Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Rule 4

My most recent blog discussed survival kits.  The few examples that were given via web links were nothing more then examples and not a particular endorsement of any one particulary type of kit.  Survival kits can be a blog subject easily for a solid year and more.  The examples were only meant to illustrate that kits can easily be homemade, carried and inexpensive.  A person could of course make any number of survival kits with a wide variety of contents.  So be aware that when you make a survival kit, you should by all means taper the kit and the contents to your specific needs and possibilities that may be encountered.  The main point is to have a kit and have it on you when you need it.   Enough said then for now about survival kits.  This will surely be a subject of many future blogs.


I know that there are mixed feeling about this rule in some peoples opinions and I am somewhat (very little actually) sympathetic toward the reasons people give for going out in the wilderness alone.  The fact is however, there is generally safety in numbers and often two heads are better than one.  I know there may be arguments against these statements too, but look at it this way-------------------------

If you were along and injured and dealing with some type of misfortune in the wilderness, you would very likely at that time appreciate that somebody else was there to give you a hand.  Misfortunes and tragedies can happen so easily in the wilderness and even to the most experienced outdoors enthusiast.  Perhaps your buddy happened to pack an item that you did not pack and that one item may make a difference of surviving for your group.  Perhaps your hiking buddy or somebody in your group has a particular skill or experience that may be needed and that you may be lacking or simply not quite as skilled with as your buddy and the level of skill can make a significant difference in survival outcomes.  Keep in mind too that a solo hiker or adventurer is more vulnerable to attacks from predators (human and animal predators).

Here is a little test to consider if you are totally confident that you do not need anybody else to go with you in the wilderness------

Go to the nearest high school track and lay down on the track then drag your body once around the track with your legs as dead weight.  Once around the track (which is generally about ¼ mile) and you will not likely want to keep repeating the experience.  One quarter of a mile is not far at all when you are able to walk but it can be a very unpleasant experience when you are not able to walk or when your walk is painful and causing more damage.  Still think the ¼ mile is not so bad?  Keep in mind the most running tracks are on fairly even ground with somewhat padded material.  This is not the case when you travel one quarter mile in the wilderness.  Still not convinced?  Try doing the one quarter mile on the track in the rain, a blizzard or on a very hot day without drink or warmth available.  Maybe even try it with a backpack on you back.  Chances are that if you are in a real survival situation you will likely be more then one quarter mile away from help.  At times like this it would be in your best interest to have somebody with you who can help. Worse case scenarios have been experienced by all too many people in the wilderness when they go out alone and with no survival kit and get into misfortunate situations.  Remember, when it comes to you vs nature, nature generally has the advantage.  I mentioned in a previous blog the website Hiker Hell .  If you get a chance, take a look at this site and see how many stories you can find in just a few minutes about individuals who went out alone in the wilderness.  These people learned the hard way.  Some of them did not survive the experience.  Don’t let this happen to you.  NEVER, NEVER GO OUT ALONE.


Tuesday, November 8, 2011


Just suppose for a moment that you (or a family member) became lost or stranded in the wilderness.   If rules 1 and 2 were followed, this should help to boost your morale and to some degree assure you that help is likely on the way.  Even so, it may take some time before help arrives.  Meanwhile, you (or your family member) would greatly benefit by having a survival kit on you.  The kit can provide much needed extra comfort and help increased the odds of being found and not only just surviving but surviving somewhat comfortably.   Before we go any further about survival kits, just a quick reminder about rules 1 and 2.

                        RULE 1.  KNOW BEFORE YOU GO
                        RULE 2.  LET SOMEBODY ELSE KNOW

  Okay, onward and forward with rule 3. ALWAYS KEEP A SURVIVAL KIT ON YOU

So there are lots of questions to ask about survival kits mainly – Should you buy a kit or make a kit?  What items should be in the kit?  For now, the first thing to do is get a paper and something to write with as this blog will introduce some helpful information to get you started.

Ready with your paper?  Now please review the kits on these websites and make a column listing the contents of the kit of the first kit.  When you review the second kit, put a check mark by items already listed and any new items add to the column list.  By the time you have reviewed the following websites you will not only see a variety of kits and sizes of kits but you will readily see items that are repeatedly listed in most of the kits.  This will provide you with a good list for starting your own wilderness survival kit.

Survival Necklace

Survival Necklace

All of the above kits and many, many more which you can find on the internet give great useful information and I think it is wonderful that so many people are willing to share their kit ideas so others can benefit.

Personally, I favor the concept of making your own survival kit rather than buying a kit.  But that is my opinion.  Even a purchased kit is better than no kit at all.   If you are in a real survival situation, something is always better than nothing as far as kits go.   If you look at kits you will soon see that there are kits that can be very expensive and weigh many pounds and there are very compact kits such as the Altoids type of kits.   If nothing else, start with a kit that you can always carry ON YOU.  It will do you no good at all to have a deluxe wilderness survival kit in the trunk of your car when you go on a hike, if you are stranded 10 miles away from the car.  So KEEP THE KIT ON YOU.  This may be a small kit in your pocket, a hiking pole kit, a wilderness survival necklace or wilderness survival hat.  Better yet, why not all of them.  Wilderness survival kits can actually be very inexpensive to make.  This will be the subject of future blogs as well since there is so much to consider when making these kits.  The main point for now is to start making a kit today for yourself and for each member of your family.  Make it a goal to have the kit completed before you go on your next wilderness adventure.  By the way, making the kits is a great family activity or can be a great get together party for you and your outdoor adventure friends. 

Have fun and happy adventures.

- Magpie