Leave No Trace
Plan Ahead and Prepare
Prioritize which gear is most necessary for a trek and discuss the choices made.
Participants will understand which basic gear is required on all outings, what gear does not fit the Leave No Trace philosophy, and possibly learn about new gear.
Participants will be able to:
- List critical survival gear to always have in the outdoors
- List gear that helps promote Leave No Trace ethical choices.
- A backpack and a duffle bag filled the following items
- compass, map, GPS
- book of matches, lighter, magnifying glass, magnesium firestarter
- small first aid kit
- hatchet, saw, pocket knife, Leatherman tool
- can of tuna, pouch of tuna, can of soda, bottled water
- water filter, empty water bottle
- small shovel, cathole trowel
- towel, small camp towel
- plastic spork, knife/fork/spoon set
- flashlight, headlamp
- raincoat, umbrella
- whistle, cellphone
- small plastic pot scraper
- toothbrush, toothpaste
- sunscreen, bug spray, deodorant, bar of soap, Purell
- plastic plate, bowl, cup
- harmonica, deck of cards
Many of these represent a choice between similar things, such as using a backpack or duffle bag to carry your gear, or using matches or a lighter for fire starting.
- Proper gear results in higher probability of a safe trip.
- Taking unnecessary or inappropriate gear means a heavier load.
- Have participants form 2 or 3 groups.
- Dump all the gear out on the floor so everyone can see all of it.
- Tell the teams that their goal is to select all the gear they want to take on a backcountry trek.
- Go back and forth between teams having them pick out one item to add to their pile.
- Limit their time to about 5 seconds or they miss their chance, to keep it moving.
- When all the gear is gone or no one wants anything that is left, discuss the choices. People will have chosen things they did not really want, but were the best of what was available.
- Ask which of two similar items would be best, such as can or pouch of tuna, raincoat or umbrella, compass or GPS.
- Gather the compass, map, water, fire starter, first aid kit, raingear, knife, flashlight, tuna pouch, sun protection and emphasize that these are very important items to have no matter what.
- Emphasize that some gear does not promote Leave No Trace principles, such as saw and hatchet or soap.
Gear Auction - an Alternate method
- After dumping out all the gear, give each group paper and pencil.
- Tell them they have $5000 to spend on purchasing gear. They should write down each item they want and what they are willing to spend for it.
- When all groups have their list, have the first group announce their first item and what they will pay for it. Whichever group put the highest value gets that item.
- Continue through all the items on their lists and see which groups wind up with what gear.
- Or, hand out Monopoly money and have groups bid on items until the money is gone (this tends to take longer)
- Discuss what the priorities of each group seemed to be - safety, food, comfort, ...
- Determine which group has the best chance of survival and of minimizing their impact.
Leave No Trace - or even LESS trace