Author Archives: MLO Staff Writers
I last wrote about the strategies to use to prevent injuries from wildlife. But what to do if an accident or animal attack occurs, and you or someone else in the group become injured? Today I will be writing on the methods you can use to treat injuries out on the trail.
Before I go into any of these injuries, I want to say that you should always hike in a group. If you must go alone, bring a phone as well as some type of attention grabbing device, like an air horn or flare, to get attention when injured. However, be careful with flares in the dry season-you don’t want to be the cause of a forest or brush fire. Now, on to business.
There are several places on the body in which bleeding can become dangerous, these include creases or places where the body bends and the face. Cuts in these areas may graze arteries, so it is important to stop the bleeding by compressing the area with your fingers. If bleeding is severe, a tourniquet can be used; however, tourniquets are only safe to use on the upper arm and thigh. Rip a shirt into strips and wrap them tightly around the limb with the cut. Make a half-knot, add a stick, and then double knot over the stick. Twist until bleeding stops. Once you are sure the bleeding has stopped, slowly remove the tourniquet, being careful not to release pressure too quickly.
As far as bandaging goes, try to be as sterile as possible. Rinse the cut/puncture with clean water (and soap, if on hand), and wipe away debris from the inside of the cut outwards. If the wound is from an animal, rinse for at least 5 minutes if possible to remove saliva. Keep the area elevated until bleeding stops, and then get to help as quickly as possible. By cutting some cloth into a triangle, a sling can be made for the trip back.
This type of bleeding is much more dangerous. If you or another person suffers a violent blow, fall or broken bone, it is safest to keep to the ground for some time to watch for the signs of internal bleeding. The injured person will feel faint, and have a pale color as well as cold clammy skin. Their pulse will be weak but fast. The safest bet if you suspect internal bleeding is occurring is to keep the person warm and flat on the ground with their legs elevated to send blood to the heart. Get help as fast as possible.
Carefully examine the injured person before swelling sets in to determine the location of the break. If bone has broken skin, avoid touching the area, and keep it covered with some clean fabric. Infection is a big risk here, so get to help asap.
For those on limbs: If it hasn’t broken skin, and help is far away, try to reduce the fracture. Pull slowly and strongly to realign the edges of the fractures. Create a splint using some fabric and any sort of strong item like a stick, roll of newspaper/magazine or even parts of your gear, like the straw to your water bottle. Pad the area, align the splint, and tie with fabric. Elevate arms with slings to keep swelling down. For legs, keep the person lying down and make a flu body splint if possible. If not, try to create some padding between the legs and tie legs together to keep movement minimal. For breaks on the ankle, it is best to elevate the foot while leaving the hiking boot on for stability.
For those on the body: Keep the person flat on the ground. If bending the area causes pain, use padding to find a position that is most comfortable. Don’t try to walk on these type of injuries, as this can make the injury worse.
There are signs to watch out for to prevent heat stroke. Usually, it begins with heat cramps, which are accompanied by dizziness, shallow breathing or vomiting. Get to a shaded area, rest, and drink water with a little salt in it to replace lost body salts. Next comes heat exhaustion, in which the person becomes pale, cold and dizzy/weak. They may become delirious, or even pass out. Treat this the same way as you would heat cramps.
If the person continues to remain in the sun, they can get heat stroke. Symptoms are hot, dry skin, flushed face, fever and headache. Get to the shade, and lay down with the head and shoulders elevated. Remove outer layers of clothing. Cool the body with lukewarm water (cold water will make symptoms worse) by sprinkling it over the person’s body. Once temperature has stabilized, immersion in cold water is safe if there is a stream or lake nearby. Do this slowly, feet first, and remove the person from the water as soon as temperature begins to drop. Cover them immediately to prevent temperature from plummeting too quickly.
The chart to the right can help you assess whether it’s a good day for a hike.
That’s all for today. Be safe out on the trail!
One of the best parts about overnight camping, at least for me, is waking up in the great outdoors with the sounds and smells of nature serving as your alarm clock. A fresh-brewed cup of coffee sends that experience into something on par with a spiritual event. Of course, coaxing a good cup of coffee out of your standard camp coffee makers can be a bit of a hassle. If you do find a coffee maker that actually brews a good cup of coffee it is usually too bulky to bring along on a backpacking trip or hike.
Not so with the GSI Outdoors Personal JavaPress.
