The question has been posed to me many times “What exactly do I need if something goes bad and I need to survive?” It’s such a complex question and I’m usually a complete wise ass when I answer it. I mostly say something like: “What ever you have with you.” It’s a similar question to “What’s the best knife for survival/bushcraft?” Answer: “The one you have.” Or: “What’s the best gun for home defense?” Answer: “The one that’s loaded and allows you to put the round on target.”
There are many truths to these answers, in the end it doesn’t matter what ‘gear’ you have with you because you carry the most important thing with you ALWAYS, your Brain. This is why I always say you should never buy a pre made 72 Hour Bag. You must take ownership of the gear YOU choose to buy and understand how it works. With the understanding of how the gear works it will allow you to figure out work arounds in the field if you are ever caught with out that gear. If you don’t know the principles of how to make fire with a fire starter you’ll never rub two sticks together and create enough heat to make a fire which in the end could be the one thing which will save your life.
In virtually all survival stories I’ve read and situations I’ve been in, there has always hands down been one common thread. Keeping a level head, being calm and making rational choices in relationship to the situation and environment the person is placed in. Survival is like Economics, the questions are always the same but the answers change based on the climate. Preparation is a fundamental skill in surviving these situations too. Most of us can not ‘practice’ how to survive like people in Search and Rescue Teams or the Military. But what you can do is learn how your gear works and try things at home, any practice and knowledge is better than not knowing or understanding. You need to get to a state where you will be able to remain calm and make rational choices when a stressful situation arises.
So in the coming week I challenge my readers to pull one item out of your 72 Hour Bag and use it. See how it works and let me know how it goes. If you have questions I can try to answer them. I may not know your exact piece of gear but I may know what skills are needed to get it to function appropriately. Let me know your successes and your failures – we can work on them together.