Outdoor Survival Gear
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Be prepared BEFORE the flood, fire, earthquake, emergency, or terrorist attack.
A simple stroll into the woods can become a survival situation, be prepared!
Outdoor Survival Gear by Sunshine Brewer & CL Hendricks
In addition to fire, you need to be able to construct a shelter. Simple shelters can be made from a couple of trash bags, a plastic painters tarp or from items found in the woods. Lean-to structures can be made from a few branches, sticks or with a tarp or trash bags.
String is a valuable item to include with your outdoor survival gear. It can be used to create a survival shelter by binding branches together. String on the end of a stick can be used as a fishing pole. It can also be used to make a snare to try and catch dinner. Sisal or jute is a strong lightweight string that is inexpensive and easily found at most hardware stores.
A knife or a multipurpose tool is another handy item to have in your pack.
While sticks can be found everywhere, branches such as Cedar and evergreen may need to be cut to provide shelter. A sharp knife may come in handy to sharpen sticks for fishing or for support poles for a shelter.
Most pocket tools have at least one knife blade. While these are functional, a longer, sharper blade would be more use in a survival situation. A single-shaft steel knife of 6 inches total is going to provide a larger working surface allowing you to cut larger pieces. Pocket tools however come with other useful items such as pliers, can openers and occasionally silverware.
After shelter, food and water are the next most-important items crucial to survival.
While there are many sources of water available in the wild, these sources are not safe for human consumption. Even the purest looking stream is probably contaminated by gihardia and cryptospordium, which can lead to intestinal upset and dehydration. Lack of clean drinking water is a major concern for those facing a survival situation in the wilderness. There are two methods of purification that will allow you to drink water collected in the wild.
One way to purify water is through boiling, the other is through chemical purification. Filtering is an option, however even the best filter may miss protozoa and microbial agents that cancause illness. Purification tablets are available at most camping and outdoor stores. Chlorine bleach is another method of chemical purification. The standard is 8 drops of regular, unscented chlorine bleach to one gallon of water.
Water can be purified without boiling for even one minute!
Heating water to a roiling boil will also destroy any organic contaminants. Since a temperature of 180°F will kill off all contaminates, by the time the water reaches the boiling point of 212°F you can know that it is pure. Studies have proven that it is unnecessary to actually boil the water for 20, 10 or even 5 minutes. Once it actually reaches the boiling point, no disease-causing organism can survive. Dont waste precious fuel.
By pouring the water from container to container you can put the oxygen back into the water allowing it to taste like water. Carrying a small bottle of chlorine bleach in your backpack will allow you to purify water without boiling it. A bandana or t-shirt can be used as a filtering cloth to filter out larger particles like leaves, sticks and dirt.
Finding food in the wilderness is usually dependent on the season. Berries are easily located in the spring, fruits in the summer and nuts in the fall but during winter these things are difficult to find. If you are not familiar with which wild foods are edible you run the risk of accidental poisoning. A good guide to plants like the "Coast to Coast Survival Plants" by Sunshine Brewer will ensure that you can identify those plants will are not only edible, but medicinal as well.
Keeping a few days supply of dried backpacking foods in your pack will help you survive. Bullion, dried soup, oriental noodles and other types of dried food are light weight and can be stored in plastic water resistant bags. Dried meats such as jerky will provide the protein that you will need to keep yourself healthy. Peanut butter is also a good survival food to keep in your pack. It is high in protein and is easily stored.
Wool is a fabric that keeps you warm even when it is wet. Keeping a pair of wool socks and gloves or mittens with your outdoor survival gear pack will allow you to keep your extremities warm even if the weather becomes wet and cold. It is a good idea to check the extended forecast prior to heading into the wilderness. This will allow you to wear or pack the proper outerwear. Long-sleeved water-resistant jacket and thermal underwear will be well worth the additional weight should a front move in unexpectedly.
Plan for surprises and you won't be taken by surprise.
A small medical kit containing over the counter medications for fever, pain and swelling, diarrhea and upset stomachs as well as gauze, Band-aids®, medical tape, tweezers and antibiotic cream are a must. You should pack your medical kit with your specific needs in mind. If you are prone to reactions to insect bites then antihistamines and anti-itch cream would be a good idea. If you take prescription medications you should include a few days supplies of these as well.
A well-prepared person will put their medical kit in a water resistant or waterproof bag or pouch. Even the slightest bit of moisture will render many medications and sterile supplies useless. Including a pack of matches and a sewing needle with polyester thread in your medical kit will provide you with additional resources should you need them.
Before you head out into the great outdoors prepare for the possibility that something could happen to prevent you from returning when you planned. Always take a pack containing your outdoor survival gear. Better safe than sorry.
Outdoor Survival Here and Now
Read more by Survival-Homestead.com's guest contributor, Sunshine Brewer