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Adventure Survival Kits – The why and how of it

Adventure Survival Kits – The Why and How of it!

There’s plenty of information on the web about survival kits and how to put one together. Chances are, if you’re reading this post, you’ve already read up on the basics – a fire starter, a utility knife etc. However, regardless of how well put together your kit may be, it is most likely that you’ve forgotten one big aspect – as an adventurer, you are choosing to put yourself in high-risk situations. Any pre-assembled survival kit you buy is likely to be based on a certain premise, for eg: you will be in a city, or that there will be search and rescue teams out looking for you (think natural disasters like the floods in Sri Nagar). But as an adventurer, a climber, a camper, a rider – these assumptions may not hold good at all, rather, they may even prove fatal! So here are some tips on how to put together an adventure survival kit – something every adventurer should do without fail.

  1. Think Big: Most survival kit tips out there tend to focus on making them small and handy. These are kits that focus on convenience and the fact that you’ll carry the kit around every day, in work situations etc. While a kit like that is also a good idea, you should definitely carry a larger one on your adventures. Don’t limit yourself by size. A medium-sized backpack is a fair starting point. It can be carried around on all your adventures, while also being large enough to accommodate some of the bigger necessities.
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While a small kit is handy for daily, regular use, one should definitely carry a larger, more extensive and purpose built survival kit when on an adventure trip.

  1. Think tools and gear: Being an adventurer will put you in high-risk situations fairly regularly. With this in mind, seasoned adventurers always carry along the tools of their choice and spare parts or gear as well. However, do consider if you are prepared for a true emergency. Before setting out, assess the risks objectively and pack for the maximum risk. For example, if you’re a cyclist setting out on a solo ride or a cycling expedition; objectively assess the chances of all possible high-risk situations. You’re likely to be carrying a puncture kit, but imagine you having a breakdown in a completely remote area with no mobile connectivity. What could have gone wrong with your cycle to make his happen? Pack accordingly. If you’re a motorcyclist, carry the exact fuses, spark plugs, a length of electric wire, and jump starter set. Campers, trekkers think about a fire starter kit, a spool of paracord, etc. Water sports athletes; don’t forget your dry bags, spare towel and a change of clothes. If you’re out rafting or kayaking in winter, also think about how you’ll keep yourself warm after getting wet.

    Think tools and gear: Being an adventurer will put you in high-risk situations fairly regularly. With this in mind, seasoned adventurers always carry along the tools of their choice and spare parts or gear as well. However, do consider if you are prepared for a true emergency. Before setting out, assess the risks objectively and pack for the maximum risk. For example, if you’re a cyclist setting out on a solo ride or a cycling expedition; objectively assess the chances of all possible high-risk situations. You’re likely to be carrying a puncture kit, but imagine you having a breakdown in a completely remote area with no mobile connectivity. What could have gone wrong with your cycle to make his happen? Pack accordingly. If you’re a motorcyclist, carry the exact fuses, spark plugs, a length of electric wire, and jump starter set. Campers, trekkers think about a fire starter kit, a spool of paracord, etc. Water sports athletes; don’t forget your dry bags, spare towel and a change of clothes. If you’re out rafting or kayaking in winter, also think about how you’ll keep yourself warm after getting wet.

    Always carry along the tools of your choice, spare parts as well as gear, and be ready and equipped for emergencies.

  1.  A multi-utility knife, basic medicines, a small torch, a fire starter kit and a length of strong rope are definitely important. But don’t forget to include some more stuff depending on your activity. For campers, include a large knife (or a weapon of some sort) for protection. For trekkers and hikers, an additional set of warm clothes can go a long way in case you’re forced to spend a night in the open. For motorcycle riders or cyclists, a small bag of mixed nuts and bolts, some super glue and zip ties (cable ties) will come very much in handy.
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Research on small tidbits you’re that’ll be specifically useful for your type of adventure in an emergency. With time and experience, you’ll have a holistic kit.

  1. Pay Heed to the Forces of Nature: Irrespective of what season it is, in a terrain like Ladakh, for example, the weather can be really unpredictable. Ask anyone who’s ever travelled there and they’ll tell you. So carry some rain protection, some cold protection and an extra pair of socks everywhere. You may also want to include a set of bandannas, scarves or simple large squares of cloth that you can use in multiple ways – for shade, for warmth, for protection against dust, and so on. In countries like India, it is also a good idea to carry along mosquito or insect repellent. As a last resort warming solution carry packets of Warmee. Warmee is a self heating pouch that keeps you warm for 8+ hours. You can use it under the outer shell of your clothing or in the sleeping bag at night. It is also handy for keeping the batteries of your cameras and other gadgets from draining out due to the cold.
  2. Food and Water: One of the big mistakes we make is tending to forget these two simple things. In India especially, we tend to operate under the assumption that food and water are easy to come by. Never start your adventure without planning for these two things. Getting stuck even for a few hours in North India in the summer will put your body under tremendous strain. Now multiply that by days, and it can quite easily prove fatal. You should carry at least 2 liters of water in your kit, and emergency food rations are a must. When packing food, make sure you pack high-energy bars, peanut bars and the likes, to give you a boost of energy. Remember, this ration of food and water should go into your adventure kit and are quite separate from the regular rations you will carry on your journey anyway. These are to be broken into only in case of a serious emergency. It’s also a good idea to keep dry fruits with you as they are nutritious and have a high content of iron and protein depending on the dry fruit, and perfect for emergency nutrition.

