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Survival Vs. "annoyance" Likelihood Triage...
I suspect your motives.



I do not claim to be an expert, and I know that I am definitely not, but I would imagine that the likelihood of what can happen and what needs to be done aside from the rule of threes is different in different parts of the world.

I don't know much about Michigan and the USA, but where I live in Canada most of the country is wilderness, over 90%, and walking out to a road no matter how well you are versed in navigation is probably not possible. Many places are only accessible by float plane, canoe or dogteam, so if you are out on the Thelon or the like you need to be prepared for the worst like it is inevitable, but hope for the best. In many places above a certain latitude a compass is absolutely useless.

If something were to happen I would hope it would be near the end of the trip so you would not have to wait as long before someone starts to miss you. Even then I hope that there were detailed plans left at home so the SAR team would have a place to look and if you started to wander around you would probably decrease the chances of being found to almost zero.

IMO the most important skill is to know is how to be prepared for your situation, and have good navigation skills to keep yourself out of a survival situation. (I think Ron said this in one of his videos)

Alluding to healthcare; the best way to survive a stroke is not to have one.
"If you save one life you are a hero. If you save 100 lives you are a nurse." Unknown


I thought I was done with this one...But I'm back.

First, let's get something straight. I'm not lecturing you. I don't question your motives. You seem to be a guy with a fair amount of education, but little street smarts. You also seem to be wearing blinders.

Example: You keep bringing back the "Likelihood Triage Concept" and now indicate that we have all dismissed it. It is a great phrase and really sounds profound. I don't believe it has all been dismissed.

Let's examine it:

Likelihood: Being likely to happen; probability.

Triage: A system of establishing the order in which acts are to carried out in an emergency.

Concept: An idea or thought: abstract notion.

I don't think anyone has dismissed triage, as we all establish an order in which we act when we are in an emergency (sometimes as it is happening), thats why we have acronyms such as S.T.O.P..

I don't think anyone has dismissed conceptualization. We are all thinkers and pride ourself on thinking outside the box.

The problem most of us have is "Likelihood." We have indicated that we don't have crystal balls. If we knew what was going to happen, we would only have to plan for that. We can't. It would be nice, but the probability is low.

You have a plan, based on your continuum for the likelihood triage concept, and speaking extemporaneously (I know I shouldn't speak with little preparation but I don't have time analyze my tyhoughts), thats good. Keep working on remembering map/compass/light and land nav skills. Keep your first backup skillset as shelter/fire. We all have to do what is right for us. Hope yours works out for you. All I ask is that you don't DISMISS what I feel is right for me.

Nuff Said.

Coyote Spirit
I'm confussed...Wait...Maybe I'm not

Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and proclaiming, "Wow, what a ride!!!"

Author of "Build the Perfect Survival Kit"
"My situation in Michigan"

You keep referencing to your place in Michgan. Do you ever travel? ever leave, fly, vacation? Survival comes when we are out of our comfort zone, and at times, in it.

We practice these things mentioned (Rule of 3's, and shelter first priorities) b/c of a very specific reason. They work! And you can transfer those skills rather quickly to someone untrained and get specific results from it.

A witty saying proves nothing.


