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September 2005

Secrets of the Guides

Camp like a pro with 83 field-tested tips and techniques from experts who earn their paychecks in the backcountry.


Keep your first-aid kit close
Medical supplies such as inhalers, epinephrine, insulin, and contact-lens solution need to stay warm. Place them in an inside pocket or on a string around your neck, under your layers.
Caroline Blair-Smith

Improvise a sling
Slip on another layer (sweater or jacket), but rather than putting your arm into the sleeve, insert the point of your elbow. Bring the remaining section of sleeve across your body and tie off using the other sleeve.
Molly Loomis

Apply nose balm
The bottom of your nose will burn easily from reflected light when you’re hiking on snow, but it’s hard to get sunscreen to stick there, because your nose is often wet. Instead, apply lip balm regularly.
– Kathryn Hess

Hike like you’re retired
Older people often acclimatize to altitude better because they tend to walk slower. If you want to reach a high peak without getting sick, try keeping pace with the slower people in your group.
Craig Van Hoy

I never leave home without…
Rubber bands

Unlike mosquitoes, black flies can’t bite through most fabrics, but they can – and will – crawl up pant legs and shirtsleeves, so I bring a few large rubber bands to seal them out.
– Dave Anderson, NOLS

Make moleskin stick
Trim square moleskin bandages to make them round. They won’t peel off as easily.
Kathryn Hess

Stop a nosebleed
Have the person sit down and lean back. Take off their shoes and socks. Massage under the arch and tap
Peter Amann

Recycle your water bottle
Make a first-aid kit out of an old widemouthed Lexan bottle. It makes a perfect waterproof safe for matches and lighters, bandages, repair material, and other supplies.

– Julia Cozby

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