Whenever you head out into the wilderness you should carry basic medical equipment, even on a daily basis I always have a case of band-aids in my pocket for minor cuts, and a more robust first aid kit in my bag which includes a large wound dressing, CAT tourniquet and extra band-aids and dressings for minor wounds. These items might save your life in the event of an accident.
Long before celebrated Canadian bushcraft and survival expert Mors Kochanski dedicated a chapter of his famous book Northern Bushcraft to the topic of 'bindcraft' and before Dave Canterbury’s concept of five C’s of survivability became popular Stone Age hunter gatherers were creating cordage from the bark of willow and basswoods, grasses and animal skins.
This is what we need to look for in a primary knife; something that will perform basic wood craft tasks such as creating feather sticks, whittling, preparing food and game and at a push batoning or splitting SMALL wood. The small needs to be emphasised because you must not risk your primary knife by splitting large logs or treating it like and axe or froe.
As long as we have oxygen shelter and protection from the elements is our biggest priority in a survival situation. In extreme conditions; perhaps a fall into freezing water or being outside without proper winter clothing in very cold conditions, you have literally only minutes before you are incapacitated to the point of being unable to care for yourself. In these situations there is a very real possibility that you will die!
When we go on adventures out of doors we need to face it that we can’t carry all the water we need for days on end. We need to be able to find it and make it safe to drink. Also bear in mind that without water you will only survive for three days. Staying hydrated should be one of your highest priorities while you are outdoors and you should take every opportunity to top up your water supplies.
When we look the survival rule of three’s; three minutes without air, three hours without shelter in harsh conditions, three days without water, three weeks without food we have to face it that food is at the bottom of the list.
That doesn’t mean that we should ignore it though, having to forage, hunt and scavenge for food is a time and labour intensive activity so being prepared for emergencies with a well-stocked pantry or for outdoor adventures with well packed provisions if you’re headed out on an expedition is essential.
Sometimes being prepared requires you to have a light on you at all times, too often people rely on their mobile phones to light their way if they need to find something or do anything in the dark. Not only are mobile phone batteries drained very quickly by using the torch but in an emergency your phone is probably better preserved for contacting other members of your party and making emergency calls.
Fire is one of your most vital resources in the outdoors, nothing else in the history of the human species has been quite as revolutionary as the discovery and harnessing of fire, and it is as vital now as it ever was. In the outdoors only our requirements for air and shelter ranks above our need for fire.
There are so many factors that are involved when we think and talk and read about "survival". We may think about being in the wilderness, or we may think about the jobs that some of us have in the world where use-of-force is regular and necessary, or we may think about civil unrest (a reality that is, sadly, growing more common in our country recently). And for each of these, there are various tasks and tools that come to mind as well ‑ everything from purifying water to binding a wound to defending against an attacker to staying warm and dry. What we all agree on is that surviving is serious business where the stakes couldn't be any higher and the price of failure couldn't be more severe.
I want to tell you a little story. This is a story about a lack of
preparation. A story of when being stupid was thankfully followed by being
lucky. Without the latter, the former would have kept me from telling this
story at all. Depending on luck is a terrible decision in a survival situation.
Depending on "well, this has always worked before" is foolish ‑ we should learn
from those around us who may have more experience or more knowledge (or even a
differing perspective or viewpoint). As Bismark is to have said, "Only a fool
learns from his own mistakes. The wise man learns from the mistakes of others."
This would make me a fool and you, the reader, wise.
I remember an assignment I had in the fourth grade. We were supposed to walk around our houses and find the best or the most important tools in our homes. I walked first to the barn to look at all the equipment for the yard and fields and paddocks and pens ‑ everything from rusting scythes to filthy posthole diggers to more wrenches than I could count to piles of nails and screws and other fasteners. Nothing there seemed like The Most Important Tool. I tried the garage next ‑ more wrenches and everything was covered in oil, and nothing seemed even as important as the tools in the barn.
EDC: Every Day Carry. This means so much more than simply a concealable firearm, though that is the extent of what many people think. There are so many tools that we need access to every day other than a gun; in fact, our gun is likely the tool that we will reach for the least. So what is it that we need to have with us at all times in addition to a weapon? We have talked before about the importance and utility of a knife and some type of multi-tool. What else do we carry? A light source. DNA Tactical is the place to find the equipment and the advice to help you find the hand held lights
that you need.
Is there anything more foolish than hurting yourself while training to protect yourself? Whether we get hurt in the weight room or while going for a run or while otherwise protecting our health and wellbeing, it feels (and arguably, in preventable cases, is) absurd to sustain an injury in the pursuit of health and safety.
I want to tell you a story about eyewear
. It's a simple story that could have happened to any one of us (and, the more often I tell this story, the more often I have people reach out to me saying that they experienced the same or a similar set of circumstances.) But first a little background about me, so that you know that I am not just a foolish Johnny-come-lately who was ignoring some of the most basic safety rules that experienced people follow as a matter of course.
I had spent my whole life shooting and hunting and camping and backpacking. I shot for fun on the range and in wilderness in northern New England. I hunted small game with rifle and shotgun and big game with revolvers. I never really liked camping (parking my car or motorcycle at a campsite and pitching a tent there and walking in the woods), but I loved to backpack ...