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Absolute minimum.

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posted on Oct, 5 2009 @ 06:23 PM
[This thread is inspired by "AlaskaFranke" and his no nonsense approach to some of the survival topics on this board.]

Let's keep this real and post about the bare minimum of gear/knowledge that anyone would be able to effectively carry and use.

Tell us what you would carry, and everything that you can figure out to do with it.

Post some relevant links to information and or vids that will increase our mutual understanding.
Sorry, no war stories please.

Informational Resources
Books and Guides
Practical Applications
Food Sources
Water Sources

I'll start.

The following will look familliar, because I posted it before.
Never the less, I do not go anywhere without the following.
I never leave home without a /knife/multitool/550 cord/duct tape/neodymium magnets/water/powerbars/change of clothes/pens/paper/hat/sunglasses/bandanna. on my person in a little backpack.

I would highly suggest doing some reading and practicing some simple skills to build your own shelter, starting a fire, and acquiring water and food.

I never drive a car without a /tire iron/rope/chain/pump/spare tire/fuel can/water/flares/tools/jack/blanket/black & silver duct tape/jumper cables, and a block of wood.

Rouging it in an urban environment is kind of hard, especially when you have everything you would ever need every mile or so. But the fact remains, people end up homeless and can have a rough time of it. I mentioned that before in another thread.

I live within 20 miles of a major city, and so the likelihood of wilderness survival is so remote, that only a SHTF scenario would make me go out into the boonies to hack it.

Everyday life in the vicinity can in and of itself be problematic, so it pays to be aware of your surroundings at all times.
Be aware of people, and what they are doing.
I don't mean stalk them, but look for relevant behavior.
When inside a building, be aware of where you can go to get out, should something happen.
An example is that if you are in an eatery, a likely place to find another exit, besides the front door, is the kitchen. Establishments often have entrances in the back for deliveries and the like. It's law I think in our area.
A little bit of non linear thinking can be of importance as well. While people might be running for the door or the kitchen, you are likely surrounded by a multitude of other exits. "Windows" Need I say more?

Be aware of your vehicle and where it's parked, especially at night.
Park in highly visible areas that are well lit.
Park along the perimeter of the lot, and as close to the entrance as possible.
The perimeter will ensure that you don't forget where you parked, especially if you need to get out of dodge in a hurry. It's also relatively close, so you don't have to sprint the entire lot to get to your car.
When walking at night, keep something in your hands,like keys.
I know this sounds dumb, but make sure you know how to opnen your lock.
Fumbling with the keys is not good.
I am not advocating aggressive behavior towards a would be intercedent, and throw and run or co-operation is the safer method, but be prepared.
Look under the car as you are walking to it, and look in the back seat while you approach the door. Look into the cars surrounding your own and be wary of larger vehicles being parked next to yours. Go outside with a buddy, and drive them back to the door with you. Effective deterrent, and you don't want to leave your friend as vulnerable as you would have been alone.

The same thing applies to your house.
Nothing feels as safe as home, right?
Be aware of what is going on around your house before you get out of the car or walk up to it. Circle the block once. Walk slowly up to your house, keys in hand, same as the car, and get inside. If you have a cell phone and someone is home, call ahead and have them turn the lights on for you and or wait for you by the door.

Be wary of people asking for help. Be aware of who and what is around you if you are approached. Keep your bags close, and keys ready.
Guys, keep your wallet in your front pocket.

Just some simple things, to be aware of. This is by no means the definitive list, but it should get you started.

Everything is real world, present day, relevant.

[edit on 10/5/2009 by reticledc]

posted on Oct, 5 2009 @ 06:41 PM
Bring books. Entertainment books, and plant books, to know what you can and can't eat. Pretty much field guides.

Bring an ipod, and maybe a solar charger. Find a way to charge it. Entertainment is a must, you can't be bored, or you will be stressed.

Pocket knifes are good.

Bring small, long lasting, portable food. Beef Jerky, dried fruits.

Take seeds to, if you want to grow things to survive.

This is for long term survival.

posted on Oct, 5 2009 @ 07:09 PM
The real basic survival tool is a knife... However... for a small basic kit I would go with...

