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Kit, Skills, Approach?
Having been an Infantryman in the Army for 6 years, and done many field ops, too numeruse to count, I have had ample time and chances to put into practice the skills and alot of equipment needed for survival.

The poncho and panco liner bedroll is one of my favorite gear to use. <img src='<#EMO_DIR#>/thumbsup.gif' class='bbc_emoticon' alt=':thumbsup:' /> Compass and land nav skills were CONSTANTLY put to test. The rest of you vets can attest that the most dangerouse wepon we have is a cherry LT. with a compass! <img src='<#EMO_DIR#>/wink3.gif' class='bbc_emoticon' alt=':wink3:' />

As for kits, I'm in the prosses of putting together several kits including one for my preteen neice, mostly for camping and backpacking advetnures. I'm putting one in my wife's car for road side emergencies and unexpected "oh sh*t" situations.

Its hard to keep on in my jeep, as I have a soft top thats being stored in my closet right now... love driving around toppless! <img src='<#EMO_DIR#>/thumbsup.gif' class='bbc_emoticon' alt=':thumbsup:' /> The problem with that is, the jeep is wide open for anyone to take what they want, as my radio was stolen the first weekend I got the jeep.... lucky for me it didnt work anyways...

What I think is the most important skill to have is the right mind set to have when things go south. The ability to not "freeze up" when clear thinking is called for cannot be put into words. Again, this is where I credit my Army training. <img src='<#EMO_DIR#>/thumbsup.gif' class='bbc_emoticon' alt=':thumbsup:' />

I am always trying to practice and as Dude says, "own" them, mostly primitive skills. The learning never stops. As for more equipment, BRING IT ON! I love testing new gear... give me more excuse to get out more!!

I have more I could say, but I'll be nice and let someone else have a chance to respond.
[quote name='TN RIDGE ROVER' post='156512' date='Sep 5 2007, 08:23 PM']I've finished my survival fishing stick, testing awaits.[/quote]

Can you elaborate on this project? I'd love to see some images.

[quote name='Grizzly Dave' post='156530' date='Sep 5 2007, 10:02 PM']I too keep a journal and try to record what worked / what didn't and what was used and what did not.[/quote]

a journal is a great thing to have on outtings. I totally forgot one on my last trip which left me with remembering the things that worked or didnt work as well as the things I need or dont need. good thing I remembered that I need to take a damn journal.

Where to start? I have been in gear acquisition mode for some time, but I know that having gear will not guarantee me anything. I would not classify myself as the “outdoor type,” though I do enjoy going fishing, car camping and/or canoeing a few times a year.

Because of this site and a few books, I have put together two nearly identical fanny pack kits and two Altoid tin kits for my son and me when we are out camping. Some of it is for emergency use, but a lot of it is for use during our trip. I usually spend a few ours each week deciding what I really need to have with me and what are nice to haves. For instance, I know that putting a compass in his kit does him little good right now, but I will be teaching him how to navigate pretty soon. Teaching always helps me to learn even more.

I am also in the state of learning/relearning skills, and yes, I am learning from others. However, I try to spend some time testing this knowledge either at home or when I am out camping. I have made hand lines and hooks from soda cans before, but never had any luck catching fish that way. I decided it would be best to take some hooks. But, it will not stop me from trying again. I have practice a several fire starting techniques, but have not attempted fire by friction. I am having a real difficult time with wood selection as our trees are quite different down here than out west or in the mountains (I lived in CA for 4 years). The only willow I am familiar with down here is Weeping Willow trees, and those are usually ornamental. Regardless, I plan on working on this and water purification on my next outing, a long with plant identification.

When it comes to shelter, I carry a poncho, a tarp and trash bags, but I usually sleep inside a tent due to all of the flying (mosquitoes, horseflies, etc) and crawling (spiders and fire ants) insects we have down here. I have slept in the open before, no big deal. If I am going out in the forest, I bring my own shelter. I doubt I would ever have to build a fire bed, swamp bed or a debris hut, but I understand the concepts. Because I do not own any wooded land, I am reluctant to destroy the national forest just so I can build a swamp bed or debris hut and test those skills. I have read many accounts here of guys going out and building their fire bed on camping trips, even though it is only recommended in real survival situations.

