Skin ‘tastic thinking First Aid

Posted: May 1, 2014 by Jeff Fabiszewski in ten essentials
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Knowing First Aid is one of the ten essentials that every outdoor enthusiast should know.  Survival is about your mind working with skill to live.  It’s about staying calm in the  remote wilderness settings and thinking how to use the items you have available in multiple ways to get home.

There are many posts and articles about what to put in a First Aid Kit.  And my wife thinks I am crazy because I have several different First Aid Kits. Each kit is tailored to fit the activity I am engaged in.  I have a trail running kit, a day hike kit, rock climbing kit, and several kayak first aid kits.  The idea is to satisfy the requirements of the Ten Essentials definition, “to improve the chances that one is prepared for an unexpected emergency in the outdoors”.  The stuff I take is important; never the less, the way I think and prepare to act is more important than any gear.  Future posts will explore First Aid thinking, and more gear.  Presently, let me introduce my favorite first aid little friend.

jeff-fabiszewski uvThe first thing I think about is my skin.  I wear a wide brim hat, long sleeve rash guard, Buff, and uv gloves.  I also wear sunblock.  And when skin wears down, gets cut, or bit I use two small and effective solutions.  New-Skin has saved me many times.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIn 2011 during our 190 mile kayak expedition my skin broke down.  On day three after 50.4 miles I experienced nipple rash and blisters on my hands from friction and waterlogged skin.  New-Skin solved both problems.  It is antiseptic, flexible, waterproof, and lets the skin breathe. The liquid bandage dried rapidly to form a tough protective cover over the effective areas.  I will admit applying the liquid bandage to my nipples stung.  The protective breathable layer also enabled my body to absorb the fluid in the blisters on my hands and gave the skin a chance to harden.  Sean also discovered an infected cut on his foot; after irrigating his cut and putting New-Skin on it, the red puffiness faded and the cut healed within two days.

WoundPackWhen the cut is larger I use a Wound Pack.  In a small resealable bag I have 4×4 gauze, Compound Benzoin Tincture, Wound Closure Strips, and a Transparent Semi-Permeable Dressing.  After the cut is irrigated the aforementioned items work great to promote healing of large cuts in flexible regions of the body that are prone to come in contact with dirt and water.

In Florida the most common bite is the mosquito.  Soaking the bit area in sea water is a natural way to cure the itch.  Mud also provides a cooling sensation that temporarily relieves itching.  And I have also discovered that New-Skin worked to provide relief from itching and acts it as a seal to protect the bite.

- Jeff

1000 bornes card game

Posted: April 7, 2014 by Jeff Fabiszewski in Games
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1000 bornes card game campingThis past campout Sean introduced me to an old card game 1000 Bornes.  This game has existed since 1954 and goes by many names, and there is even a Cars Lightning McQueen edition.

The object of Mille Bornes is that the players are in a road race.  I know, we went kayaking to Travestine Island to getaway from the city.  And now Sean wants me to play a game about cars racing to a mythical finish line.  Never the less, the game is fun and it is easy to see why people are still playing it after its orginal published date.

Mille Bornes is played with a special deck of cards.  After dealing out six cards we took turns playing distant cards.  Granted there are also hazard, remedy, and safety cards. Each hazard is corrected by a corresponding remedy, and is actually prevented from happening in the first place by a corresponding safety.  Occasionally, Sean slowed my progress by giving me a flat tire.  I then would set up a speed limit against him.  I ran out of gas, and he had an accident.  There is a bit of strategy

Each race—or hand—is usually 700 miles (or kilometers) long, but the first player to complete that distance exactly has the option to declare an extension in which case the race becomes 1,000 miles. Other times the game is played up to 1000 miles first, and then the first player to complete that distance has the option to declare an “extension” for 1,200 miles.

BoardGameGeekFor more details and other exciting links to board games check out BoardGameGeek.com

- Jeff

1000 bornes card game

The game packs up small. The plastic car card holder is cool; however, I think it will break overtime if constantly placed into a dry-bag.

Mille Bornes classic auto race card game

The amaizing Tarp

Posted: April 1, 2014 by Jeff Fabiszewski in Gear Reviews, ten essentials, Tents
Tags: , ,

Shelter is one of the ten essentials that every outdoor enthusiast should have.  And a tarp is an easy multi use item for a day hiker, backpacker, trail runner, day paddler, or person who is camping overnight with their kayak.  Tarps are small, light weight, and there is no limit to the number of ways of how to use a tarp;  the only limit is a person’s imagination.

- Jeff

Shelter:  Some tarps are made of ultra light weight breathable rip-stop nylon with 19 guy-out points and compact down to the size of a soda-can.  Where as, some tarps are non breathable  less compact plastic with metal grommets for rope to tie into, both work, I have even used  mylar emergency blanket and Visqueen (often misspelled visquine) plastic sheet.  Visqueen is a brand of polyethylene plastic sheeting commonly used as a floor and furniture covering when a person paints the interior of their home, as a shelter.  The tarp allows for a variety of setup styles.  The A-frame sleeping shelter is a quick solution for rain protection.  The Lean-to configuration is a simple wind block for sleeping next to or as a kitchen location. And the bivy looks like a wrapped burrito.

tarp and espresso

Lean to configuration, with stakes as anchor points, kayak paddles as poles. Excellent morning wind break while enjoying fresh espresso.  Granted if the wind shifts, or rain comes from a new direction, adjustments will need to be made.

