National Preparedness Month:  Building Your Emergency Car Kit

Posted by Katie S on Sep 18, 2019 9:30:59 AM

A few years back I wrote a post here about preparing your car kit for winter. As National Preparedness Month is in full swing, I find myself looking back at what I wrote and recognizing the need for an update. As one of my good friends in Indiana brought up, not everyone is preparing for winter driving through snowy mountains into spotty-reception areas, and my original kit might be a little overkill when that’s the case. I assured her that it is beneficial for everyone to have at least a small emergency car kit, and that is the inspiration for this new post where I’ll provide suggested items for your kit – both “full throttle” and “light” versions.

So here you go, first up, your full throttle car emergency kit for those who frequently drive in remote places, inclement weather, and through spotty cell reception.

CarKit-Full

The Full Throttle Car Emergency Kit - What to pack:

1. A Sturdy Container

Emergency Car Kit

Once you have all your items, you’ll have a better idea of what size this should be, but make sure it’s something you can close like a rubber bin or sturdy nylon bag that zips shut. You can also use a good backpack in case you need to carry it, however it’s important to note that if you are stranded on the side of the road, it is NOT recommended that you leave your car. Your car is the best protection from the elements and where rescuers are most likely to find you - so, hunker down for the long haul. If you are in an accident on an icy road, you also should NOT leave your car, if an icy patch made your car spin out, it’s very likely that other cars will do the same. If possible, move your car out of that trajectory.

2. Lights – Headlamp, Flashlight + Lantern

Most references tell you a flashlight - I may go a little overkill, but I have three lights – each of which is rechargeable through my car’s USB port. A headlamp in case I need to be hands-free for looking under the hood or under the car. An INOVA T8R handheld light which has an SOS mode with 782 Lumens behind it, and lastly a rechargeable lantern which conveniently clips under the hood of my car.

Radiant314-Car

3. Visibility Vest

In the case that I do need to get out of my car on a roadway, you better believe other motorists are going to see me.

4. Chargers

If you have cell reception, your phone will be your lifeline, but it won’t do you any good if it has a dead battery. There are classic chargers to plug into your car or innovative external batteries, and battery-integrated phone cases that can be life-savers in a pinch. I also keep this eton weather radio which is solar powered (and has a hand crank option) and from which you can also charge your phone and your flashlights.

5. Shovel and/or Kitty Litter

If you are stuck somewhere safely away from traffic, a shovel to dig yourself out and kitty litter or sand for traction can help you get moving again. If you don’t have either of these things, you can try wedging your floor mats under your tires to help them gain traction.

6. Blankets or Bivvies 

Wool blankets are a classic staple for a reason: they are really warm. I keep a heavy wool blankets in my car – it’s never been used in an emergency but has come in handy for many a road-trip naps and as extra layers on camping trips. The one downfall of wool is that if it gets wet, it’s miserable. That’s why I also keep two Escape emergency bivvies in my kit as well (so my husband and I don’t have to have that awkward conversation about who gets the bivvy to survive the night). These bivvies reflect 75% of body heat back to you, but are also breathable so you don’t get sweaty which is a pitfall of traditional mylar. In general, I recommend staying away from mylar blankets and bivvies as they shred very easily and are flammable - it’s worth spending a couple bucks more to get a durable upgrade. Along the lines of warmth, I always make sure that I have a hat, gloves, hand warmers, and extra socks in my kit - even in the summer months here in Colorado it can drop below freezing up high at night, these don’t take up much space and are probably at the top of the list for most used items in my kit.

EmergencyPrep-AMK-SOL

7. Other Warming Items

I keep fire starting supplies in my kit (fire cubes and a sparker in case I need to start a fire outside the vehicle). One family in Nevada survived two days in sub-zero temperatures, building a fire inside their spare tire to help keep warm. Some people suggest using emergency candles as well for warmth and light inside the vehicle, though I’m noticing them mentioned less and less on recommended lists, probably due to safety concerns. If using one, you should crack your window to avoid possible asphyxiation, and ideally burn the candle inside a coffee can or something similar because many parts of your car (and your kit) are flammable.

8. First Aid Kit

This is essential, don’t bother with kits that are just chock-full of Band Aids, take your time researching kits and find one that meets your needs – and be sure to customize it further if you or any of your family members have special medications or needs. As someone who does a lot of camping and fishing in the backwoods, I carry an Adventure Medical Kits Sportsman Kit which has comprehensive medical supplies in case of an emergency including QuikClot, and most importantly, the kit includes a book on how to use all the supplies in it.

