Sunday, February 19, 2012

Carry waterproof matches even on hike

(c) Dan Wallace /  Dreamstime Stock Photos
Always carry genuine waterproof matches, even when on a day hike. If you get lost and must stay the night, fall into icy water, or get caught wet in a downpour, you may need a fire to stay warm and alive.

It’s not a great idea to transfer regular matches to a waterproof container as you then don’t have a strike surface to light them. A cigarette lighter generally is a poor substitute for matches, as they can be unreliable in dampness and can break, spilling the very fluid you need for starting a fire, but it’s better than no match.

If heading on an extremely long hike into the backcountry with teenagers, carry a flint and steel kit with cotton and cork for fire. As an alternative, fire starter fuel can be used.

Related articles:
g If lost, reassure kids by getting them involved in signaling for help
g Staying the night outdoors because you're lost? Set your priorities
g What to do when lost with children on a hike
g When you have no food but are lost overnight

Read more about day hiking with children in my guidebook Hikes with Tykes.