It’s always more fun to go on outdoor adventures with a friend or family member, but did you know that it’s also much safer? Heading out by yourself can be a great respite from the everyday cares of the world, but a solo emergency situation is not so nice. The buddy system is a common procedure in which two people, the “buddies,” work together for mutual benefit and operate together as a two-person team. Here are seven good reasons to never go in alone.
1. Movement: Bringing someone with you into the backcountry allows you to move more safely and to get out trouble more easily if one of you becomes injured. Think about the logistics of a steep climb or a river crossing without the help of another person. Not very appealing, is it?
2. Morale: Chances are good that one of you will take the survival situation a lot harder than the other. By boosting your buddy’s morale, yours is generally lifted as well. Just having someone to talk to will keep both of your spirits higher, and keep you both focused on the task at hand–surviving.
3. Rescue: Non-life-threatening injury or illness can become deadly if you are stuck somewhere on your own. Having a buddy with you allows for one person to seek rescue while the injured party tries to hang on. You can’t “go for help” if you’re by yourself and immobilized. Having someone to go for rescue is especially critical when dealing with major injuries, and injuries that would be worsened by movement, like a neck or spinal injury.
4. Medical care: If you’ve sustained an injury that you cannot treat yourself, or if you are knocked unconscious, your buddy will be there to provide medical assistance. Good luck stitching up the wound in the middle of your back without your wingman.
5**. Divide and conquer**: Although you typically want to hang close to one another during an emergency, there are times when being able to split up can be a real blessing. Doing so multiplies your efforts to find resources or rescue. As long as you are both able to meet back up without getting lost, it can be helpful to divide labor and tasks.
6. Monitoring: Not sure if you’re crazy yet from dehydration? Ask your buddy. Not only is he a sounding board for ideas and plans, he’s also there to monitor you and make sure you’re doing alright. And if you’re not alright, he can help to move you in the right direction.
7. Security: Two or more people become a much more daunting target than one person alone in the wild. Whether you’re at risk from 2- or 4-legged predators, you and your buddy stand a better chance fighting or scaring off potential attackers together than alone. And, positioned back to back, the two of you can monitor a 360-degree perimeter.