Good knife
Fire starting kit
Water tablets and filter
Spare cold weather clothes
Para cord
Small mirror
Fish hooks and line
Small cooking pot
Firearm (Not an AK47 or RPG!!!! just a good hunting rifle or shotgun, depending on what you can get)

And whatever food and water you can squeeze in.

The most important thing (as many people have said before) is what you can pack into your brain.

Any kit that needs batteries or other forms of electric is, in my opinion, junk.

I also read lots about peoples Tactics and Plans... This is valid to a point but the most important thing is staying positive and being able to make quick decisions on the fly... You cannot plan for every possible disaster/situation... You don’t want to be in a situation, where you have been compromised, and have to spend an hour flicking through a 600 page book to find out what to do next!!

Keep any plans simple and generic.

[edit on 5-10-2009 by Muckster]

posted on Oct, 5 2009 @ 07:15 PM
plant books get people killed more than they save. anyone who has a chance needs to take the time to find people they know that can TEACH hands on, or maybe a class so that they can know for sure what to eat.

thie most important thing is if you are not sure, considure it impure. goes for water plants and other scavage. its better to have to wait for food than have the craps over bad food.

also, the knife is really all one has to absolutely have. taking some clases on basic trap making will certainly help.

i agree with the parachord as well, though fishing line would work to and if you were packing super light, fishing line alone would accomplish all you need it to for a period.

posted on Oct, 5 2009 @ 08:25 PM
reply to post by wx4caster

Let's face it, the relevant point to any type of survival situation, is location and adaptability.

If you find yourself anywhere, you need to know how to improvise.
Improvisation is the key to any situation.

Let's for example say that there is a major flood.
Survival in that situation is all about saving your butt.
All the gear in the world will likely be useless.
Survival is about You finding high ground anywhere you can.
After the fact is when you have to worry about more long term.
More likely than not, your gear is going to either be waterlogged or swept away.

More pertinent and much more likely to happen, is a fire, or car accident.
It would be much to your favor and that of your family to know CPR and basic first aid.
What to do if someone has sustained a serious injury is knowledge that in my opinion, everyone should know.

There are myriads of resources to learn these basics.
Survival is not just about you.
Survival is not just about the SHTF.

The whole point of survival is to survive long enough to either be extracted or to extract yourself.

Knowledge should always be in your go bag.

posted on Oct, 6 2009 @ 02:53 AM
neodymium magnets? What for?

posted on Oct, 6 2009 @ 04:59 PM
reply to post by calstorm

As much as this topic could focus on a SHTF scenario, everyday survival is more relevant.

Besides my rather boisterous claims from another thread, "sigh" Magnets are great ways to extract your keys from a sewer grate.
Also take a piece of thread or string, place in between the 2 magnets and dangle them. As you turn, the magnets will face in one direction only, they will not turn. You now have a makeshift compass.

The most important thing I have ever used them for and the reason I carry them everywhere, is for first aid reasons.
I got a sliver of metal in my eye once when I was a kid.
My grandfather used the magnet to pull it out.

Another (almost) useless thing to do with them is drag them through soil. Why? It will pick up the naturally occurring metals in the soil.
Not that anyone without some other background would have anything to do with that material, but it works exceedingly well.

[edit on 10/6/2009 by reticledc]

posted on Oct, 6 2009 @ 05:49 PM
after reading this article, i'm convinced you may only need a couple good knives. (that is, as long as you have access to fresh water.)

this guy survived for 300 days on a deserted island with only a swiss army knife and a machete:

"With just two knives for cutting and a baby pig for company, Xavier Rosset sat solo on an uninhabited Pacific island for 300 lonely days."

posted on Oct, 6 2009 @ 05:56 PM
As true as it may be he had the most important tool of all, his mind and human ingenuity.

If it really came down to it, how many of us would be fit to survive with absolutely nothing? It's not something I want to do.
The critical thinking is that you are surrounded by stuff you never normally gave a second thought to, that can help you survive.
Everything takes on a new life, when you need to provide for yourself.

posted on Oct, 6 2009 @ 06:05 PM
I actually destroyed a hard drive not to long ago. UGH! I wish I would have taken the neo magnet out of it! The more I hear about how useful they can be the more I wish I had a few around!