I'm new here also, but I think the problem is you're misunderstanding the purpose of the forum. The avg joe will hopefully think of what do I need to get from point A to point B; usually from a minimalist standpoint. The people here want to train and acquire knowledge to stay alive in as many situations as possible - not just the situation they are planning to put themselves into in the next hrs/days. The assumption/pretext is that something has already gone very, very wrong; either with our individual plans for a hike/hunt/travel/etc or society in general. That necessitates concentrating on basic concepts (what's going to kill me first) and either waiting for rescue or to link up with others in societal collapse. Yes, land nav is a part of that, but not the most important part. That particular skill means nothing if you die of exposure or dehydration while attempting to walk out. If you know which direction to go, but have a broken leg or two (you're best skill is now useless) and it's going to take 4 days instead of 10 hours to get out you had better have water and shelter. That's the type of scenario members are most concerned with. Next time you're on a hike see how long it takes to go 100 m off trail with a splinted leg or better yet crawling with your arms. Remember the guy who amputated his own arm when it got stuck between two boulders. If he would have had a SPOT locater beacon he could have summoned a SAR team with a push of a button. Do you think he'd pay $140 to have his arm back - that's how much that SPOT costs. That's the kind of stuff I've learned on this forum - thank you everyone, especially Ron & Karen. It seems to me that you are planning for what will probably go wrong on your next camping trip/hike - not anything that can go wrong anytime. Thats the easier part and probably address on any camping/hiking forum. As for "remembering" your map/compass/light, get a few of each ($20 for the set) and keep one in the car, one in your pack, etc - no more need to "remember" to take them cause they're already with you no matter where you go. Around here there an emphasis on having a small kit which can be carried anywhere/everywhere to provide the basics anywhere/everywhere (shelter/fire, water, food); protection against what can kill me first. I look at it like this, say on a cross country trip, land nav is useless if you run out of food, food is useless if you run out of water, water is useless if you die/incapacitated from exposure (cold/heat stroke), shelter is useless is you run out of air (Ron's example of sealing up a tube tent is hilarious, but brings the point home). That's why the basics are rammed home over and over - screw up on a lower level, the more advanced skills will do you no good - being able to fly a plane anywhere in the country is useless if you die of thirst/exposure.
  • Ignorance is a long way from stupid, but it can get there real fast.
  • Losing an illusion makes you smarter than finding a truth - Ludwig Borne
  • Always remember the Golden Rule: He who has the gold, makes the rules.
  • This is more fun than beating a tree hugger with a dead baby seal.
I like how you put it steve it reminds me of this, something they pound into our heads in nursing, if a person can't breathe trying to fix the broken leg is not going to do much good.

[Image: Maslows-needs-Pyramid.jpg]
"If you save one life you are a hero. If you save 100 lives you are a nurse." Unknown

Good post Steve,

One of the things Newbies and wannabee experts do is try to out think survival like someone with Aspergers disease "Those with Asperger's tend to obsess over the minutiae of subjects, and are prone to giving long detailed expositions, and the related corrections, and may gravitate to careers in academia or science where such obsessive attention to detail is often functional and rewarded." (Wiki). After working in Academia for over 20 years I came away with an abhorrence for complicated decision making processes which is exactly why I stick with the RUle of 3's

Look around and you'll see all sorts of survival acronyms. I can't ever remember all of the meanings but a few I remember by acronym are "REACH, STAY, SPOT, SURVIVE" etc. Each of these had some gem of survival skill but fuck! I can't remember what those damned letters stand for. I'll never remember them in a survival situation or when I am stressed. Just remembering to take a shit in a survival situation is a challenge. Breaking things down into finer bits does nothing to help the situation as the only rule that counts is the rule of "Common sense". Cool out and use common sense. Common sense is easier when you have some knowledge of the priorities... thus the rule of threes. As I said in the shelter and priorities video... Paraphrased... If you don't have air, make it so you do, if it is warm out and the nights are warm, shelter is not a priority..." and so forth, If you can breathe, there is a comfortable climate, you have water and food you don't really have a survival problem you have a navigation issue or a social survival problem (Think Vietnam).

In all the years of teaching this stuff I have never seen a reason to increase the complexity of the decision making process because I use common sense.

Remember too that one mans survival situation is another mans adventure. When I was lost (disoriented) in a freak snowstorm in the Cordillera of the Andes in Chile I didn't see it as a survival problem... like 'Boots I just sheltered in place and used the time to catch up on some sleep. When the storm blew over I reoriented and walked on to my destination where the Chileanos were amazed that I'd walked out. I've done that a few times and I find those situations interesting, even fun. One winter I walked across the Sierra Nevada mountains with a couple friends. It was tough as hell and a long walk in deep snow but after about three weeks we made it out. It was a hard hike filled with "survival" skills. We only had two weeks food. I'd made the hike in summer in three days. Without survival skills we might have failed but with the rule and experience it was an adventure.

