Hiking Pants to the Rescue

Ideas & Advice

A couple of weeks ago, regular customer Elizabeth Santisi posted this photo on our Facebook wall.

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Intrigued, I asked her to email me the details about this most unexpected feature of our hiking pants. I ended up getting a great reminder about how careful we need to be on ALL of our outdoor adventures and how we can never take our safety for granted. Hiking injuries can happen anytime. We don’t need to be afraid but as Elizabeth says so eloquently in the recap below, we always need to be prepared–and yes, as a special thank you for her excellent recap, I’m sending her a replacement pair of hiking pants:

Elizabeth and her husband John on a much happier hike to celebrate their one-year anniversary.

Elizabeth and her husband John on a much happier hike to celebrate their one-year anniversary.

No matter how many miles you’ve hiked, no matter how many mountains, it’s important to always be prepared.  Even on the shortest of trips.

My husband Matt and his best friend Jon are experienced hikers.  They’ve climbed nearly all 46 high peaks in the Adirondacks, summited Mount Rainer and are planning trips to the Rockies and abroad.  I too have quite a few mountains under my belt.  I love the outdoors and the feeling of being on top of the world.  Needless to say, a one mile hike in Round Valley was something we could do with our eyes closed. Hours after Matt and Jon returned from hiking 18 hours and 3 peaks in the dacks, they were ready for a light hike at Round Valley. Our neighbor Chris joined us for the afternoon along with our dog Isabelle.  We spent the day at the reservoir hanging out and enjoying the sun.  Soon we were ready to head home for a well deserved BBQ.  I was moving fast ahead of the crowd with Izzy trying to beat the boys to car when I slipped and fell.
My knee hit first and then my head. I was stunned for a second but when I looked down at my knee I knew it was bad. There was a six inch gash from side to side and my head was pounding.  I screamed hoping the boys weren’t too far behind.  Far in the distance, they heard me. At first they didn’t know it was me, or that I was screaming for help. Once they realized what had happened, they ran toward me.  At my side, they didn’t see the full extent of my injury, I had been putting pressure on my knee and keeping the wound closed, but I told them I had seen bone and it was bad.

Jon wrapped a towel around my leg and he and Chris began to two man carry me out the trail while Matt called 911.  After a few feet I knew we’d need a new plan.  They put me down and we tried to think of what we could use as a tourniquet.  My EMS hiking pants have a built-in n elastic belt that would work! Matt and Jon ripped the belt out of the hiking pants and tied it around the towel on my leg.  They each grabbed an arm and supported me while I hopped out.  They kept me talking, and remained positive for me. Chris had run ahead to meet the ambulance and show them where we were.  We were on the move and I was going to be ok.  We made it to the pipeline and I started to get dizzy, I couldn’t make it any farther. I woke up on the ground, Jon was with me and Matt had gone to tell the ambulance we couldn’t make it to the parking lot. Soon I saw the first EMT, and then Izzy came running up the pipeline showing the EMT SUV where I was.  I was assessed, strapped to a board and carried to the SUV.  I kept calm and was able to answer all of the questions: date of birth, any allergies, do you know what day it is? I was even cracking jokes with everyone.  I was in good spirts and happy to be on my way to the hospital.
It wasn’t long before I got my first bit of good news, nothing was broken.  Soon after I was told no tendons or ligaments were damaged, I was extremely lucky!  Six hours after my fall, I was discharged with 36 stitches in my knee.  I had so many heroes to thank: my husband and friends, my brave little lassie, the EMTs, nurses and doctors.  And I’m thankful that from now on, any time I hike, I’ll have an essential piece of rescue equipment handy, my EMS hiking pants with their “tourniquet” belt.

Jim Darroch


Jim's love for the outdoors began with family camping trips in "Brady Bunch" style canvas tents and progressed to backpacking adventures with the Boy Scouts. In 2007, he fulfilled his teenage dream by joining Eastern Mountain Sports as Brand Communications Manager. When he's not in the office, you'll find Jim kayaking, hiking, and mountain biking around the Monadnock Region and throughout New England with his wife Brenda and his dog Brewski.

1 Comment

  1. Tom Bailey
    August 25, 2013, 10:11 am

    Good, quick thinking! I’m hoping the author meant ‘compression strap’, not ‘tourniquet’ when she described how she used the belt. Tourniquets, which totally stop the blood flow at the deep arterial level, should only be used in life-threatening potential loss-of-blood situations. There’s a real possibility of permanent damage, killing the tissue down-stream of the tourniquet site. Compression, on the other hand, used to stop the flow from a wound, was a great use of the belt. Another handy product is an Israeli Combat Dressing that provides simple adjustable compression — or full tourniquet if necessary — with a built in dressing. Comes in a tiny package, easy to pack in a pack pocket, but can be a real lifesaver… literally. Glad it all worked out.

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