If not even to sell if times were to get rough. What a sales pitch..

This magnet can do ANY thing for you! Take a metal sliver out of you're eye or even pick a magnetic lock! Look at how it takes the magnetic material out of the earth! Oh how you need one of these! Only 1 gold! There is a limited supply so get one now.

posted on Oct, 7 2009 @ 11:10 AM
Excellent post, and I agree that for many, the term “survival” seems to denote some military style escape and evasion operations from armed combat troops supplied with a vastly superior electronics array. The fact is, your absolutely right in stating that survival is really about getting away from catastrophes and calamities of the more natural variety, such as flooding, winter blizzards, and the like.
Again, your emphasis on having the right mind-set is also on par with my own thinking. It is after all, forward thinking capability that predicates a good survival plan, even in the throes everyday life.

The tools that I would use on the basic level, you ask?
Definitely a Leatherman Multi-Tool. I wear mine every day, and use it for work almost every day. When I forget to attach it to my belt, then I feel like I’ve forgotten my wallet. It’s always the times that I forget it, that I need it the most. A sharpening steel is attached to the carrying case. Having a sharp blade always helps.

Fire making kit, water storage and filtration, a blanket or sleeping bag, a food supply.

With these items, a learned man can build what’s need to survive under duress. As long as one has acquired fundamental basic primitive survival skills.

I order of importance; (To me)
1) Take stock of the situation, and terrain around yourself,
2) Inventory what gear/supplies that you have on-hand,
3) Gather enough fire wood during daylight hours,
4) Set out fish traps and small animal snares, as soon as possible.
5) Built a solidly constructed shelter from the elements,
6) Check the snares twice each day, re-set the ones sprung, and check bait on the one’s empty.
7) Scout the area within a one or two mile circumference for edible plants. Take stock of game trails, and watering holes.

Build primitive tools from scratch. Such as a spoon, a bowl, arrowheads, spear-points, fishing spear, and improve the situational and comfort level in the camp.

I keep the Bob close, and like you, my vehicles are filled with necessary items in case I find myself stranded.

To put this into perspective. Travelling from Anchorage to Fairbanks Alaska is about a 350 mile trip. In the winter months, the temperature can drop to -65 below zero. Cars freeze up quickly if turned off. Batteries fail due to the cold, electronic gizmos don’t work well under these conditions, and if your broke down at night, the Parks Highway (The only way into Fairbanks) has little traffic, and even less police presence. CB-radios are limited in their use for calling for aid, as most truckers are parked in wide spot asleep. Travelling between these two cities in the dark cold winter months poses hardships on both your vehicle, and your body. You’d better have a plan in case something goes wrong, or your cold frozen meat sitting inside of a cold broke down car. One can’t count on people stopping to aid them, but there’s always the possibility of flagging down some help, but I wouldn’t count on it. Since that road (There is no interstate systems in Alaska) is not very well travelled at night, the other concern is moose stepping out in front of your car. A 150Lb deer will wreck your car; a very large Moose will destroy it, and probably seriously hurt you in the process. It happens almost every day on this highway.

Cars skid off the road and end up in the ditch, or scattered among the trees. It’s not uncommon to see 14(+) accident within one mile on certain sections of the road, due to ice conditions, and the road itself. Sometimes, you can be involved in a accident, without doing anything wrong. Mostly from “other” people doing something wrong, and you end up upside down in the deep snow. Better hope that it’s in the day time, and somebody witnessed the accident.

The power goes out a lot during winter months. Having a generator and fuel is also critical to keeping the home warm. That, and a couple of different ways to cook, provide lighting, and keep warm are an everyday events. Power lines snap all the time, cars and trucks take out transformer poles, and sometimes, the electrical grid fails because everyone cranks up the heat at the exact same time. Commonplace around here.

In my opinion, having both a good plan, and the requisite gear is tantamount to staying healthy. I like being healthy…

posted on Oct, 7 2009 @ 11:47 AM
My retreat is located about 100 miles north of my home. Presently it is stocked with enough supplies to take care of my family and I for several months. Everything has a backup system, and another backup-backup system, particularly when it comes to heat, cooking, and lights. In this environment, having these three things is critical.

