Two of the best ways to ensure you don’t get lost in the woods is to always know where you are and where you’re headed. If you know those two things you’re not lost. It doesn’t even matter what basic tools you use to know these two bits of information. Knowing is knowing. You might be a GPS user, and that’s okay, or you might use a map and compass only, and that’s fine as well. Since the common argument is that a GPS might malfunction or run out of power, HikeSafe recommends using a Map and Compass combination as one of the ten essentials — items you shouldn’t be without in the mountains.
I really like using a hydration bladder in my pack (I use a rugged 3 litre PLATYPUS system). I find it’s so convenient, I tend to stay more hydrated. In the winter, however, freezing temperatures can lead to hydration system failure — critical parts can become blocked with ice. Being a determined sort of person, I refused to let that little issue stop me. And side-mounted bottles, albeit nearly foolproof, lack appeal to me. Thus, I have come up with a handful of techniques that, when used in concert, lead to problem-free winter hydration bladder usage. It’s having my cake… and eating it, too.