Another item to consider is having a GPS unit with you. Only about half the people I see on the trail have a GPS and it seems as if only half of them know how to use it. Unlike the highway, you don’t find a trail that has mile markers every mile. Once you contact Search & Rescue by radio, you need to be able to tell them where you are. Without a GPS unit, there is no real way of doing that. The most popular units with my club are Garmin and not the slim little Nuvi models you buy at your local store. You need a real unit that will work with Topo software and can save and use saved tracks. Having the same brand units allow us to easily share tracks and waypoints. Personally, I like the Garmin GPSMap 60Cx/60CSx and the Colorado 400T for hand helds. For a larger display, I use a Garmin Street Pilot 2610 (discontinued but available online). Delorme also makes a very nice hand held unit, the PN-40.
In addition to our Ham Radios, 20% or more of Jeep Expeditions members use the SPOT (www.findmespot.com ) Satellite Messenger device. The SPOT can track your trip so that family and friends can see where you are and where you have been. But the major feature for me is its “911” button. Hold down that button and SPOTs global communication center will summon Search & Rescue to your location in the event of a life-threatening emergency.
So far we’ve talked about communications but even when you contact Search & Rescue via your Ham Radio, it still takes them time to reach you. The same with SPOTs “911” feature. It can take 45 minutes, an hour, 2 hours, or more for S&R to reach you in a remote location with medical help so you still need a plan.
You have a first aid kit in your Jeep, right? I bet you do (or at least I hope you do). Did you buy it at the local department store for $10? If that is the case, you are not prepared to deal with much more than a bee sting or a minor cuts and scrapes. How will you deal with severe bleeding, compound fractures, or any other severe injury? Would you know what to do? Do you have the gear that you need to treat a major injury? Do you have the training and knowledge to treat someone?