Tarping is a lost art for so many reasons- and I have not pushed my daughter or my team to be experts at this critical survival skill
It’s my fault.
We were in the woods this weekend practicing skills and learning or refining techniques for many of the things we teach. I was working on making a bowl with hot coals and a freshly cut round, and Abby worked on her fire skills. I decided to have Abby put up a tarp. This is something I have had her practice several times. It looked horrible. Stakes came un-stuck, the thing flopped in the wind, and if it had rained, she would have been soaked.
Teaching good tarping techniques is challenging at best. First, it is time consuming. Second it’s not a “cool skill” like making fire. Students get bored quickly and instructors get frustrated. However, it is a critical survival skill that gets overlooked. For one reason or another, building a shelter doesn’t appeal to most outdoorsman. Most (mistakenly) think they can build a shelter that would sustain them in bad weather. I can attest to a good shelter saving my skin on more than one occasion. A good shelter will keep you out of the rain and snow and is a fallback if everything else goes wrong, such as inability to get a fire going.
We have raised kids in an era where building forts is no longer cool. Even if it was, access to trees, roaming around after school on abandoned lots, and the over-protective nature (as compared to 30 years ago) puts kids in a disadvantage when it comes to constructing shelter. I don’t even teach it in most of my seminars and shove off to Dan or Travis at our day camp.
To really understand how to tarp well, you have to put one up on a regular basis. You have to do it when there is rain and snow. I had my best tarping students when I was an instructor for ground combat and survival training in Germany (where it always rains) and later at Ft Dix (where it rained and snowed). Here students were motivated to stay dry and comfortable and I was motivated to not write up a safety report for a kid going into hypothermia.
Here is where I failed.
I have had Abby set up her tarp using neatly set T-Post to simulate trees. Then she goes to the field where the trees are not so neatly set up. Different sizes, spacing, shapes, etc.
I have had Abby set up on flat ground, without 4 inches of pine needles or loose top soil.
I have had Abby set up with nice tent stakes and not make her own using her knife and thumb-sized pine branches.
I admit, in my own courses where I am often asked to teach at a school, or park, or other “pristine” location I have had to come up with my own simulated trees- thus the T-Post. I also admit that teaching students in the perfect conditions has been part of our practice. But this is changing as of today.
Abby’s tarp training will get re-launched immediately. She will learn how to cut her own stakes and putting up a tarp will be a regular routine. I will carry this over to my classes and when we have to drop T-Post to simulate trees, they won’t be so evenly spaced.
Trees will be planted at our base camp for the purpose of training tarping. It will take a few years to grow- but we need the landscaping anyway.
Tarping and shelter building will return as a vital skill to all our training.
All of my instructors along with myself will add this to our skill practice time- and will explore new ways to teach the tarping and shelter building skills on a regular basis.
“I’m just as upset as you are, believe me. Davenport! Get Mr. Griswald’s car back and bring it back here! Now I can get you the wagon, there’s not problem there. The problem is that it might take six weeks. Now, I owe it to myself to tell you that if you’re taking the whole tribe cross-country, the Wagon Queen Family Truckster… You think you hate it now, wait ’til you drive it.” – from Vacation
I’m trying to work through this one. There seems to be a social gap and a marketing gap between the geeks with CAD in Detroit and those of us who love adventure. I few days ago I was reading an outstanding article from Expo and since, been combing some of the older automobile adds. Toyota, Land Rover, and Jeep at one time were focused on getting you to the last frontier in their vehicle.
When recently searching for our new expo rig, I was more often than not at the lack of gusto most rigs had. Even our new Wrangler has its own share of plastic and lack of ability to add commo and nav gear inside the cab. Land Rover looks more like Grocery Rover, and though I like Nissan and Toyota’s XTerra and Tundra, all seem to be more fit for urban adventures than multiple weeks in the back country.
My YJ is fairly easy to repair in the back country even with several points hard to reach- and it is far more difficult than older FJs to do field repairs.
With outdoor recreation on the rise, owners willing to spend on after market upgrades, and the term “expo” becoming more mainstream, one would hope the geeks with the slide rules would give us something that we can easily upgrade and take into the back country.
Its that time of year we checkout as we prep for Scooter’s Youth Hunting Camp. While our days still have us working the 9-5 (well 6-6), we have been spending each evening and weekend getting ready for the camp. In the mean time, we are still rock’n our podcast, building videos, and doing all the other activities that support Adventure IQ.
