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Personal Trackers and Safety Gear for Hikers

Updated on November 15, 2015
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Deborah has four daughters, son-in-laws, seven grandchildren and other people for whom she buys gifts. She writes about her best gift ideas

If You Enjoy Hiking in Wilderness Areas, You Should Have a Personal Tracker and Other Emergency Gear

The Laguna Wilderness Area is popular with many hikers ... but it is easy to get lost in it!
The Laguna Wilderness Area is popular with many hikers ... but it is easy to get lost in it! | Source

Personal Locator Beacons Can Save Your Life

In early April, 2013, a Southern California couple made national news because they became lost in the Trabuco Canyon area of the Cleveland National Forest in Orange County. When they lost their way, they were only about a half mile from where they parked their car. They called 911, but their cell phone battery died before they could be located. After placing that call, they became separated a few hours later after it became dark. Lost and separated, Nicolas Cendoya, the young man, was found after three days, although he was severely dehydrated and exhausted. The young woman, Kyndall Jack, was found the next day, also weak and dehydrated. When asked what year it was, she could not answer the question.

Both of them were very athletic young adults who worked out at a gym on a regular basis, but they did not have a lot of experience hiking in the wilderness. They did not give anyone the details of where they were going. They did not have food with them and they ran out of water the first day. They were dressed in shorts and light-weight clothing. Although they survived their ordeal, this adventure almost cost them their lives. Part of the their problem may have been the illegal drugs that were found in their car by searchers. The young man ended up being arrested because of these drugs. A lot of problems for the police, the searchers and the young couple could have been avoided if they had just taken a locator beacon or personal tracker with them.

If this young couple had brought along these personal safety devices or other items of safety equipment, they would have been easily found within 24 hours, and possibly much sooner. If more hikers would take the time to put a few items into a baggie and toss it in their backpack before taking off into the wilderness, there would be far fewer people who endangered their lives and the lives of others in this way.

My husband and I have long enjoyed hiking along the trails that meander through the many state and national parks in California. Although we have never been lost, I know it is always a possibility. Over the years we have heard of many people who did get lost in the California wilderness areas. With just a little prevention, most of these cases could have been avoided.

(Details of the Cendoya/Jack hiking trip courtesy of news reports on the local ABC News affiliate and from KTLA News.)

Photo of the emergency locator beacon courtesy of Amazon.)

Make Sure Are Found If You Get Lost!

ACR PLB-375 ResQLink+ 406 Buoyant Personal Locator Beacon
ACR PLB-375 ResQLink+ 406 Buoyant Personal Locator Beacon

If you tend to like to hike long distances off the beaten trail, you will definitely want a high quality locating beacon with all the best features, including the ability to float. Perfect for people going on a float trip in the wilderness.

 

Make Sure You Have a Personal Tracker So You Can Be Found

For anyone who loves to spend time in wilderness areas, whether they are hikers, hunters, mountain bikers, boaters, jet skiers, snow mobilers or others who may travel far off from civilization, owning a personal tracker or emergency locator beacon can save your life. In addition, it could save the lives of the emergency personnel who may be called on to rescue you if you get lost or injured.

In the case of the couple who became lost in the Cleveland National Forest, one of the rescuers took a 60 foot fall and also ended up in the hospital. It is dangerous to try to rescue people who are lost, which means you are making life much easier for others if you are well prepared when you take off for the great outdoors.

Whether you are worried about keeping yourself safe or not creating a lot of trouble for other people, make sure you do everything possible to help rescuers. Even the most experienced hikers sometimes get lost or injured.

More Safety Gear for Hikers

Just having an emergency tracker with you on your hike may be all you need to save your life. However, bringing along a few other lightweight items could also make the experience safer. Here are some items that you may want to include in your emergency pack:

Your fully charged cellphone

A backup battery charger

A few high protein snack bars

Water purification tablets

A Small First Aid Kit

A lighter or matches

A signal mirror

A whistle

The back-up battery charger mentioned above may be especially useful, especially if you end up being out in the wilderness overnight. See the related articles below and in the sidebar of this article for suggestions about good quality solar and battery powered chargers.

In addition, you will want to bring along as large a water bottle as you can comfortably carry, as well as a jacket, even if you expect to only be out during the day. Far too often people end up spending the night in a wilderness area, even if they did not plan to.

It is also a good idea to have a pair of high quality walking boots, which will make it less likely you will injure your ankles or feet. It is also suggested that hikers wear jeans or long pants if they may be going through brush or across rough terrain.

Finally, be sure to let someone know where you are going hiking and where you plan to park. In addition, you may want to leave a note in your car to let rescuers know where you are headed and how long you expect to be gone.

If you are prepared for the unexpected, you are less likely to encounter problems.

Please share any experiences you have had hiking!

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    • DeborahDian profile image
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      Deborah Carr 3 years ago from Orange County, California

      These trackers could save your life, especially if you are lost or injured in a wilderness area. Janis, you are right that they are great for parents with kids, too.

    • WriterJanis2 profile image

      WriterJanis2 3 years ago

      This would be great for parents with kids.

    • DeborahDian profile image
      Author

      Deborah Carr 4 years ago from Orange County, California

      @anonymous: Since I originally wrote this lens, several more people have gotten lost in the Southern California wilderness areas and had to be rescued. It would save a tremendous amount of money if more people would carry one of these trackers.

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      I would have to hike a long ways to get to the mountains, but I can definitely see how a device like this would be indespensable.

    • DeborahDian profile image
      Author

      Deborah Carr 4 years ago from Orange County, California

      @pbrandon65: I agree that a personal tracker is important for any hiker. I get so frustrated with the number of people in California who go for a day hike without a tracker, enough water, or even a charged cellphone. Thanks for sharing that you use a Garmin GTU 10.

    • pbrandon65 profile image

      pbrandon65 4 years ago

      A personal tracker is a must have for any hiker. I use a Garmin GTU 10 when I go out, but there are a lot of other good ones here on this lens.