In addition to brewing a perfect cup of coffee, the nesting feature makes this a very space and weight efficient coffee maker and mug combination for 1-2 people to use while camping or backpacking.
Company: GSI Outdoors
Product Name: Personal Java Press
Gear Categories: Personal, Portable, Hiking, Camping, Gourmet Backpacking, French Press Coffee
Material: BPA-Free Infinity clear polypropylene
Capacity: 20 fl. Oz.
Weight: 10.8 Oz.
Dimensions: 4.30″ x 4.20″ x 6.10″
Colors: Clear w/Blue Insulating EVA wrap or Smoke w/Maroon Insulating EVA wrap
Features: 20 fl. oz. Carafe w/Lid, Insulating Sleeve, Patented Plunger Mechanism, Separate 17 fl.oz. Mug, Insulating wrap, Sip-it Lid
Pros: Separate mug and carafe eliminates over-brewed, muddy coffee produced by most personal French Presses. Split-ring plunger design virtually eliminates coffee ‘blow-by’ for the most flavorful, mud-free coffee. Nesting, insulated mug includes Sip-It Lid and is made of lightweight, shatter-resistant, BPA-Free Infinity clear polypropylene. Insulating EVA sleeves on mug and carafe remove easily for cleaning.
Cons: The lid for both the cup and the press excel at keeping heat in without taking up space, but fail at preventing spills and allowing access for pouring or sipping.
Rating: 5.0 out of 5
When we got our hands on the first batch of Koppers Live Target Bluegill Crankbaits (model#BG57M102) we could not wait to tie one on and start testing them for this review. At first glance, the lure looked like a piece of art. It doesn’t match your everyday crank bait; it has a metallic gloss bluegill color which really stands out in your hand and looks even better in the water.
Company: Koppers Live Target
Lure Type: Diving Crankbait
Length: 2 1/4″
Weight: 1/4 oz
Colors: Metallic/Gloss and Natural Matte
Bait Swim Style: Side to Side
Hook Style: Exposed Treble Hooks
Hook Size: #6
Custom Paint: No
Lure Hinge: None
Number of Hinges: None
Hinge Style: None
Lure Speed: Slow to Medium
Depth Range: 5′-6
MLO Rating: 4.5 out of 5
From the tip of the bill to the end of the bait it is 3 1/2″ long and weighs in at a 1/4 ounce. It is a very narrow, prolific style crank bait that measures only a 1/2″ wide. This gives the lure a very tight side to side swimming action in the water. The lure is a medium-depth 5′-6′ runner with one ball inside that gives the bait good balance in the water and really helps in casting this small crank bait. It really worked well with slow to medium retrieve with a 2-3 second pause when hitting the top of structure and it also loved to be rip and jerked with a pause thrown in. After our MLO buoyancy tank test we found the lure to rise rate of 3 seconds per foot which is a very good medium buoyancy for such a small narrow crank bait.
The two colors I tested for the Koppers Live Target Bluegill crankbait review were the Natural Matte Blugill and Metallic Gloss Bluegill. Both stood up very well over many days of fish catching and rock hitting during retrieves and we barely noticed a scratch on the baits. Live Target also put a realistic 3D eye on the lure which really tops it off and gives it a life-like natural look.
Pros: A very realistic look and medium buoyancy really makes this crank bait unique for it’s size. I did have to use lighter gear and lighter line but it’s just all around a very durable fun fish catching bait in clear water.
Cons: After days of testing I could not find anything wrong with the bait except it’s weight; it is very light. When the wind blew made it very hard to cast. Other than that, it’s a very solid bait for its size.
MLO Rating was a 4.5 out of 5
Decoy , the maker of the 5″ Hydra Tail, has made a swimbait that looks awesome in the package and even better when it’s in the water. It is a soft-plastic swimbait in the shape of a small narrow fish with a beautiful soft plastic paint job that comes in 16 different colors.
Lure Type: Soft Plastic Swimbait
Bait Swim Type: Kick Tail, Hydra Tail
Weight: 1.2 oz
Custom Paint: Yes
Lure Hinges: None
Number of Hinges: None
Hinge Style: None
Lure Speed: Slow-Medium
MLO Rating: 3.5 out of 5
These Decoy Swim Baits are single hook baits with an eyelet on the bottom of the bait where a treble hook could be added. I found with the small size there was no need for a second hook. To give the bait some of its real life-like look it has dorsal, pectoral, anal, and adipose fins in the swim position which really gives the bait an awesome look and does not inhibit the swimming motion of the bait at all. The tail is a new Hydra Tail design that has a very subtle and natural side to side kicking motion with a slight figure eight motion. I found the Decoy swimbait wanted to be retrieved between a slow to medium speed.