9. Water

For drinking, for wound cleaning, for staying alive - I keep a gallon of human-water in an unopened jug. If you have a dog who’s usually your copilot, be sure to keep an extra jug for them too. I keep a RadDog Bowl clipped to my kit which is great pop-up bowl for the pup.

10. Food

Food isn’t essential for short term survival (you can theoretically go for three weeks without it), however, eating does allow your body to produce more heat, and it can make a huge difference in your mood and attitude which will often determine how well you handle an emergency situation. I go for the classics like jerky, energy bars, and dried fruit, and then swap them out annually (or if you just plain get hungry and eat them then replace as needed). A good rule of thumb is to go for items with a long shelf-life that are high in protein, and that you actually like. If you have an ever-hungry dog like mine, make sure your food bag is securely enclosed in your kit, or they might just rip open your kit and gleefully eat all your jerky when you’re not looking.

11. Car Essentials 

Jumper cables, Fix-A-Flat, ice scraper, a siphon (hopefully you’ll find a friendly motorist who doesn’t mind sharing fuel), flares and/or glowsticks, a tire iron, and jack are some basics that I keep because honestly, those are probably the only tools I would know how to use in a break-down situation.

EmergencyPrep-Car

12. A Knife and Cash

You won’t find this on most lists, but my grandfather taught me that the most useful item you can have on you at any time is a knife, and throughout the years it’s a piece of advice that has served me well. And so, I am passing it on to you. Cash, well cash is just handy depending on the type of emergency too, whether you need to pay for gas or a hotel room.

13. Add-Ons

A few other items have accumulated in my kit over the years: Duct Tape (need I say more?), a hatchet which most often doubles as a hammer, a poncho, CamJam Tie Down Straps and Bungees, Gear Ties because they are just too useful not to have a handful, and lastly, a quality whistle for signaling in an emergency.

Pre-made kits and other helpful tips for safety on the roads:

There are pre-made kit options on the market as well, some are decent some are very cheap and not worth the money. Do your homework, and if you do go with a pre-made kit, remember that you will still need to personalize it to you - if you are frequently on the road with your spouse, kids, and a dog, you need to remember to add supplies for them. If anyone in your family has a serious medical issue, always pack extra medication and supplies - you never know when a quick trip can turn into an overnight on the side of the road. Know the risks in your area, if you live near frozen lakes, keeping a window breaker easily reachable in your console is advisable.

Alright, so if that seems overkill for your lifestyle, here is my recommendation for a condensed version:

CarKit-Light

The “Light” Car Emergency Kit - What to pack:

  1. A backup phone battery or solar-powered charger
  2. A blanket or bivvy
  3. A small survival kit like this one
  4. A headlamp or flashlight
  5. Glowsticks
  6. Small first aid kit
  7. Duct tape, Gear Ties, and Bungees
  8. A Multitool/Knife
  9. Jumper cables

Other helpful resources:

American Red Cross, What do You Need In a Survival Kit?

The CDC, Be Prepared to Stay Safe and Healthy in Winter

Chicago Tribune, Tips to Keep You Going When Your Car Stops

 

That’s all I’ve got! I hope you found this useful, I hope you won’t need it, but I know you will be glad to have it if you do. Let me know the most useful items you’ve found for you kit in the comments section below.

Topics: Emergency Preparedness, LED Flashlights, Visibility and Safety, Gear Ties

National Preparedness Month: How To Build An Emergency Go Bag

Posted by Katie S on Sep 11, 2019 1:53:48 PM

Building Your Emergency Go Bag

A Go-Bag (also commonly referred to as a Bug-Out Bag) is a pre-packed bag that will be your lifeline in case of an emergency evacuation situation.  Unfortunately, I found out the hard way exactly why a Go-Bag is an essential item to have packed and ready in your home. It was the middle of December about ten years ago when I found myself standing outside our Bay Area apartment building with 60 other families watching flames chew through the wooden siding and smoke billowing in every direction. With all of our cars trapped in the building’s basement garage below, we had nothing to do but watch. I was wearing hot pink fleece pajama pants, rain boots with no socks, and a too-light jacket for the unseasonable cold winter we were having. Heat from the flames notwithstanding, it was a chilling moment in every sense of the word. Somehow, despite living in earthquake country and working for a company that specialized in medical and survival gear at the time, I had just never gotten around to building a Go-Bag – it was somewhere near the bottom of my to-do list. You can bet, it immediately moved to the top.