One could argue the lights aren’t necessary ; that you should go to bed with the dark and arise to the sun. But the fact is, in the winter months, there are limited number of daylight hours. Normally around here it’s still dark at 9am in the morning, and it never really gets beyond daybreak. The sun sets around 3pm, and if you are on higher ground, it’s easy to see the sun setting on one horizon, and the moon rising on another. The further one travels north, the darker it gets. Way up north, on the North Slope tundra, it remains dark for three months straight. Add ice fog, sub-zero temperatures, and you’d better have your ducks in a row, or you will pay the price .

Books are good to pass the time, but in reality, there’s a lot of work to be accomplished if you’re stuck out in the middle of nowhere. Firewood has to be hauled in, chopped and stored for the night. Ice has to be melted for water, clothes mended/repaired, gear & equipment checked for damage. Failing at any of these will result in problems, both short and long term variety. Video games and IPods have no use in this situation, At least during the day when you should be working on improving your situation.

Ask any of the people that live out in the Alaska bush, what it takes to “survive” on a day to day basis, and the answer will always be the simple things that we take for granted.

It’s nice when you walk into your bathroom, flick on the lights, and climb into a hot bathtub surrounded by forced air heat. But what “IF” none of that modern conveniences are present? What if you have to spend every day in the summer months felling trees, hauling the cut sections to the wood pile, chopping suitable lengths of firewood, and then carrying each log to the wood pile for storing it away from the elements.

What “IF” you have to auger through ice, haul the ice in buckets to the camp or cabin, and then burn (precious) wood to melt the ice into water?

What “IF” there’s no electricity to see you way around, but some oil lamps, candles, and kerosene lanterns? That my fellow ATS friends is “survival” in the purest form itself, and every day, there are people out there that choose to live this way. Call it survival in your terms, and they would call it “staying alive” in their terms. A rather simplistic approach to a novel idea that we take for granted.

Having lived this way myself, I can tell you from experience that it’s sometimes hard to get out of bed every morning. No matter how well conditioned you are, no matter how much stamina that you have, when you look outside and see the temperature gauge 65 points below zero, your body screams at you to climb back under the covers and remain there until it’s warm outside again, and the birds are happily singing their songs. But that is never an option….

Ho w many times have I had to get dressed in my arctic gear, just to go outside and empty the port-a-potty? How many times have I had to haul in more firewood from under the tarps, because if I didn’t, the night would be very cold indeed? There have been times that the weather outside was so bad, that walking to the outhouse was pure misery and much like “Hell On Earth. Ever drop your drawers when its 75 below zero? It’s a terrible feeling, and takes 30-minutes to warm up once back inside the cabin.

There have been times that I inadvertently allowed the fire to go out, and paid a severe price for it. Everything liquid was frozen solid, including all the canned foods, water barrel, and cheap water filled whiskey. It only takes “once” living through that experience, to make you remember NOT to replicate that mistake.

In essence, what some people would call “surviving the elements, are techniques that are presently being utilized by Alaska native villages, and of-gridders living in the far interior of Alaska.

posted on Oct, 7 2009 @ 05:16 PM
I was really hoping that you would bring something to the table here.
That my friend is perspective.

All the gear and preparation in the world can go right out the window when you find yourself facing life and death.
When you are so freaking scared about what is going to happen next, it's hard to think.
You find yourself inundated with thoughts you never even knew you had.
In a way, this is a good thing, it keeps you creative, but in other ways it can overcome you, and fast.

The simplest things become so damn difficult that you feel like jumping off a cliff, just so you don't have to think about it anymore.

This is the kind of conditioning that it is so hard to prepare for. This is the kind of thing you could spend a lifetime doing, but unless you live it you will be prostrated.

This is why the military "kicks your ass" when you are in PT.
They stress you so much that you either become conditioned to it or fail. Win, Win for them.

