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SeekerOfTheWay

Girl Talk-Going It Alone: can you solo safely?

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Wow, that's a terrific article. Thanks so much for taking the time to share it. Since opening my own geocaching account a month ago, this is a topic that I have thought a lot about.

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I've done a whole lot of solo hiking in the wilderness, including a whole lot of night hikes.

 

The key to me was always that I needed to be prepared if something happened to me and I couldn't hike out or get help. If no one came across me injured (which no one would at night) then I had to always be prepared to spend the night out there.

 

I always carried a space blanket that is in the shape of a sleeping bag. Not comfortable, but could make the difference between life and death.

I always wore synthetic clothing that stays warm when wet (which is especially important if I used the space blanket because you can sweat in those)

Be very mindful of the ten essentials with thought to an over night possibility. Extra food (lots of good nutrition bars, not junk bars), extra water (enough for over night and the next day) and warm enough clothes to keep me warm if I weren't hiking (a lot of people say they don't need extra clothes because they'll keep moving and stay warm). Also injury can cause the body to not heat itself as well.

Extra batteries for flashlights can be really important too. (flashlights that use the same batteries as your GPS are good in case you need extra batteries in either of them).

 

a good first-aid kit is essential, but won't do you any good if you don't know how to use it. If you're considering hiking alone, I'd recommend the advanced wilderness first aid class by the Red Cross. Every time I've used that first aid training I've been amazed that I was the only one (when with others) who knew how to do it.

 

I've always spent time learning what to do in case of bear/ cougar, etc. attack.

I carry a stun-gun and/or pepper spray. Although the fact is that every time I was in danger (by a man) I acted strong and self-assured and looked them in eye with a look that said, "I've been looking to get out my aggressions today, you volunteering?" and talked with a strong deep voice. I've had a number of men turn around and head the opposite direction when I felt at first they had been threatening.

 

People have often called me nuts for the adventures I've had, but I've always kept a mind to safety and felt like I was doing things as safe as possible.

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Hi Sol seaker, I'm curious as to what first-aid knowledge you've had to use when you're out there? I've just taken a basic First Aid and CPR-A class (will hopefully upgrade to HCRP or wilderness training soon).

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:anibad: I've climbed with many a woman that could kick my BUTT.

 

The best plan is always prepare a TRIP PLAN as to where you are going and expected times. Make DARN sure numerous friends have that information.

 

It's all about safe than sorry. Even as a Male soloist many folks know my Plans and expected times. :unsure:

 

I've even met several women out in the Cascades, we have talked & each has moved on. There was one trip I thought I had the Lake to myself and as I was relaxing with an Ice Cold Beer from the Lake a beautiful young Lady shows up. We talked she asked if she could pitch her tent near by I could not say NO, because it's everyone Lake if willing to hike this far in.

 

She later showed up with Cold beer as an offering and we exchanged Beers. It was an evening of Talk about this, that & laughter. Later she went back to her camp, the next day she showed up wanting to know if I would accompany her on a hike to another lake she wanted to visit.

 

So, by the weekend end we hiked back to our vehicles and I have only seen her at the 'U' once and it was a 'Hi'. So, Yes you can meet regular folks but there are real Crude out there.

 

Be Safe and always make sure everyone knows your plans. Even a sprained ankle can upset your plans.

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Not only in hiking/outdoors - but in everyday life.

 

Read Self Defense books and take Self Defense classes. They do wonders for learning about situational awareness and how to mentally/physically prepare yourself if something would ever occur.

 

If you can't take a self defense class, atleast pickup some self defense books and READ!! That's better than not reading them.

 

You'll find multiple different ways of protecting yourself, none of which I will mention.....but there AT A MINIMUM, every woman should atleast consider taking a self defense class or read self defense books!!

Edited by Lieblweb

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Get your concealed carry license, learn how to use a firearm and practice with it.

 

I know not too many women like weapons but once they become familiar with them your confidence goes out the roof! There is nothing better than the piece of mind knowing you have the ability to defend yourself when you need to. It's not worth risking your life not to. Any woman out in the woods alone is a prime target for male preditors. Don't be a victim.

 

Or, always travel with other people but still, have something to protect yourself.

 

I would NEVER let my wife go out alone in the woods without one but that's just me. ;)

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Girl Talk Going It Alone —Can You Solo Safely? by By Tamia Nelson

 

Good article as a reminder for women.

 

Speaking of safety as a solo hiker, which I love doing, isn't there a device one can carry in case of emergency? I talking about, for example, I fall and break an ankle, leg, or any body part, a way to signal services or family at home that you are in trouble and need to "show" someone exactly where you are at any given time? An alert device to let services come to rescue you? I understand that a device like that can be had for around $150. Is there such a device that can be carried with you all times you are solo? I geocache alone most of the time while out on hiking trails.

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My personal favorite locator beacon is made by SPOT

 

http://www.findmespot.com/en/index.php?cid=102

 

They even have a combo GPS/Beacon that is pretty cool although I kinda like having the separate device.

