reading a topo map
Outdoor recreation provides an opportunity for people to learn and explore. It allows people to spend time with family and friends, view wildlife, and experience nature. These experiences however, could potentially become life-threatening. Be prepared by utilizing the following steps to prevent any mishaps.

Preplan.
Preplanning is the key to a safe and memorable outing. Before the adventure begins, gather information about the location you are traveling by calling the park office or visiting the park's website. It is important to know the guidelines and warnings within the park – providing you with more information about gear or other items that will be needed. Additionally, create a plan. Designate a person to provide essential information to – an itinerary that includes the location, date of return, and emergency follow-through plans.

Wear a shelter.
Wear clothing and footwear that match the current and predicted weather conditions. Weather can change very quickly, so it is important to know the signs for approaching storms or changing weather conditions. Being dressed for the occasion is imperative. Layering clothing is the most effective means to regulate your body’s core temperature. Snow, rain, and extreme sun can all be managed by having additional and appropriate clothing.

warming hands over a fire
Know the priorities.
Learn and understand your priorities. These priorities include fire, shelter, water, and food.
1) Fire provides warmth, a means to purify water, the ability to cook food, and a sense of security. On each trip always pack at least two fire starting devices that you are comfortable using.
2) Shelter aids in protection from the elements and adverse weather conditions. Carrying a bright-colored, quick-setup survival shelter also assists with signaling for rescue should you need it.
3) Drink water. Be sure to stay hydrated as dehydration can affect your cognitive and physical ability to perform simple tasks. Think about swapping out a plastic water bottle with a metal one as it can be placed directly into a fire to boil and disinfect water.
4) Food provides the energy needed to perform at an optimal level. Packing a few extra snacks will yield a physical and mental boost that may be needed in the event of an emergency.

With these few simple steps of preplanning and packing, now is the time to get outside and find your adventure!

Learn more about Dan Wowak and Coalcracker Bushcraft