Safety gear

11:59 a.m. on October 19, 2010 (EDT)
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1 forum posts

Hello all,


I am a student working on an engineering project with the purpose of making people safer when they are alone practicing outdoor sports/activities.

Could you please let me know what dangers you are worried about when you are "in the wild" on your own? I am wondering if I should address a situation where someone suffers an accident which makes him/her unable to alert first responders and give them his/her location (b/c of unconsciousness or some other injury with that effect).

I am also interested in finding out what solution you are using for emergency communication and if you are happy with it. I have heard of people using the SPOT technology, beacons, and their cell phones, of course. But I cannot tell if those are satisfactory or they have any limitations.


Thank you all very much for your input.




9:53 p.m. on October 19, 2010 (EDT)
584 reviewer rep
169 forum posts

I found that hiking near the Mexican border my cell phone doesn't work.  The Jamul mountains.  I tell my wife or friends the area that I'm hiking.  I am out to enjoy my day hikes and not worry about something going wrong.  I keep enough with me for overnight.  I have a map of the area I'm hiking (National Geographic State Topo).  I don't want to carry more than 15 to 18 pounds with me.  To the people that carry 50 plus pounds, my hats of to you.  You can do only so much, for me water, food and shelter is number 1. 

6:43 a.m. on October 20, 2010 (EDT)
102 reviewer rep
2,993 forum posts

Personally I am not a fan of electronics in the backcountry.  But when I solo I carry flares.  Thus lighter compact smoke flares would be good.  Or an eco friendly substance that can be spread over a large area to attract attention.Ed

12:44 p.m. on October 21, 2010 (EDT)
4,419 reviewer rep
6,010 forum posts


The topics of cell phones, personal locator beacons, handheld radios (ham, FRS, and others), SPOT, and so on have been discussed extensively here on Trailspace. Look at the upper right corner of almost any page on Trailspace and you will see a place to enter search topics. Enter SPOT, cell phone, PLB, radios, or any words related to safety gear and you will get a huge number of links to discussions in the Trailspace forums, with more (and more relevant) comments than you could wish for. That includes preparation for outings that prevent incidents, gear to have just in case something does go wrong, what to do if something goes wrong, and many many more related discussions (including my articles on SPOT and PLBs).

As for your question:

But I cannot tell if those are satisfactory or they have any limitations.

the simple answer is that all safety gear and all communication devices and methods do have limitations, many of them, from limited battery life to limited effective range to limited effectiveness in getting a message through (request for help, information on what help is needed, etc)

June 17, 2018
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