So, here are my recommendations for your Emergency Go-Bag. Mine is built for four people (two adults and two kids) for 24 hours. Given the type of disasters that are most likely to occur where we live (grass fires or floods), we should be able to reach a friend’s home or red cross shelter in 24 hours on foot. If you live in earthquake or hurricane territories, I recommend having enough supplies for all family members for 72 hours as those disasters can take out a much larger area of infrastructure at once. A coat closet near the front door or other place that you would pass on your fastest way out of the house is the ideal spot to keep your bag.

Without further ado, here is the list:

1. Water

I like this style of water pouch as it is packaged for a long shelf life and makes it easy to determine and regulate how much each person should get – two 4.4 oz packs a day. I have water carry bags as well as water purification tablets in case we need more than the pouches I’ve packed.

2. Food

RunOff Waterproof Pocket snack bag

If you are only packing a 24-hour kit, food is not technically essential, however eating can help you stay warm and keep you mentally and emotionally stronger. Plus, if you have kids, you know that snacks actually are essential for everyone’s sanity. I like the classics like energy bars and dried fruit, they have to be replaced more regularly than emergency ration bricks, but they are significantly more palatable.

3. Emergency Radio and Charger

I like this little one that Eton makes for the American Red Cross because it doesn’t take up much space in your pack and it has radio functionality plus you can charge your phone or rechargeable headlamp from it, just make sure you have the correct charging cords packed.

4. Lights

Nite Ize Headlamps

At the very least, pack a rechargeable headlamp like the Radiant 300 which can be recharged as you go using the Emergency Radio from item #3 above. I also have the Radiant 2-in-1 Lantern which pulls double duty as a flashlight and lantern, and the 3-in-1 Mini Flashlight so the kids can feel in control with their own light as well.

5. First Aid

First aid kit

I keep the UltraLight Watertight .9 Kit in my bag because it doesn’t add much weight, but it’s packed with high quality, well thought out medical tools, and has enough room for me to throw in a couple items to customize it for our family. I also keep N95 respirator masks in my kit. In the case of major fires or earthquakes, air quality often deteriorates to harmful levels. If your biggest concern is the next Superbug, these can also help you rest easier.

6. Survival Essentials

Again, weight is a consideration so items that are multifunctional in small packages are key. You have to be able to carry all of this on your back. I keep the Pocket Survival Pak Plus which kills a lot of birds with one stone. It has fire starting tools, a whistle and signal mirror, knife, water-purification tablets, duct tape (for gear repair, clothes repair, really anything repair), and much more.    

7. Emergency Blankets + Bivvies 

I have two emergency blankets and two emergency bivvies so everyone can wrap up warmly if we are sleeping out for a night.

8. Emergency Shelter

Prep2-shelter

I recommend a lightweight, heat reflective tarp that can act as an extra blanket or as a shelter. Make sure to get one with grommets (like this) and pack nylon cording so you can easily rig it up.

9. Extra Layers

RunOff Waterproof Bags

Your emergency blankets can be wrapped to keep everyone warm on the go, but I recommend packing up an extra set of clothes for everyone. I use a Large RunOff Waterproof bag that acts as a compression sack and keeps all of our extra layers dry in the pack.

10. Cash

Emergency cash

There’s no guarantee that you’ll have the ability or wherewithal to grab your wallet on the way out the door, keep cash in your go bag so you can purchase essentials or pay for a night in a hotel/motel if you can.

11. Emotional Support Items

Emotional support items

When thinking about survival, your mind probably goes to the food, water, shelter basics, but the truth is your mental state is equally important. Something as simple as a deck of cards can be a great way to calm your mind and bring levity if you’re holed up in a red cross shelter for the night. Disasters can be particularly difficult on children as they have a harder time processing the rapid change and understanding why this is happening. Our kids are still little and they each have cherished “loveys”. We have extras of these for traveling, laundry time, etc, but we also have an extra for each of them packed away in our go-bag along with one of their favorite books. I have no doubt that these items would bring immense comfort to them in an emergency.