The head has many fine details in the gill plate and mouth areas which is rare for such a small plastic bait and it also has a very realistic 3D eyeball.
I have been using the Decoy swimbait for well over a year and have found it to be a very good bass catching bait in clear water. The size and incredible paint jobs seem to be the major reason for this, but with the bait’s subtle kicking tail I have not had the same success in dirty waters.
Pros : It has a very realistic scale pattern and gill plate detail and the 3D tear drop pupil gives this bait life. Along with the incredible paint jobs this is one of the most realistic looking soft plastic baits on the market. Hooking up with all sizes of bass was not an issue at all, so there is no need for a second hook.
Cons : This bait was built to be a realistic looking slow kicking swimbait for clear water fishing and is not as effective in dirty water. The paint jobs are incredible but not as durable after a few catches but a little clear smelly jelly smeared on the sides of the bait helped the paint last a little longer.
MLO gave this bait a 3.5 out of 5
The Bull Shad Swimbait is a hard plastic handmade swimbait that is an S-motion swimming lure. It has three joints and four sections that are hinged with a screw eyedrop pin method. It comes in 5″, 6″, and 8″ lengths and monster 9″ models that weigh from 5-9 ounces.
Company: Bull Shad Swimbaits
Lure Type: Hard Resin Swimbait
Bait Swim Style: S-Motion Swimmer
Hook Style: Exposed Treble Hooks
Custom Paint: Yes
Custom Paint By: Bait Werks
Lure Hinges: Yes
Number of Hinges: Three
Hinge Style: Screw eye, drop pin
Lure Speed: Slow to Fast
MLO Rating: 4 out of 5
|5″ Bull Shad||$50.00|
|6″ Bull Shad||$55.00|
|8″ Bull Shad||TBD|
|9″ Bull Shad||$80.00|
|Bait Werks Paint||Price|
|5″ Bull Shad||$65.00|
|6″ Bull Shad||$75.00|
|8″ Bull Shad||TBD|
|9″ Bull Shad||$100.00|
As for eyes, the Bull Shad Swimbait has a hard plastic 3D round pupil eye which sticks out just enough where a fish a can see it from almost every angle. I have put well over a year on a few Bull Shads and have not had a single problem with any eyes coming off the bait, which is often a problem with many swimbaits. The Bull Shad has a very life-like textured scale pattern in the standard paint version, but with the Bait Werks painted version that textured look is reduced due to the paint.The Bull Shad has a very unique tail with micro fibetts added and is trimmed to look like a fish tail. This bristle-style tail gives the bait low-resistance in the water while swimming and provides a very life-like appearance and in my opinion this really separates this S-motion swimbait from all other S-motion style baits.
When it comes to flexibility, all sizes of the Bull Shad bend at a right angle.
This right angle produces a good medium S-motion swimming ability which is really good at a steady retrieve, or if you want to rip and jerk the swimbait. I found the floating models to have a really good surface S-motion and a little joint movement sound which is nice to help call attention to the swimbait.
Bull Shad hires Bait Werks to do their custom paint jobs and they produce a very life-like appearance.
Another good feature of the Bull Shad is the hook eyelets. They are swivels that will turn a full 360-degrees which helps keep the hook set while twisting and turning during a fish battle.
The Bull Shad is made in floater, slow sink, and fast sink. The ballast system is very consistent and all the baits I used fell at the correct rate which was a pleasant surprise.
Pros: It is a very durable bait with no joint issues or eyes coming off and the bait has no issues with the ballast system. Upon inspection, the weights inside the baits were measured properly and were placed precisely where they needed to be and I had no issue with the lead coming out while fishing. The dorsal fin, which is the only fin that protrudes upwards on the bait, does not inhibit the hook set ability in any way. Hook eyelets were wired in and very strong.
Cons: The eye is plastic and did get scratched up from fish teeth and hitting shorelines on casts. The eyes have a slight sunken eye look because they don’t come out far enough. The microfibetts tail does not hold up very long or keep its original shape if not stored properly and it is very difficult to change it out. On the custom Bait Werks paint jobs some of the body sections hit each other while swimming, which may chip the paint.
