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Thursday, January 29, 2009

My Ten Essentials - ie. some stuff that's nice to have when the chips are down (when the shtf)

It seems to be a unwritten rule lately that any discussion of wilderness survival skills has to cover the ten essentials, personally I just consider a list like this to be a general guide. I carry many of these items everyday and it doesn't matter if I'm in the woods, at work or at the grocery store. At the same time I often trek into the woods without food and water or a manufactured method of shelter.

This list is roughly sorted into my personal order of importance. During an 'event' the order will change constantly and the silliest thing you never considered might end up on top.

1. Knife: A Swiss Army knife with a saw, multi-tool or a fixed blade about 4" long are my top choices. I have an awesome knife, the HHS1 that I might show off in the future, it needs a little more work on the finer points before we reveal it to the world.

2. Fire Starter: Butane lighter, fero rod, or matches and some form of tinder. Flint and steel are great too, but I suck at getting the angle right when it matters, friction is tough too but I'll show you my bow drill setup eventually.

3. Cordage: 550 cord, twine or braided fishing line. You can make your own cordage as needed, but that's another post.

4. Shelter: 8x10 tarp, tube tent, large trash bags, tent, bivi bag. You can make a lean-to or debris hut as well; my personal preferences. Oh someday I'll expound on my experiences with snow caves where I wake up with the ceiling touching my nose.

5. Water: Water bladder, canteen, water treatment, filter, sponge, transpiration bag or panel or a boiling pot will provide a way to collect/carry water and make it safe to drink. Oh, condoms; these really do work but there's a few tricks. We'll get there soon, with pictures! You've heard about water pasteurization in a pop bottle right?

6. Whistle: A quality whistle (Fox 40 or similar) can be heard a mile away under the right conditions. It can get the attention of searchers, a pet or a distracted child. 3 sharp blasts are a sign of distress. I have 6-7 whistles I tested with a meter, I might discuss that again someday.

7. Flashlight: A small LED flashlight can be used to signal searchers, find your way in the dark, work on detailed tasks or for looking for that last damn match you just dropped.

8. First Aid Kit: You're more likely to be injured during a stressful situation or maybe it's the injury itself which turned this event into a survival situation. A simple kit that covers the basics for cuts, headaches, stomach discomfort, allergies; a little petroleum jelly, antibiotic cream, sunscreen, and bug repellent. Do you know how to use cayenne pepper to stop bleeding... we can cover that.

9. Map and Compass: This combination is the ultimate tool for land navigation, but they're worthless if you don't know how to use them before you need them. I love my new GPS but it sucks in many of the areas where I 'work', we'll hit that eventually too.

10. Food: Even 300-500 calories can make a big difference in your immediate survival needs. Plan 1000-2000 minimum per day if you know you're heading into the field.

So that's ten items give or take, though closer to 30 if you pack stuff the way I do; with 2-3 knives, a couple ways to make fire, a true first aid kit, spices, 2-3 forms of cordage, backups and replacements. They don't do you any good if you leave them in the car or back at camp so they should be kept on you both in camp and as you leave it. Packed into a couple zip lock bags and tucked into your pockets, it makes it easier to keep these toys with you.

A few bonus items you might want to consider:
sandwich baggies, small garbage bags, large garbage bag or survival bag, zip ties, duct tape, surveyors tape, nails, wood screws, emergency blanket, 8x10 tarp, pen or pencil and paper, spare batteries, tinfoil and about a thousand other things I could add given time.

Stick with me and we'll have enough information for a book or ten, I know I've started that many.

Semper Paratus - Rick

1 comment:

American Prepper said...

Good Job Rick, you have admin access so you can customize your site

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