Perspective my friend can come at a terrible price for some.

posted on Oct, 7 2009 @ 07:12 PM
Damn Dude!
Those words ring oh-so-very-true. I think you’ve been there as I have. The situation is so terrible, that you wanna crawl inside of yourself to escape having to worry about it. Your mind is fraught with thoughts flittering to and fro, and you’re unsure of which way to turn, what to do, how to do it, and so you just sit down, or do the mental escape artist trick.

Training, determination, survival-mind set. These are the things that will pull your through those laborious troubled times. The difference is; when you remain in denial of the facts, it will always seem more compelling to do nothing, instead of something. Like the old saying goes” Lead, Follow, Or Get The Hell Outta Da Way!” has a significant meaning in this situation.

That is the time, to pull out the little bit that's left inside of you, and do what you have to do, in order to arrive at a point where things starts feeling and looking better. It’s only at the point that you start experiencing forward progress/momentum, that you are able to laugh at yourself, or at least realize that things weren’t so bad after all. In reality, it’s called situational panic. Everyone suffers from it, everyone.

Panic could last from several seconds, to several minutes, and some people panic for several lifetimes. Panic is contagious, and it feeds off itself.

A very typical situation occurred to me, and it had me thinking these panicky thoughts.
I was trekking along a small stream doing some pre-season scouting for the upcoming Moose season .
I was fascinated with the amount of salmon running up-stream, and didn’t pay attention to what was around me, instead, watching these fish jump three feet into the air, and launch themselves another six feet across logs jamming the stream itself.

I hear some brush cracking on my right, and was horrified to see a very large Grizzly Bear charging right at me, from a distance of about fifty years. It was coming down the trail at me, and directly for me, no doubt whatsoever- It’s ears were flat down, and it’s eyes were locked onto mine. There was no huffing or puffing, no chomping of the jaws with that “clicking’ sound, no false charges. This bear was barreling towards me at what seemed like unimaginable speed for something that weighs 1000Lbs.

For what seemed like an eternity, I stood there unsure of what I was supposed to do, having no idea which way to turn, and completely frozen in time-space itself. My mind was playing movies inside of my head, of me being knocked down, savagely bitten, and then dragged into the brush to become a food source; my body never being recovered. Mind you, this all occurred in a span of less than 1.2 seconds. A lifetime worth of thoughts at mind blowing speeds.

Before even being cognizant of my own action, I was down onto my right knee, facing the charging bear, the rifle coming up at the same time, my left arms snaking out to get a steady sight picture, and my cheek settling into the stock. I don’t ever remember even touching the trigger, but my trigger finger suddenly felt pressure, and there was a flash, a tremendous noise, and recoil trombone back into my shoulder.

The sight picture across the rifle changed, and the bear made a dash back towards his left, and disappeared into the tree line.

It’s at that point that I came back into reality. I now, understood what had just occurred to me. The bear, whether I hit him or not, I will never know for sure. It took me a couple of seconds to regain my composure, but when I did-the shaking started. Real severe shaking that forced me to backup against a tree, and squat there trying to remember how to breath. The shaking resultant of the massive adrenaline instantly pumped through my body those first few seconds of this situation. Hell-I couldn’t even hold a cigarette, much less light it up. Until the shaking subsided.

It was the training that saved me. That instant reaction under duress. That Automatic response that quickly assumes control, and moves the mind through well rehearsed steps. It comes as a result of intensive mental training, as well as practical training. A “Draw, Point, Shoot” type of scenario, where everything, including time, is compressed down into a scant few seconds of instinctive reaction.

As we grow more accustomed to these types of scenarios that have the capacity to create havoc within our minds, we learn to slow down and rely on that inner (automatic) instinctive respond. It will always save the day.

Damned fine post my friend-very thought provoking.

Originally posted by reticledc
I was really hoping that you would bring something to the table here.
That my friend is perspective.

All the gear and preparation in the world can go right out the window when you find yourself facing life and death.
When you are so freaking scared about what is going to happen next, it's hard to think.
You find yourself inundated with thoughts you never even knew you had.
In a way, this is a good thing, it keeps you creative, but in other ways it can overcome you, and fast.

The simplest things become so damn difficult that you feel like jumping off a cliff, just so you don't have to think about it anymore.