 

It does require a yearly subscription but it is worth the piece of mind if you get out alone a lot.

I use the combo GPS/Spot and the really nice thing about it is I can send a specific custom message for the type of help I need versus the canned messages which may or may not meet the specific need.

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Have you ever used it accidentally? Thought you were lost, sent for help, then found your way? I'm wondering if I'd under or over react with a device like that.

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Have you ever used it accidentally? Thought you were lost, sent for help, then found your way? I'm wondering if I'd under or over react with a device like that.

 

Are you prone to panic and over reacting in general (nothing wrong with just some people are like that)? If you are prone to the panic response working on some relaxation techniques and then working skills for more emergent situations may help you too. I hadn't been out bushwhacking for awhile before I started caching and there were a couple times where I had a panic response and really had to sit down and think clearly. If I was more prone to panic and had the spot I would have probably pushed it instead of working on relearning maps and compasses and the tools I had at hand. Knowing I can use that stuff now makes me less prone to panic and gives me some clearer thinking in times where I would have to make a decision about how bad a situation really is.

 

Anyhow back on topic. If were out alone and going out for a long period of time I'd probably get the Spot unit mentioned above with the varying levels of emergency and tracking.

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Have you ever used it accidentally? Thought you were lost, sent for help, then found your way? I'm wondering if I'd under or over react with a device like that.

Every use has been on purpose. There is no accidental usage with it. Before you panic and call for help because you're out of water, or you think you might not get back to the trailhead on time, just settle down and think things through. You call for help when you really need help, not because it makes it more convenient to get back to the car for that bottle of water. Know your limits and exercise them. The first real rule of getting out of trouble is to not put yourself into it in the first place.

Edited by TotemLake

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Yes, I'm prone to panic. Thanks for the suggestions. I would feel more comfortable with a beacon for sure.

 

I have my GPS and a real compass that I know how to use, and a cell phone with Google Maps. Even so, I have gotten pretty lost a few times. Both in a preserve going off trail and once in the ocean.

Edited by SeekerOfTheWay

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That panic is one of the reasons that I like the SPOT better than a "real" PLB.

 

Many times just knowing you have an out will reduce the panic level. If you know that you can get a friend to come help you out you will relax and think things through.

 

Also the lower level of alert means that sometimes you can get that help that would remove you from an uncomfortable situation before it becomes a critical event.

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Have you ever used it accidentally? Thought you were lost, sent for help, then found your way? I'm wondering if I'd under or over react with a device like that.

Every use has been on purpose. There is no accidental usage with it. Before you panic and call for help because you're out of water, or you think you might not get back to the trailhead on time, just settle down and think things through. You call for help when you really need help, not because it makes it more convenient to get back to the car for that bottle of water. Know your limits and exercise them. The first real rule of getting out of trouble is to not put yourself into it in the first place.

 

I totally agree with the first rule of getting out of trouble is not getting into it in the first place. Unless I was truly in a situation that I couldn't get myself out of safely I wouldn't be pressing a spot button. I would deal with the panic response first. If you practice your skills on shorter trips that panic response decreases a lot. And for longer trips make sure you have good tools to help you. A real paper topo map and a real compass and know how to use them will also make someone feel a lot more comfortable on trip (don't just rely on that phone map). The spot can give a false sense of safety which could cause people take unnecessary risks on trips they were not prepared for in general. Know your limits and work on your skills.

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I was thinking about this further and a new device called the inReach that Delorme is promoting allows two way text messaging from the back country via satellite with friends and family without actually calling for help. It can be used with your android when you feel the need to be connected. I'm not sure if there is development for the iphone yet. You can read about it here. http://shop.delorme.com/OA_HTML/DELibeCCtpSctDspRte.jsp?section=10820&minisite=10020

Edited by TotemLake

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I was thinking about this further and a new device called the inReach that Delorme is promoting allows two way text messaging from the back country via satellite with friends and family without actually calling for help. It can be used with your android when you feel the need to be connected. I'm not sure if there is development for the iphone yet. You can read about it here. http://shop.delorme.com/OA_HTML/DELibeCCtpSctDspRte.jsp?section=10820&minisite=10020

 

Thanks, I was unaware of the existence of such a device.

 

About two years ago I detailed which device is best to have in various situations.

- For situations like "search and rescue needed, now!", a PLB beats all other devices. Your position can be tracked even if only one satellite is visible (for example you are in a canyon). The price went down from ~$600 to less than $400 (see link above in thread).

- Just to tell "I'm OK", the SPOT and similar devices are perfect. The device is cheap (~$100), but you have to pay a subscription.

- For situations like "I need help, but it is not an emergency", the best solution is a satellite phone. Without being able to tell your friends/family what kind of help you need, they will have to drive/hike to your location to find out. By having a satellite phone you can call and tell them what your problem is - the response is different if your car broke down than if you need them to describe the spoiler picture for a cache. The price for a 100% coverage satellite phone is $1000 and above, plus the subscription plan.

