OHE August 14, 1997

From: Mae Moriwaki (mae@hawaii.edu)

Pete ... et. al.

Am curious about the "new systems of appropriate hike and camping gear." Especially the "GPS locators" that you mentioned in the same message. Does it work? (will it actually get you out of a tight situation) or is it a hiking toy (i.e. neat to see where you've been, but not real world) When I first became aware of their existence, I compared them to the "Tamagochi" fad-- ie. when the hiker becomes thoroughly lost, the machine beeps and the virtual hiker sprouts wings and floats to heaven.

However, I have been seeing the GPS locators mentioned more and more. Perhaps I have misjudged the usefulness of the item. Any comments?

Also will appreciate any helpful hints re camping gear/gadgets, brand names, & good camping grinds.

Me, I swear by Hi-tec shoes (flexible, long-lasting, comfortable!), garbage bags (nothing better to keep rain off backpack), super-market plastic bags (light-weight, strong, wonderful!), & Swiss-Miss cocoa (don't accept anything less!)



ps. Rubbermaid hiking gloves!? Will try.

Reply From: "Dayle K. Turner" (turner@hawaii.edu)

On Thu, 14 Aug 1997, Mae Moriwaki wrote:

> Am curious about the "new systems of appropriate hike and camping gear."
> Especially the "GPS locators" that you mentioned in the same message.

At some point, I may pick up a GPS. When I first started hiking and heard about folks getting lost in the mountains, I thought to myself, "How can that be? All they need to do is head for the ocean and, bingo!, they'll find their way out." Well, as we all know, it's far from that simple when you're on a high mountain ridge in a sea of clouds or in a remote valley in a thicket of uluhe. A GPS can help in those instances.

Apparently, there are limitations. For one, some units need to be free of overhead vegetation, treetops, terrain to connect with a satellite. Otherwise, the GPS becomes merely an expensive space-eater in the pack, much like a cellphone does when one is in certain locales.

Speaking of cellphones, I am almost never without one when I go on hikes. For now, this gadget has been helpful when we needed to contact folks regarding posthike transport (my brothers can attest to the number of times I've called them to pick da gang up after emerging from a trailhead far from where we began). It's my hope that I'll never have to use the cell for an on-the-trail emergency. If the time comes, I'm sure I'll assess how much trouble I/my partner(s) are in before deciding whether or not to press 911.

As for gear, like you, Mae, I've been a fan of Hi-Tec boots. Have also tried Nikes (very comfortable but not too sturdy/durable) and am considering getting a pair of Vasques (from Red Wing). One thing I've learned--after a painful experience with some bargain basement cheapies--is not to skimp on boots or socks. For me, nothing is worse than a pair of blistered, swollen feet brought on by cheaply made footwear.

Otherwise, I don't rely on many other expensive, techie stuff when I go hiking. I have a ten buck pack that I bought from Woolworth, several used 2-quart plastic apple juice containers for water bottles, a 50-foot coil of rope, a roll of surveyor's tape for trail marking, a compass, a whistle, an imitation Swiss Army knife, a space blanket, a first-aid kit, and, if a bivouac is possible, a 6x8 plastic tarp.

As for hiking apparel, one can almost always find me in an a bright orange mesh shirt (good visibility), a military boonie hat, a pair of BIKE brand compression shorts (good leg support and good way to prevent chaffing), a cheap pair of cotton workout shorts (I may go through a dozen of these a year). I also carry a pair of sweatpants (for scratchy, uluhe-laden trails), a light raincoat, and a pair of leather gardening gloves.

Hiking food? PBJ sandwiches, Power Bars (Grocery Outlet has 'em on sale for four for a buck!!), and fruit of some sort--usually an apple, orange, or banana. I also like MREs when my buddy Bill can get his hands on some for me. When I'm feeling ambitious, I'll pack a tupperware thingee with rice, some nori sprinkles, and maybe a piece of chicken.

Good questions, Mae. Look forward to reading input from others on the list.


Reply From: "Randy Jackson" (ranjack@u.washington.edu)

On Thu, 14 Aug 1997, Mae Moriwaki wrote:

> Am curious about the "new systems of appropriate hike and camping gear."
> Especially the "GPS locators" that you mentioned in the same message.
> Does it work? (will it actually get you out of a tight situation) or is it
> a hiking toy (i.e. neat to see where you've been, but not real world)
> When I first became aware of their existence, I compared them to the
> "Tamagochi" fad-- ie. when the hiker becomes thoroughly lost, the machine
> beeps and the virtual hiker sprouts wings and floats to heaven. 

