Are You Protected?
Many unfamiliar with the outdoors see it as a scary place but for those of who’ve spent any time outdoors know how amazing it can be. With that in mind, the debate of protection when hiking or camping in unfamiliar places has come up recently at the 50 Campfires office. As usual, Clint and Matt had differing views.
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Clint – No Protection
If you look at the numbers of people actually getting injured by animals in the outdoors, you’ll find that it’s almost non-existent. Over the last 20 years, an average of 1.3 people per year have been killed by grizzly bears. 40,000 die in auto accidents each year but you still drive, right? Heck, you’re 69 times more likely to be killed by lightning than a bear.
So what about people? Guess what – violent crime in the backcountry isn’t really a thing either. Criminals don’t hike 5 miles into the wilderness and wait to do harm. They take the path of least resistance, which is walking into an alley. 2.5 million people visit the Appalachian Trail every year, and there have only been 9 murders in the last 42 years. In 2013 there where 229.1 cases of aggravated assault per 100,000 people in the entire U.S. In National Parks that number was a mere .03 per 100,000.
You most likely think that remote places are dangerous and cities are safer because of Hollywood. In reality the exact opposite is true.
Matt – Protection
I took a statistics course in grad school. Why? I honestly don’t know. Matt and math go together like peanut butter and lawn clippings. That being said, statistics make some feel all warm and fuzzy inside (if you’re an accountant, I guess). 99% this, .001% chance that. Those numbers sound comforting, right? If you’re like me, probably not. The bottom line is this: Statistics mean nothing to the individual. The likelihood of you getting into a car accident on the way to or from work is quite small, yet we all wear seatbelts. Why? Because it is a precaution we can take to ensure our safety if you become that .001%.
It should come as no surprise that I choose to protect myself when I venture outdoors. The manner of protection takes several forms depending on the situation but a great option for nearly every trip is pepper gel. Clint can stick to his calculator and statistics to keep him safe. I’ll grab some SABRE Runner Pepper Gel and go exploring stress-free. It takes up almost no space, and it’s a great insurance policy. “Honey, do you remember what the probability is of getting attacked by a bear in this area? I won’t go if it’s more than 1/100,000!” Don’t be those campers. Pack some pepper gel and hit the trail.