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Thursday, August 5, 2010

Hiking Tips: Blister Management

Blisters and Duct Tape
Image by argylejargon via Flickr
A blister while backpacking or hiking can ruin your whole day. So, take precautions first. Here are some tips for managing blisters.
1. Make sure your footwear fits properly and is broken in before embarking on a hiking or backpacking trip of any length. One of the main causes of blisters is boots or shoes that are not properly broken in.
2. Wear the right sock combination. Next to your skin, wear polypropelene liner socks (or other socks with wicking properties) and a pair of thicker socks to cushion your feet. The liner socks will keep your skin dry by wicking away sweat. Also, the friction will take place between the two pairs of socks and not between a pair of socks and your tender skin.
3. The minute you feel a hot spot, stop and do something about it. Don’t wait until it turns into a blister. Cover the spot generously with duct tape, moleskin or 2nd Skin.
4. Apply the protectors mentioned in number 3 to areas of your feet where you know you are prone to getting blisters even before you start hiking.
5. Puncture and drain a developed blister at the base with a sterilized knife blade, razor blade or needle. Apply anitbacterial ointment and cover the area with moleskin, 2nd Skin or duct tape.
6. If the pain persists, consider surrounding the affected area with a doughnut of Molefoam or duct tape to keep your sock away from the blister and provide added protection.
Hike healthy. Hike Happy.
by Richard Davidian, Ph.D.

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How can I convince you?

Over and over again, preparedness minded people ask the question, “How can I convince family members and loved ones that they need to be prepared for emergencies or something worse?”  These four strategies are ones that I have used with skeptics and those who have never given preparedness a thought.
communication How can I convince you?image by Ed Yourdon
1. Bring up the subject of insurance and talk about preparedness as a form of insurance. It can’t be canceled and the rates never go up.  Ask skeptics what types of insurance they have and how often they’ve had to use it.  If they’re like most people, they spend thousands of dollars on insurance each year and rarely have a major claim.  Why are insurance premiums an acceptable expense but preparedness foolish?
2. When the subject of the economy comes up, tell them about people you know who stocked up on food and supplies, paid off their debt, paid ahead on their utilities and were able to survive through a time of unemployment without losing their homes. We had to do that one month, so you can refer to me if you need to.  What if some of those families had been stocking up on extra food and supplies, had paid off debt, had pre-paid some of their expenses ahead of time, had eliminated extra expenses, all before an income crisis hit?  A loss of income is the Number One Emergency that every individual and family and family should be prepared for.
3. Natural disasters and severe weather cause all sorts of problems, and those who prepare in advance and think through the scenarios, what they will need, the decisions they’ll need to make are much better off than those who do not.  Everyone remembers Hurricane Katrina and those that were left homeless and helpless.  Most of us abhor the idea of being reliant on others, especially government officials.  For many people, preparing for an emergency is their first step toward preparedness.  Once they begin thinking, “What if…”, it’s a short journey to realizing the need to become for events that are even more possible.
not listening How can I convince you?image by iwona_kellie
4. Give up. In fact, if you talk TOO much about the whole idea, all you’re doing is planting more seeds in their minds about coming to your house when a disaster does strike. If you can buy enough of everything to support them, great. If not, there’s no point in going on and on about what you’re doing. Just be ready to say, “Sorry, we barely have enough for ourselves.”
And now for a few don’ts.
DON’T talk in Prepper.  TSHF, TEOTWAWKI, and the like will only make your views stranger to the skeptic and novice.
DON’T get defensive.  Instead, try to find out what is behind their skepticism and, sometimes, outright anger.  They may be far more fearful of the future than you realize and turn their emotions on anyone who voices their fears aloud.
DON’T let differences of opinions and beliefs ruin a relationship.  Your loved one may be watching you more closely than you realize, and any seeds you’ve planted in their minds may eventually sprout.
DON”T feel you must also prepare for everyone in your family circle, especially if you don’t have the means to do so.
DON’T become so obsessed with preparedness that you forget that life is still beautiful.
© 2010, thesurvivalmom. All rights reserved.
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Top 10 Tips For Emergency Preparedness on a Budget

