReach (like the spot except 2way comms). It comes with me all the time too now. Bear bangers and spray as well if in the mountains or north.
Also more cautious with the PFD, carries, etc. Just move a little slower to avoid turning an ankle and that sort of thing


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PostPosted: March 20th, 2013, 10:50 am 
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i carry my usual survival kit carefull to ALWAYS have it with me. it includes dog spray,first aid,compass and a spot.as was said, i am constantly aware that no help is near and am cautious. that becomes a mindset. hearing from some farmiliar people already. thanks for the forum.
turtle


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PostPosted: March 20th, 2013, 5:26 pm 
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Like Turtle, when solo I ensure I always have my ditch kit on my person (fanny pack), otherwise I pack the same for solo as tandem/group. The big difference for me is in time allocation and risk management.

With no potential for concurrent activity, when solo, everything (cooking, tenting, navigation, etc) just takes longer to accomplish, and unless I mentally gear down for that it's easy to get frustrated.

I will scout rapids/bends from shore that I would not if I were tandem sometimes, depending on load, water levels, amount of wood in the water, etc. Just far more careful and deliberate.

One of things I find the hardest to do when solo is to accurately assess my fatigue level; its easy to become careless with footing, flames, riffles, etc when overly tired.

I lit both my hands, chest and one leg on fire by overpumping an old single burner stove one time while solo. I was too tired to notice that it was spewing a mist of fuel all over me before I lit the match. Solo in the backcountry with burned hands would suck very hard, but I managed to get through it with not much more than a very good scare. 2 good lessons came from it though, pay attention to how tired I am, and switch to a Trangia stove.

All of that is one of the plusses of solo though I think. Learning and becoming comfortable with relying only on yourself to meet any challenges.

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PostPosted: March 20th, 2013, 6:28 pm 
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My Small Forest Axe comes into the tent with me at night. No point in leaving it outside. Peace of mind goes a long way when it comes to a good night's sleep.

I bring an extra headlamp, which I keep in my pocket when hiking around at night. If the first one dies & you're back in the woods...good luck. Also, I sometimes leave a 'breadcrumb trail' of gear with reflective tape on it, usually my camera case, when I hike back into the woods to drop off my food barrel. Getting turned around in the woods at night is not very much fun. This way I can easily find my way back to camp.

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PostPosted: March 20th, 2013, 6:37 pm 
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Quote:
I sometimes leave a 'breadcrumb trail' of gear with reflective tape on it, usually my camera case, when I hike back into the woods to drop off my food barrel. Getting turned around in the woods at night is not very much fun. This way I can easily find my way back to camp.

That's a good point - in my case, losing my orientation during a night trip into the bush, that would not be the first time.... :roll:

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PostPosted: March 20th, 2013, 7:52 pm 
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Erhard wrote:
Quote:
I sometimes leave a 'breadcrumb trail' of gear with reflective tape on it, usually my camera case, when I hike back into the woods to drop off my food barrel. Getting turned around in the woods at night is not very much fun. This way I can easily find my way back to camp.

That's a good point - in my case, losing my orientation during a night trip into the bush, that would not be the first time.... :roll:



Yeah...I got real tired of that & bought one of these:


Image

It just points ya right back to camp & tells ya how far away you are.... 8)

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In the Spring, I have counted 136 different kinds of weather inside of 24 hours.
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