There's a joke told by the search and rescue people here in Seattle of a young couple who got lost in the wilderness, but they had a cell phone and GPS. They somehow managed to connect with a cell site and called for help, giving the operator their exact coordinates and asked for an immediate helicoptor pickup (beam me up, Scottie!). Well, the joke is that all a GPS will do is tell you where you are, which is no help because where you are is LOST! It can't really help you rescue yourself, and rescuers can't really use it to find you. The consensus is that you still need a map and compass.

> Also will appreciate any helpful hints re camping gear/gadgets, brand
> names, & good camping grinds.

"Gatorade" style drinks, powerbars, granoloa bars, nut-roll style candy bars, string cheese, fig bars, "trail-mix", raisins, beef jerky, salami, pita pocket bread, granola, nuts, pop tarts, peanut butter, hard rolls.

Dinner stuff can include mac & cheese boxes, those lipton noodle packages, rice-a-roni, soups, pasta - don't forget those little packs of pudding or fruit for desert!

Get one of those elastic head mounted lights for a flashlight, wear two pairs of socks, don't wear cotton - go for some of the newer water wicking fabrics (polypropalene?), if it's gonna get cold use polartec fabric (lightweight and keeps you warm when wet - like wool).


Reply From: Mike Uslan (killah@off-road.com)

At 10:44 AM 8/14/97 -1000, Dayle Turner wrote:

>At some point, I may pick up a GPS. When I first started hiking and heard
>about folks getting lost in the mountains, 

Regarding GPS. Its a winner. Not so much to help you if you get lost, but to help you find places reccomended by friends. Dayle, say I find a hidden waterfall, and the trailhead is located off of some remote ridge trail, say Kipapa. I could give you GPS coordinates from where to park your Cherokee, to exactly where the side trail is. This way you dont ramble down some pig trail. Its much better than "At the 7th big Koa tree, on the 12th switchback" C'mon,,, On the mainland everyone is doing it. And trip reports are given with GPS coordinates. You can keep trails secret still. And think about metting people in remote places. You can even note down GPS coordinates of anything! Bannana patches, springs, trailheads, waterfalls, scenic vistas, shortcuts, longcuts, lost gold mines etc. I think we could stop altogether marking trails (that are better hidden) with ribbons and keep the initiated only in there with GPS. GPS can work much like a Navy Fighter plane follows waypoints to his target. The fighter planes computer allows the pilot to sneak in around radars, through canyons etc, all with GPS. Only give the GPS coordinates to trustworthy souls. These are a few benifits of GPS.

THE DANGER. Where some bloke with no outdoor experiance sees a picture of some remote Eden and decides to set out with his GPS, his cell phone, and a few hershey bars. Here is trouble. The GPS only tells you where you are. If you are immobilized you die knowing exactly where you are (within 20 feet). GPS needs 3 sattelites to pinpoint, so if you fell off a ridge and are stuck the GPS might not work. You cell phone has limitations too. With the proliferation of web sites and books its inevitable the new technologies will strand even kill people eventually.

I dont have a GPS yet, because nobody else in Hawaii is using it yet for hiking. I see it more as a tool to find places than a safety device. Think about it this way. If they had GPS in the old West, there would be no lost treasures of gold etc. Or a lot fewer of them.

X          Mike Uslan           X
X   www.off-road.com/~killah    X
X    --Hawaii Trails Page--     X

Reply From: Grant Tokumi (gtokumi@aloha.net)

I've had a pair of Vasque boots for 7 years now, and I love them. I think the best thing is the Gortex, so its waterproof, yet it can breeathe. When I first got them, I didn't get any blisters, although i know a few people with the same boots who got choke blisters from them. The souls are good and has lots of grip. I guess you pay the price for them, I beleive they are like $120 +. And mine is finally start to show its age. The soul is starting to work its way loose. I may need a new pair in the near future.

When hiking, I try to go light. I wear shorts, tshirt. I carry 2 or 3 quarts (army canteens) of water. Poncho, toilet paper :) , and that wonderful ZipPak for lunch. Thats around it. Oh, and my digital camera (when I remember) so I can post the pictures on my web site. Hiking partner Daryn carries the cell phone and the rope. No flashlights, no knives, no snacks.


Reply From: Patrick Rorie (prorie@hekili.k12.hi.us)

Hi Mae !

Lots of good stuff mentioned already so I'll try and avoid repetition.