As you may recall, we did a series of food storage classes around our local area this spring. We found one of the questions that came up in every session was how do you get started with food storage on a limited budget. Well, the other day I noticed a scrap of paper in my grass so I went to pick it up and throw it away. I glanced at it and saw that it was a newsletter put out by a local church in my area, but not even mine … and in big bold letters it said “Top 10 List for Preparedness on a Budget”. As soon as I read it I knew I had to share it with all of our readers. So here it is!

This list was put out by BeReadyUtah.gov but we have included our own links and comments in italics along with it.

Plan for the types of disasters that can happen in the area where you live. You may need to plan for a snowstorm instead of a hurricane.

There is no need to purchase preparedness items for disasters that are very unlikely to happen in your area. Check this post to find out the common disasters that occur in your area as a starting point.

Create your own personalized list. You may not need everything include in “ready made” kits and there may be additional items you need based on your personal situation. For example, if you have pets, you may need special items. Don’t forget to have supplies in your car and at work.

Another special circumstance is if you have small children or babies. You will need to plan differently. Check out our ideas on disaster kits for toddlers/babies.

Budget emergency preparedness items as a “normal” expense. Even $20.00 a month can go a long way to helping you be ready. Buy one preparedness item each time you go to the grocery store.

You may find that you working on your food storage can actually end up SAVING you money. Read our post about food storage and money savings to see how!

Save by shopping sales. Make use of coupons and shop at stores with used goods. Don’t replace your ready kit items annually, just replace and cycle through those items that have a shelf life (e.g. batteries, food). You may want to test the radio and flashlight every September to make sure they are in good working order.

Use a service like Deals to Meals to help you save money on your groceries so you can buy even more food storage!

Store water in safe containers. You don’t have to buy more expensive bottled water, but make sure any containers you use for water storage are safe and disinfected.

One of the most cost-effective storage containers (besides “free” juice and pop bottles) are the water storage boxes. Read our review about the ones from Emergency Essentials.

Request preparedness items as gifts. We all receive gifts we don’t need or use. What if your friends and family members gave you gifts that could save your life? Don’t forget to protect them by sending preparedness gifts their way too.

Julie’s mom gave her and her sisters the ultimate food storage gift a few years ago … WONDERMILLS for them all! Check out the picture of the happy threesome :)

Think ahead. You are more likely to save money if you can take your time with focused and strategic shopping. It’s when everyone is at the store right before the storm hits that prices are going to be higher. Use a list to avoid duplicating items when you are stressed or panicked.

Our Emergency Preparedness Plan can get you started with a basic list of items you may want to include in your emergency prepping.

Review your insurance policy annually and make necessary changes. When a disaster strikes, you want to know that your coverage will help you get back on your feet. Renters need policies too, in order to cover personal property.

Recently Julie was offered earthquake insurance in addition to her regular homeowner’s policy. She asked if it was worth it on our facebook page and discovered that it was actually a fantastic deal and she bought it right away. Find out what limitations or additions your policy has or you might want to include.

Update contact records. Have an accurate phone list of emergency contact numbers. If you are prepared, you may be able to help friends and neighbors who need assistance. By sharing preparedness supplies, you can help each other.

This is great to include in your emergency binder and also to print out and stick on your fridge.

Trade one night out to fund your 72-hour kit. Taking a family of four to the movies can cost upwards of $80-$100. Just one night of sacrifice could fund a 72-hour ready kit.

This can apply to many things. If you are already on a tight budget you are probably not spending that much on entertainment. But there is always something you can trade or cut in your budget to add a little to your preps. Even if you have to do it gradually.

p.s. If you have any more ideas that have worked for your family please share them in the comments. If we get enough ideas we will add them to this list and make a follow-up post with a hand-out!