Technology A Boon for the Outdoors-Bound

With so much new technology available, chances of getting oneself in dire straits while being out and about in the backcountry are drastically reduced.
March 13, 2012 - PRLog -- No one sets out on an outdoors adventure with the idea to get lost and wander for hours or days on end. And fact of the matter is, most of the time everything goes just fine. But every so often, things do go awry as proven by what happened to an Albuquerque woman who ended up lost for nearly a month in February 2012*. It is in extreme situations such as these that technology can come in handy. And while some of the newest gadgets can be cost-prohibitive, there are alternatives to breaking the bank in order to stay safe.

GPS units.

Global Positioning Systems run the gamut, both in price and features. While some of the most expensive units ring up at around $2,500, some others such as the Garmin eTrex H will do what you expect out of a basic handheld unit without running your budget into the ground. For a little less than $100, It is easy to operate, easy to read and could get you out of a hairy situation by helping retrace your steps back to your point of origin.

Two-way radios.

As with GPS units, two-way radios can be an expensive gadget - but need not be. A basic 36-mile range set will cover enough distance to keep you in touch with your home base -or the closest ranger station- and give the bushwhacking explorer some peace of mind as well as an additional means of reaching back to civilization. Some states -such as New Mexico- have installed radio communication towers on all mountain ranges, to maximize radio coverage. In addition, most 2-way radios broadcast emergency weather bulletins, which is a feature most outdoors-oriented people will gladly welcome.

Safety First.

However, the first step towards personal safety when venturing in the backcountry  is a very basic one that everyone can afford. Letting someone know that you are headed out, where you are planning on going and when you expect to be back is the most important lifeline an outdoorsperson can rely on. In the same spirit, leaving a note on your parked vehicle with the same basic indications is another simple and cost-free way of alerting a potential search party to your whereabouts.

Rule #1

Arguably, the single most important factor in ensuring your personal safety in the great Outdoors is not an electronic gadget or even ingenuity but a solid sense of your abilities. Trouble usually arise when someone - hiker, whitewater rafter, horseback rider, rock climber ...-  overestimates their physical fitness, technical knowledge or takes too lackadaisical a stance towards posted signs of warning.

GPS units and 2-way radios definitely are wonderful technological advances  that can provide a lot of help in  a hairy situation but it is so much more agreeable -and ultimately less costly-  a proposition to simply not get in a difficult situation to begin with.

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