The inReach does the same thing as the satellite phone - bidirectional communication, although only in text form. But since the price is only $250, is a valid option to be considered.

 

If you can afford only one device, take these into account:

- A PLB can only be used to signal an emergency.

- the SPOT can be used to signal "I'm OK". In case of emergency you can call for help, but it needs 3 (4 preferred) satellites to be visible in order to determine your location (difficult to do if you're unable to move in an area with poor reception. You can also signal "Need help, no emergency", but your contacts will have to come and see what kind of help you need. Good if the help you'll ever need is "Come and pick me up".

- the satellite phone (and inReach device) can be used in all three situations, and more. You can call/text/twitter/etc that you're OK and where you are. You can call/text/etc that you need help, and communicate what type of help you need. You can also call 911/112/etc in case of emergency. If you forget to update your status, you can be called by worried family members. In case of emergency or non-emergency help needed, you can keep in touch with the responders. The price of the device(s) plus subscription might be high, though.

Edited by Dj Storm

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I'm always out and about by myself, either stomping around in the woods or paddling in the ocean. My mother frets when she knows I'm out (as mothers tend to do) but I ALWAYS phone or text my friends and inform them what I'm doing, where I'm going and my expected ETA. I always let them know when I'm back. Standard gear includes (but is not limited to) at least 1 GPS, smartphone, compass, paper map and at least 4 sets of batteries for everything, even if it's an expected 2 hour trip.

 

A couple of people have said they rely on their smartphone (or cell phone) for maps, communication, etc. This practice actually scares the dickens right out of me. Cell coverage isn't universal, data coverage especially. No coverage = no safety net and no lifeline in the case of an emergency.

 

I've been looking into some sort of transmitter like the SPOT, I will definately look into the Delorme option. I don't mind paying a resonable subscription fee for the peace of mind that I won't spend days in the rain stuck in a gully because I've had a clumsy moment and tripped. For my mother's peace of mind that I won't spend days in the rain stuck in a gully she'd probably spring for at least half of the purchase price! :)

 

New toys as the budget allows. Thanks for this info everyone, and be safe whilst having fun!

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I suggest taking anti-allergen medications if you cache alone too. I am severely allergic to poison ivy and recently came into contact and didn't have any meds on me.

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I know this is old, but somebody else responded so I will too :) And it's not a topic that really goes out of style or becomes irrelevant :)

 

I've never really been too afraid being alone as a female. Maybe because I've always been waaay more of a tomboy :laughing: However, I've never taken my safety lightly! I haven't taken any kind of self defense class, but I have learned a lot of ways to defend myself and any time I hear of something that sounds like a good technique, I file it my head.

 

I recently got my concealed weapons permit. I don't plan on getting groceries with a gun hidden in my coat, but doing a lot of wandering around in remote places, I'd rather have a permit and be able to carry something legally should I feel the need. My grandma has been in more than one situation where a gun saved her from being harmed! Granted, some things were a lot different in granny's day, but some things really haven't changed that much.

 

I also have a little stun gun. Not deadly force, but it'll work just fine. I'd suggest that anyone who just plain doesn't want a gun for whatever reason get at least some pepper spray or a stun gun. You don't need a permit and it's legal to have. Don't sell yourself short if you go out alone! Even dudes get mugged in back alleys.

 

I have a pocket knife that I always have, just for cutting boxes at work or other situations when they're handy (annoying threads on my pants patches :laughing: ). I don't intend it to be a weapon at all, but guess what? Sometimes it's all I got. Yep. I really don't expect to be assaulted in the parking lot at work, so I don't keep my stun gun or a firearm in my truck. But I feel better knowing that my little knife could do some damage when there's some shady characters hanging around when I get out of work late.

 

Use whatever you have! I fully believe that women can safely go it alone, but you need to know what to do and how to do it. Don't be afraid to be creative if you find yourself in trouble :)

 

Of course, all that relates to someone giving you grief. When I think of "safety as a woman" that's what comes to mind because most dudes don't get crap for jogging in the park. After that, it's safety for everyone. Anyone can get caught in a canyon or lost. Some groups are more likely to be targeted for other reasons :(

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I know this is old, but somebody else responded so I will too :) And it's not a topic that really goes out of style or becomes irrelevant :)

 

I've never really been too afraid being alone as a female. Maybe because I've always been waaay more of a tomboy :laughing: However, I've never taken my safety lightly!

 

I recently got my concealed weapons permit.

 

Same here...I've had my CC since last July. The entire topic of 'self defense' has really interested me. I've got about 3 different self defense books (women & SD). I've also read "In the Gravest Extreme" by Massad Ayoob. I highly recommend reading that one if you ever plan to carry. There are some eye opening legalities that go along with that responsibility.

 

I don't carry all the time - but in reality, you should. Crime doesn't take a day off and they don't care what time of day it is. If its not about saving yourself, you could save someone else's life too.

