Winnipeg Free Press Newspaper Archives Aug 15 2015, Page 71

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Winnipeg Free Press (Newspaper) - August 15, 2015, Winnipeg, Manitoba C M Y K PAGE C16 C 14 WINNIPEG FREE PRESS, SATURDAY, AUGUST 15, 2015 OUTDOORS winnipegfreepress. com Built to last I F you have good credit and poor restraint, it’s easy to walk into an outdoor retailer and leave with hundreds of dollars worth of handy, high- tech gizmos you never knew you needed. There are USB chargers that derive electricity from burning kindling. There are down pants that convert into sleeping bags with a flick of a zipper. There are waterproof GoPros, portable solar showers and satellite messengers that can provide Facebook access anywhere. Much of the new gear is amazing, but very little of it is essential. The stuff you can not leave at home happens to be low- tech. Everyone has camping- gear checklists that includes tents, sleeping bags and first- aid kits. But there are a few small items you should pack that could mean the difference between a nasty experience and a great trip. Low- tech devices tend to be the most durable of all, USB- charging bush gizmos be damned. Before your next jaunt, consider bringing along the following inexpensive, low- tech items, none of which will add much weight to your pack: OFF- ROAD BARTLEY KIVES A fixed- blade knife CHANCES are you already own a multi- tool, whether it’s a Swiss Army knife, a Leatherman or some cheap promotional gadget you were handed at a trade show. Consider augmenting the folding gizmo by also taking along a fixed- blade knife. These things are not just useful for cutting cheese or whittling hotdog sticks. A fixed blade eliminates the need for a larger and heavier hand axe; whack the back of the blade with a baton or the butt end ( technically, the pommel) with a rock, and you’ll split all the wood you’ll ever need. You can even set that wood ablaze by scraping a fixed blade against a firestarter rod to generate sparks. A compass EVERY year, portable GPS devices become more amazing. But no matter how many spare batteries and emergency power sources you pack, you will still face the inevitable day when your electronics fail. A cheap, plastic compass costs about $ 15 and should last many years. Buy one, and keep it close. Even if you never use it, it’ll still be the best and least- expensive insurance policy you will ever buy. A length of rope NOWHERE to cook during a downpour? No problem, as you brought along some rope to turn your a tarp into a shelter. Canoe lose a painter? No big deal, because you have rope. Need to lower your backpack over an unexpected drop? That’s easy with a rope and a carabiner ( see left). Need a clothesline? Rope will do. Mice getting at your food? Rope will keep it away. Don’t know any knots? Definitely take a carabiner along with that rope. But you get the general picture: Rope conquers all. Moist towelettes KEEPING clean is easy during a mid- summer canoe trip, when you can jump in a lake or river any day. But if you’re hiking away from water, paddling in cooler weather or doing anything during the winter, you won’t be able to take a plunge — and after a few days, you’ll get more pungent than the dumpster behind Red Lobster the day before garbage pickup. Perfect hygiene without bathing is impossible. But you can approximate a semblance of cleanliness — and more importantly, feel clean — with the help of a morning dry bath using a single Wet- Nap or other alcohol- saturated hand wipe. Hand wipes take up very little room and weight in your pack. They don’t cost much, even when you buy the individually wrapped ones. You’ll have to pack out the metal- lined wrappers, but a campfire can consume even the moistest towelette, provided there isn’t anything else wet for the flames to work on. Carabiners BIG ones are essential for climbing. Little ones can fasten almost anything to almost anything. Pack at least two or three in various sizes, and you will never lose stray articles of clothing, water bottles or other pieces of loose gear along the trail again. bartley. kives@ freepress. mb. ca Duct tape YEAH, I know — the versatility of duct tape is a Red Green Show cliché. But you’d be foolish to head out on any trip without at least some length of the most useful adhesive known to humankind. Duct tape can patch together a broken tent pole. It can cover a nasty heel blister. It can transform a flip- flop into a hiking boot, as Reese Witherspoon demonstrated so well in Wild. It can convert even the most chewed- up bike seat into an ergonomically perfect perch. In a pinch, duct tape can keep a dinged- up canoe or kayak afloat for a few kilometres, hold an ankle splint together long enough to get a maimed person to safety and even close a serious laceration, if you clean the wound and also use a wad of gauze. Duct tape isn’t a permanent solution for anything, but it’s a temporary fix for just about everything. So buy at least one small roll, flatten it out and stuff it into the lid of your pack. Low- tech devices tend to be more durable and light C_ 16_ Aug- 15- 15_ FP_ 01. indd C16 8/ 14/ 15 8: 20: 55 PM

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