This fall, I am also going to go on my first hunting trip in about 20 years, or should I say ever. When I was younger, I ventured out a few times with a rifle or shotgun in hand, but I never killed anything. This was probably the biggest factor that got me started researching wilderness survival in the first place. I wanted to know that I could provide food for my family if the need ever arose. Squirrel & Rabbit season starts on October 6 in Louisiana, and it is my intention to kill, skin and eat a few squirrels this year, and maybe a rabbit if I see one. I will primarily rely on my .22LR, but I may set out a few traps to see if I am at all successful. I am not sure if I will go deer hunting this year, but it could happen.

Normally, I either work from home or I fly to Europe/Asia/Kalifornistan and live out of a hotel. My normal day when I am home will not take me more than 7 miles away from the house if at all. My wife works at a school less than 2 miles from home. I do not have a BoB, and may never have one. Nor do I have a “vehicle kit,” though I have always kept flashlights, jumper cables, a first aid kit and a few other items in my vehicles (I guess that really is a kit). I may carry some extra water in the summer or blankets in the winter for those long (1 hour 45minute) trips to the in-laws, but that is about it. I do have the skills, tools and the manuals to do many repairs on my vehicles (I have rebuilt an engine before), but these days I just call AAA and let them take care of the problem.

If things really did take a turn for the worse as many people fear, then I would just have to adapt to the circumstances.


"That which does not kill us makes us stronger." -- Friedrich Nietzsche

"Failure to prepare is preparing to fail." -- Benjamin Franklin

"Tough times never last, but tough people do!" -- (This has been atributed to many people, so pick one.)
I was a Scout Leader for almost 30 years and I followed Baden-Powell's idea that kids join Scouts to camp. I took kids out camping all year round about 6 - 8 weeks apart ... to give them time to plan the next camp. In addition to that, I went hunting for 2 or 3 weeks as well as my own growing family adventures in the forest. In the beginning, I would carry all sorts of 'extras' just in case someone forgot something but that all came to a screeching halt the weekend we climbed Fang Mountain (northern British Columbia, where I live).

When we got to the alpine meadow at the top of the mountain (10 hours climbing a trail ... on all fours, at times) I spread out all my gear on the grass and I was stunned to realize that MY gear was only about 1/3 of what I was carrying. I had all this other stuff on my back in case someone else was careless. Since that trip, I carry only what I need and precious little of that. I made it a point to find out what I could use from the forest and to put that knowlege into practice.

It's very easy to get hung up on the latest gear but literally millions of people over the centuries lived quite comfortably without it. The way they did that is available to anyone who enjoys reading and learning how to do it yourself is an exciting adventure.

Just remember ... "Less is best" ... except when it comes to beer.
Running just means it dies tired.

Opportunity is missed by most people because it comes dressed in overalls and looks like work - T. Edison
I'm satisfied with my "Kits". My Kits "enhance" my skill set. I keep the one pounder the same all the time. The larger daypak, like MB, holds things for the task at hand. As an example I went hunting this week and although I was on private land in site of the house, I included my pounder, hatchet, saw, extra clothing, water bladder, binoculars, Rope, pulley, etc...

When I got back, the extras were put into a rubbermaid container(3 total) that contains EVERYTHING.
"There's nothing wrong with crossing that line a little bit, it's

jumping over it buck naked that will probably get you in trouble..."
My kit is very small and fits on my pistol belt it has saved me a couple of times in the winter, that's about the only time I am out and about summer just isn't my thing. One interesting thing I learned when I was racing dog teams across Montana was that my colthes and a wool mummy bag liner were all I needed to keep me warm at night. I tossed most of the junk out of the sled bag and then crawled into the mummy bag on top of the sled I was warm at -20.

When I am running traps with the dog team I carry a sleeping bag and some MREs and heaters, and a small stove. The one thing I don't do very often is build a fire.
Don't let reality stand in your way.

Some people are alive only because there are laws against killing them.
When I get back from playing in the sand next week,I am going to start doing the CERT modules.

I have been siting around thinking of doing it for way to long.Time to step up to the plate and DO IT.

An old thread, but I guess I missed it when it was fresh.

Concentric and EKG said stuff I'm already in tune with, and Muddy Boots and Grizzly Dave echoed some sentiments that I'm working on.

I think primitive skills are the main "kit," and most anything in my kits is built around either supplementing skills I have, or standing in for ones I haven't developed yet. There are a couple of exceptions. Hint: <img src='<#EMO_DIR#>/2guns.gif' class='bbc_emoticon' alt=':2guns:' /> (But even at that, recognizing tactical facts of guns, I have rekindled my interest in martial arts and just plain head-knocking for defense.)