 

I guess, for me...it hard to find a nice carry method that suites ALL of my lifestyle.

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I know this is old, but somebody else responded so I will too :) And it's not a topic that really goes out of style or becomes irrelevant :)

 

I've never really been too afraid being alone as a female. Maybe because I've always been waaay more of a tomboy :laughing: However, I've never taken my safety lightly!

 

I recently got my concealed weapons permit.

 

Same here...I've had my CC since last July. The entire topic of 'self defense' has really interested me. I've got about 3 different self defense books (women & SD). I've also read "In the Gravest Extreme" by Massad Ayoob. I highly recommend reading that one if you ever plan to carry. There are some eye opening legalities that go along with that responsibility.

 

I don't carry all the time - but in reality, you should. Crime doesn't take a day off and they don't care what time of day it is. If its not about saving yourself, you could save someone else's life too.

 

I guess, for me...it hard to find a nice carry method that suites ALL of my lifestyle.

I'll have to check that book out :) I have one book that I got in college (they were being handed out) about women and self defense but I didn't have time to read it :( Still have it though.

 

I had a ton of eye openers in the concealed carry class because I just wasn't very familar with any of those laws at all! :o Good stuff to know (and be reminded of!).

 

I think if I found something that worked all the time for me, then I'd be more likely to have something more useful than pocket knife :laughing: I'm thinking of maybe keeping my stun gun in my truck or my bag that I haul back and forth to work (I keep an extra set of scrubs and some pens and stuff in it).

 

You're totally right that crime doesn't take a day off, which bothers me the more I think about it :/ I really don't want to carry with me all the time but even a small thing of pepper spray in a pocket can get someone to back off.

 

I hope I don't sound too paranoid now :laughing:

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I know this is old, but somebody else responded so I will too :) And it's not a topic that really goes out of style or becomes irrelevant :)

 

I've never really been too afraid being alone as a female. Maybe because I've always been waaay more of a tomboy :laughing: However, I've never taken my safety lightly!

 

I recently got my concealed weapons permit.

 

Same here...I've had my CC since last July. The entire topic of 'self defense' has really interested me. I've got about 3 different self defense books (women & SD). I've also read "In the Gravest Extreme" by Massad Ayoob. I highly recommend reading that one if you ever plan to carry. There are some eye opening legalities that go along with that responsibility.

 

I don't carry all the time - but in reality, you should. Crime doesn't take a day off and they don't care what time of day it is. If its not about saving yourself, you could save someone else's life too.

 

I guess, for me...it hard to find a nice carry method that suites ALL of my lifestyle.

It's not only human predators you have to worry about in parts of Wisconsin lately, with an increase in the wolf and coyote population there have been quite a few reports lately of hunters dogs being killed, and I've heard some hikers have reported being stalked. North of us where one of my sons lives the farmers are also complaining about more of their chickens coming up missing. When I go caching in that area this summer I will be carrying.

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I'll have to check that book out :) I have one book that I got in college (they were being handed out) about women and self defense but I didn't have time to read it :( Still have it though.

 

I had a ton of eye openers in the concealed carry class because I just wasn't very familar with any of those laws at all! :o Good stuff to know (and be reminded of!).

 

I think if I found something that worked all the time for me, then I'd be more likely to have something more useful than pocket knife :laughing: I'm thinking of maybe keeping my stun gun in my truck or my bag that I haul back and forth to work (I keep an extra set of scrubs and some pens and stuff in it).

 

You're totally right that crime doesn't take a day off, which bothers me the more I think about it :/ I really don't want to carry with me all the time but even a small thing of pepper spray in a pocket can get someone to back off.

 

I hope I don't sound too paranoid now :laughing:

 

Not at all!! You're just 'thinking' and 'preparing' - that's a good thing.

 

My husband and I both keep talking about taking some professional classes. Home defense classes and conceal carry classes. We've been watching some videos too, but that doesn't compare to actually doing it.

 

My husband carries all the time when we're out together, so I generally don't need to. It's by myself where I should....and do it all the time. Sometimes its hard to remember when life gets crazy busy.

 

DonB - I can understand that. We've been out hiking and heard dogs barking. It's hard to tell if they're leashed or not. We usually just stop and wait. We haven't seen anything come charging at us yet, but my husband is always carrying when we hike.

Edited by Lieblweb

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This is the one I have. It's pretty simple.

 

There are some flip out prongs so you can put in the wall or whatever and recharge it.

 

There's a button for stun (Han Solo, rarely, if ever, sets his phaser to "stun" :laughing: Sorry, I just thought of that). When set to stun, there's a red led that lights up so you know you're in business. You have to actually touch someone with this. This isn't the tazer that cops have that shoot little thingers out 15 feet away.

