Mark Your Personal Gear

December 11th, 2012 in Articles Ten Essentials

Backpackers or hikers, often when lost or injured, lose or leave articles of clothing and gear behind at various locations in a search area.

These items provide valuable clues to a victim’s status or location, and help Search and Rescue (SAR) personnel identify a victim’s Last Known Position (LKP). The LKP is commonly where a coordinated search begins.

Pack with Name

Rucksack Marked with Owner’s Last Name

Problem: Items Can’t Be Directly Traced to a Victim

There may be a poor or incomplete record of what the victim was wearing or equipped with at the time of the incident.

Consequently, Search and Rescue (SAR) personnel may have difficulty identifying unmarked items as they are found. Such items may belong to other hikers that have no connection to the victim or the search incident.

Solution: Identify Each Item Before the Hike

With an indelible marker (fabric and clothing) and/or engraver (metallic or plastic items), put your name or initials on your tent, sleeping bag, clothing items, and gear. Make it so your gear can be identified as yours and yours alone. Do this before you leave on your hike or backpacking trip.


Quick identification of evidence left behind hastens establishment of the victims LKP, which effectively increases the odds of a successful incident outcome. Mark your personal items!