Practical Survival Skills 101 - Understanding Emergencies

Thanks for your reply to my comment Aaron.
I already have a knife that I use to filet fish (and, of course, I have other kitchen knives).

So I may not need to purchase a folding knife unless I want to use it for security/self-defense. 

If you have thoughts on that or recommendations for where I should go to learn a little more about that, please let me know.

Sorry for the delay, but I think one of the hang-ups we’re having is that I didn’t write the GOTWA portion well; the idea here is that the priniciples presented will work in any hold-up site, improvised or permanant. It could be a camp site in the woods, a mansion in the city or a trailer in a trailer park. 

For the GOTWA  section - there is absolutely no reason that it should be limited to the listed sites - That was an error on my part, and the confusion here was my fault. Please accept my apologies. As mentioned above, it can be used for something as simple as leaving the house to go to the market. It’s simply a way of communitcating an expedient plan with those who you depend upon/depend upon you.

These principles can be applied to the spectrum of situations.



I am a bit confused here—it seems like you're criticizing those who would stock up on things as a mode of preparation, although your suggestions also entail a lengthy list of gear.

Perhaps you are saying that buying canned goods is no substitute for skills, know-how, and person-to-person connections, which I would agree with. Perhaps you're saying something more nuanced about how folks get off-track in putting away reserves?[/quote]

I'm saying that buying canned goods is a stopgap between emergency and skill.  In other words, buying goods that are consumable is a "workable" plan, only if the emergency is no longer than the amount of time you can use your reserves. For this reason, a focused plan should incorporate providing for ones' self and family from their own food sources as much as is practical.

Further, goods canned at home yield the added benefits of creating less waste, and developing yet another critical skill.

The equipment I advocate having should work for years - if not indefinitely. With the proper precautions taken, it will be more than a 'stopgap', it'll be a lifeline, provided mindset, skillset and tactics are in accord.

I hope this clears that up!

AO, you said: [quote]

 I'd be interested in how you came to select certain pieces of equipment.  I know Surefire has a superb reputation for tactical lighting but I wonder why you selected this particular light given its considerable expense and the fact that there is no recharge capability with either solar or a crank dynamo?  Also, any attention to a different color light option?  For example, I use a headlamp that has a green light option which is much less visible at a distance and also less likely to spook game.

On the other hand, you selected a folding knife that was much less expensive.  I'm not familiar with the knife but while the reviews were generally quite favorable, one of the negatives mentioned screws that came loose and needed to be treated with Loctite.  I'm not sure why you made your selections but I think I'd personally be more inclined to spend money on a better quality knife than on a light.  With regards to the fixed blade knife, I was not familiar with the Shivworks knife but reading the write-up about it, I found the ergonomic theory behind it interesting and I thank you for bringing it to my attention.  I plan on investigating it further for personal use.[/quote]

My general method of selecting equipment is consistency. No doubt, nothing on here is "the best" - it fits my budget, works well enough and passes the abuse tests. 

With regards to the CRKT - I'm issued a Benchmade Strider, which is generally considered to be a top-quality production grade knife. Within a month or so of hard use fishing, camping and working, the blade had become gummed up and it wouldn't unlock with enough force to lock the blade to the rear. 

I oiled and sprayed it out, but to no effect. The CRKT, however, is still 100%. Further, CRKT is Columbia River Knife and Tool - the Columbia is where I do the aforementioned fishing =D


Insofar as edged weapons go, I'd suggest Shivworks IEK:

Top notch instruction from a true blue, experienced instructor. The practical use of edged weapons, and the limitations are highlighted very well in Shivworks ECQC class as well - very much worth the time and money invested.



Due to the buggy coding, Tommy Holly asked these questions privately - they’re excellent and should be posted openly so other users here with similar thoughts can incorporate them.
Tommy said:

[quote]On your First, Second and Third line rigs:

  1. Why all the pens, rubber bands, and office supplies? I usually carry most of those things anyway but I have OCD with that, LOL!

  2. Where would I find a low signature chest rig? For a Second line rig, how about one of those Camelback combo backpacks? (I know you said no backpacks…) Just not really sure what a chest rig would be?

  3. Lots of pocket chainsaws out there. Any favorites? (Typically I look on and see what most people are buying first…)

  4. How big a medical kit would you carry? Would you include blood clotting pads and some serious stuff like that or just the basic band-aids, tweezers and hydrogen peroxide type stuff?

  5. I’ve never fished. Can I walk into a store and simply ask for “snare wire and fish hooks (tied on their leaders)” without me explaining what exactly I need it for?

  6. With the third line, would you carry an additional fixed blade to the optional one in the second line?

  7. Rope I’m thinking you meant a static line and not the stretchy climbing rope. (I have a 150’ static and that’s heavier compared to climbing rope.)