 

It also has a flashlight! Totally different button and doesn't need to be set for stun. Handy :D

 

I've only used the flashlight. I really hope I don't get in a situation where I have to use the stun part :unsure:

 

Only downside is the case it came with sux bad. The belt loop is coming off. I'm going to either fix that and sew it on until it can't come off or just make a new case if I can find any suitable materials. It would be cool to get some leather and be able to tool some designs in it. I wonder if I have any of my old leather tools? Hmmm..... :laughing:

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For those with stun guns what is the liability as the person wielding it if the person you use it on has a cardiac event due to the use of it? I wouldn't want to get charged with murder or something because I zap someone.

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For those with stun guns what is the liability as the person wielding it if the person you use it on has a cardiac event due to the use of it? I wouldn't want to get charged with murder or something because I zap someone.

It would be foolish to accept legal advice from forum members, and probably just as foolish to offer it, but here I go...

 

The police are trained in the use of such devices. They are allowed to use their stun gun to subdue a suspect, or to gain control of a suspect. You do not have those options. For you, the stun gun is just like a real gun in that the only time you would employ it is when you are in genuine fear of death or severe bodily injury. In other words, you cannot use it because someone is harassing you or aggravating you and you want it to stop. A prosecutor will look at it from the ‘reasonable man’ point of view; would a reasonable person in similar circumstances believe they were in fear of their life?

 

If you are in genuine fear of death or great bodily injury and you take measures to immediately protect yourself, the end result of your attacker is moot.

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Since I started caching in 2009, I have done a LOT of hiking alone in the woods. It worries me a little but I'm not willing to give up something I love because of the small chance of danger. But I'm not stupid so I do take a few precautions. I have an obedient dog who goes with me on all hikes. I realy don't know if he would help me if I were attacked but just the fact that he's there is a deterent to anyone I meet. And I have a couple of caching friends that I notify. I'll call and say I'm heading to 'GC...' cache and if I don't call in by 6 o'clock then I'm probably in trouble. I'm older and I worry more about falling and getting hurt than I worry about meeting someone dangerous. So this call means that someone will be looking for me and they'll know where to start looking. So far it's been a good arrangement and gives me a little mental security.

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It seems to me that there are actually two questions here:

 

Is ANYONE safe hiking alone?

 

Hiking solo has many inherent dangers. Posters here have covered most of those.

 

Are WOMEN safe hiking alone?

 

Women are generally not as physically strong as men. I know that there are exceptions, but it holds true for the vast majority. So a man with some bad intent not only believes that he can physically overwhelm a woman, but it is pretty much true.

 

Roger Williams University has a report that says 1 in 4 women will be sexually assaulted sometime in their lifetimes. Being isolated, like hiking solo - and being isolated is one of the risk factors mentioned again and again - increases your chance of rape.

 

Being aware of your surroundings, listening to that little voice that says something is wrong and acting on it, even if it seems rude or stupid or unnecessary and having a plan (including getting training or a tool of some kind to "even things up") all are things I'd urge woman to use as an outline for themselves.

 

I have never done a solo hike. I've always wanted to, but I find myself too fearful to do one, and I assure you that I am no shrinking violet, I have a pistol and a permit and hunt and am in excellent shape and have taken martial art classes.

 

One solid hit by a man and I am afraid that would be the end of the conversation.

 

It's easy to say "Carry a weapon," but it is about getting it out fast enough. When do you take it out? When the guy is hiking towards you? When you bring out a firearm or mace, you have raised the bar to either shoot or don't shoot. It is its own kind of aggression.

 

Do I want to live with that kind of stress throughout my hike?

 

I dislike feeling like I am unable to do something that any citizen ought to be able to do in peace and safety. In fact, I hate it with a kind of burn in my gut. But you can spout rhetoric about this and that all you want, but the bottom line might be about the guy hiking behind you who is coming up behind you. What are you gonna do about it? What are his intentions? Why is he gaining on you so quick? And even if he passes you, now he knows you are there and can pretty much figure out where you are camping that night.

 

Sheesh. Maybe I'm paranoid. So be it.

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I just stumbled across this topic tonight and I have found reading it to have some great point of views. When I first started caching I did it alone. Now I do the buddy system or with my dog, I too am not sure what my dog would do but I think having him there is peace of mind and a little more safer. The few times I have recently gone out alone, I make sure someone knows exactly where I am going...to me its the smart thing to do. As someone noted "Don't put yourself in harms way to begin with". Keep this thread going it a good topic. I do need to get better at reading topo maps though.So I purchased a book called "Map & Compass" (Falcon Guide by Cliff Jacobson) and its a pretty interesting read.

Edited by vonjoekasey

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I have no problem hiking and camping by myself - a memorable trip to Yosemite a few years ago was done solo. However, I'm seriously planning to walk part of the AT in 2013 or 2014, and have started gathering gear / getting myself in shape, etc. I don't have pepper spray - yet. Researching that, there's all sorts of different ways of carrying it, from the simple aerosol can to something that looks a lot like a gun and sprays long distance. Guess I'm looking for recommended products/dispensers - anyone?

 

Thanks!

