Always Go Prepared
My Friends Call It McNulty Luck, when something can't possibly go wrong but usually does. This blows "luck of the Irish" theory right out the window. Whether these mishaps are automotive related or just things that go wrong in daily life, I always have to prepare for the worst. What the heck am I talking about? Here's a little example: The other day I was cruising the trails behind my house in the new company Jeep and was checking out the year's first snowfall. This was just going to be a quick run for a few photos. The next thing I know the Jeep slid off a very easy section of trail and hit a dirt embankment. Luckily there wasn't any damage to the vehicle. However, when I looked down, the fuel indicator light popped on reading empty. I was a good 10 miles behind the house and had half a tank when I left, but luckily I made it back home without incident.
Somehow after being on the trail for more than 20 years, I have managed to stave off serious injury and have never been left stranded. And of course I have had my fair share of stitches and managed the occasional broken or bruised bones while out and about. Due to my ominous streak of dubious luck, I play it safe and carry the proper survival gear.
Going prepared for an emergency isn't difficult and it doesn't take much thought or investment. I think most people don't prepare for an emergency because they don't know what to carry or they are just plain lazy. I always remind myself, and you should to, that a quick enjoyable trail ride could turn into hours of frustration or worse yet, days of a life-threatening peril.
My advice is to keep recovery equipment and common spare parts you may need in your trail vehicle. Also most importantly, keep a survival bag of safety and first aid equipment in a backpack. You may have to hike with the bag so make sure it's comfortable. However, if the weather is extremely cold or hot, and you are not familiar with the area, it should be carried at all times in your rig just in case of a natural or unnatural disaster. Get in the habit of moving the bag from one vehicle to another, and after a while it will become second nature. A word to the wise: Don't pilfer from the bag unless it's an emergency. If you have spare time during the week, take a class or two in emergency first aid, especially CPR training. Most colleges offer these courses as do many communities.
1. Wool blanket.
2. First aid kit. Carry a good-quality comprehensive kit, not one that has two cheap plastic Band-Aids and a couple of aspirin.
3. Leather gloves. Leather is better than cloth material because it's more durable. Make sure they are weatherproofed.
4. Sweatshirt. Thermal top.
6. Sun block.
7. Pocket knife.
8. Windproof lighter.
9. Rain poncho.
10. Military MREs (Meals Ready-to-Eat).
11. Sticks for splints.
12. Waterproof treatment. I carry this so I don't have to carry an extra pair of weather-resistant shoes.
13. Surefire flashlight. If you are going to carry a flashlight, make sure it's the best so you can also use it as an emergency beacon.
14. Wool cap.