Kids MTB Safety Part 2
Updated: Jan 11, 2022
Kids & teens tend not to ride too far away from civilisation without adults around, so in this scenario help sho
uldn't take several hours to arrive - whether that's the emergency services or a parent.
However, there is still a real risk of getting cold very quickly and hypothermia can soon be a considerable danger for everyone, not just the injured person. Next time you get home from riding, sit on the ground in your garden in your normal riding kit and see how long it takes before you start shivering. It will be sooner than you think, especially in winter 🥶
Now, I don't think anyone expects kids to carry the same sort of emergency kit that I would carry, but I would recommend two things:
- A packable insulated jacket or warm jumper. For maximum packability, start by stuffing the arms of the jacket in the empty spaces between items in your riding pack. Then try to fill all the other gaps as best you can with the body of the jacket.
- A basic foil blanket (bottom left in photo). These weigh about as much as a Mars bar and can be bought from first aid supply stores for less than £1. These blankets can reflect up to 90% of your radiated body heat and also provide shelter from wind and rain. Being just a single layer though, they provide no insulation from heat lost by conduction. But they are so small they can fit in your jacket pocket or riding pack easily enough. They are worth carrying all year round, not just in winter.
I know adults will be reading this too so I'd like to suggest you think about investing in a bit more than a basic foil blanket.
Have a look at some of the Blizzard bags (pictured, right). They come in all sorts of shapes and sizes but their bags/blankets are 2 or 3 layered which provide insulation and therefore also help prevent heat loss by conduction. Prices start from around £15 and they're nicely packable and lightweight.
Group shelters have came on a long way and those from Summit Gear (pictured, top left) are incredibly light and packable. This is achieved by using a very thin material so they aren't as robust as larger and heavier shelters, something to consider if you're going into rocky terrain in particularly high winds. If you've never been in a group shelter before, they're basically a very compact, shaped tent fabric shelter. Get a few folk in there, and you'll be toasty in no time. They get very humid so glasses will steam up quite quickly. I'm not sure anyone would describe them as particularly pleasant, but in an ugly situation they really can be a life saver.