Hind sight is an exact science until historians or politicians get involved.

Nothing is so simple that it can't be misunderstood.

I have regular bowel movements, I just wish they were voluntary...

My dad started walking five miles a day when he was 60. Now he's 91, and we don't know where he is.

<img src='<#EMO_DIR#>/thumbsup.gif' class='bbc_emoticon' alt=':thumbsup:' /> <img src='<#EMO_DIR#>/thumbsup.gif' class='bbc_emoticon' alt=':thumbsup:' /> <img src='<#EMO_DIR#>/thumbsup.gif' class='bbc_emoticon' alt=':thumbsup:' />

Thanks Ron
Hopefully the S won't HTF and I pray every day that it won't. It would not be fun.

I have a high art..I wound with cruelty, all who wound me...Archillocus; 650 B.C.
[quote name='steve_n' post='207324' date='Feb 9 2008, 10:25 AM']Jeff,

I'm new here also, but I think the problem is you're misunderstanding the purpose of the forum. The avg joe will hopefully think of what do I need to get from point A to point B; usually from a minimalist standpoint. The people here want to train and acquire knowledge to stay alive in as many situations as possible[/quote]

I think the avg joe can still learn plenty for their minimal needs from the experts who know the whole range. ...If some of the experts don't get too mad at him first! : ) ...So hopefully all types can benefit from this forum.

[quote name='steve_n' post='207324' date='Feb 9 2008, 10:25 AM'][...] As for "remembering" your map/compass/light, get a few of each ($20 for the set) and keep one in the car, one in your pack, etc - no more need to "remember" to take them cause they're already with you no matter where you go.[/quote]

This is one that I work hard at keeping covered, along with the mini-kits you mention. (Maps, lights and waterbottles keep getting moved and poached from where they were!) It's an example of how info from experts can help a "avg joe" type. Now I just have to really work (and doublecheck) on making sure these things all get into the pack or boat that I'm using at the time.

CoyoteSpirit---I'm doing my best to question (and to continue to study) my Likelihood idea! : ) And I don't think I'm dismissing yours.

Ron Hood---To me it seems like Likelihood might fit in with the common sense / simplify approach that you mention, but maybe not! As folks have been saying, how can you know the unknowable. Still, it seems that some surprises would be more likely than others. But it seems to cause friction so I'll let it drop.

Jeff Potter


for indie outdoor adventure & culture

[someone had hacked my sig -- it's fixed now...]
Right on Jeff,

My stuff gets poached all the time. I think it's Karen but she denies it. Once I discovered it was me, not putting something back! Then I had to simplify... no blame. <img src='<#EMO_DIR#>/wink.gif' class='bbc_emoticon' alt='Wink' />

My POV is that none of us are experts, just more advanced students. I learn something almost everyday from the folks on this forum. There are 3500 imaginations and experience sets here that provide information in a variety of ways. It's a joy, not a job, for me to spend a couple of hours a day here.

One aspect of "Survival" that I try to keep in mind is that "survival" for us is simply living skills for an Indig now or 10,000 years ago. Survival for them would be learning to cross the street, buy food or take a crap. That said the minimum gear needed with primitive living skills is an operational brain and body. Clothes, tools and compasses are just things we can make.

Welcome to the forum <img src='<#EMO_DIR#>/smile.gif' class='bbc_emoticon' alt='Smile' />

Hind sight is an exact science until historians or politicians get involved.

Nothing is so simple that it can't be misunderstood.

I have regular bowel movements, I just wish they were voluntary...

My dad started walking five miles a day when he was 60. Now he's 91, and we don't know where he is.

[quote name='JeffOYB' post='206758' date='Feb 7 2008, 04:40 PM']... Light and nav skills seem like they could---if practiced and worked on---be very helpful in night-time walk-outs.

