Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Four Self Defense Products No Hiker Should Be Without

I love hiking. It’s one of my main hobbies and what I use to keep active. Hiking is pretty safe as long as you’re prepared. That means taking adequate food and water, bringing your cell phone if there’s coverage, planning your route (and taking a compass to navigate if it’s rough terrain) and most important, letting other people know where you’re going. Make sure you always have a “trip buddy” in town who knows where you are and when to expect you back, who can make emergency calls if you don’t return.

Beyond that, it’s a sad fact that you should think of self defense as well. Crime isn’t just an urban phenomenon. Drug dealers pick up shipments in nature areas; addicts go there to use drugs out of sight. Beyond that, there are also human predators that look for unprepared hikers. And leaving aside human threats, don’t underestimate wild animals. During strange weather, many shy predators will come closer to people than normal because their normal prey species have gone elsewhere. Other animals have grown overly accustomed to people. This commonly happens with bears. While wolves almost never target humans, feral dogs might.

Don’t get paranoid – these are only possible threats. Nevertheless, it’s better to be prepared. Here are four essential self defense products to help you protect yourself on a hike.

Bear or Dog Pepper Spray: Keep bear pepper spray and dog pepper spray to repel members of these species when they get too close. Remember that when you encounter a strange animal, the best policy is to calmly leave the area without yelling or making sudden movements. Running may spark an animal’s predator instincts and besides, dangerous animals can run faster than you. And of course, humans don’t particularly like animal repellent either.

Boots: We don’t sell boots, but a proper pair really is an essential self defense product. Many people hike in casual footwear. That’s a big mistake. If you get lost or have to run from a threatening individual, twisting your ankle can be enough to kill you, either through exposure or when an attacker catches up. Ignore style; get a pair that fit you and suit the terrain.

Flashlight: A safety light (scroll down to see one that attaches to your cell phone) is not only important at night to avoid obstacles but in any situation where you might encounter variable lighting conditions, such as heavy foliage and overcast days. Any flashlight can serve as an impact weapon. The best ones for this are steel shot security models, but on a hike they may add extra weight. Pick one you can comfortably use in one hand and store without outing it in your pack – you don’t want to rummage through your gear in an emergency. Nowadays small LED models pack a punch

Knife: A self defense knife can be used to protect yourself when you feel the need to employ potentially lethal force. Besides that, the merits of a knife on the woods are too numerous to mention. You can cut a walking stick or can to help you walk, chop firewood into manageable sizes, cut rope – the potential is only limited by your needs and creativity.


Mano said...


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