Survival: An Introduction
Last weekend was our Search and Rescue survival training overnight. I will share with you probably the most important things a person should have with them out in the woods. I will never go on a simple walk in the woods without everything on this list.
The Ten Essential Items for Wilderness Survival
- Shelter – a tarp, tube tent, or even a trash bag may be used as a shelter. (see previous shelter burrito blog for the simplest of shelters)
- An extra layer of clothing – Even if it is a hot 90 degrees during the day, inactivity and night time temperatures can leave you shivering at best, dead at worst. Hypothermia is a too common cause of death for the unprepared.
- Two forms of fire making – I carry at least three. A lighter (useless if wet but it does give you lots of chances to start a fire), waterproof matches, and magnesium or flint. I also carry char cloth or lint as tinder in a mint tin or film canister.
- Water – One to two liters per day per person
- Plastic beadless whistle – It can be heard farther than yelling. As long as you can breathe you can blow a whistle. You would be surprised how quickly your voice is lost from yelling. No metal whistles either; condensation from your breath will freeze it to your lips or the metal ball within, rendering it useless. Plus, you will look really silly with it stuck to your lips when you are found.
- First Aid Kit – I especially find butterfly band aids, duct tape, gauze, antihistamines, and pain meds useful. Many good kits can be purchased from outdoor stores.
- Knife – Be sure to get something sturdy, but small enough to easily carry in your pocket or on your belt. I carry a multitool and a swiss army knife. I have found plyers to be very useful for the strangest things.
- Flashlight and extra batteries for it. Heck, carry two flashlights. Leds are cheap and small enough to carry a pocketful
- Food – A person might be able to go several weeks without food, but nothing cheers me up than a chocolate chip granola bar when my stomach starts grumbling!
- Map and Compass, and most importantly, the knowledge to use them.