Is it likely that situations that would call for 5-10 mile walk-outs are common in outdoor troubles? (All things considered.)

Is it still better to practice shelter/fire than walk-out skills?

Having the right clothes would be part of making walking-out an option. So would fitness. If exposure will be a risk then one is obliged to have the skills needed to stay put.

Maybe night-time is the bigger snag, making night walking a very bad idea for even well-dressed, fit people---involving skills that aren't as easily trained as are shelter/fire. If so, then opt for shelter/fire.[/quote]

You sound a little cocky and arogant, let me tell you a story. I know more about everything than anyone else on these boards or anywhere else for that matter, well not as much as you but ...

I went for a day hike in western MA a few years back in October. I parked in a McDonalds parking lot, went into the state park, and planned on cathing the trail, doing the hike, than heading out. About 1/2 mile into a rocky steep hike it started pooring out, the temp dropped, mud was everywhere, and I slipped and hurt my ankle. You get damn cold ... damn fast. Was I in a survival situation? I could see the damn golden arches. Hell yes I was. I wasn't going to try and hobble out in the rain, mud and soaking wet with a sprain. Slip again, bust my head, break my neak? I crawled into a pine tree, got out of the rain, and used my little stove to start a fire to dry my socks. When the rain stopped (and the icing started) I stayed under my nice dry pine tree, and shortly after a few people wandered by and I hitched ride out with them. I didn't need to be carried, I just didn't need to do anymore damage to myself.

Just because your not 300 miles from the nearest person, doesn't mean a survival situation isn't just around the corner.
[quote name='travelinman' post='206726' date='Feb 7 2008, 11:56 AM']Dravine is dead on with this. I've been out hunting in an unfamiliar area and gotten turned around and lost.

It was getting dark and walking around in the woods after dark without a trail to follow and only a flashlight for light wasn't something I wanted to do, compass or not. It's awfully hard to find a four wheeler in the dark with only a small maglight. I was prepared to hunker down for the night by a fire if need be, however, two way radios are a wonderful invention and I was able to reach my buddy who fired off a shot, and I went toward it until he could hear me walking through the woods and guide me to the location of our ATV's.

I was prepared for the weather and cold, however had I been alone and unprepared I could easily have died from exposure and still been within a 100 yards of my ATV without knowing it.[/quote]

do yourself a favour and buy some 3m Scotchlite reflective tape. It can be seen with a weak flashlight, and stands out like a welders torch with a strong flashlight form miles away. I stick it on my truck, on the sides, front, and top, just a small 2" tab. (i'm geeky enough to, that yes, i put sone underneath the truck, oyu never know.)






The Maslow's Hierarchy of Need was a very apropos description of why we have become Hoodlums!!! The hierarchal needs are established but are also met and realized through our fellowship here.

Jeff, I can see your points and welcome them as grist for the mill which replaced my mind a while back!! Possibilities versus probabilities is always a good exercise. Unfortunately things happen which can skew logical probabilities, such as a broken leg, as mentioned... cannot get caught up with all those damned acronyms...there really is only one to remember...we were taught it at all levels in the army:


"Put your ass on the grass and shut the f*ck up while I, your hallowed instructor takes you through the basic skillsets...remember these and you will have no problems, forget them and you put yourself and your team in a world of hurt"

...SIMPLE, REALLY... <img src='<#EMO_DIR#>/closedeyes.gif' class='bbc_emoticon' alt=':closedeyes:' />

Somehow, "Rule of Threes" sounds easier to remember
"Did anyone actually see him eat the coffee grounds?

RAEMS..."Satisfaction guaranteed or double your trauma back!"

Remote Areas Emergency Medicine and Survival
[quote name='JeffOYB' post='206751' date='Feb 7 2008, 04:18 PM']Yes, the Sierras sound like they'd have different parameters.

Those Big 3 do seem like the biggest concerns.

Deaths from exposure are a very good point. --You'd always want to be prepped for your conditions.