No poles, not a problem: I use kayak paddles as poles for my tarp.

tarp 2a

Tying down with or without stakes:  Sometimes the combination of soft sand and strong wind makes staking down a tarp an unpleasant experience.  When this happens, I use my kayak as the tarp’s anchoring point when I encounter soft sand and strong win.

tarp 3a

Lean to configuration, with kayaks as anchor points, kayak paddles as poles. There is a tarp under the bivy bags.

Keeping a tent dry:  A simple trick to setting up a tent in the rain is to first setup a tarp head high.  Then under the tarp you have the comfort of assembling the tent, and then moving it into the rain to where you want it.  This technique works best if you are setting up a freestanding tent.

integral designs siltarp mountain hardwear tent

I used bowline knots and taught line hitches to attach the corners of the Integral Designs Siltarp to three trees and two stakes. The paddle is the highest point with a rope staked to the ground. The lowest corner is staked to the ground.

The below closeup shows two bowline knots tied to one corner of the tarp.  The red reflective cord is tied at a 90′ angle to a tree with a taught line hitch.  The white cord wraps once around the throat of the paddle and is tied at a 90′ angle to a stake with a taught line hitch.

knotsBowline Knot:  Make a small overhand loop in the standing part of a rope. Bring the rope end up through the loop, around behind the standing part, and back down into the loop. Tighten by pulling the standing part away from the loop.

Taut Line Hitch: Pass the working end around the anchor object. Bring it back alongside of the standing part and make a half-hitch around the standing part. Continue with another wrap inside the loop, effectively making a round turn around the standing part. Complete with a half-hitch outside the loop, made in the same direction as the first two wraps, as for a clove hitch. Dress by snugging the hitch firmly around the standing part. Work any slack out of the knot, then slide the hitch to adjust the tension on the line and adjust as necessary.

tarp 1a

Modified A-frame tarp shelter. This style provides good rain protection, and wind protection from the back. Reflective heat from the fire in front is an added bonus when the back is lowered to the ground.

Ideal Mylar shelter:  Use two mylar blankets.  Make a modified lean to with one mylar sheet.  I find having one corner raised with three corners staked down works well.  Then take a small portion of the second mylar sheet and make a two foot reflector semi circle wall.  Between the lean to and the semi circle place a small fire.  Use the rest of the second sheet on the ground in the lean to or wrap it around you.

Shelter without tying downs:  In an emergency a tarp could make the difference between surviving and dieing.  make an emergency bivy sack to protect a person from exposure or hypothermia to keep in body heat.  A first responder possibly would use this to transport an injured person out of the wilderness on a stretcher to give added protection to rain or falling snow.  The key to making this easy shelter is placement.  Lay the tarp 90′ to the wind, and have the opening of your sleeping bag downwind. Fold the tarp over the bag at an angle and giving yourself at least 6 inches of clearance to move around under the tarp.

Hypo Wrap NOLS WFR

Use a Hypo Wrap to Treat Hypothermia also known as a “themal burrito”. This picture uses a Visqueen tarp

 

bothy bag style shelter

bothy bag style Kisu Shelter, using a Visqueen tarp and four of your closest friends. In actual practice all edges would be held down on the ground to prevent cold air, and wind driven rain entering into the shelter.

Other uses for the tarp:

  • catching rainwater with a tarp:  funnel rain water into a container.  Make a rain trap also known as a water pit.  Dig a large circular pit, line it with a tarp (weighted by large stones). Rainwater is clean and safe to drink, but it will go stagnant in just a few days.  Make a solar still.
  • Floatatin. You could build a raft with a tarp.
  • Tow a car out of the mud.
  • Wrap a cargo bag on the roof of your car.
  • Make a rain poncho.
  • Craft a hammock
  • Make a horse-shoe pack (improvise back pack)  to hall food or gear

 

Finding your way in the dark Lecture

Posted: March 24, 2014 by Jeff Fabiszewski in Lecture Series

Last Thursday night I was unable to navigate my way through the dark to teach with Sean at Osprey Bay Outdoors for our annual third Thursday of the month kayak camping lecture.   During the lecture Sean spoke on the topics of night time navigating.

Sean Osprey Bay Lecture March 2014

As luck would have it, I joined Sean Saturday night for the campout.  We paddled from Madeira bridge to Travestine Island.   During the low tide we encountered a sea anemone. Sean enjoyed his solo stove and I relaxed with a beer in hand. In the morning we enjoyed our espresso, broke camp, and paddled back to the mainland.

sea anemone

sea anemone

tarp at night

tarp at night with the ENO twilights camp lights

 

Sean and fire

Solo Stove

 

espreso

espresso

- Jeff