SUBSCRIBE | NEWSLETTERS | MAPS | VIDEOS | BLOGS | MARKETPLACE | CONTESTS
TRY BACKPACKER FREE!
SUBSCRIBE NOW and get
2 Free Issues and 3 Free Gifts!
Full Name:
Address 1:
Address 2:
City:
State:
Zip Code:
Email: (required)
If I like it and decide to continue, I'll pay just $12.00, and receive a full one-year subscription (9 issues in all), a 73% savings off the newsstand price! If for any reason I decide not to continue, I'll write "cancel" on the invoice and owe nothing.
Your subscription includes 3 FREE downloadable booklets.
Or click here to pay now and get 2 extra issues
Offer valid in US only.

Also on Backpacker.com


Enter Zip Code

Backpacker Magazine – October 2010

Survival: Must Cross a Raging River With No Personal Flotation Device

Drowning is the #2 cause of outdoor deaths (falls are #1), so avoid wading waist-deep or too-fast rivers (a tossed, fist-size rock shouldn't move downstream before sinking), but if no choice exists:

by: Jason Stevenson



Remove Your Backpack
If you topple with it strapped to your back, the pack will force your torso and head underwater, so unbuckle the waist and sternum straps. If the water is up to your waist or above, wrap your pack in a waterproof bag, and either push or tow it across the river. Yes, it will float.

Hang on to Your Sleeping Pad
This is probably your most buoyant gear. Partially inflate the pad, then roll it up, and make arm loops from the compression straps so it can be your emergency PFD as you wade or swim; this also leaves your hands free for poles. Foam pads also work.

Make Water Wings
Link two or more empty plastic water bottles or bladders together with straps to create a chain of buoys.

Use Your Trousers
Remove your pants, tie off the cuffs, grasp the open waistband, and plunge it top first into the water to fill the legs with air. The Red Cross teaches this when no better options exist. Note: Even Bear Grylls had trouble crossing a lake with only his pants keeping him afloat (he had to re-inflate them midway).

Choose Your Route
Wider or braided channels signal slower, shallower water. Face the current at a 45-degree angle and carry poles or sticks. If walking across, wear shoes sans socks for traction. If swimming, go barefoot; sodden boots will drag you down.

Survival Secret
Bright-yellow bags are more visible in low light and at night than black or red ones. Unfurl and wave them to signal airborne rescuers.



Subscribe to Backpacker magazine
Sign up for our free weekly e-newsletter
Name:
Address 1:
Address 2:
City:
State:
Zip:
Email (req):
Reader Rating: -

READERS COMMENTS

ssglkaiser
Jan 30, 2012

Correct errors from above: omit "to back" and "oaks" should be backpaks, can be tied and slid across even if not high or strong enough to support people,

ssglkaiser
Jan 30, 2012

Correct errors from above: omit "to back" and "oaks" should be backpaks, can be tied and slid across even if not high or strong enough to support people,

ssglkaiser
Jan 30, 2012

Don't forget to use any rope or cord you have. for the 1st/solo person if tied to a secure object, it will bring you back to back to the same shore. If the 1st person makes it across, it can be tied off and used by the rest. If you know how it can be made into a one rope bridge that the rest can cross above the water keeping all but the 1st and last person dry and keep all the oaks dry.

ADD A COMMENT

Your rating:
Your Name:

Comment:

My Profile Join Now

Most recent threads

Trailhead Register
Hurray for Curry! Ingredient helps to block colon
Posted On: Aug 28, 2014
Submitted By: JimInMD
Gear
Hiking on rocks
Posted On: Aug 28, 2014
Submitted By: Walkinman

Go
View all Gear
Find a retailer

Special sections - Expert handbooks for key trails, techniques and gear

Check out Montana in Warren Miller's Ticket to Ride
Warren Miller athletes charge hard and reflect on Big Sky country, their love for this space and the immense energy allotted to the people who reside in Montana.

Boost Your Apps
Add powerful tools and exclusive maps to your BACKPACKER apps through our partnership with Trimble Outdoors.

Carry the Best Maps
With BACKPACKER PRO Maps, get life-list destinations and local trips on adventure-ready waterproof myTopo paper.

FREE Rocky Mountain Trip Planner
Sign up for a free Rocky Mountain National Park trip planning kit from our sister site MyRockyMountainPark.com.

>
Get 2 FREE Trial Issues and 3 FREE GIFTS
Survival Skills 101 • Eat Better
The Best Trails in America
YES! Please send me my FREE trial issues of Backpacker
and my 3 FREE downloadable booklets.
Full Name:
City:
Address 1:
Zip Code:
State:
Address 2:
Email (required):
Free trial offer valid for US subscribers only. Canadian subscriptions | International subscriptions