On the heals of that we will be taking a journey to Arizona to attend workshops at Overland Expo to get our crew ready for new adventures.
We also have our own kids day camp we are doing this year in August. We have built a dynamic team of instructors who will train 10-15 year-olds outdoor skills such as fire building, water purification, shelter, and wilderness first aid.
Be sure to check out the podcast for our new and improved show
“Dad…can we go….can we go?” Trigger sits patiently while the Jeep is warming up for a run in the desert
I have a podcast out there – make sure you check www.AdventureIQ.com for the link, its pretty easy if you follow us on FACEBOOK, then you get all of our podcast…
So I was only going to post this as a list on the AIQ FB page, but after Dan from The 4×4 Podcast asked me to do a blog….well here it is… The more time you spend with your pup in the outdoors, the more exposure there is to them getting injured. Even a minor injury can dampen your trip and nothing is worse than seeing your pup limp along in pain. I have had to deal with burrs, impaled object, large lacerations, and both heat exposure and borderline hypothermia in my dogs.
Even though there are plenty of kits you can buy on-line, I believe in putting your own kit together, simply then you know what is in it.
We have a main kit for the house, one in the rig, and then a small field kit that goes a doggie day pack. I will only list out the items that goes in our kit that the pups pack with them. We have larger pups, so if your adventure pup is a small breed, well you get to hike with the kit…no K-9 EMT kits on your Mini-Rat Terrier
Trigger ready for a day of adventure
We highly recommend that you seek out classes that are specific to first-aid for dogs. Get a good solid field manual to keep with the kit. Finally, dogs are different from us two-leggeds- human medicine unless noted is not for puppy consumption.
BIG DISCLAIMER— THIS IS MY LIST YOU ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR CONSULTING YOUR OWN VET. WE DO NOT ACCEPT ANY RESPONSIBLITY FOR YOUR ACTIONS OR ACTIONS TAKEN ON BEHALF OF THIS LIST
K9 EMT Gel- This stuff interacts with the wound and maintains much-needed moisture that helps a wound in healing. In addition, it acts as a tissue adhesive to help prevent bacterial infection. It also reduces bleeding and pain. Keep it current though, it will expire.
Tweezers- When your pup is hurt and you are trying to remove a sliver, they don’t always hold still. One poke with sharp or pointed objects and your pal will not likely lay still for you again. I use flat slant tipped tweezers.
Scissors- I carry both small dull-ended snips and EMT shears. The small snips are excellent for trimming out goat heads in the fur areas in the paws or burrs on the belly. EMT shears are good for cutting medical tape.
Tick Removal Tool. These are designed to remove nasty ticks, which, if left in, can lead to infection or worse, diseases like Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever or Lyme’s.
4×4 Gauze Pads and 4” Rolled Gauze.
Hibitane Disinfectant- Learn to use BEFORE you use it
Saline solution. We live in a sandy area and this is great to get dust and sand out of the eyes. Can also be used to clean wounds. DO NOT USE Contact solution.
Benadryl- Trigger bit a wasp one day- and I was pretty worried that he was going to swell up and not breathe. A fellow vet-tech of Melissa’s gave him a Benadryl. It reduced the swelling, keeping his airway open…and put him to sleep. Antihistamines can be used to calm itchiness, swelling, and hives caused by insects, but, as with any medication, please with your vet for dosage.
Antibacterial Wipes or skin soap.
Bag Balm/Skin & Paw Cream – When feet get torn up. Keep it in a labeled zip-tight bag.
Rectal Thermometer. A dog’s average is around 101°F.
Petroleum Jelly. For use with the thermometer…and be sure to scratch your pup’s ears after the intrusion….
Emergency numbers- I keep three sets of numbers in my kit. My regular vet, the 24-hour vet, ad then when traveling, numbers of vets at each destination.
Emergency contact numbers. The digits for your vet, the closest animal emergency hospital, and the poison control hotline.
Triangle Bandage to use as a muzzle
Corn- starch- To stop bleeding of nails (not wounds) that have been broken or cut to the quick.
Small Space-Blanket (Compact Size)
First Aid Manual for Dogs (small pocket-sized)
Harper was a rescue, that when we got her, required lots of medical love…