If the trail I'm hiking that day is overgrown and I'm alone I take my trusty bolo knife. Not only to cut thru the vegetation but to use in case I encounter a would-be assailant. I have my speech memorized already... "You're probably going to win but I'm going to cut ya !!! Is it worth it ?".

Most of the time I wear Nike land sharks. They have excellent cleats which allow for solid footing (which is very important when ascending very steep mountain sections i.e. Ohulehule). The downer is that they wear out in 4 months or so.

I enjoy using gloves made of cow hide but when a dangerous section is encountered I rely on good old fashioned flesh.

Regarding chaffing I have discovered recently that a new pair of hanes underware is excellent protection. Women must never chafe yea ?

I bring my wallet with me sometimes esp. if I park in a questionable area such as Waianae Valley. Also so that the authorities can identify me when they find my bones at the bottom of a gulch. ;^)

I wish I didn't have to wear it but my baseball hat is an absolute requirement or else my balding head would get badly burned. Sunglasses are used in open areas on sunny days but if some shade is encountered I take them off. I'll probably get catarax later in life if I live that long (refer to above paragraph which mentions bones).

I drink four parts water one part malolo grape syrup. Malolo for Paka-lolo ! It tastes better than water and the sugar is nice. A can of Dr. Pepper is refreshing and the cafeine kicks in almost immediately.

Some gear I've thought of bringing... a parachute (esp. while attempting Piliwale Ridge) and a hand held recorder so that I can get every detail for the write-up which will be posted on the OHE list the next day or so.

== Paka-lolo

Reply From: "Peter D. Caldwell" (pekelo@LAVA.NET)

Are we hiking gearheads? You bet. Good fun to hear about other people's stuffs. My problem always is hauling around a lot of camera gear but I've worked that out pretty well at this point. For anybody who might be interested, I'd be happy to get into that a little bit.

First a word on the GPS unit which I'm still learning how to use: The buggah is now light (8 oz) and compact. The one I got is basic bottom-of-the-line unit - still a little pricey at $149 but you can go higher. The more expensive units give you more satellite fixes and are faster. Being a map freak (which you do need), I like playing around with this gadget. However besides the safeguard emergency usage in helping rescuers find you, it has compass/altitude/bearing features that are useful. You can take readings and store waypoints in memory for future use. For example, if I'm in the clouds on the Koolau crest and am trying to figure out which misty ridge is the right one to get to say the Waikane trail junction, I can check my route in relationship to known stored waypoints. The downside I've found is that you definitely need a clear "window" to get a good fix.

Threads: Talk about style check out Paka-lolo for the Koolau GQ look. I like mesh shirts which I also use for long distance canoe paddling because they are cool, give you some sun protection, and dry out fast. I also usually carry an extra shirt for a change when I pull into a windy summit lunch spot sweat-soaked or a long sleeve shirt if serious bushwhacking is on the agenda. Swear by the hospital scrub pants to put on when the going gets scratchy -liteweight, tough, and dry fast. Hats: Must select with care because there's a lot of mana involved. I like bike gloves when I need'em 'cuz it's easier to use a camera. Rain a problem? Let's hear it for Goretex. I've got this 3/4 length jacket that I've used for years. Worth the investment.

Footwear: Can't beat the Goretex models like Vasque or whatever is on sale in the REI catalog. Some people like to carry fishing tabis to change into for stream work as boots aren't worth much on moss-covered work. These are quite comfortable on any muddy trail as well.

H2O and Grinds: I like 4-5 smaller water bottles which are easier to arrange and fit into a pack and usually fill up with water and Gatorade. I get questions about fluids. So what's the scoop? At higher elevations say 14000 ft, an individual's fluid requirements will be in the range of 7-8 Liters a day. Here we're not usually dealing with the effects of altitude and cold, dry air but we sure can sweat gallons. As a general guideline, the minimal water recommendations for hard exertion are around 16 oz before and 8-10 oz every 20 minutes. It's easy to get behind so the idea is to rehydrate at every opportunity. As the old saying goes, if you wait until you're thirsty, the tank is already really low!

For two hours or less, water alone is OK but for longer hikes in hot weather, you will need some electrolyte (sodium and potassium) replacement as well as some fuel. Commercial sports drinks like Gatorade etc. are designed for this purpose and provide 6-8% glucose and 10-25 mEq of sodium which is about right. Higher glucose concentrations delay gastric emptying and fluid absorbtion. That's why marathon aid stations supply only diluted Coke instead of the straight stuff.

