Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
resqman

Where does Be Prepared end and Overkill begin?

Recommended Posts

well SP, one could ask why you would not follow the buddy system while hiking? Hikers should never split up and hike alone. Being prepared, you would have a buddy at all times.

 

I agree that flashlights are something for each hiker, even though they only need to be used in the tent, but the need for pocket knives in Philmont are very limited, basically cutting up food and rope. 3 knives per crew is more then enough.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

"Pocketknives out in the wilderness lend to a degree of danger, even if the BSA safety measures are taken. If 2 or 3 guys, the crew leader, his assistant and an Adult advisor carry knives, the chance of injury resulting in evacuation and ruining a fun trip are greatly reduced. 2-3 knives are more then enough for whatever the crew may encounter, thus, the Crew is being prepared and the weight is both lightened and evenly distributed."

 

If I remember correctly, you have to be at least 14 to go to Philmont. Hopefully troop leaders would discourage novice scouts from going. While a knife can be dangerous, I think current US culture is running towards a nanny state of affairs too quickly. Knifes are tools and when handled properly are effective. BSA discourages use of belt or sheath knifes. While knifes can cause injury, I am not sure how limiting thier availability is going to teach people how to use them properly and safely.

 

I believe the Boys Scouts are universally known for carrying a pocketknife. In my opinion, a Knife is a personal item and should always be carried. Cooking pots and food are group items. Tents are shared items. When I was at Philmont, we split up the food, cooking pots, tarp, etc. so each member had approximately the same amount of group gear to carry. We started with 30lb packs before group gear. At most we added 10 lbs to each pack with group gear.

 

There are other ways to lighten the load besides leaving equipment behind. Many products are on the market for the Ultralight backpacker. Usually there is a tradeoff between cost and weight. Each of us has to make our own decision about what we need to carry.

 

Flashlights are one I struggle with. I prefer not to use flashlights if at all possible. When others are using flashlights, it disrupts my night vision and I am forced to use a flashlight.

 

At Philmont, we wanted to watch the sun rise from the Tooth of Time. All the available campsites had already been taken and we were not allowed to sleep at the top. We choose instead to sleep that afternoon and hike through the night to reach the summit at day break. We had a clear sky and full moon. Flashlights were only needed occasionally. Had the sky been overcast or a sliver moon, we would have needed them continously.

 

I carry a LED headlamp that uses one AAA battery. Small in size and weight with long battery life. The red LED helps to maintain my night vision, while the white LEDS provide the light I need for more detailed work.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Dug asks why you can't rely on the buddy system instead of expecting everyone to carry arguably necessary equipment.

 

That gets back to the question posed by the title of this thread. What is overkill, and what is not.

 

 

Just today newspapers reported that two people were dead climbing to a 10,000 foot high camp on Mt Rainier. These people had tents, camping gear and rain gear, but apparently became disoriented and fatigued, and were unable to erect a camp in whiteout conditions on the mountain. They apparently tried to set up their tent, but were unsuccesful. They apparently died of hyopthermia while separated from their gear by about 30 feet or so.

 

As I noted in my original post on this question, I carry the gear I figure I might need to survive the worst conditions I can expect to encounter, and carry additional equipment that will leave me reasonably comfortable under the conditions I might reasonably expect to have happen.

 

The buddy system is all very well, but people become separated despite that. People may lose or damage vital gear, in which case redundancy is very valuable.

 

Part of my education involved reading about the death of my brother when he was 15 years old in a snow avalanche in the American Alpine Club's annual "Accidents in North American Mountaineering." I wound up reading the analysis given for several years worth of fatal mountaineering accidents.

 

That left me with a greater respect for the uncertainties and unexpected events that happen to people on backcountry travel than some people posting here seem to have. In 2500 miles or so of backpacking and climbing, I've never regretted the weight of carrying a knife, flashlight, map, compass, first aid kit, sunglasses, sunblock and other such safety related gear.

 

I recall being camped at Mowich Lake on Mt Rainier, and being asked to join a force of 15-20 people needed to pack a woman out of the back country on a stokes litter down several miles of trail, at night. First we had to hike up to where the woman was and then pack her out. Quite an experience. If only a half or a third of your party had flahlights, I suppose only a half or a third would have been prepared to help that person.

 

But ---heck. I'm not really trying to tell people what they ought to take. People leave such equipment behind rather frequently when they are taking trips into the backcountry. I'm merely explaining why I take such things with me all the time.

 

 

 

Seattle Pioneer

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

i understand that the buddy system does not prevent any and all problems, but i think its pretty clear that the buddy system prevents enough problems to warrent it downright essential and part of being prepared.

 

I also understand that many items of equipment come in small/light sizes, for instance the knife that I and my crew leaders are carrying in Philmont is the Leatherman Micra at 3 ounces, however 3 of these ands a regular leatherman are all we will need.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Actually, Dug, while the Scouts dote on the buddy system, lots of other groups traveling in the backcountry don't use it.

 

The Mountaineers in Washington state have hundreds of backcountry trips and climbs per year, and don't have any formal buddy system. Instead, the qualified leader of the trip has the overall responsibility for conducting the outing, and each person is individually responsible to that leader.

 

Personally, I'd consider carrying a flashlight a lot more essential than a buddy system, and far more widely accepted as being essential.

 

 

 

Seattle Pioneer

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

well i gues if you get injured while hiking solo you can always use the pocket knife to amputate so you can attempt to crawl to saftey.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Don't laugh Dug, that's been done.

 

Why get so hung up on the weight of a pocket knife? I've heard of people being so anal about weight that they carry a shortened pencil and just a couple of sheets of paper for a journal. If a person is so worried about a couple of grams then they ought to stay home, or better yet, just lose a couple of pounds off their waste line first.

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

haha i know its been done. Im not really hung up on a pocketknife must be carried or can be left out, however, i think having buddy in any outdoor activity like canoeing, backpacking, mountian climbing, etc is an absolute must and essential to following the BSA motto of being prepared. Not having one is a sure fire invitation for a problem.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well, I really meant to shed a few pounds from their waist line, not waste line. I suppose losing a few from either (or both) would help :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'll be glad to agree with Dug that when I went solo rowwboat cruising or backpacking, it added a degree of additional risk, which I chose to accept.

 

Personally I wouldn't go climbing alone, and in fact I gave up climbing long ago because of the high degree of risk of injury and death.

 

 

Seattle Pioneer

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Weight is not an issue for me, I could gain 30 pounds and still be within the weight limit for Philmont.

 

So for you knife is required ;) guys. What would be the minimum size knife you would require?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Dan: Weight is not an issue for me, I could gain 30 pounds and still be within the weight limit for Philmont.

 

Now you're just bragging! No one likes a smart aleck!!! ;)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

×