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Thread: How to night hike and not die.

  1. #1
    A&Q Moderator
    Woods Walker's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    New England woods.

    Default How to night hike and not die.

    Disclaimer. This is not an E&E type of thread. This is about seeing and being seen. Sometimes for various reasons people night hike. It could be pushing late into an extablished camp. Could be heading late to the next camping site. Maybe returning late from fishing or hunting at dusk. It might be an ER like a break down. Maybe just for training during winter as it gets dark much sooner. Perhaps you're on a night investigation for Bigfoot. Whatever the reason here is the type of gear I prefer packing if expecting a night hike. This is the base line. I may have additional items or even less. Sometimes in life yea deal with what yea got.

    The kit.

    Lets break it down. Remember my intention is not to spend the night rather go someplace to spend the night.

    1. Armytek Standard Wizard.
    2. Armytek Viking Pro.
    3. Nitecore F2 (sometimes substituted for the F1).

    There is a lightning cable inside the bag the F2 came from. The intention is both lights and powerbank use the same battery type in this case 18650. Should I run out there are plenty of options aka rob Peter to pay Paul. I use other combos as well however my preference is for a headlamp and flashlight. Beyond the obvious two is one and one is none logic the flashlight offers greater throw to see the path or potential problems at greater distance. Also a flashlight glares less in the fog/rain/snow. That said the headlamp gets the majority of use for reasons which will be described later.

    1. PSK. Larger sized than Altoids
    2. Bear spray.
    3. Zombie/toxic green Bic lighter.
    4. High visibility green LMF Mora knife.

    The PSK has FAK items and your usual survival check list things. There are even water tabs inside. The thing is stocked! Also there is a good deal of high visibility paracord whipped around the tin. I like to keep a lighter in my pocket. This way it's warm and if somehow separated from my pack and knife odds are I can get fire. The woods has bears but really the occasional domestic dog running free is a more probable concern. Most know the LMF Mora knife has a ferro rod in the handle.

    1. Gloves.
    2. Tyvek suit
    3. Dry bag.
    4. Reflective pack straps and bright orange reflective vest.

    During hunting season I pack the vest. If I am night hiking odds are was also active at dusk. My hat is also hunter orange. What is more likely? I am shot by a black helicopter following me or by accident during hunting season. I hunt myself so understand the issue from both perspectives. Also the vest is great when crossing or utilizing roads. The reflective zombie green removable straps which can be seen better in the video are for street crossings or walking. They light up like Christmas trees when hit by my flashlight or headlamp beam. The Tyvek suit acts as a wind break, rain suit and jumbo contractor trash bag all in one.

    1 Poncho.
    2. Cordage kit/ridgeline kit.
    3. TP.

    I carry some kinda poncho all the time in my kits but really like the Equinox Silponcho with extension. The cordage kit allows me to instantly setup an adjustable ridge line. The ridge line kit allows for a very fast adjustable tarp pitch. That combined with the cordage whipped around the PSK adds up to a good amount. TP goes with the territory

    The following are action shots from the video. This was filmed the night before thanksgiving. In all the years walking this trail I have only seen two other people. More people probably use it but this section has no parking. So despite having a road or house within a few miles of any point no one is coming if someone breaks their leg, more so the day before thanksgiving. The number one rule is to have a float plan. Tell a responsible person your plans and expected return. Do not change your plan unless that person is informed first. A float plan is worthless if you're not in the expected area. The temps started off in the 50's but dropped into the high 20's during the night. You don't need to be 50 miles from no place to die of exposure or injury. Do not depend on your phone alone for this after the fact if in trouble.

    4 legs are better than two. My primary concern is mechanical injuries. They're not action packed like a herd of zombies. Often they don't even make the paper but in the middle of no place at night isn't the place to be hurt. Hands free is the primary reason why a headlamp does most of the work.

    This is maybe a 15-20 foot drop then a very steep slide into moving water. Guessing 10 feet from the trail. It is squid piss black out. One reason why I invest so much in lights.

    Brook trout in..... the brook!!!

    The throw light is great for getting me back on the correct path. The floody headlamp for seeing all around to avoid slips, trips and falls. Wet leaves are a risk.

    It's hard to see in this freeze frame but the video shows there is moving water under these rocks. Never trust anything which is subject to moving water in terms of stability. Often rocks which are under cut will give way. This is made more problematical at night because... it's dark.

    These are across the trail so I went around. They could stay up for 5 years or .05 seconds. Having seen trees and branches fall (and thereby actually make a sound cuz I heard them...yea....right) in the woods my impression was there is no time to dodge anything. It happens so fast. It is best to be someplace else which is what I did.

    An easy to avoid obstacle across the trail. So long as you see it. A fall is a fall. Once the dice is cast if falling one never knows how it will play out.

    On the dark dank road dressed in black and camo synthetic clothing. Those reflectors come into play here. That's about it. No bear attacks. No survival situation. Just pushing late on a hike.

    Here is a video of me ranting about and doing all of the above.

    Thanks for looking.
    The TK20. Yes it still rocks.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2014

    Default How to night hike and not die.

    Thanks for taking the time to post this WW! Very interesting.

  3. #3

    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Penn's Woods

    Default Re: How to night hike and not die.

    WW- Do you change the footwear you use for hiking at night? Something sturdier due to less visibility?

  4. #4

    Default Re: How to night hike and not die.

    Good points all around, and nice pictures! Thanks for sharing.

  5. #5

    Default Re: How to night hike and not die.

    If it's dropping into the 20's, then wouldn't icers be a good idea to have in that pack too?

  6. #6
    *Flashaholic* Capolini's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Valley Forge, Pa.

    Default Re: How to night hike and not die.

    Thanks for the adventure.I enjoyed the video.

    Glad to see that you got new pants!!!
    Solitude breeds contemplation which creates clarity. Capolini-11.27.2017
    Physical beauty temporarily satisfies the eye. Inner beauty is eternal and nurtures the soul. Capolini-7.23.2017

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