Often times I get asked why I carry such a large pack into the woods, especially when we are doing long hikes. Many people have said, “That’ll wear you out. You’ll get tired of carrying that all day.” Well my dear friends…when you’re ass goes down I’ll be the one saving it! I carry that pack for myself, but for you as well! I might be over prepared but I’d rather that than nothing to survive. I have training on how to survive off the ground around you, how to protect yourself, and keep alive for help, but it comes down to the basics. I will share some survival tips with you then we will get into what I carry with me.
Many people get this out of order but it is every important to remember, the order of your priorities, in order to survive. If done in this order, you have a greater chance to survive, remember that! If you find yourself in a situation where you don’t think you will be rescued soon, here are your next steps to take.
1. Find/Make shelter
2. Find Water
3. Find Food
In the event that you find yourself lost and unsure when rescue will get to you the first step is to stay put, don’t keep walking and wondering, getting yourself more lost. Stay where you are, sort of. You need to travel around your area some to find the best location to put up camp, but don’t wonder far, it makes you harder to find. You need a location with protection and water near by if possible. Depending on where you are trapped you may find a cave is a good shelter, or you may need to get yourself off the ground and in the trees. Start with a basic shelter, a roof and one side wall, that’s all you need at first, you can worry about adding more walls later when you have finished the other steps. Remember to use leaves or grass as the bedding, it will help keep you warmer and more comfortable. Also remember that part of shelter is building a fire or finding some sort of heat source. Make sure to build then make fire though, building a shelter helps bring your moral up and make you feel happy and accomplished.
Next you need to find water. We have a rule you learn in survival training, remember this rule. “A person can survive 3 minutes without oxygen, 3 hours in extreme weather without shelter, 3 days without water, and 3 weeks without food.” So I hope your shelter is in an oxygen environment…but shelter is more important than you think. Followed by water. You need to find a water source. You can use leaves and containers to collect water if it’s raining, otherwise you need to try to locate a spring or at the bear minimum running water! Try to avoid any sitting water unless you have chemicals to help filter and clean it out. So find your water and move to your next priority.
Food. Food is less important than you think, unless you are a diabetic, but even then you can survive. Fish help you, there are plants around you to eat. If you are unsure of your plants, don’t touch, you could end up worse. Bugs. Sounds gross, trust me, but in survival you can eat those nasty critters crawling around. Just cook them over your open fire. Yum! But you have to do what you have to to survive.
Finally, signal. You need to create visible makers so people can find you! And STAY PUT! Moving around makes you harder to find! If you have a fire that is great! Make smoke with leaves, that will help! but be careful not to put your fire out. If you can’t make a fire, mirrors, shiny objects, bright clothing…put it where it is visible! That will help you too. Your shelter should be undercover, but find an open area to put your markings so it can be seen easier. You can easily lay next to a tree and be missed, so make your marks visible.
Now, for the list of items I carry in my pack. Warning…this may seem like a lot but I carry it all with me and it’s only 7 lbs! You just have to be careful of the material you get, some is lighter than others.
- water bladder
- empty water bottle
- water filter system (small bag type)
- water purifying tablets
- “Survival Kit” includes: chain saw (the small flexible pocket one), waterproof matches, kindling (for fire), mirror (special designed for signaling), whistle, fish hooks, string, wire, multi-tool (including hammer, knife, and pliers), survival tips book, fire starter block, emergency blanket, sewing kit
- GPS device
- SPOT Device
- First Aid Kit includes: gauze (4×4, 2×2, 5×9), emergency blanket, gauze rolls, gloves, triangle bandage, Vaseline gauze for chest and neck injury, band aids, tape, coband, durmabon (not available to everyone), steri strips, aspirin, and other odd items
- my weapons and extra bullets
- sharp knife (to prepare animals for food)
- 75 feet of webbing and 3 locking carabiners
- 150 feet of braided paracord
- paper and pen
I have other odds and ends, but that’s pretty much it. I’m pretty much set, I can survive for a few days in the woods. I have two packs, that above is my larger pack, used for the longer trips. The smaller pack has a more abbreviated edition but some of the same stuff.
So…how are you prepared for the long caching journeys??