12. Hygiene Items  

Bath wipes, a roll of TP, and dog poop bags…not just for the dog. Let’s just leave it at that, and you’ll be covered until you can get settled into a shelter or friend’s home.

13. Rain Protection

In a worse-case scenario, everything you own is now being carried on your back. Don’t let it get soaked in a rainstorm to boot. Throw in ponchos and make sure at least one is big enough to cover you and the pack. I also keep certain items in waterproof RunOff bags inside the pack for extra protection like my cash, batteries, food and clothes.

14. A Sturdy Pack…or Two 

Prep2-backpack

Once you have all your items laid out, you’ll have a better idea of the pack size you’ll need. Ideally you have an old one in the basement that would love to be given a new life as your Go-Bag. Because ours is packed for four people and pretty heavy, I keep a second smaller bag rolled up and clipped to the side of the pack. This way, assuming my husband and I are together, we can get clear of the emergency and then split up gear into the two packs or cut leg holes in the smaller pack to use as a kid carrier. I also have a bunch of S-Biners, Carabiners, and Gear Ties clipped and strapped to the pack so if we have time to grab extra items, I can quickly clip or strap them to the bag on the way out the door.

If you have suggestions of what to pack in a Go-Bag based on your experiences, please leave them in the comment suggestion below.

Topics: Emergency Preparedness, LED Flashlights, Home

National Preparedness Month: 10 Tips to Prepare for an Emergency Situation

Posted by Katie S on Sep 4, 2019 9:11:03 AM

10 tips to prepare for an emergency situation

September is National Preparedness Month here in the U.S., a reminder that we should all have plans and provisions in place in case of a natural disaster or emergency that affects our area. This year’s theme is: Prepared, not scared. I like the sentiment behind this statement because my intention with this month’s series of posts is not to scare you with the what ifs, but for you to be prepared and therefore less scared if you find yourself in one of those “what if” situations. So, over the next few weeks I’ll be giving you my tips and suggestions for building your Go-Bag in case of evacuation, your Home Emergency Kit for times when you need to shelter in place, and your Car Emergency Kit in case you are stranded or have a roadside emergency.

Before I get into the nitty gritty of what to put in your kits  (we’ll get into specifics in the subsequent posts this month), here are a few of the most practical tips I have learned from first responders, insurance officials, and from my own experiences working in the survival industry, living in parts of the country where earthquakes, blizzards, fires, and floods are common, and from having to evacuate my own home due to fire.

 

1. Make a Plan

If you live alone, just write it down to help you commit it to memory – what to grab and where to go. Then, pick a friend or family member in a nearby town and let them know that their home is your destination in an emergency, so they’ll know to watch out for you. If you live with other family members or roommates, have a dinnertime discussion to determine a meeting point for everyone in case you aren’t home or together when a disaster occurs – FEMA has this helpful worksheet you can fill out as a family and leave on the fridge as a reminder.

 

2. Telecommunicate Smarter 

communicating in a disaster

In emergencies, phone lines often jam up and getting calls through is difficult. Texting is more reliable, but it can also be easier to place a call to someone out of the affected area, so you should choose an out-of-state relative who everyone in your family knows to call and check-in safe, and who can be a communication point for all of you. (Choose your relative who is most reliable at answering their phone).

 

3. Tell Each Other Your Most Important Item

There’s a chance you won’t be home when a disaster happens but someone else might be. Have a discussion to communicate everyone’s very most treasured item so if there is time before evacuating, the person at home can grab what is cherished most for their family members.

 

4. Document everything. Today.

Take photos of every room and the contents of every closet then send them to a friend or make sure they are backed up to a cloud service. I can tell you from experience, trying to remember all of your belongings when making a list for insurance is impossible. If you haven’t done this and you are given time to evacuate in an emergency, have one person be in charge of packing belongings while the other walks through the house and takes a quick video of all the contents and state of your home.

 

5. Grab the Hampers

laundry hamper

This is a very simple but practical tip, if you are given time to evacuate and are unsure what to pack just throw the clothes from everyone’s hampers in a bag. You know those are ones that currently fit and no one cares about slightly smelly clothes in an emergency.

