Den Mother: Smoke Sig­nals

Build a sig­nal fire that will ac­tu­ally catch some­one’s at­ten­tion.

Backpacker - - CONTENTS -

How can I build a sig­nal fire that will ac­tu­ally catch some­one’s at­ten­tion?

—Jackie Nguyen The, trick is to build a plat­form to max­i­mize air­flow un­der your fire. Scout out a hill­top clear­ing and clear the ground around your cho­sen site. Then find three sturdy sticks with forks at their ends and mid­points. Make a teepee so the tops in­ter­lock. (Failed wood­shop? Tie them up with p-cord.) Nes­tle three more sticks into the mid­dle forks to brace the struc­ture (pic­ture the lat­eral stretch­ers be­tween chair legs), and lay green wood across the braces to make a shelf. Any searches will start 12 to 24 hours af­ter you go miss­ing, so wait at least a day to light. Drape ev­er­green branches or wet leaves over the flame to get it smok­ing. Plas­tic, duct tape, and peat moss will darken smoke to bet­ter catch searchers’ at­ten­tion. Night fall­ing? Ditch the green­ery— a flame will be more vis­i­ble than smoke, and leaves will block the glow. Does a bear can’s ex­pi­ra­tion date re­ally mat­ter?

—Scott McLeod You pay at­ten­tion to the ex­pi­ra­tion date on your milk, right? Bet­ter do the same for your bear spray. Pres­sur­ized gasses seep out of their con­tain­ers over time, so while ex­pired spray might “work,” it’s not as ef­fec­tive as in­tended—and fac­ing down a charg­ing bear is no time to set­tle for “maybe good enough.” Check your can­is­ter for an ex­pi­ra­tion date (usu­ally three to four years af­ter the can’s man­u­fac­ture), buy new when time’s up, and don’t bother test­ing at home: Most are vet­ted in the fac­tory, and ex­tra test­ing is a waste of ammo. Stuck with an ex­pired can? It won’t spray as far or as long, so do your best to boost the odds: Keep the wind at your back and don’t pull the trig­ger un­til the bear is within range—about 20 feet away. Got a ques­tion for Den Mother? Email it to den­mother@back­

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.