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Back-Road 101Before You Go

Preparing Yourself

Your vehicle has to be ready for a day in the woods (there will be a separate article on that), but you have to be ready personally as well. 

What to Wear:

On those really hot days it is tempting to go out in shorts and sandals. This is fine for a Sunday drive, but may not be suitable for a back-road adventure. On the more challenging trails you may be scrambling over dirt mounds, rocks, logs and such. Open sandals just do not provide the traction, support and protection you need. You do not want a foot injury 20k from civilization. In addition you may be pushing through brush to check out a road, or even just to get out of your vehicle on a tight trail. Shorts are cooler, but do not provide much protection.  Temperature can also change quickly when you get into the mountains, especially as evening comes.  At the very least bring pants, good shoes, and a warm jacket with you. 

In rainy weather it is even more vital to dress well.   Be sure to have a waterproof jacket, boots and headgear.  A spare pair of socks is a necessity, and a full change of clothes is recommended.  Also pack a towel and a blanket in case you get wet and chilled. 

In the winter dressing appropriately can be a matter of survival.  Temperatures can plummet fast, and this is the time of year that more people get stranded in the bush than any other time.  Your clothing and jacket have to be up to the task of keeping you alive if your group gets stranded.  Definitely have a full change of clothes. 

What to Bring:

Extra food, water, prescription medications, tylenol, antacids, allergy relief, spare glasses, kleenex, paper towel, tp (biodegradable from a camping supply or pack it out), flashlight, bug spray, sunscreen and sunglasses (don't forget them in winter), and anything else you may need if you get stuck in the wilderness. 

Remember - you are not just preparing for the weather you see outside your window, you are preparing to go to a place where there may not be help available if things go wrong.  Always prepare for the "What If" situations. 

Submitted by Stuart Miller