 

6. Learn Alternate Ways To Use Your Appliances

If you need to shelter at home and have a wood burning fireplace, you’re in business for warmth and cooking. If you have a gas fireplace, you’ll have a heat source, but if the power’s out and it requires a switch you might think you’re out of luck. However, most gas fireplaces have either an igniter bypass to the switch, or a box that you can put batteries in to turn it on. Look into this before an emergency situation so you’ll know how it works. If you have a generator, do not use it in the house or garage. Generators emit high levels of carbon monoxide and have led to many post-disaster injuries and deaths – check out this article by Consumer Reports for generator safety tips. Always have working carbon monoxide and smoke detectors in your home as well.

 

7. Strengthen Your Community Ties 

strengthen your community ties

Communities that are organized and well connected are able to respond better and recover more quickly from disasters. Get to know your neighbors and keep phone lists so you can notify each other if something is happening or to contact anyone who may be unaccounted for. Online communities like Facebook Groups and NextDoor are a great resource for branching out within your neighborhood.

 

8. Mental and Emotional Survival are Important Too 

Experiencing a disaster can be even more devastating to your mental health than to your physical. If you are a parent, your mental state can greatly affect how your children cope and heal as well. Here are some helpful resources if you have been through a disaster situation:

For Adults: https://www.apa.org/helpcenter/recovering-disasters

For Children/Parents: https://www.acf.hhs.gov/ohsepr/children-and-families

 

9. Be Informed

Ready.Gov is a National Public Service campaign designed to “educate and empower the American People to prepare for, respond to, and mitigate emergencies, including natural and manmade disasters.” This page in particular has action plans for handling most every type of disaster you can think of – from tornadoes and flooding to nuclear explosions and space weather. So, my recommendation, if you’re an anxious person, don’t go down this rabbit hole. And even if you’re not, only click on the ones you’re genuinely concerned about, or you might become an anxious person.

 

10. Look for the Helpers

look for the helpers

In times of disaster it is easy to focus on what is scary, and often fears of increased crime are greatly exaggerated. The truth is though, more often than not, disasters bring communities together and strangers go to great lengths to help one another. So, when you’re feeling scared, think back on the wise lessons of Mr. Rogers who once said, “When I was a boy and I would see scary things, my mother would say to me ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.” And if you are safe and able to reach out to someone in need, be that helper.

Communities are stronger together. Please help our online community by providing your own tips and suggestions of how to prepare for emergency situations in the comments section below.

Topics: Emergency Preparedness

How To Choose a Flashlight

Posted by Dave Taylor on Oct 10, 2018 10:00:00 AM

Exploring all the flashlight options from Nite Ize? If so, it’s possible that you’ve become confused by all the specs and stats. What’s a lumen? How bright of a flashlight should you choose? How long will the flashlight last on fresh batteries or a full charge? What’s an ANSI or IP rating?

It’s okay. I get it. I love flashlights and believe it’s not only important to have reliable flashlights throughout your house, but to also have the right flashlight for the job in each case. But that’s also where us consumers can get a bit befuddled because bigger isn’t always better, brighter isn’t always the best for the job and not every flashlight is ready to take on the rugged outdoors.

Radiant 3-In-1 LED Mini Flashlight

To shed some light on the situation, let’s have a closer look at these important questions relating to the purchase of a flashlight using the popular Radiant® 3-in-1 LED Mini Flashlight as our example device. Check the specs and you’ll see that it’s rated at 80 lumens, has seven different modes, including both a high and low mode, and works off one AA battery.

But what does it all mean?

Lumens vs. Brightness?

Light output is measured in a unit called lumens, whether it’s your car headlights, a searchlight or the small LED on the back of your iPhone.

A lumen is “the amount of light emitted in a unit solid angle of one steradian from a uniform source of one candela.” Sounds complicated, but it just means that lumens measure the total amount of light output. People often assume that lumens measure brightness, however brightness is impacted significantly by beam width -- meaning that a light source will be brighter with a narrow beam and dimmer with a wider beam (or 360-degree illumination). That’s why pinpoint light is brighter than a wide angle beam from the very same flashlight.

Don’t just jump to the brightest possible device, however, because in the case of flashlights, bigger is not always better. One big reason is the trade-off of light output vs battery life: higher lumens require more power!

Brightness vs. Battery Life

The Radiant 3-in-1 LED Mini Flashlight has two brightness modes. In high mode, it puts out 80 lumens, while low mode is a more modest 15 lumens. That brightness has a definite consequence with battery life: the Radiant battery will give you almost 9.5 hours of low power light, but switch to the brighter mode and run time drops to 2 hours.

