Shocking Advice: Lightning Safety in the Wilderness

James WerbWilderness HazardsLeave a Comment

lightning strike

Lightning is one of the most dangerous weather conditions that you can encounter while on a wilderness trip. A powerful, electrostatic charge that illuminates the sky, invoking feelings of fear and awe in equal measure.

Your chances of getting struck let alone killed by lightning are remote but that can provide little relief when caught in a dramatic storm. In this article I’ll aim to highlight the dangers surrounding lightning and how you can improve your odds of avoiding being struck.

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How To Predict the Weather in the Wilderness

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Rainbow Weather

The weather can have a huge influence on the success of a trip. Dealing with freezing temperatures, heat waves, wind, rain, snow or thunderstorms, all offer their own dangers.

With a little knowledge and some practice it’s possible to become reasonably successful at predicting the weather up to a few hours in advance.

But before you try and work out whether that cloud coming towards you is going to unleash a hailstorm or benignly pass you by, it pays to do some research beforehand on the likely weather you’ll encounter over the course of your trip.

Having an idea about the likely weather you’ll face on a trip allows you make informed equipment choices such as packing a warmer sleeping bag or bringing a sun hat.

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STOP: A Story From Lost To Found

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STOP - Map and Compass

Getting lost is something that can happen to anyone, even those that are experienced at wilderness navigation. It can begin with a slight sense of unease and quickly escalate into a full state of panic if you don’t keep a clear head when faced with some geographical confusion.

It’s a situation I was faced with last year when spending two weeks canoeing around Lake Saimaa in Finland. It had been a long and very hot day. We’d been paddling for eight hours solid to find our next camp site and I was getting thirsty and tired. A perfect recipe for a navigational mishap as I was about to find out.

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How To Stay Warm and Dry in the Wilderness

James WerbOutdoor Clothing, Wilderness Hazards1 Comment

Man keeping warm and dry

Any fool can be uncomfortable, right?

Staying comfortable whatever the weather throws at you takes preparation. Whether it’s a quick day hike or a month long expedition into the wilderness, it’s essential to stay warm and dry.

The human body need to maintain an average core temperature of 37 Celsius (98.6 Fahrenheit).

Dropping just a couple of degrees below this and you could be heading into serious trouble. At 35 Celsius (95 Fahrenheit), you will be on the verge of hypothermia so understanding what causes heat loss and how to maintain your core temperature is vital.

This isn’t just a risk for polar explorers. In fact there’s plenty of cases where hikers have succumbed to the effects of hypothermia in cold, wet conditions after only a few hours on the trail.

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