Basic Ice Tools

Other then Trekking poles and walking sticks the only other tools of forward motion I will occasionally use is ice tools.

Without making too much out of it, they simply consist of a walking (standard) axe and a good set of crampons.

A Smaller "second" Ice Axe might be carried if the rock features are steep but is usually not required.

Both are useful for self arrest.

Safe Travels


Hey! I'm over here!

Signals are so very important to the wilderness traveler yet it seems these tools are the most ignored and forgotten tools.

It's great if you are so at home in wild places that you could make a shelter and kick back for awhile but what if you wanted out, NEEDED OUT!

These tools will help you say HELP!

This is a STORM whistle, It's VERY loud.

Navy S.E.A.L. teams training under water are called back to the surface by their instructors with this whistle.

Much louder then the human voice and easier on the vocal cords, it is about a kazillion dbs.
The first time I ever blew one of these things my dog ran away with his tail tucked low.

I miss that dog.

Flash Mirrors have been around forever and work wonders at extreme range. The flash from a heliograph (mirror) can be seen a hundred miles away by aircraft.

The mirror on the left is from WWII and is made of glass.
The smaller mirror is circa Vietnam and is also made of glass.

Both do a great job but are fragile.

This reflector is made of Polycarbonate and is practically indestructible.
The reverse side is Red for use at night with a light source (flashlight)

If you really need to attract some attention you might use a "FIRE FLY" strobe. This piece of military kit was carried by downed pilots and Ranger teams seeking extraction.
The output of these little lights is dazzling and can be seen for many miles. They are weather/sea water proof and once activated will run for about two days before giving up the (your) ghost.

I have a few of these units and will provide them to group members when we risk separation.

Aerial signal flares..........Wow how illuminating.

Flares like these are suitable for boaters and open areas, be sure they are rated for "over land" use. We don't want to burn the forest down.

Although that WILL get you noticed.

My favorite flare kit is the TRU-FLARE pen style signal. With an altitude of 300 ft and guaranteed to come down cold, it has everything I look for in a pyrotechnic signal devise.


The military style smoke signal has been used to identify ground troops as in the movie Apocalypse Now. But is also used by forest fire fighters and rescue crews.

High volume output make these babies THE day time attractant but they are expensive and a fire hazard to under brush.

Last on my list is DYE MARKER. A harmless chemical compound with one interesting distinction. If you mix it with water it turns an annoying "antifreeze" green color.

Just a little bit goes a long way.

Try not to get it on your hands or you'll be going to the next Halloween party as the Grinch!

Dye marker is not just for water.............

............broadcast some over the snow and you'll stick out


Safe Travels



OUCH !.....That Hurts


Only a dope would venture beyond medical help and not take a first aid kit with him. Remember, a cut or burn at home is an inconvenience but in the bush it could lead to a serious problem.

Over the counter kits are okay if that's your only choice but I very much prefer to assemble them myself.

Nobody knows what I need more then I do!

Pack what you think you'll need based on the terrain and weather and remember to include individual "special" requirements members of the group might have.

For example I carry Mydol and Nitro spray depending on who might be hiking with me.

This is my standard kit, It has everything I might need to handle "basic" medical incidents.
Change the contents every year to ensure your supplies are fresh and bags are still water tight.

This small kit slips into my hydration pack.

Just for cleaning and dressing simple cuts, scrapes. It also has some antihistamine for allergies or insect sting.

I don't ask too much of it, if the possibility for more supplies is ever suspected I move up to the larger kit and don't mess around.

For vehicles or base camp where weight and size are not issues but numbers of patients are, I use a rather larger kit.

This is a military "Butt" bag. It is a handy sized carrier for all that large stuff you just can't put into a backpack.
It also has room for the numerous "single use" items like rolls of tape and bandages that you'll hopefully have enough of in stock.

Man if it ain't in here I don't want to have to deal with it. Short of gun shot wounds and radiation burns you can pretty much get what you need out of this bag of magic tricks.
Meds, Scalpels, Tourniquets, Gauze, Packing, Anti-biotic, gels, creams, powders and pills.
Hemostats, cauterizing device, skin stapler (and puller) suture material, thermometer, some Q-tips, sting/bite kit and a partridge in a pear tree. All sterile and wrapped to keep it that way.

The outside of the kit sports a window that I have slid an alert card into, it contains:

Names, ages and address of everyone in the hiking party as well as medical information and special allergies and blood type. This card could be used by rescue members to speed treatment and pass on to helicopter medivac crews or hospital staff.

Emergency contact numbers are on the reverse side.

Last but not least, know how to use the kits you carry, study and practice. Some great reading.

Safe Travels