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It's not just full of hot air…

Something that can be a very useful addition to your Personal Outdoor Safety Kit is a simple balloon. Several sizes of balloons can be easily purchases at gift stores and craft shops around the country, for less that a 25 cents each. Look for good strong latex ones either individually or in packages. There are a wide assortment of ways in which this product can be successfully and strategically used in the outdoors for your comfort, protection and personal safety. Here are some of the uses, there are most likely more:

  1. an emergency water carrier-- fill the balloon with water from a steam by partially inflating as you pour into it, takes some practice but it can be done. Tie off the opening with a cord for easy access, transport by supporting the balloon wrapped in a shirt or jacket.
  2. emergency tourniquet—in the event of a deep cut or to stop bleeding when trying to extract a fishing hook, wrap the balloon in deflated stage around your finger, arm or leg and twist to apply pressure to temporarily restrict blood flow. Do not restrict flow for long periods of time.
  3. lashing poles for a shelter— in an emergency situation you can wrap a balloon around the top of 3 cut poles in an upright position then spread the poles into an open position to form a triangle structure. Dig in, tie or stake down your frame. Cover your structure with a SPACE® Brand BLANKET or extra clothing, pine boughs, etc. for temporary protection from the elements.
  4. emergency splint—wrap balloon around cut branches to help immobilize the break. Stretch balloon to tighten around the makeshift splint. Get medical help as soon as possible.
  5. rifle barrel cover—in wet and muddy conditions a balloon over your rifle barrel will keep out the dirt and grime. You can shoot through it if it becomes necessary.
  6. cushioning—when traversing over rocky terrain or in white water, inflate balloons part way to add cushioning to your camera or other valuables in a backpack or wet bag.
  7. pillow—inflate to desired comfort level, cover with shirt or jacket for added comfort.
  8. back support—in a tree stand, or sitting waiting for that turkey, inflate balloon and position in the small of your back against tree. Do not over inflate, allow for comfort.
  9. lashing--tie together your gear and affix to backpack, lash fishing poles together for travel, etc.
  10. tent tie down—got a torn tent flap closure or a tie down rope, twist the balloon and use it as a temporary fix. No string use it to wrap around a branch to support your lantern, etc.
  11. fix broken straps—the flap on your backpack, the catch on your fishing tackle box, whatever.
  12. emergency ice pack—if available add ice, if not fill with cold water from stream. Do not try and use it as a hot water bottle in your sleeping bag, or the midnight fire brigade will arrive.
  13. trail marker—shred into strips to mark the trail you just traversed, or make like Hansel and Gretel and find your way back to your camp after a trek into the wilderness.
  14. tie off—take 4 balloons and tightly wrap around and over each end of a SPACE® Brand EMERGENCY BLANKET, tie front two off onto positioned upright poles and then stretch the back tow down and secure to form an emergency lean to. Face opening out of wind and towards fire for shelter.
  15. food storage—for an emergency situation, before you leave take a balloon and stuff it with trail mix, dry cereal etc. When your hungry a little extra nourishment can go a long way.
  16. marker buoy—found a great fishing spot, mark it with a balloon and string tied to a rock.
  17. some uses that require a little stretch!! Makeshift predator call - emergency shoelaces - Fishing bobber - Hand mitten for keeping off blood while cleaning game or in case of sheer boredom a slow motion volleyball game can be quickly arranged!

All of the above may seem a little silly and inane, but by taking a simple object and finding uses for it that can be beneficial in your outdoors adventures is a mind exercise of visualizing your environment and your potential needs. In the outdoors your mind is your greatest survival tool, going through an exercise like the above may seem like a bit of fun, but it can be very beneficial, as it keeps you thinking. Should you ever become lost, stranded or separated, you will need to have your mind working for you and not against you.

If you come up with some other potential ideas, Email us your suggestions and we may add them to the list.

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