This is the kind of conditioning that it is so hard to prepare for. This is the kind of thing you could spend a lifetime doing, but unless you live it you will be prostrated.

This is why the military "kicks your ass" when you are in PT.
They stress you so much that you either become conditioned to it or fail. Win, Win for them.

Perspective my friend can come at a terrible price for some.

posted on Oct, 7 2009 @ 09:38 PM
A bit of scientific info if I may.
In situations of extreme stress, the brain takes over the cognizant functions of the body and reasoning.
As this is happening, you brain is taking in information at several magnitudes faster than normal. So much information and detail is being absorbed right into the relevant parts of your brain at once, that it seems like time itself is slowing down. In reality, you are just observing things in much, much, greater detail.
That's why a lot of accident victims remember the accident but nothing shortly afterward.
There is also what amounts to a memory dump resulting in the confusion and disorganized state. The involuntary shaking is the coming down response to the intense drug induces high you just experienced while in this super mental state.
Some people never come back down from that.
How many stories have we heard about Vietnam vets not being able to turn off, for the rest of their lives.

This is the point exactly.
We are hard wired to survive.
It's the lifetime of BS that we experience on a daily basis that numbs us to our natural abilities.

I don't have a doubt that most people could survive, but staying alive is another story. The mental games that go on, such as missing your home are enough to drive people over the edge.
Those formerly comforting thoughts are what begin to cloud your judgment, enabling you to be susceptible to momentary lapses or reason.

Most people if faced with a choice of what to do, and the time to ponder the decision, may not do it because they think they can't.

posted on Oct, 7 2009 @ 10:42 PM
Just how deep into one's consciousness and fiber of one's being do those instincts root themselves do you think ?

One occasion I needed to get an operation. So was rendered unconscious before it began.All went well and sometime later I woke slowly still feeling groggy from the effects,feeling the effects of the pain medication they gave me. A little while later the doctor came in,ask me how I was feeling.Then he spent a little time telling me how I tried to get up in the middle the operation and leave.How they had A hell of A time keeping on the table.

I was relieved that I didn't start swinging or anything.

I think the absolute minimum is that survival Instinct,some luck,self motivation ?
All the training,practice,education, and equipment won't help you without that instinct.
The last time someone panicked around me,I burst out laughing.

I had A skunk scare the crap out of me one night because I knew it had the power to make me smell really funny and I didn't want that.

Call it zen if you must,the awareness of now,your environment.

I really don't like the idea wandering around with nothing more than A pointy stick.

Is that the second thing I'm going to make. A spindle,hearth and Bow.

The absolute minimum is being in the now.
Because if your thinking about ten minutes from now your distracted.

[edit on 7-10-2009 by The Utopian Penguin]

posted on Oct, 7 2009 @ 11:39 PM
I note that some of you talk about trapping food but almost no one lists trap wire in there kit.

you should carry at least 300 feet of trap wire in your BoB, an if you have a survival cabin that you have stocked you should have at least 1000 feet of trap wire.

26 gauge picture-hanging wire works good but i like to also have some heavy gauge wire for deer.

posted on Oct, 8 2009 @ 09:05 AM
reply to post by ANNED

Excellent point.

Something like a bit of snare wire can be a Godsend if you have it.
I have seen a lot of people describing trying to trap animals with cordage, but there is one serious flaw with that.
If they get caught and or don't choke, they can chew through cordage or fishing line.
Wire is much more difficult to chew through although not impossible.

That is one tiny epiphany one would prefer not to have out in the bush.

posted on Oct, 8 2009 @ 11:25 AM
reply to post by reticledc

Have you considered kevlar thread or rope ? you can get it in black.
3/16th in diameter 3,600lbs 1.2lbs for 100 feet
225 lbs and it's thread.

Combining materials can make A formidable snare,less losses due to breakage.
Do you have A little salt or peanut butter in your absolute minimum bag?

or a salt lick even

posted on Oct, 8 2009 @ 12:06 PM
reply to post by The Utopian Penguin

Never knew that stuff existed.
Just as anything else though, it's about making due with what you have at hand.
You can find substitutes for everything.

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