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I have no problem hiking and camping by myself - a memorable trip to Yosemite a few years ago was done solo. However, I'm seriously planning to walk part of the AT in 2013 or 2014, and have started gathering gear / getting myself in shape, etc. I don't have pepper spray - yet. Researching that, there's all sorts of different ways of carrying it, from the simple aerosol can to something that looks a lot like a gun and sprays long distance. Guess I'm looking for recommended products/dispensers - anyone?

 

Thanks!

Not a gal of course, but.. First would be to check out what is legal to carry and how/where. The other major thing would be to consider what you might have to use it on. Out here in the BC Wilds, the norm is a fair sized container of BEAR Spray. I have a can of Counter Assault brand, mostly because that was what was available, but any good brand should do. Long range and fairly broad stream pattern is desireable. While it's a last resort type product, you want to start at a reasonable distance with some chance of success. You might ask at various places if you can try out the 'training' devices. If not a store, then there are training agencies. I've been thinking of getting one for our SAR training. Basically it's a refillable and rechargeable unit that loads with harmless charges that mimic the 'live' loads well. I keep thinking about the fact that MY first time will likely be on a charging bear! Of course it works well on various creatures as well. One really does need some training on them, at very least self taught by studying the manuals.. You don't want to shoot it upwind, believe me! Learn to keep track of expiry dates (best before date really). All aerosols leak pressure slowly and eventually you don't have as much 'squirt' as you might think you do. Both range and amount suffer, perhaps the aerosol spray does as well (mixing with air that is, the 'pepper' is fairly stable over time).

 

One item that is becoming popular for pre-emptive work is the air horn. Some are precharged devices (often marine units) that make a loud sound when activated. Can be a bit expensive for regular use, but good for emergencies. The other form is a slightly larger (water bottle size) unit that can be pumped up in the field and used repeatedly (as long as it is charged up), even comes with a pump often, or just use any small bike style pump. Those can be used to warn critters away at a distance (most leave anyway) or to signal for help (three blasts, separated). In SAR, loud noisemakers can be used to let people know we are in the area looking for them as well, so having a loud noise source with you is important as well, minimum would be a pealess whistle like a Fox 40. One can blow a whistle long after you can't speak any more.

 

Some people like bear banger/pencil flare devices, but they are way to easy to misuse. I know one example where someone used one to get a MOOSE to move off of the trail (it was blocking the only way off the mountain in that area). THAT moose turned and went charging the other way, just fine. Of course if someone had been skiing up the trail (as the person who did it had been a few minutes earlier) they might have been trampled or worse. I'm also not convinced that 'ticking off' wildlife for later comers is wise either, another last resort device, but again handy for getting attention from lost people, searchers, oh yeah COPS if used really badly.

 

Doug 7rxc

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I have no problem hiking and camping by myself - a memorable trip to Yosemite a few years ago was done solo. However, I'm seriously planning to walk part of the AT in 2013 or 2014, and have started gathering gear / getting myself in shape, etc. I don't have pepper spray - yet. Researching that, there's all sorts of different ways of carrying it, from the simple aerosol can to something that looks a lot like a gun and sprays long distance. Guess I'm looking for recommended products/dispensers - anyone?

 

Thanks!

Not a gal of course, but.. First would be to check out what is legal to carry and how/where. The other major thing would be to consider what you might have to use it on. Out here in the BC Wilds, the norm is a fair sized container of BEAR Spray. I have a can of Counter Assault brand, mostly because that was what was available, but any good brand should do. Long range and fairly broad stream pattern is desireable. While it's a last resort type product, you want to start at a reasonable distance with some chance of success. You might ask at various places if you can try out the 'training' devices. If not a store, then there are training agencies. I've been thinking of getting one for our SAR training. Basically it's a refillable and rechargeable unit that loads with harmless charges that mimic the 'live' loads well. I keep thinking about the fact that MY first time will likely be on a charging bear! Of course it works well on various creatures as well. One really does need some training on them, at very least self taught by studying the manuals.. You don't want to shoot it upwind, believe me! Learn to keep track of expiry dates (best before date really). All aerosols leak pressure slowly and eventually you don't have as much 'squirt' as you might think you do. Both range and amount suffer, perhaps the aerosol spray does as well (mixing with air that is, the 'pepper' is fairly stable over time).

 

One item that is becoming popular for pre-emptive work is the air horn. Some are precharged devices (often marine units) that make a loud sound when activated. Can be a bit expensive for regular use, but good for emergencies. The other form is a slightly larger (water bottle size) unit that can be pumped up in the field and used repeatedly (as long as it is charged up), even comes with a pump often, or just use any small bike style pump. Those can be used to warn critters away at a distance (most leave anyway) or to signal for help (three blasts, separated). In SAR, loud noisemakers can be used to let people know we are in the area looking for them as well, so having a loud noise source with you is important as well, minimum would be a pealess whistle like a Fox 40. One can blow a whistle long after you can't speak any more.