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    How long you survive in an emergency is a direct function of how well stocked with food you are.

As you start gathering things together for the perfect adventure kit, you’ll be tempted to add more and more items to it. Our one bit of advice on this is to restrain you only in the case of really large or really heavy items. The trick is to have multi-purpose, multi-use items in there, and you’ll need to draw a fine line between what you can reasonably carry along, and what you’re likely to need. However, do remember that it is always better to be over prepared than under!

After you put your kit together, the key is to maintain it. Ideally, (and if you’re lucky), you’ll open this particular backpack only once every few months to replace your stores of food, medicines etc as they expire. Water will, of course, need to be replenished just before the start of your adventure. Make sure you check the items for damp, rust etc when you open the bag. It is also a good idea to make the bag itself waterproof. Invest in a waterproof bag or a dry bag, keep your adventure kit dry and snug, and step out confidently, ready to face anything that can be thrown at you!

If you’ve ever been in a situation and have had to use your survival kit, we’d love to hear your story in the comments below!

www.OutdoorTravelGear.com
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The amazing Luci Lantern and why every traveler needs to own one (A Luci Lantern Review)

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“Dear Luci,

Thanks for the constant company. And thanks for throwing light on dark situations. Travelling without you would have been tough indeed.

Yours,

The Traveler.”

 

Once you’ve used the Luci lantern for even a single night, you can relate to this Traveler, who so eloquently praises the mighty Luci in his letter from the road. To quote from a cliche, “big things come in small packages”, and this small, inflatable, solar powered LED lantern-slash-task-light from the house of Mpowerd is the perfect example.

It is quite simply the most versatile, maddeningly simple and refreshingly practical accessory for a traveler since the Swiss knife was invented.

The Luci was originally developed as an affordable and reliable lighting solution for those parts of the world that lack the necessary infrastructure, and it is being extensively deployed in the right places for this purpose; for example, Africa. As a matter of fact, every time anybody buys a unit of Luci lantern, the manufacturers donate another unit to the people who need it but can’t buy it.

The features that its developers gave the Luci also make it the perfect must-have accessory for a traveler. It is as light as a feather, waterproof, bright, sturdily built and to top it all off, its inflatable.

Off the shelf, the Luci comes out of its box flat and if you haven’t seen a lit Luci before, it looks quite unimpressive. However, dummy-proof illustrated instructions on the back of the packaging that it comes in succinctly elaborate how to use the Luci. Open the air seal, blow into it a couple of times with your mouth, reseal it and the Luci is ready.

If you still are wondering whether the Luci is really that different from a torchlight or a head mounted lamp, well yes, it is quite different. And better. The torchlight or the headlamp might have the upper hand in one or two specific aspects, but the Luci is the seasoned all rounder and wins by a long mile. Let’s see…

Solar Powered: The Luci is solar powered. It has a small but efficient array of solar cells on the underside, which are chargeable not only in the Sunlight but also in incandescent light. This means that even the lazy traveler can still charge it inside their homes, under the white light of home lighting.

What happens if you charge it and then don’t use it for a while? Well, Luci’s inbuilt battery has a standby duration of 3 months, which means it’ll remain charged even through disuse of 3 months and still work as intended.

Three Modes of Operation: Like everything else about it, the three modes of Luci (dim, bright and emergency flashing) are simple but well thought out and perfectly executed. In the bright mode, and when placed properly, the light from the Luci sufficiently illuminates an area of almost 15 square feet.

When fully charged, the lantern can run for 12 hours in the dim mode and for 6 hours in the bright mode. The next morning, sling it from your backpack or keep it next to the window through the day and it’ll be fully charged long before evening.

Waterproof: Look at it this way, how can it not be waterproof? It’s an airtight plastic bag with solar cells and LEDs in it. When closed tight properly, the Luci is completely waterproof and will float on water. Though this probably doesn’t mean that the lantern is submersible under water for any length of time, it definitely means that you can use it in even heavy rains without a drop of worry.

Durable: Again, it’s a plastic bag with air in it, which means that unless your intended use involves somehow puncturing the Luci with a sharp object, the lantern will last you for a long time. It doesn’t require replacement of batteries, its non-polluting, can be stowed away practically anywhere and is virtually maintenance free. Durability doesn’t get much better than that.

Additionally, the Luci has 2 other clever features that further increase its ease of use.

There is a strip or a handle on either side of the lantern. This makes it very easy to hang it from anywhere or carry it in your hand, as required.

There is a translucent dark film on the top side of the lantern, letting the user stare directly into the lantern from the top without hurting the eyes.

In short, whether you are a camper, a wildlife photographer, a motorcyclist, a family traveler, a backpacker or a traveler of any shape, size or kind; the Luci lantern will be a worthwhile addition to your bag. Don’t leave home without it.

For a more detailed look into the technical specifications of Luci, visit http://goo.gl/odMMeV

Oh yes, lastly, the Luci is a great conversation starter. When your friends see you taking it out of the bag, inflate it and switch it on, it is bound to spark off a series of curios questions that you’ll be only too happy to answer.

Need we say anything more?!

The Luci Lantern is available online at www.OutdoorTravelGear.com and at the Outdoor Travel Gear stores in Mumbai, Goa and Thane.

If you’ve used the Luci on your travels, we’d love to know your experience in the comments below.