Traveling solo: State of emergency

I’ve been traveling solo for the past two years. I’ve logged more than 45,000 kilometres and I’ve done my fair share of stops

Being prepared with the essentials for surviving a night stranded is a key component to taking an adventure out on the road. Abandonded car

Michele Taylor

Caledonia Courier

I’ve been traveling solo for the past two years. I’ve logged more than 45,000 kilometres and I’ve done my fair share of stops in new cities or towns with either motel stays or stopping roadside and camping in my vehicle. I have a fair advantage nowadays by way of a vehicle to get me places, but I think about my personal safety all the time even though I’m in my metal box.

The following is tip three of my top five tips while traveling alone:

The essential emergency supplies.

I am a huge Bear Grylls fan, this survival expert has tackled some of the harshest climates on the planet with pretty limited means. I love the episodes where his group of friends “kidnap” him and drop him in the middle-of-nowhere and he is expected to get to some pre-destined point to meet up with his buddies who are living the life of as-comfortable-as-you-can-get somewhere in the wilds of Alaska.

Grylls always manages to have a few key items hidden on him for these scenarios, his essential survival items. Although I am not surviving the harsh wilderness of Alaska – yet – I have the same kind of ideal items which are always kept in my vehicle.

You might think preparing for emergencies can take the fun out of a last minute adventure, but I guarantee when you’re in need while on adventure mode, you’ll be glad you planned for the worst.

There’s nothing like being stranded on the side of the road in a surprise snowstorm in Southern Alberta, waiting out a blizzard. Aside from the a-typical emergency kit items like flares, jumper cables and a first aid kit, the following are my top five must haves for an emergency situation:

Portable charger: A portable charger or two can be the difference between being able to call a tow truck or 911 in a roadside emergency with a dead vehicle. I always make sure to have two in the vehicle, fully charged, for just such an emergency. Cell phones don’t have to be in service areas in order to call 911, all that is necessary is a cell phone that has a charge. Carriers are required by law to complete a 911 call from any cellular phone.

Flashlight: While driving up to Yellowknife in -26 degree winter weather I was faced with a sudden warning from my vehicle that my tires were low. Being able to get out at night with a flashlight and check the tires was a definite bonus and the safest way if you have a sudden stop out on the road at night. You can also use a flashlight for a variety of night-time uses such as helping to see while changing out a tire or jump starting a car. A flashlight is also a decent weapon against those sneaky Southern Alberta Jack-a-lopes.

Warm blankets: It goes without saying if you’re adventuring in any weather a warm blanket when you’re stranded can literally be a life-saver. There’s not much else to say about this item.

Field rations: Or any other long-lasting source of energy like granola or power bars, beef jerky or dry meat, and nuts are all a great source of emergency energy and have long shelf lives.

Bottles of water: This is one of the first things I pack in the car and are often found rolling around in the back seat area and are not only good for your body, but also good in a pinch for cleaning the windshield in bug weather. Best to store these puppies out of sunlight in a cool dark place in the vehicle.

I have a tonne more things which take up residence in my vehicle; those are just my top must haves for an emergency. I think of my emergency list in the sense that if it can run out in the vehicle I keep it in there, such as engine oil, tranny oil and emergency replacement belts and washer fluid.

Next week’s topic:

How to be adventurous.


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