Saturday, January 7, 2012

Gear Essentials: Identification (Road ID Review)

And I thought that being away from school for Christmas Break would mean plenty of new posts for the blog...looks like laziness and leisure got the best of me:)

A few weeks before Christmas my friend Geoff told me that he was going to buy me a Christmas present, but needed some info from me first. He asked for my address, telephone number, wife's telephone number, father's telephone number, if I had any medical conditions/allergies, if I was an organ donor, and he finally asked for a quote or personal motto (I had no idea what phrase I would want to claim as "mine," so I told him that I didn't know). Geoff also asked me whether I would like to wear this gift on my wrist, ankle, or my shoe. At this point I was pretty confident that he was either making or purchasing some sort of ID that I could wear while in the backcountry, but I was honestly feeling skeptical as to whether I would actually wear it or not. When the time came to finally open the padded envelope which had "Road ID" stamped all over it, I was pleasantly surprised.

I remembered having seen advertisements in Backpacker Magazine for Road ID, and thought that although I could understand why it would be smart to wear something like it when in the middle of no where, I highly doubted ever seeing myself purchasing or buying one. I was very impressed when I opened the padded envelope and saw the ankle ID. It was bright red with a strip of reflective material around the center, and instead of being some cheap nylon bracelet which would irritate my skin while wearing it, the whole bracelet actually had a comfortable neoprene backing.
My bracelet looks like this, except my quote is much more original...
The small identification plate is very low profile, yet contains all of the necessary information search and rescue would need when coming across my unconscious body. I was kind of confused when I looked at the bottom of the ID plate, as it said "Eat my butt first." It took me a few seconds to understand why Geoff would have put this down as my personal motto, but once I connected the dots I started roaring with laughter! During our last campout, Geoff and I were talking about the survivors from the plane that crashed in the Andes back in 1974, and we asked ourselves if we would have resorted to cannibalism in order to survive, and whether we would want someone eating our bodies if we would have died in the crash. I concluded that I would want the survivors to eat my body since I wouldn't be needing it anymore, but told Geoff that I would want them to eat my butt first - this way I would know that they were REALLY desperate, as eating someone's buttocks is much less appealing than eating a thigh or shoulder. I was impressed that Geoff would remember my ridiculous request, and am positive that if he ever has to eat my body then he will respect my wish...

I have to now include identification in my "Gear Essentials" list for several reasons, all of which are very obvious. If you are unconscious when search and rescue comes across your body, there is no way for them to know if you are allergic to anything, or if you have any medical conditions which need to be taken into consideration before treating you for injuries. If you were to be alone when you died, the only way to identify your body without having to go through a long and drawn out process is to have ID on you. Who really carries their wallet with them when going out in the backcountry? I know that I always leave mine in the car. Not only would it be a good idea to wear this when hiking, but I've decided to follow the story which lead to the creation of the Road ID company, and wear mine when running as well.

I'm feeling pretty good about this gift Geoff gave me, and still get a laugh when looking at the quote he chose for me. I have wondered whether my quote would confuse the search and rescue team though, and hope that they don't think that I want them to break out the knives and forks to devour my gluteus maximus before treating my wounds.

Take a look at the website for Road ID in order to see the many products that they offer. They not only have bracelets for your wrist and ankle, but they also have dog tags and plates you can attach to your shoelaces.