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Photograph of Pete Lake in Washington State with the sun about to go down behind the mountains.

Welcome!

Amputee Outdoors isn't just for amputees, any lover of hiking, backpacking and camping will find value in this site.  But, if you are an amputee, I hope the videos, advice, and gear reviews educate and inspire you to enjoy the beauty of nature.
 

  • Look through the Gear dropdown to read reviews of gear I've used and tested along with examples and discussions of hiking and backpacking gear.

  • Read the articles in the Advice section for information on a variety of hiking, camping, and backpacking topics

  • Visit the Latest Videos to see where I've been or reviewed lately. 


And of course, don't forget to check out my YouTube channel, Amputee Outdoors to see all my adventures, tips and tricks, and reviews. Thanks for visiting!

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Many folks will disagree with me on this, but hiking in the rain can be a rewarding and enjoyable experience. The trails aren't crowded, the sound of water dripping from the trees is relaxing, and it helps you appreciate the wonders of modern living so much more!



However, it requires some extra preparation and precautions to avoid hypothermia, a potentially life-threatening condition that occurs when your body temperature drops below normal. Here are my tips on how to prepare for hiking in the rain and avoiding hypothermia.

  • Choose the right trail. Some trails may be more suitable for rainy weather than others, depending on the terrain, elevation, exposure, and difficulty. Avoid trails that are prone to flooding, erosion, or landslides. Also, consider the length and duration of your hike, and whether you have enough time to complete it before dark or before the weather worsens.


  • Dress appropriately. The key to staying warm and dry in the rain is to dress in layers of synthetic or wool clothing that can wick moisture away from your skin and provide insulation. Avoid cotton, which can absorb water and make you colder. A typical layering system for rainy hiking consists of a base layer, a mid-layer, a rain jacket, and rain pants. You may also want to wear a hat, gloves, and gaiters to protect your head, hands, and feet from the rain. Make sure your clothing fits well and allows you to move comfortably.


  • Choose waterproof footwear. Your feet are likely to get wet in the rain, so you need footwear that can keep them as dry and warm as possible. Waterproof hiking boots or shoes are a good option, as they can prevent water from seeping in and provide traction and support on slippery surfaces. You should also wear wool or synthetic socks that can wick moisture away from your feet and prevent blisters. Bring extra pairs of socks and change them if they get wet.


  • Pack smart. Your backpack should be waterproof or have a rain cover to protect your gear from getting wet. You should also pack your items in dry bags or ziplock bags inside your backpack for extra protection. Some essential items to pack for rainy hiking include:

    • A map and compass or a GPS device to navigate in case of low visibility or trail markings being washed away.

    • A headlamp or flashlight with extra batteries in case you need to hike in the dark or signal for help.

    • A first-aid kit with blister supplies and hypothermia treatment items such as a thermometer, a heat pack, and a thermal emergency blanket.

    • A whistle or a mirror to attract attention in case of an emergency.

    • A fire starter such as matches, a lighter, or a flint to start a fire if needed.

    • Extra clothing such as underwear, socks, gloves, hat, and fleece jacket to change into if you get wet or cold.

    • Food and water to keep your energy and hydration levels up. Choose food that is easy to eat and prepare, such as energy bars, nuts, dried fruits, sandwiches, or instant soups. Avoid alcohol and caffeine, which can dehydrate you and impair your body’s ability to regulate temperature. If possible, drink warm fluids such as water, tea, or hot chocolate.


  • Stay safe on the trail. Hiking in the rain can pose hazards you need to be aware of and avoid. Some of these include:

    • Hypothermia. This is the most serious risk of hiking in the rain, as it can impair your judgment, coordination, and vital functions. To prevent hypothermia, you need to stay warm and dry as much as possible. If you notice any signs of hypothermia such as shivering, slurred speech, confusion, drowsiness, or weak pulse, you need to seek shelter immediately and call for help if possible. You should also remove any wet clothing and replace it with dry clothing or blankets. You can also use body heat from another person or a heat pack to warm up. You should also drink warm fluids and eat high-calorie food if you can.