Overall MLO gave the Bull Shad 4 out of 5 rating.
It’s one of the things that everyone fears the most when spending time in the great outdoors-getting injured out in the wilderness, where help is not near. Whether it be a snake bite, twisted ankle or dehydration, there is always danger on the trail, and one should always be prepared for it. Here are some things you should know about preparing for and responding to emergencies on a hike
It doesn’t matter if you are an experienced hiker or a first timer, accidents happen, and they can happen to you. Before embarking on any hike, it is important to understand the trail and the potential dangers it holds. Over the course of three articles, I will go over 3 of the most common scenarios to be prepared for, as well as some tips to reduce the chance of finding oneself injured deep into the trail.
1. Encounters with Wildlife
The most important thing to remember is that animals on the trail are much different than those you find in your home or backyard. They are likely unfamiliar with people, and can be very unpredictable. Never approach any wild animal, no matter how docile it may appear.
How about when wild animals approach you? Most will run if you make some noise, but the three to be most concerned about are bears, mountain lions and snakes.
An encounter with a bear is very unlikely, but it is good to be prepared for it. Bears don’t like to be surprised, so the best way to be sure they don’t come near is to be noisy on the trail. Talking, singing or clapping your hands are all great ways to alert any bears to your presence. If you see a bear on the trail, quietly make a detour to avoid it. If the bear spots you, make some noise so that it recognizes you as a human, and not as a predator or threat. Soft talking and slow
movements of the arms are a perfect way to make yourself known in a non-threatening way. Avoid any direct eye contact, which is predator behavior.
In the chance that the bear feels threatened, it may charge. This is usually a bluff, and attempting to run or climb a tree will only make the situation worse. Hold your ground, and it is likely the bear will leave you alone. In the case that it attacks, there are two different tactics to remember, depending on the type of bear. If it has a hump, it’s likely a Grizzly, and you should play dead. Roll on to your stomach and cover your neck with your hands to protect your vital organs. If it doesn’t have a hump, it’s a Black bear, and your best chance comes by fighting back. This is where bear spray comes in handy, as black bears are less likely to continue attacking if you fight back or spray them.
Like bears, mountain lions are more likely to avoid humans if they sense their presence. If you do see a mountain lion from the trail, your best bet is to scare it off by making yourself as threatening as possible. Hold up your arms, backpack or jacket, and stay close to other hikers in your group to appear larger. Make as much noise as possible, yelling and banging together any items you may have on yourself.
Make direct eye contact, and never turn away or crouch down. If it does not move, continue to make noise and maintain an aggressive stance while backing away down the trail, giving the animal space to run away. If it attacks, fight back, using sticks, rocks or anything on hand. Protect your neck and throat. Continue to be loud and aggressive, you want the animal to see you as another predator, a potential threat, to reduce the chance of a prolonged fight.
Snakes may be predators, but they typically will not purposely go after humans. Be very aware of your surroundings, as most snake bites are the result of getting too close to the snake, which is very easy when you go off the trail into the brush. If you see a snake on the trail, stay back and throw some rocks to scare it off. Go around it, giving it a wide berth, if it will not move. It is important to be familiar with the snakes in your area, so that you can recognize a venomous snake. Some things to look out for are triangular shaped heads with slit shaped eyes (cottonmouths, copperheads and rattlesnakes) or bright coloration (coral snakes). Coral snakes are easily identified by the rhyme: “Red touch black, friend to jack. Red touch yellow, kills a fellow”. Red stripes next to yellow means it’s a coral snake, red next to black makes it a non-venomous king snake.
If you or someone else is bitten by a venomous snake, do not try to suck out the venom. If you have a snake bite kit Keep the bitten area still and remove any jewelry or clothing that may constrict when it swells. If the bite is on a leg or arm, splint it to keep it steady. If possible, try to keep the area at or below the level of the heart to slow the movement of the venom. Clean the wound, but do not use a tourniquet. It is very important for the bitten person to stay calm to prevent shock from setting in. It only takes 2 hours for the venom to fully take effect, so get the person to a ranger or hospital as quickly as possible.
That’s it for dangerous wildlife. Keep posted for the following articles on treating heat stroke/dehydration and other common hiking injuries.