 

Some people like bear banger/pencil flare devices, but they are way to easy to misuse. I know one example where someone used one to get a MOOSE to move off of the trail (it was blocking the only way off the mountain in that area). THAT moose turned and went charging the other way, just fine. Of course if someone had been skiing up the trail (as the person who did it had been a few minutes earlier) they might have been trampled or worse. I'm also not convinced that 'ticking off' wildlife for later comers is wise either, another last resort device, but again handy for getting attention from lost people, searchers, oh yeah COPS if used really badly.

 

Doug 7rxc

 

Good info... thanks. :) I'm also thinking about the peoplely kind of wildlife though. Is there a people-spray that would also work on bears? :)

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I'm also thinking about the peoplely kind of wildlife though. Is there a people-spray that would also work on bears? :)

Spraying any of these is known to be effective. :o

 

10mm_mag_comparrison.jpg

Edited by Criminal

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I was thinking about offering up that 'non-lethal' option tacky foam squirter as an option, just goober them up and wait a second!

 

Not sure how portable that is yet, and certainly would NOT want to be the one to clean the bear up afterward, perhaps anesthesia?

 

On Criminal's tack though, I have fond memories of an Acheson[sic] Atchisson Assault Shotgun with drum mag. Slugs and 00 clears up a lot of problems of all kinds. Creates others though. So do thoughts of pineapple shaped 'bear' bangers.

 

Still like the tried and true "I don't have to outrun the bear, just you!". But that doesn't work SOLO does it?

 

On the other hand, for the gals: Most wild animals are known to be MAN Eaters! The girls tend to be victims of homicidal maniacs according to Hollywood and TV. And only gorgeous ones at that. :rolleyes: the girls that is, not the HMs.

 

Seriously, the best thing you can have anywhere, anytime is situational awareness. It's the things that pop out of nowhere that cause problems much of the time. Remember the original Karate Kid (think it was 2 in Okinawa), the bit where Daniel asked whether there was a defense for the test he was set (the sliding thingy) and failed to figure out. Miyagi said something like "Yes! Miyagi Defense", Daniel says which is? Miyagi replies " NO BE THERE ".

 

Edit: to correct spelling of AAS.

Doug 7rxc

Edited by 7rxc

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It's something I think about especially when my daughter is with me. What happens if we come across a mountain lion or some dumbass yahoo while out in the middle of the Hills. I have my .45 but my daughter has nothing except her wits and trumpet playing lungs. If I remember the information correctly from my SD CCW booklet, being a minor she can't even carry my .22 with permission since we would be on Forest Service land and not private land.

 

I need to increase my safety equipment beyond a small first aide kit, flashlight, cell phone, orange mesh vest and gun.

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It's something I think about especially when my daughter is with me. What happens if we come across a mountain lion or some dumbass yahoo while out in the middle of the Hills. I have my .45 but my daughter has nothing except her wits and trumpet playing lungs. If I remember the information correctly from my SD CCW booklet, being a minor she can't even carry my .22 with permission since we would be on Forest Service land and not private land.

 

I need to increase my safety equipment beyond a small first aide kit, flashlight, cell phone, orange mesh vest and gun.

 

A gun is not on either my 10 Essentials or even my 20 Essentials list for backpacking. I suppose it depends on where you go backpacking. But in way too many years of backing in all parts of California, Washington, Oregon, and New Mexico, I have personally never run into a situation where having a gun would have produced a better outcome than other skills. But I suppose that women may have a slightly higher risk of running into problems with the two-legged beasts that roam some trailheads.

 

For your daughter, consider a nice size can of bear repellent. It is lighter than most guns and less likely to cause you legal problems or personal injury. Recently, a woman near where I used to live came home and found someone in her house. She sprayed him with bear repellent and he was soon apprehended by Sheriff's Deputies. And guess what? The bad guy was an LAPD officer!

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It's something I think about especially when my daughter is with me. What happens if we come across a mountain lion or some dumbass yahoo while out in the middle of the Hills. I have my .45 but my daughter has nothing except her wits and trumpet playing lungs. If I remember the information correctly from my SD CCW booklet, being a minor she can't even carry my .22 with permission since we would be on Forest Service land and not private land.

 

I need to increase my safety equipment beyond a small first aide kit, flashlight, cell phone, orange mesh vest and gun.

 

A gun is not on either my 10 Essentials or even my 20 Essentials list for backpacking. I suppose it depends on where you go backpacking. But in way too many years of backing in all parts of California, Washington, Oregon, and New Mexico, I have personally never run into a situation where having a gun would have produced a better outcome than other skills. But I suppose that women may have a slightly higher risk of running into problems with the two-legged beasts that roam some trailheads.

It only takes once, I would rather be safe then sorry.

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As a male outdoor soloists in many ways and one who has been into some very thought provoking places over the years, one reminder I say to myself before I depart is "Have I forgotten to put something in my backpack that I might need where I am going?" Yes, a simple question but definitely important.

 

Also, several years ago because of a situation, my wife makes sure to remind me that around noon one of us calls the other - Checking in!

