When you go in the woods, what do you take?

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billyymc billyymc
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When you go in the woods, what do you take?

So after two good days at Platty and Greek respectively, I opted today to get out for some cross country skiing.

I headed to Jenksville State Forest, a 1300 acre area near Newark Valley, NY (in the Binghamton region for anyone not wanting to look it up). It's a very lightly used area, and as I expected nobody had been on the trails since the snow earlier this week. With today's rain it was soft wet powder about 7 or 8 inches deep, on top of a more solid base.

Now this is a place I've skied a couple times, and I've ridden MTB here at least a half dozen times if not more. But I haven't been there in two or three years. I know the trails relatively well and was heading out around 11 am, so I didn't bother to take anything with me. Expected to be out about 2 hours.The soft wet snow made for slow going. Even the downhill parts were slow.

As I got into the woods I noticed there was some clear cut foresting going on. Looking at the signs that were posted it has been going on a couple years. After I'd been out about 30 or 40 minutes I came into a section where they were actively working today, and wanting to avoid that I did a little bushwacking, and caught back up with a different trail before too long.

So because I'd bushwacked I was going a different way than I would usually go, and furhter on I came to another big area that had been clearcut. There were no trail markers, logs down all over, ribbons of blue and pink tied to various trees, and several colors of blazes all over. It looked like even the surrounding landowners had painted yellow blazes on trees on the property line.

Thinking I knew where I was I did some more bushwacking, found another trail, and headed in what I thought was the direction I wanted to go. But instead I ended up circling back to the far side of the active foresting area and was forced to bushwack yet again up through some steep terrain.

Now I was never really worried. But I definitely got turned around a couple times due to the unexpected logging, and missing trail markers. Wearing just a fleece shirt with my shell tied around my waist I was overdressed for the effort I was putting in. I ended up being out about 3 hours. But it got me thinking that maybe I should have taken at least a minimal pack with me to be prepared in the event I actually did get lost. This is a very lightly used area even in the summer, and in the winter it gets almost no use.

I'd told my teenage daughter where I was going, which I'm sure sounded something like "blah blah, blabbity blah blah."

So what's the minimum you take when going into an area you know reasonably well but not great? Do you prepare to be there overnight if something stupid happens? I probably should have packed a few warmer layers, a light, maybe a whistle, some water and a granola bar or something. I had nothing with me except my car keys.
BRLKED BRLKED
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Re: When you go in the woods, what do you take?

As to your last paragraph, Yes. Yes Yes Yes, an so on. I'll add map and compass, first aid kit , space blanket, some thing to repair a broken ski , DUCT TAPE{ gorilla} and my car keys stay with the car, hidden. I could go on but that 's the basics.
I'll add a phone , but I think too many depend on them and they are not reliable in the back country. Better to be able to take care of yourself. oh  I do ski by myself but on extended back country trip like to have at least two others with me, you
always then have one to stay with an injured companion while  one seeks help.
MC2 5678F589 MC2 5678F589
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Re: When you go in the woods, what do you take?

In reply to this post by billyymc
Depends.

If it's a trail I know and have done before, it might be nothing but the clothes on my back.

If it's a deep woods adventure to a place I've never been? Everything.

Every trip in between those two extremes has different gear requirements. Things I might bring include maps, guidebooks, water, food, dog stuff, knife, first aid kit, lighter, extra layers, etc.

The most important thing to take is your brain. If things have changed in a place I've been before (trail changes, condition changes, etc.), I don't feel bad about turning around or adjusting to a shorter trip. Sounds like you never got really concerned about your safety because you knew the area well. Being out 1 hour longer than planned isn't a huge difference in my book.
tjf1967 tjf1967
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Re: When you go in the woods, what do you take?

1/ dog
2/green wax
3/sometimes water

If I'm going somewhere hairy I bring someone that knows what they are doing.
KISS
billyymc billyymc
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Re: When you go in the woods, what do you take?

In reply to this post by MC2 5678F589
MC2 5678F589 wrote
Sounds like you never got really concerned about your safety because you knew the area well. Being out 1 hour longer than planned isn't a huge difference in my book.
Right, it was actually more amusing than anything finding myself turned around the day I did. It made me appreciate that the trail network there was bigger than I remembered, and when I realized what I did I just kind of chuckled to myself. At the point where I last had to bushwack to get back to a trail I could have actually cut across an open (private land) field to a road about a half mile away, then walked a mile or less to my car. Going back through the woods was a longer option.

It just got me thinking about possibly bringing a pack with a few items with me. THere are other places I xc ski where I could walk out in the dark blindfolded. Still, if I got hurt somehow having a few items might not be a bad idea.
gorgonzola gorgonzola
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Re: When you go in the woods, what do you take?

In reply to this post by tjf1967
I’ve had a few similar experiences and always take my camelback pack with  wax, first aid kit, foil blanket, blaze vest, knife/ multi tool, water, snack (cliff bar or jerky), extra gloves (cuz I sweat like a mofo) whistle, hard copy map, headlamp, and bandana.  Many excursions include some XCD and potential encounters with water, rocks, trees, etc .
Thinking anout starting to take my bike helmet too
greif greif
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Re: When you go in the woods, what do you take?

I have had trail-stare (like mall stare, only in the woods) while skiing, but more often during the green season while doing trail maintenance. In a very familiar park, know the trails very well, but find myself wondering "where am I?"

In the real woods, where I don't know where things are I have a small backpack with at least:
Water
one extra layer beyond what I think I need
dry extra liners and mittens (my hands get cold real easy)
snacks
phone
Garmin GPS where I  marked my starting point. Mainly I just like to know how far I skied, but it also collects a data point every 5 seconds, which I can convert into a very good map later on.
small first aid pack
orange vest
compass
paper map if I really don"t know anything about the area
extra batteries
camera
phone
space blanket and recently added space sleeping bag sack
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