March 5th, 2012
Survival gear is essential for a multi-day outing, but it is only as good as the brains behind it. That is to say, if you don’t know how to use the gear you’ve bought, it might as well be play-doh.
From our Comprehensive Trip Packing List, here is a suggested list of safety and survival gear:
– first aid kit
– extra band-aids
– first aid book
– signaling mirror
– matches in waterproof container
– fire starter sticks
– survival rations or protein bars
– extra water purification tablets
– reflective emergency blanket
– packet of salt
– cutting wire, pocket chainsaw, or folding survival saw
– small bug spray bottle
(Please see the whole list for the big picture of what to pack.)
Some items are pretty straightforward, like the extra band-aids, but take a closer look and you may realize that you don’t know how to use all the gear. Could you quickly look up what do to for a sprained ankle in your first aid book? Do you know how to use a signaling mirror? Do those waterproof matches need a special strike material?
Even simple-to-use items like fire starter sticks have best techniques for use. Take some time this winter or spring to try out every piece of survival equipment you have. Make sure you can easily use each one; you may discover short-cuts or tricks for the best or easiest way to use your gear. You may also want to try magnesium instead of matches or a custom fire starting material instead of the store-bought kind. The key is to do this in a non-emergency environment and get really good at using your gear so that in a survival situation, it’s that much easier to keep your cool.
Over the next few weeks, we’ll be expanding on this survival list, giving you some tips and suggestions on what to keep in mind when choosing gear and how to use it. For now, we refer you to a great video on how to use a signaling mirror.