Backpacking Essentials – Emergency Light

Solo backpacking is against conventional wisdom, but don’t tell that to the purists who love to get ultralight, go fast and go far.

The reason you aren’t supposed to backpack, hike or otherwise be in the wilderness alone is because it is wilderness and if you get sick or hurt, there’s no one to help or go for help.

Makes sense. Amy Racina of “Angels in the Wilderness” and Aron Ralston of “A Rock and a Hard Place” ignored conventional wisdom and nearly died. Of course, they lived to tell about it and make a bundle of money to boot. But you may not be so lucky.

Yes, life is full of risks and many people feel the solitude of solo wilderness travel is worth the risk.

If that’s you or you’re a newby or oldie thinking about going alone, you might also consider carrying a rescue light.

At a meeting of the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary I recently attended, we saw a search and rescue equipment demonstration that included the ACR 3995.3 FIREFLY 3 STROBE emergency light and strobe – all 3.8 ounces of it. It’s meant for use when you fall into the sea or are cast adrift in a life raft because it sends out a bright strobe light visible for two miles and will blink 60-75 times a minute for up to 12 hours on two AA batteries.

If you want to go alone, be smart: tell people where you are going and when you will return. Leave a note on your car dash, telling people your whereabouts. And carry emergency gear.

Be light. Be one with the pack. But also, be Safe.

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