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Thursday, December 31, 2009

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How to Pack a Backpack

How to Pack a Backpack
There really is not a correct way to pack a backpack. However, if you are going to be hiking off-trail, over rough terrain or on snow there are a few tips that can prevent a lot of problems.
  • As a general rule you might want to pack heavier items a little lower in your bag to bring down your center of gravity. This can help prevent falls from an unbalanced pack.
  • Sleeping bag. Most hiking packs have an area at the bottom of the bag for your sleeping bag. It’s a good idea to keep your sleeping bag separated from heavier gear because compressing some bags can cause damage resulting in warmth.
  • Clothes Next. Just make sure you have a few items that can be easily accessed if the weather changes. Hat, gloves, and rain gear should be stashed in an outside pocket where you can grab them if things get rough.
  • Shelter – Some bags have enough room in the sleeping bag compartment to stash a small tent or tarp. If your pack has a separate compartment try to stuff your tent under the sleeping bag. The last thing you want to do in a rainstorm is unpack your whole bag just to get to your tent. Tent poles can be strapped to the outside of the bag. (Tip – Some tents or tarp systems can be made to work with your walking sticks, thus freeing up space)
  • Food – Store in spill proof waterproof materials. Can be placed throughout the bag
  • Cooking Fuels – Store any fuel upright and as far away as possible from your food. If you have pockets outside your bag this would be a good place for fuel.
  • Personal Items – Outside pockets are great for things like rain gear, water filters, water bottles, snacks,sunscreen, insect repellant, and your camera.

Treating Hypothermia

Hypothermia happens when the bodies core temperature lowers to the point where normal functions are impaired. Although most people think of hypothermia as something that only happens in the winter, it is actually very common among people hiking throughout the year.  A sudden change in weather is all it takes for someone to fall victim to hypothermia.
Stages of Hypothermia:
Stages Signs
Mild
  • Shivering
  • Unable to perform tasks with hands
  • Hands become numb
Moderate
  • Uncontrollable Shivering
  • Mental changes – confusion
  • Muscles impaired
  • Breathing becomes labored
Severe
  • Shivering stops
  • Skin Blue
  • Unable to walk
  • Muscles rigid incoherent
  • Irrational behavior
  • semiconscious
  • pulse and breathing decreases

Treating Hypothermia:

  • Reduce heat loss – Remove from wind and cold remove wet clothes provide shelter
  • Food & Water – It is essential to keep a hypo person adequately hydrated
  • Heat – Dry clothing sleeping bag chemical heat packs or hot water bottles
  • Activity – increase physical activity jumping jacks running in place pushups or in sleeping bags moving arms and legs
  • Urination – a full bladder is a place for heat loss frequent Urination can help keep in the heat.

Food Storage Tip - Using Mylar Bags


If you're working on building up a food storage one of the things you need to be thinking about is how to make the foods your storing last the longest while sitting in the pantry. Rice, beans, sugar, pasta, and anything else you store is going to last only so long in it's original packaging. You need to have a way to store these foods so that they will last longer and there are a couple different ways to do this.

One way is to vacuum seal them. I've talked about the importance of a vacuum sealer in a previous post, so here I'd like to discuss a different method. Using mylar bags to store food in might be one of the most popular ways to increase the shelf life of items in your food storage. You can store just about anything in mylar bags from rice to sugar to your dehydrated vegetables. Mylar is widely used in the food storage crowd because it reduces the light that can enter, doesn't absorb moisture or oxygen, and doesn't absorb smells.

Mylar bags can be purchased in a variety of sizes, from bags that will line a 5 gallon bucket to smaller bags that would fit in a #10 can. Mylar bags are usually used in conjunction with oxygen absorbers. You fill the bag with your food storage item (rice, beans, sugar, wheat) add in the right size oxygen absorber for the bag size that you have, and then seal the bag. Overnight the oxygen absorbers will create a vacuum inside the bag that will prohibit bacteria and parasites from growing and ruining the food.

Here is a chart that's posted on USAEmergencySupply.com that shows how many oxygen absorbers and what size to use with what size mylar bag you are using and also based on what you're storing.


Container Type

Wheat/Flour/Grains/Rice
(More Dense/Less Air)
Pasta/Beans
(Less Dense/More Air)
Mylar Food Storage Bag 20in. x 30in. (5 and 6 gallon)

100cc: 10-20
500cc: 2-4
100cc: 20-40
500cc: 4-8
Mylar Food Storage Bag with Ziplock 18in. x 28in. (5 and 6 gallon)

100cc: 10-20
500cc: 2-4
100cc: 20-40
500cc: 4-8
Mylar Food Storage Bag 12.5in. x 18in. (1.5 gallon)

100cc: 5
500cc: 1
100cc: 5-10
500cc: 1-2
Mylar Food Storage Bag 10in. x 14in. (1 gallon)

100cc: 4
500cc: 1
100cc: 4
500cc: 1
Mylar Food Storage Bag with Ziplock 8in. x 12in. (1/2 gallon)

100cc: 2-4
500cc: 1
100cc: 2-4
500cc: 1
Mylar Food Storage Bag with Ziplock 11in. x 16.2in x 5.75in. (1.25 gallon)

100cc: 5
500cc: 1
100cc: 5
500cc: 1

Note, these are average amounts. You may need more or less depending on your individual conditions and the remaining residual volume of air. There is no danger in adding too many.

Oxygen represents 20% of the total volume of air and the number in cc's above represents the amount of oxygen that would be absorbed.

Conversions: 1cc = 1ml. 1000ml = 1 Liter. 3.78 Liters = 1 gallon.

Sealing the mylar bags after you've put in your food and oxygen absorbers requires heat. You can purchase expensive mylar bag sealers or you can improvise and seal the bag with what you might already have around the house. You can use a regular hair straightener to seal the mylar bags, and you can also use your standard iron. Using the hair straightener to seal the bags is pretty straightforward, just clamp it down to create the seal. When using an iron you will need a surface and an aluminum level works great, just as the man shows in the video below.

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