For some uses, high brightness and low run time is perfectly acceptable, of course. If you have a convenient power source to recharge a flashlight in your home, on the road, or in the wild, maximum lumens might be just what you need to scare off wild creatures or find your dog on a stormy night. In other scenarios, having a flashlight stop working prematurely can be downright dangerous, so a dimmer light that lasts a lot longer is a smart trade-off.

This is why just about every Nite Ize light offers both high and low modes, so you can decide in the moment whether run time or brightness is more important. And don't forget, a narrow beam at a given lumen level will always appear brighter than a wide beam.

Battery powered vs. Rechargeable

The Radiant 3-in-1 utilizes one AA battery as its power source. This means you can have extra batteries in your hunting bag, backpack or glove box and switch them out at any time. Easy enough, though you’ll still want to pack out the expired battery so you can recycle them.

A rechargeable flashlight offers a different cost/benefit experience. When the battery runs low, all you have to do is plug it in and wait until it's ready to go - no trips to the store necessary. However, rechargeable flashlights do require access to a power source and don't offer the immediate use you get when you pop in a new set of batteries.

The ANSI & IP rating systems?

Flashlights get a lot of abuse in woods, mountains and basements. That’s why there’s a standard measure of flashlight toughness known as ANSI / NEMA FL1. It also encapsulates light output, run time and other specifications in a single place, making it easy to comparison shop. By way of example, here are the ANSI specs for the Radiant 3-in-1 LED:

3-in-1_Mini-ANSI_Chart

The four boxes on the left side indicate that the flashlight has two brightness levels: 80 lumens on high and 15 lumens on low. On full brightness and with fresh batteries, the flashlight will remain brightly illuminated for 2 hours. On the lower brightness, since less power is required, those same batteries will last 9 hours, 25 minutes.

The next set of icons indicate that the flashlight is weather proof, shock resistant to a 1-meter drop, and can illuminate objects up to 50 meters away.

There’s also an IP rating system that can be helpful too, specifying dust and water resistance detailing whether a product is water resistant or waterproof, and to what depth of water. The Radiant 3-in-1 Mini is weather resistant as indicated by the rain cloud.

Now You Know All About Flashlights

Truth is, there’s a lot involved in choosing the best flashlight for a specific application or task. It’s not just about how many batteries are required and the desired brightness level! That’s why it makes sense to do a bit of homework to ensure that the next flashlight you buy is going to be a perfect fit for your needs, whether you’re poised to ascend Kilimanjaro, take on organizing your attic, RV through Mexico or just look for lost earrings in the backyard.

Topics: Emergency Preparedness, LED Flashlights

Emergency Preparedness with the Nite Ize INOVA X2

Posted by Dave Taylor on Jul 5, 2018 10:00:00 AM

Whether you’re a renter or homeowner, you’ve already figured out that it’s a smart idea to have some emergency preparedness gear handy in case of bad weather or power outages. A few gallons of water, a first aid kit, some candles and matches and, of course, a good flashlight. Homeland Security recommends that you add a few things too, including a three day supply of food, a whistle to signal for help, a can opener, local map and some way to charge your cellphone as necessary.

inova-x2-1Most of these make no sense to tote around in your car. All cars should have a basic first aid kit, though, and a good flashlight. Problem is, a flashlight left in a vehicle is a classic challenge for most people because you have to remember to check and ensure it still works before the emergency situation arises. There are also lots of vehicular emergencies that can require a bright flashlight too, from dropped keys to a flat tire.

That’s why when I was equipping my daughter’s car with some emergency basics, I opted for the super bright Nite Ize® INOVA® X2 LED flashlight. Powered by two AA batteries, it can put out 280 lumens for almost two hours, plenty enough to flag down a passing vehicle. In its lower illumination mode, it’s still offers plenty of light to check a potential flat or work on the car as needed.

Since I know my daughter won’t check her flashlight on a monthly basis, the INOVA X2 retains its battery charge for a long time. Nite Ize assures me that even untouched for an entire year the flashlight will still work for hours in an emergency situation.

Since I want to instill good habits in my daughter with safety and preparedness, I am going to have her get into the habit of checking her flashlight and first aid kit every three months. This is easily implemented by checking on the first day of each season, which has a secondary advantage of reminding her to add some cold weather additions too.inova-x2-2

If you also drive into snow and other potential bad weather, you too should remember that in addition to a reliable flashlight and first aid kit you should be packing jumper cables, a few flares and an ice scraper, at a minimum. 