From sports medicine data, performance looks about the same whether you get your carbohydrate and fluid in the form of a sports drink or a sports bar and water. "Carbo-slime" (like ReLode) and water are similar as is something like bagels, gummy bears and water. But watch out for the straight shots of refined glucose like candy bars which also have some lard and can mess with your blood glucose levels, i.e. a quick jolt of energy followed by an exaggerated insulin response, a lower blood glucose and the blahs. Sports bars give you your fuel at a better rate and are more efficient for keeping the engine running. Me? - I'm usually go with Power Bars -especially some of the newer flavors), oranges, and a good ol' P & J sandwich which travels well and tastes good.

Other Da Kine: (depends on the hike).

-Head lamp/extra batteries (great for 16-hr day hikes)
-50 ft of rope
-First aid kit/small SA knife (there is a lot of good practical information about first aid kits and medical problems in the boonies available from an organization called the Wilderness Medical Society).
-Water purification tabs plus a little Gatorade powder to help the taste.
-Emergency overnite stuff: There's a great little unit put together by the Tacoma Mountain Rescue Unit (available thru REI). Includes a tube tent, signal mirror, whistle, matches, candle, sugar, salt, tea, and bouillion. Weight: 8 oz.
Add a space blanket and I'm ready.

-For planned overnites: Have settled on a 1-person bivouac shelter by Outdoor research in Seattle -less than 2 pounds. Much easier here where you don't need a sleeping bag or even a Therma-rest most of the time.

-A word about cellular phones plus a question and then I'll shaddup. At least one per party makes sense. One caution or a Rescue Team's Lament: Cellular phones were originally welcomed as a big help for speeding up rescue of people who were really in distress as the result of an unpredictable accident,i.e. a true emergency. Instead around the country, calls for help have all too often been coming from people who went into the wilderness without adequate preparation or equipment. Encountering a little adversity or just tired and sore, the expectation seems to be that part of the deal is a very expensive and sometimes dangerous helicopter flight to bail them out. It's as though the wilderness is some kind of a theme park with a guarantee of help if you need it.

That is why there are now laws in states like Calif and Oregon providing for charges for rescue. On Oahu,the City Council passed similar legislation although the current mayor has delayed its enactment citing difficulties in enforcement and interpretation plus concerns about image for the tourist industry.

Might be an interesting question for you guys: Should hikers be charged for rescue? My own feeling is that sliding scale charges might be appropriate. For example:

Scenario #1. Suppose you are unlucky enough to be hiking on a designated trail and get chased by an angry pua'a. You trip and fall off the trail and break your leg. Result? Rescue with minimal charge just like you'd have to pay for an ambulance in the city.

Scenario #2: You decide to hike the Koolau crest ( No trail) between middle Waimalu Ridge and the summit of the Waimano Trail. You are carefully picking your way along the ridge when you look up and see a hiker coming at you with flaming orange hair. You are so surprised you lose your balance and slide down the pali crashing into a loulu palm that saves your life but breaks your leg. Result? Rescue with moderate charge. You were hiking off-trail as prepared as possible but misfortune struck.

Scenario #3: You are a gung-ho Marine from Kaneohe. You go hiking with some buddies up to Manoa Falls and decide to try and climb up above the falls to see how far you can go despite a fence and steep terrain. One of your friends slips and falls 40 feet coming to rest on a precarious ledge with a probable broken arm and a possible head injury. Result: A difficult rescue with maximun charge. You did something foolish, and it was a preventable accident.

Abitrary true but one of the strongest arguments for activating the law is that it would act as a deterrent for at least some of the wackos and encourage others to try and reduce the risks of a more hazardous trip to an acceptable level. Would such a law work? Poll the people who must quite often rescue careless hikers and oceangoers who seem to be clueless about considering hazards or doing their homework, and there's no question about putting the legislation into effect. Speaking of Manoa Falls, I remember being up there once taking pictures and running into these two guys who just came down from the upper waterfalls fortunately unscathed. One of them shook his head and said, "There is no way I'll ever do that again. If there had been a sign mentioning a big-time fine, maybe I would have had sense enough not to try it." On the downside, some individuals might conceivably postpone calling for help or try to fare for themselves a little longer, thus creating an even worse situation for themselves and their rescuers.

Part of the enjoyment of a wilderness experience is the satisfaction of knowing you are capable of dealing with an environment that can be harsh and unforgiving at times. So I'd say enjoy the mountains, gang, but be safe and be prepared ...and don't forget to take a ti leaf with you when you go!



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