I use a nested kit approach (I call it "modular"). I have a small backpack (Walmart junk--looks like crap to thief) that I carry everyday stuff in. It goes pretty much everywhere I go, within reason, the law, and policies of property owners.

It contains a toiletry kit bag that contains fire making essentials, first aid minimals, medicines, a poncho, a space blanket, a small knife, toothbrush, toenail (or gauze) scissors, tweezers, sun block--all kinds of little stuff.

Also in the cheap backpack is a coil of para cord (tip of hat to DDennis), some cheap para cord-like crap I got at Walmart before I got the good stuff (cheap crap still in pack by default), water, a small 10x binocular, a flashlight with powerful beam, a headlamp, a multi-tool (if not on me), some beef jerky and dried apricots that I just haven't snagged yet... That's about it, except for the cannons that are sometimes in the pack, sometimes on me, sometimes in a deep stash for legal reasons. I do live in Anti-Gun-ifornia.

Almost without fail, I have a Cold Steel folder on my person.

I can transfer all of this stuff to a regular backpack if for some reason I need to. Like for backpacking. The toiletry kit goes in an outer pocket of my regular backpack, the other stuff goes in the main compartment, and at that, I'm just about ready to jet, because the backpack is loaded up, ready to go.

All of the stuff in my Walmart cheapie pack would fit into BDU pockets, too.

Or it becomes a complement to what is almost always in my car, which includes food, fleece sleeping bags, warm things to match the season and conditions I could meet, given time of year and where I'm going, another binocular, lotsa water, and some other things that I'm not thinking of just now. The idea, of course, is to assure comfy-ish survival should I be in a "bug in" situation.

I don't much believe in the bug out, but if it came to that, cheapie backpack + Regular backpack + already in car kit is comfortable overkill, and it's "toss, toss, drive." Contents of cheapie backpack into regular backpack, and I'm ready to hoof it. If I have time to add other things in car bugout, I have something of a "deep pool" to choose from in and around the house.

I grew up with scouting and with parents who took the Cold War seriously. We had a fallout shelter in our back yard in the Sixties. I was a pretty savvy outdoorsman in my teens, but in my twenties, I got stupid (haughty, too "good" for dirt time--I was a violinist, after all... ack!), laughed at survival preparations, and forgot a lot. But I always liked self-defense and its weapons. Then 9/11, and I concluded that anything could happen now. So I got serious again about survival, and conjured up this concept, through the usual phases of the seriously survival minded (total bug-out scenario expanded to full-on nuttiness and then refined and refined to what we talk about here). Then I found out about Hood's Woods... Up one level to another, to another, and I feel like I've found the pinnacle now, not that I match it, but rather, if I ever do, I'll have a lot of skills...

Personally, I think we're in the "end days" and had better be savvy.
Freedom--to be a fool or only thought one, to do well or to do poorly, with only one restraint known as accountability--is the best that philanthopy--and sustainable civilization--have to offer. It's also what the U.S. Founders tried to create and make sustainable against the vicissitudes of collective folly.

Sworn officers, know your oath. Understand its priorities and abide by them. This is a first step in restoring proper order in our social systems...
Just by chance I re-worked my kit this weekend. Like most folks I am layered. The first layer goes everywhere with me when I'm outdoors. The second and third depend on where I'm going, what I'm doing and what could go wrong while I'm there.

One new thing I am going to try is carrying the first layer in a vest. I've always used a very small backpack or fanny pack but a friend whom I respect suggested that in some situations it is easy to get seperated from and/or lose the pack. So I took his advice and am going to try the vest. So far when out and about on my ranch, I've been more pleased with the comfort and functionality of the vest than I ever was with the small backpack and/or fanny pack.

One problem I have not solved to my satisfaction is rain protection. I've used ponchos and raingear both. While they both have pros and cons one thing holds true with both methods, I get as wet (from sweat) inside the gear as I would if I didn't have it on.

I have read about some folks who advocate umbrellas. I never tried it because I didn't like the idea of not having both hands available. It's not always feasible to just sit in the tent or under the tarp and wait out the rain. Sometimes I'm on the trail or have to do some work and need both hands. I would like to hear what others think and have experienced when it comes to keeping dry while on the trail or working around camp.


"All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing." - Edmund Burke

"The man who would choose security over freedom deserves neither." - Thomas Jefferson

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