There are few things more scary than having car troubles when it’s dark out and you’re far away from assistance. Having a Nite Ize flashlight as the cornerstone of her preparedness kit helps me feel better, knowing she’ll be able to handle most any emergency situation.

 

 

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Quick Facts | Nite Ize INOVA X2 LED Flashlight

Built from aerospace grade aluminum
Crushproof, shockproof and waterproof
Energy efficient LED bulb rated for 36,300 hours
280 lumens on high, 25 lumens on low


Learn More

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Topics: Emergency Preparedness, Visibility and Safety, DIY, Home

Do You Believe In Luck?

Posted by Field Team Member Gareth Leah on Mar 17, 2017 10:56:01 AM

Photo Credit Cut Media/Adidas TerrexWe've all heard the phrase, "Good Luck!" It's the message delivered by friends and loved ones when you set out to try something new. The dictionary defines it as "success or failure apparently brought by chance rather than through one's own actions," but I don't agree. I think luck is made.

Learning from everyday events, we discover things about our environment and the nuances that contribute to both success, and failure in our life. Whether it's winning big on race day or watching someone slip on ice, we increase our success probability through knowledge and experience. 

Whenever i'm climbing big walls, I try to think of every possible turn of events that could unfold before I even leave the ground. This is the experience gained through such events as continuously falling off a ledge in the night, trying to poop into a small brown paper bag without a headlamp, and catching a large rock with my face, amongst many others. These events have taught me that being prepared, rather than fortuitous, leaves the odds stacked in your favor. 

For me, being prepared often comes down to what I pack. With big wall climbing, I must take with me everything I will need to survive on a wall for extended periods of time. It could be for a night, a week, or much longer. Once off the ground, I will need food, water, cooking equipment, sleeping equipment, a portaledge (packable hanging bed), a first aid kit, climbing equipment and of course, a backup plan. 

Photo Credit Cut Media/Adidas TerrexPhoto Credit Cut Media/Adidas Terrex

With so much gear to cram into such a small space, I often take dual purpose items. A simple change from a standard 3 piece cutlery set to a plastic spork will only save me a few grams, and switching out my inflatable sleeping mat for a foam one only saves a little space, but it soon adds up when you apply this critical thinking to all of your preparations. One of the pieces of gear that I took with me to Pico Cão Grande which came in particularly useful was the Gear Line. Due to the tropical storms that pounded the island, keeping everything dry was a daily battle. With limited anchor points and space on the ledge, I would use the gear line to help organize our gear and to keep it out of the rain. When it wasn't being used as a drying rack, I would use the Gear Line to hang solar panels from the cliff wall or to organize our gear rack. 

These micro adjustments in packing can make or break the outcome of a big wall climb. So rather than "hoping" something might work out, plan ahead. With a little preparation and forethought you'll be able to create your own "luck."

Gareth (Gaz) Leah is a British adventurer, climbing developer, writer and photographer who has been obsessed with climbing since 1987. Gaz has been a Nite Ize Ambassador since 2016 and also works with Adidas OutdoorAdventure Medical KitsRevo SunglassesMad Rock ClimbingHanchorDMM ClimbingMaxim RopesVoltaic SystemsClimbers Against CancerEscalando FronterasPro Climbers International (PCI), Acceso PanAm, and Adventure 4 Good.  

Topics: Emergency Preparedness, outdoors, Adventure

The month of May is National Bike Safety Month, are you prepared?

Posted by Brian Dekle on May 4, 2016 9:14:26 AM

Have you ever been out for a night ride and had a car pass by too close for comfort? Do you ride with a repair kit at the ready to handle any setbacks or quick adjustments on the go? Do you and your love ones, practice good habits when riding or sharing the road? Whether you’re a casual cruiser, the competitive cyclist, or a considerate motorist it’s always great to double check that you’re prepared and knowledgeable for any misadventures that the road or trail may throw at you. May is National Bike Safety Month, and I’d love to share some thoughts to keep you out and keep you safe.

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For an easy tip, here’s rule one… wear a helmet! I’ve seen this first-hand, wearing a helmet can save your life… no matter how slow you’re riding it’s only to your benefit. There’s a ton of options out there, so if you want a casual or a high performance life saver you’re going to be covered, literally. Here are a few great brands to consider: Nutcase, Bern, Smith, Giro, and Poc. The key to a great helmet is all about fit, as well as making sure it’s appropriate for the level of activity at hand. Be sure to pop into your local bike shop and try on several options to ensure you get the best fit possible.

