One of the great things about RVing is that you are so mobile. If you are in a warm climate and would like a little cold weather action you can be there in a couple of days. Now I realize that many people head south when the winter chill takes hold, especially with some of the crazy cold weather some parts of the country are experiencing, but for those of you who like a little adventure, the winter weather beckons. Before you head out to hit the trail or any other winter weather outdoor activities, you do need to take a few extra precautions. Stow this gear in your backpack before you head out – just in case.Flashlight and Extra Batteries
Winter days yield a lot less light. Darkness can creep up on you quickly, especially in stormy conditions. Carry a good flashlight with an extra battery. I also advocate carrying a small light, like a bike light, just as a backup. When you look for a hiking flashlight, you want one that puts out at least 300 lumens, the more the better. Adjustable is good too because it then it can have a variety of uses, such as a reading light at a lower lumen output. A power source like lithium ion batteries will give you more life than regular batteries, but it doesn’t hurt to stash a backup.
Thermal Emergency Blanket
I always carried a Space Blanket with me when I hiked in Montana. It isn’t for regular use, but is good in an emergency so stash one or two in your backpack. Thermal Emergency Blankets have several uses including: blanket, tarp, shelter, and ground cover. They are great if you get in a bind. They might not keep you toasty warm like you would be at home, but they can keep you from freezing to death.
If you get stranded on the trail you are going to need to make a fire. It will keep you warm and deter any curious critters that may decide you’d make a nice dinner. You can make your own fire kit or purchase one. It just depends on what you want. Mine has tinder, a couple of disposable lighters, a char cloth, a sparking rod and some other items. To me, this is a personal preference. Of course, things can happen so you want to brush up on how to start a fire without matches and more fire starting methods as well so you can be fully prepared.
Whatever you do, don’t hit the trail without a good multitool. Most aren’t that expensive and they can be a lifesaver. If you aren’t sure what I am talking about, they are sort of like Swiss Army pliers. They have screwdrivers, knives, scissors, files, a ton of useful tools. This is definitely something you want to have in your backpack at all times!
The weather can change in a moment when you are on the trail. I have been in those situations – once I was within about 500 yards of the summit of a mountain. It was a clear, sunny July day. As I approached I saw clouds roll in. I pressed on because I really wanted to make that summit. I did, but I found myself surrounded by a sudden darkness. A snow storm. It got dark and windy, and started to snow. I had just started back down when it started to hail. It was about 1 pm but it was like dusk. I couldn’t really see and with the snow coming down so hard I started to get a little turned around. Why am I telling you this? Because a good, old fashioned compass should be in every hiker’s backpack. I would suggest taking some time to learn how to use it and practice with it before you take it on the trail with you.
So, what’s in your backpack?