What's the common max walk-out distance to a road with traffic for a UP snowmobiler? 10 miles? One should of course be prepared according to the answer and to your trail.

Setting aside repliers who seem to simply be peeved/annoyed, the contrast that appears to be trying to come out of this discussion is one of Staying Put vs. Walking Out.

In lower Michigan where I live a road with traffic is likely no more than 5 miles away and even our bad terrain is fairly passable---altho a cedar swamp is something to take seriously and be particularly prepared for. So I put an "annoying and possibly hard walk out" as very high on my Likelihood Triage list. Or should I emphasize Stay Put instead?

So far we have the Rule of 3---very good to cover prep for the basics. But the Likelihood Triage seems perhaps different.

So can I see anyone else's Likelihood Triage list?

I'm still curious to see where spark-fire and food-gathering would rank. Maybe spark-fire should rank high...I'm not the one presuming here. I surely agree that having lighters/matches around plus the needed skills is important.

I say to question everything. And consider your situation not someone else's. But of course let the common pitfalls guide you to doing it better.


The point everyone is trying to make is that you need to stay put. If your lost and decide to "walk out" you are just going to get yourself MORE LOST. In the process, you will be expending more energy pushing your way though the woods that you should be spending on providing for a safe night out.

Shelter is the Number 1 Priority. It keeps you dry which prevents hypothermia, it keeps you protected from the sun in desert climates which prevents hyperthermia and dehydration. The spark based fire building methods, especially those using firestarters like the swedish fire steel, Boyscout Hot Spark, The Firestorm, Blast Match or the Magnesium Fire Starter provide for a reliable source of fire in a compact, stable package. These sparking tools provide literally THOUSANDS of fires. I still carry a lighter and matches as well.. the point is, skills like these are not only important, they are the difference between life and death.

So if you want to know my ranking system of what someone should carry and know how to use, here it is:

Shelter Material: Milsurp Poncho or similar,Contractor bags (both very light and multi use

3 ways to make fire: Bic Lighter, Swedish Fire steel, Vial of Vasiline soaked cotton balls, matches in a waterproof container

Knife: at least a decent locking (REAL)Swiss Army Knife but a sheath knife should be on your belt as well (good quality, non stainless model such as those from Cold Steel, Becker, Bark River, TOPS.

A compass and map of your AO and know how to use it (in fact, append all above with that)

A canteen and Canteen cup for storing and boiling water (as well as cooking)

My recommendation: get Volumes 1-2-3 and 4 of the Woodsmaster Series, get some training, and Practice Practice Practice. I hope you avail yourself of some of the recommendations on this forum. The people posting here are some of the most influential people in the survival instruction community and I don't even want to contemplate the millions of hours of outdoor experience the combination of all of the active members of this forum have under their belts! So keep an open mind, and enjoy!
A fair question.

I think what you really need to do (what all of us need to do) is first ask ourselves what our priorities are if we are lost/stranded/wrecked in the wild places. Up here in Alberta, Canada, Forest Officers work alone miles from nowhere and we carry survival kits based on the assumption that it'll take 2-3 days to get found. Our winters in the Peace Country of Alberta can run down to -50C.



First Aid






Personally, I would not trust statistics when planning & building my survival kit and practicing my skills. You hope for the best but plan for the worst that could happen to you. Having said that, I've never had to use my survival skills for myself...BUT I've been hit head-on by logging trucks twice in 15 years of driving!

Please factor in Murphy's Law, sir.

Never give in--never, never, never, never, in nothing great or small, large or petty, never give in except to convictions of honour and good sense. Never yield to force; never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy.

-Sir Winston Churchill, Speech, 1941, Harrow School

Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not on unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.

- Proverbs 3:5-6

Watch, stand fast in the faith, be brave, be strong. Let all that you do be done with love.

-1 Corinthians 16:13-14

I will henceforth remember June 21st as Ron Hood The Woodsmaster Day.

An outstanding leader, mentor and friend, Ron was an example to us all. Rest in the arms of Jesus, Brother Ron, until we meet again.

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