I just received my October issue of Backpacker Magazine, their “Survival” issue. I opened the magazine at random and found myself reading page 43 where it has a brief article, “How To Use A Signal Mirror.” The instructions themselves are not exactly clear, for example finding the “fireball” isn’t so easy unless you are told to look for it in the mirror’s reflection. But, that slip pales in comparison to the errors in the illustrations which are totally misleading.
The illustrations (reproduced at right) are out of scale to begin with. The grid will always cover much more, or in some cases, all of the aimer, with only a small hole in the center. Then they show the fireball visible in the open hole, not in the retro-reflective grid or the aimer. That’s impossible. Then it shows the fireball and the target merged in the same hole. Again, impossible. The fireball is only visible because of the retro-reflective material, either within the grid of a traditional style aimer, or on the edge of the retro-reflective cloth material in the unique Ultimate Survival’s star shaped StarFlash aimer.
For an illustration of how the aimer really works, these images are from my directions on how to use the Rescue Flash signal mirror where you will find a much more complete, and accurate, set of instructions on using a signal mirror.
I’ll get around to reading the rest of the magazine on my flight tomorrow; hopefully without finding any other such gross errors.
DISCLAIMER: I helped design the Rescue Flash signal mirror and wrote the instructions on the mirror. The Rescue Flash is included in the Adventure Medical Kits Pocket Survival Pak I designed, the sales of which help support the Equipped To Survive Foundation and for which I also receive a royalty as the kit designer.