Outdoor Wilderness Gore-Tex Survival Skills

Outdoor Wilderness Gore-Tex Survival SkillsSurvival is about preparation. The best way to travel safely in the outdoors is to plan a trip that matches your skill level and pack the right gear for the terrain you'll cross and the weather you may encounter. Materials such as Gore-Tex make it easier to stay warm and dry against the elements. It's important not only to pack your Gore-Tex gear, but to know when and how to use it to keep you safe in the wilderness.

Pack Rain Gear

Pack rain gear when you leave on an outing. Even when the forecast does not call for rain, if your trip takes longer than you planned, or an injury leaves you waiting for help, you don't want to be stuck without protection from the elements. A Gore-Tex jacket will keep rain off your core and help preserve body heat. Staying dry keeps your spirits up, helping you to make sound decisions during stressful situations. A Gore-Tex jacket can also protect you from wind and even overexposure to the sun.

Stay Warm after the Rain

Remove your Gore-Tex jacket once you're out of the rain. Once you're in a dry shelter, or the weather has cleared, it's important to get into dry clothes. Even with "breathable" materials, you'll still get your clothes wet with sweat if you're doing any physical activity. If you packed an extra base layer, change into it. If you don't have anything to change into, you're no longer hiking, and it's cold, take off your wet layer and put your Gore-Tex jacket back on. You can get into your sleeping bag, sit by a fire, or do exercises to stay warm. Hypothermia sets in quickly in cold weather if you stay in wet clothes.

Use Gore-Tex Footwear

Use waterproof boots on multi-day trips. Gore-Tex boots will keep your feet dry on wet trails and through small water crossings. With your feet protected from water, you'll make fewer stops to change into dry socks. You'll travel more quickly, helping you make it to camp before dark, or make it to shelter before a storm arrives. It's easy to make navigational mistakes, twist an ankle, or fall when you're rushing to camp or traveling at night.

Dry Out Wet Feet

Dry out your feet and shoes if they get wet. Even in Gore-Tex boots, your feet will get wet during heavy rain and through river crossings. After a river crossing, stop and change into dry socks. Tie your wet pair to your pack so they'll dry out. If it's raining hard enough to get your feet wet, change into dry socks as soon as you get into camp. No matter how your shoes got wet, put them in a dry place at camp, loosen the laces so air can pass through them, and take out the insole so it will dry easier. Over the short term, wet feet are more prone to blisters. Feet that stay wet on a multi-day trip are susceptible to more dangerous conditions such as trench foot.

Article Written By Kathrine Cole

Kathrine Cole is a professional outdoor educator. She teaches rock climbing, backpacking, cycling, and bike maintenance classes. She is a graduate of the National Outdoor Leadership School, a Wilderness First Responder, and a Leave No Trace Trainer.

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