In the United States, taxpayers and volunteers cover most of the costs of search and rescue (SAR). But you might get very large bills for an ambulance helicopter, or treatment in a hospital. Many companies offer rescue insurance or rescue assistance.
How much could a backpacking search and rescue cost? Should you get insurance?
If you get into serious trouble, call for help now. Worry about money later.
Search and Rescue (SAR) training in the United States
Rescue Insurance and Assistance
Outside of the United States
My Rescue Insurance Choices
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Started backpacking with the Boy Scouts in the 1960s, which should have cured me, but friends intervened. Failed PCT thru-hikes in 1976, 1980, and other adventures (whitewater rafting 1987-present) put backpacking on hold for a while.
In 1998 I read Jardine's PCT book and saw the light. I'm not super- ultra- anything, my base weight is about 13 pounds. But I'm back on the trails again.
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