 

Not much additional to offer, just (as they say) my 2-cents

 

Have fun and be safe

 

Oh! PS: Read Aron Ralston's book 127 Hours

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For your daughter, consider a nice size can of bear repellent. It is lighter than most guns and less likely to cause you legal problems or personal injury.

 

I'd have to see if Cabellas or Scheels sells bear repellent. The only bears I know of in the Black Hills are at Bear Country USA although it's possible one could wander in from Yellowstone, Wyoming or down from Canada.

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It only takes once, I would rather be safe then sorry.

 

I agree. I'm mostly a solo kind of girl. I was on a lonesome trail the other day (hadnt seen a soul) finishing up my hike when I saw a young man and his big pit bull. We were converging into the same trail.

 

Usually, most solo men back off on the trail when this happens.

 

So I see him wait at the trail just after I enter it. I decided to increase my speed (going downhill). I actually run down the trail. Look back, no dude. However, something about him gave me the creepies.

 

About 30 mins later he rushes up behind me. It just so happens that I received a phone call that exact moment which caused me to turn around and reach in my pocket. He was running up on me. We made eye contact, and I reached for my pepper spray, which is clipped to my camelback. I think I suprised him.

 

He paused, looked at me, looked as if he was deciding what to do, and looked at my pepper spray and my dog. I decided not to correct my dogs behavior and let her growl and such at the other dog, pulled myself off the trail and told him to pass.

 

He hesitated, looked again at me, waited, and passed. Everything in me told me he was going to attack me. I knew it.

 

Hopefully my unruly dog, my pepper spray and my direct eye contact helped. But since then I've been terrified to go it alone.

 

Truth is, I'm a quick walker. And I ran down the trail. So that means he ran down the trail. I still had ~1 mile left and was in isolated forest. I was sooo terrified that he would just jump out behind some random tree. Terrified. I was exhausted when I got home.

 

Btw, "the gift of fear" by Gavin Debecker is a must read for any woman ..

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It only takes once, I would rather be safe then sorry.

 

I agree. I'm mostly a solo kind of girl. I was on a lonesome trail the other day (hadnt seen a soul) finishing up my hike when I saw a young man and his big pit bull. We were converging into the same trail.

 

<scary story clipped>

 

Btw, "the gift of fear" by Gavin Debecker is a must read for any woman ..

 

Good, brave hiker, you. You kept your head and listened to your inner voice.

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I read into wolves and their behaviour recently. I'm from the UK and wolves were hunted to death here about 200 years ago but I read that they are able to tell if a human is armed or not, purely on the confident body language that being armed comes with and will subsequently avoid you.

 

Against a human atacker its a different story. If you pull a fire arm against a human attacker it is endgame, because now that you have pulled he either retreats or you shoot to kill.

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It only takes once, I would rather be safe then sorry.

 

I agree. I'm mostly a solo kind of girl. I was on a lonesome trail the other day (hadnt seen a soul) finishing up my hike when I saw a young man and his big pit bull. We were converging into the same trail.

 

Usually, most solo men back off on the trail when this happens.

 

So I see him wait at the trail just after I enter it. I decided to increase my speed (going downhill). I actually run down the trail. Look back, no dude. However, something about him gave me the creepies.

 

About 30 mins later he rushes up behind me. It just so happens that I received a phone call that exact moment which caused me to turn around and reach in my pocket. He was running up on me. We made eye contact, and I reached for my pepper spray, which is clipped to my camelback. I think I suprised him.

 

He paused, looked at me, looked as if he was deciding what to do, and looked at my pepper spray and my dog. I decided not to correct my dogs behavior and let her growl and such at the other dog, pulled myself off the trail and told him to pass.

 

He hesitated, looked again at me, waited, and passed. Everything in me told me he was going to attack me. I knew it.

 

Hopefully my unruly dog, my pepper spray and my direct eye contact helped. But since then I've been terrified to go it alone.

 

Truth is, I'm a quick walker. And I ran down the trail. So that means he ran down the trail. I still had ~1 mile left and was in isolated forest. I was sooo terrified that he would just jump out behind some random tree. Terrified. I was exhausted when I got home.

 

Btw, "the gift of fear" by Gavin Debecker is a must read for any woman ..

 

That is a fantastic book. I was reading this thread planning on recommending it myself.

 

What trail were you on?

 

You're in my area. Contact me and we can go together. I'm always looking for people to hike with. I go alone a lot, but would like to find more people to cache in the woods with.

It's easy to join a hiking group around here, but its hard to find people to hike and cache with. (and no, I couldn't keep up with the "hike of the month" people)

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For those with stun guns what is the liability as the person wielding it if the person you use it on has a cardiac event due to the use of it? I wouldn't want to get charged with murder or something because I zap someone.

 

Stun guns can't cause cardiac arrest even if the aggressor has a pace maker or heart condition. It's the tasers the police carry that can kill a person. I took a class when I got my first stun gun. That was at least accurate information at the time.

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