    • Slippery surfaces. Rain can make rocks, logs, bridges, and trails slippery and unstable. You need to be careful where you step and use trekking poles if you have them to maintain your balance and stability. You should also slow down your pace and avoid jumping or running.

    • Water crossings. Rain can increase the water level and flow of creeks, streams, and rivers. You need to assess the water depth, speed, and temperature before crossing any water source. If the water is too deep (above your knees), too fast (you can’t see the bottom), or too cold (you feel numbness or pain in your feet), you should not cross it. You should look for a safer place to cross, such as a bridge, a log, or a shallow and calm spot. You should also unfasten your backpack straps and use a trekking pole or a stick to test the water and keep your balance. You should also wear your rain pants and gaiters to keep your legs dry as possible.


  • Have fun. I know hiking in the rain isn't for everyone, but I do recommend at least trying it. Just be well-prepared and have a positive attitude. You can enjoy the fresh air, the soothing sound of rain, the vibrant colors of nature, and the solitude of the trail. You can also spot some wildlife that may be more active in the rain, such as frogs, snails, worms, or birds. You can also take some beautiful photos of raindrops, mist, clouds, or rainbows. Just remember to protect your camera or phone from the rain and moisture.

I hope these tips help you prepare for hiking in the rain and avoiding hypothermia. Remember to check the weather forecast before you go, pack accordingly, stay safe on the trail, and have fun. See you out there!

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I'm excited to be working with Viking Bags, Elite Sports, and Born Tough to try out their products! I'll write a review post and a video once the product testing is done. And yes, this will include the stress testing like I've done for other backpacks. Here's the backpack I'll be reviewing:



Keep an eye out for these updates.

If you're interested in their products, you can check them out here:

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#1 Nature Doesn't Care if You Live or Die

Harsh but it's true. Nature doesn't care who we are. All those things that we argue and worry about regarding who or what we are mean nothing to the natural world. And although Nature may be the mother of us all, she can be a mean m-Samuel L. Jackson-r. Nature is perfectly happy to recycle our physical bodies into nutrients for all the other flora and fauna we share this world with. This is a truth overlooked when living in a technologically advanced civilization.

When we go out into nature we are at the mercy of the weather, whatever resources (food, water, building materials, etc.) are in the vicinity, happenstance occurrences like a misplaced foot resulting in an injurious slide down a ravine, etc.

There is no home, apartment, or even car we can find shelter in, what we have in our backpacks or can forage is all we have, and there's no Urgent Care clinic or ER on the trail. Which is why Principle #2 is so critical.




#2 Knowledge is Power

We're the dominant species on this planet to the point where we've started exploring off our home world. This isn't because of our claws, horns, speed, or anything like that. In fact of all the world's many creatures, we're one of the most defenseless, especially for the first few years of life. So how have we achieved such mastery of the natural world? Knowledge.

Our ability to gain knowledge, transfer it, combine knowledge, access knowledge, grow our knowledge, and build upon it has taken us from living in nature to being so very comfortable in our homes that we go looking for nature to live in.

Knowledge is the most important thing we take on our hikes and backpacking adventures. This means knowledge of not just the weather, the trail and its conditions. We need knowledge of our equipment, our capabilities, our hiking partner's abilities, and more. Knowledge makes the difference between a fun day on the trail and a day best forgotten. Knowledge makes the difference between a minor incident and a news story. The nice thing about knowledge is that it's ultra-light! Weighs nothing!




#3 Gear

Based on principle #2 is the fact that we are tool-using creatures. Other animals use tools from time to time, but our entire existence is based on making and using tools. This is especially true when we've left the safety and convenience of our homes. When we plan our adventures in nature we combine our almost unconscious awareness of our vulnerability in nature with our knowledge to select the right tools. Knowledge of what a tool will be used for, how it will be used, and maintained is a crucial aspect of our trekking. Whether it's our boots, backpacks, or clothes, we rely on that gear to do what we need it to do in the circumstances our knowledge has indicated. And of course, we take care of our gear so our gear can take care of us.

These three principles are the basis of all my plans in nature and I'm always working to expand my knowledge and take care of my gear.

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