Safety is a necessity in our lives, though the concept of the word doesn’t exactly inspire joy or fun I’ll admit.To explore that a little further, you may believe bike lights aren’t as necessary during the warmer seasons ahead. To some degree you’re right; however, you may be interested to learn that most cycling accidents occur during daylight, as well as low-light times such as sunrise or dusk. So how do you add safety and a little character to such a dry subject? Easy, you add LEDs. Thanks to LED lighting you can ride with a little extra personality. It’s always important to BE SEEN & BE SAFE… but you don’t need to be bland about it. For front & rear visibility I’d suggest a simple solution, like the TWISTLIT - LED BIKE LIGHT which is an easy “on-the-go” item. It’s a small, simple, and easily stowable form of visibility that can give you that extra bit of attention to others on the road. Another safety item with a bit more color for your night ride is the SPOKELIT - LED SPOKE LIGHT. The SpokeLit is a quick and easy install to your wheel spokes, and greatly increases your side to side visibility. There are a ton of color options as well. But that’s just the bike… what about keeping you seen? This is where one of my favorite Nite Ize products comes into the fold... the  SLAPLIT - LED SLAP WRAP.

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The SlapLit takes me back to my youth and the days of the Slap Bracelet. I mean come on, we all had them… and how do you make that better? Yep, you add LEDs. What was once a toy from my early days is illuminated to keep you visible in the dark, and it’s completely bike friendly as well. Most riders wear the SlapLit around the ankle for visibility and to keep your pant leg away from the chain. I personally prefer wearing it on my wrist, which enables me to use the light as a turn indicator to motorist that may not be able to see my arms clearly on dark roads.

There’s more to safety than visibility though, you also need to be prepared. It’s great to have a general knowledge of your bike and how to maintain it. A great resource for this is your local bike shop or REI as most will offer free courses in basic bike maintenance. These resources keep you connected with your local cycling community and are a great way to pick-up the skills to keep your bike in proper form should you get a flat or need to make some basic adjustments. Before every ride I suggest checking that your brakes are working properly, and that you have good tire pressure. To that effect, you should always be ready to tackle these issues when you ride. I highly recommend carrying:

  1. A new tube/patch kit
  2. A bike tool
  3. A tire lever
  4. An air pump/CO2 system


Having these items with you, as well as the knowledge to put them to use can be the difference between a ride and the dreaded “hike-a-bike” home. One of my favorite ways to keep your repair kit organized is to keep them together with our new BETTERBAND™ 5" ADJUSTABLE STRETCH BANDS. This is an easy way to secure your tools together, and keeps them easily stowable in a jersey pocket.

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So let’s do a quick recap: now you have a great fitting helmet, you’re ready to illuminate the day or night to be seen and safe, and you have some basic tools and bike knowledge to keep your rig rolling. That’s a great start, but be sure you know the rules of the road and how they keep you safe in your area. Here are a couple good resources to consider: bikeleague.org, safekids.org, as well as peopleforbikes.org. You may also be able to find some great programs in your neighborhood. Local to Colorado, I’ve had the great fortune of working with two programs that are reaching out to increase bike awareness and safety for children. Both are actively engaging youth communities to be safe, knowledgeable, and courteous riders. Our very own Boulder Valley School District is working with various age groups to develop good fundamentals early, as well as put these techniques to work on the road. It’s pretty inspiring to see a local education program coach student health and safety at such a priority. Another great program is tripsforkidsdenver.org which works with at-risk youth to foster life skills of personal empowerment. They focus on kids who have had no experience on a bike, while all the way creating achievement based programs in which these young participants can even earn a bike.

The important thing to remember on the road is to be safe, be courteous, and always remember to enjoy the ride. I can still remember when my Dad took the training wheels off my bike. For me it was a day of accomplishment and triumph… I found a new sense of exploration and freedom. For my family it was a sense of trust, a belief that they had instilled the proper knowledge and respect in their son to keep him alert, safe, and happy. I can say first-hand that this passion is still alive inside me today. I hope that you too have the same smile on your face during every ride.

Stay safe - Rubber side down,
Brian

Topics: Emergency Preparedness, Visibility and Safety, Commuting, New Products

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