Truth be advised, I’ve all the time been extra of an indoor child — strenuous outside actions aren’t actually my factor. I take pleasure in being outdoors and sitting or consuming or studying or strolling slowly, however nothing that may represent an “adventure sport” or require any type of particular gear.
Yet I used to be intrigued by REI’s new Force of Nature marketing campaign to get women outdoors because it first launched last month. They had me with their mixture of gender fairness and empirical proof, citing a survey that discovered that greater than 85 % of all women surveyed consider the outside positively impacts psychological and bodily health, happiness and general well-being, but 60 % of women say that males’s pursuits in outside actions are taken extra critically than theirs.
While my concept of a enjoyable Saturday doesn’t contain schlepping by means of the rain and dirt strolling uphill, I do like figuring out methods to get myself out of jams, so once I noticed REI provided a wilderness survival class, I signed up. Also, given our present political and health care local weather, it could’t harm to have a couple of survival tips up my sleeve simply in case.
Two days earlier than class, I observed rain within the forecast for that day, so I emailed the trainer asking if wilderness survival class can be canceled due to the rain. As it seems, wilderness survival class is a rain-or-shine occasion.
The class consisted of 10 seasoned outdoorswomen (plus one participant’s mom), me and our teacher, Yan. Like others within the class, I (wrongly) assumed that we’d have a feminine instructor for our day of feminine empowerment survival — some college students even got here prepared with particular questions on the most effective methods to urinate as a lady. To his credit score, Yan (who’s male) dealt with all of the questions — together with mine about beginning fires with my glasses and really particular methods for eradicating ticks — flawlessly.
Yan taught us every part you’d anticipate to study in a wilderness survival class, from easy methods to layer for various seasons to methods to extract potable water from leaves to how one can construct a shelter out of sticks like within the films. Here are 10 of my favourite issues that I discovered.
1. You can train a cat to make use of a rest room, however don’t train it to flush
I truly picked this tidbit up from one other scholar within the class who’s trying to coach her cat to go together with her on hikes. Apparently, should you present them find out how to flush themselves, they turn out to be obsessive about pushing the deal with, leaving cat house owners pressured to disable their bogs.
2. Tampons are nice for beginning fires
At the start of sophistication, as a number of of us gave an (unsolicited) rundown of the menstrual provides we have been carrying, Yan informed us that tampons truly come in useful for beginning fires — particularly when it’s arduous to seek out dry sticks and leaves.
three. If you’re backpacking alone, put on a bear bell
Sure, this depends upon whether or not you’re backpacking in a location with bears, however my philosophy is to reside each second as when you might encounter a bear, so I like this tip. The thought behind that is that bears don’t prefer it once you sneak up on them, so in the event you connect a bell to your backpack that dings if you stroll, it is going to alert the bears in proximity to remain away.
four. Doritos are extremely flammable
During the phase the place we talked concerning the sorts of snacks to convey with us on our travels, I used to be stunned to listen to that corn chips like Doritos have been on the listing. Turns out, it’s not for his or her dietary worth. They are additionally good for beginning fires — simply in case nobody in your group has a tampon out there.
5. Sassafras helps deal with poison ivy
Not solely is it enjoyable to say, however sassafras is a plant that tends to develop close to poison ivy and can be utilized topically to deal with a poison ivy rash.
6. If you’re misplaced on the east coast, discover water
This truly makes lots of sense: should you lose your means whereas mountaineering someplace close to the east coast, simply discover a river and comply with it downstream. Eventually you’ll run into civilization.
7. Buy probably the most native map potential
For mountaineering journeys, don’t depend on Rand McNally or National Geographic. Your greatest guess is to purchase a map instantly from the park made by an area cartographer most accustomed to the world. That means if something modifications — new roads, dried-up our bodies of water — the map is extra more likely to mirror that.
eight. Birds sing earlier than it rains
If you don’t have cell service or ran out of battery and don’t have entry to your climate app, the sound of birds chirping is an effective indication that it’d rain quickly.
9. You can get water by wiping your neckerchief on the morning dew
I used to be stunned and delighted to see that our teacher was sporting a neckerchief at first of sophistication — I had simply assumed that this was some kind of Boy Scout stereotype. I do know they serve an entire vary of functions (like masking your nostril and mouth in a Wild West mud storm), however I discovered that in the event you’re in need of water, you possibly can take your neckerchief and run it over some grass within the morning to gather the dew. I’d should be fairly determined to need to drink neckerchief dew water — particularly given that a substantial portion of it might be comprised of sweat — nevertheless it’s good to know that it’s an choice.
10. No a part of me needs to be in an precise survival state of affairs
Hiking and tenting and actions that contain being distant from civilization aren’t my cup of tea, and that’s completely nice. My sister simply hiked a part of the Appalachian Trail — willingly — and so I do know individuals who take pleasure in any such recreation; I’m simply not considered one of them. I want to expertise nature strolling via it slowly after which safely returning to a sturdy shelter at night time, distant from bears. But no less than now I’ve a number of wilderness survival methods past these I learn in The Boxcar Children ebook collection.
For extra info on this and different Force of Nature courses for women, go to the REI web site.