  8. I know you mentioned Capilene underwear but I wanted to let you know there is a new product the British military tried out and it works amazing! Silver infused clothing. Bacteria can’t grow on silver, it’s poisonous to microrganisms. That means no smell, no need to wash it (ewww I know), but they gave it to soldiers in the field who wore it for an entire year and it held up. Check out Silvermax clothing…

  9. Any particular brand of lightweight canteen and cookware you like? All the things I have been buying are optomized for weight and durabilty vs going for old Army surplus that is heavy.

  10. Would you consider adding anything like a mini-shovel or small axe to your third line rig?[/quote]
    Tommy, here are a few answers:

  11. Office supplies are for note taking, map marking and making marks on terrain if necessary. The rubber bands coupled with tacks are improvised entry tools - I really don’t get into that in the article because it’s treading the line with regards to what’s acceptable.

  12. A low signature chest rig is going to really depend on where you’re at. It might not even be that big of a deal to just wear one. I’m sure they’ll pop up amongst a lot of prior service folks if things get dicey. I’ve used the Blackwater IO rig and a generally like and trust for most of my kit.

  13. The actual “Pocket Chainsaw” - this thing rocks. 

  14. My medical kit is totally over the top. I do carry CELOX (Quikclot), saline wash, occlusive dressings and I’m working on getting an NPA and some stints to decompress tension pneumothorax - that said, the liklihood of using these things is on the “fringe” of the First Aid/CLS envelope… Then again, people in Japan probably didn’t stock KI pills.

  15. For Snare wire, you’re going to want something very light gauge that’s malleable for small game, and as you ascend the size of the prey, honestly, I’d start stepping away from snaring. Snaring and trapping are skills that require a lot of experience and frankly, I have very little. 
    Fishing, however, works wonders. If you go into a fishing store, identify some of the species that live in your area. I’m not as familiar with the Midwest as I am the coasts, and I think you might be better served with actually carrying a line and rod. It’s mainly lakes out there, with wide rivers, right?

  16. I do carry another fixed blade on my 3rd line - It’s an old bulgarian bayonet. Since it has wire cutters built in, it’s a good “multi-purpose” tool, though I suspect it’ll be doing a lot more work than acting as a spear.

  17. Conceded - that article has a bunch of little errors that I wish I’d seen before it was ‘published’.

  18. Silver infusioin is pretty legit - I’ve got a few articles that are outerwear that use it, and I’m going to check out your link. Sounds very promising. Also, my only measure of what’s better has been between Capilene and polypropholene - obviously it’s easy to improve on the latter.

  19. I use old military issue stuff, so I’m probably not as versed as I could be. The old aluminium cookset with USGI canteen/cup is generally what I use. The main thing I I want people to realize it’s really hard to filter and purify water with only a camelbak. 

  20. Shovel and Axe would definitely be useful in a lot of situations. An E-tool might be useful, and if a person is considering getting a vehicle ready (especially in rural areas) that, a chainsaw and a good axe would go a long way. That said, if I was moving overland, I’d pass. Leaves a visible signature, adds weight and is very time consuming. Once you’re at a fixed location, shovel can be of great value though, so it might be worth packing.

Anyone setting up their equipment for the first time should be asking critical questions like this - for example, snaring may not be as useful in the Midwest, where the common game is larger, and jigging for trout may be a useless skill, as there are more lakes than streams. It was my oversight for not being more versed in the equipment needed in different areas, but hopefully any further dialog here will bring answers (and more questions!).
Cheers, and thanks for the great questioins Tommy!

After reading this article that Aaron wrote here, I’ve redoubled my efforts to prepare for ANY kind of emergency.  I found that as much as I thought I was already prepared, that I have a long way to go.  Buying all these simple little knick-knacks is not an easy process.  Man of the survival kits being sold don’t have the proper things that you’d actually use and you have to put things together yourself.
Throughout history, one of the most dangerous things to do is travel.  While the modern age has brought us safety and security in places like the USA, travelling itself is still full of suprises.  In the event of an emergency, the dangers of travelling increase once again and you need to be prepared.  You can’t just quickly grab a back pack and hop in the car and hope for the best.  You must think about what situations may arise and carefully plan for them as best as possible.

As much as I have prepared at my house, there may be a time where I’d have to travel.  I thought about the various forms of travelling and probably the best and most versitile is using an Dual-Sport motorcycle.  I’ve narrowed the choices of bike down for my particular needs, but that’s not important here.  What is important is that I take the necessary items with me.  I found a few videos on YouTube from a guy who has travelled around the world on a motorcycle in a completely self-suffcient manner, packing everything you could possibly need along with him.  I highly recommend you check this video out not only if you are looking for ideas of what to pack on a bike, but also for general, practical emergency planning for travelling.