Here are some Basic Tips for Survival if you find yourself lost.

Basic Survival Tools First-Aid Kit

first aid kit

A sudden slip from a steep trail has left you dazed and injured. From what you can tell, you have a deep cut on your leg, a sprained ankle and possibly a broken rib. It's a good thing you have a well-stocked first aid kit in your pack. This is mandatory for anyone who spends time outdoors.

What to pack? Start with a nice supply of medications -- some wound cleaner, antibiotic ointment, alcohol, pain reliever, antacid, aspirin and antihistamine. Throw in some tweezers, gauze, bandages and eye wash. If you have particular needs, like allergies or diabetes, be sure to keep emergency supplies in your kit. Pack some hydrocortisone cream for rashes and burn ointment in case you get too close to the fire.

If you go with a small pre-packaged kit, be sure to include these extra items: superglue to use for wound closure, inflatable splints and trauma dressings, and a venom extractor kit for snakebites. But remember -- if your extractor isn't handy, the venom will probably take its toll before you can get to it. The last thing you should pack is a travel-size first aid manual to guide you through the best steps to take in the event of an accident.

The First thing to keep in mind is:

Staying Calm

It takes much more than the knowledge and skills to build shelters, get food, make fires and travel without the aid of standard navigational devices to live successfully through a survival situation. Some people with little or no survival training have managed to survive life-threatening circumstances. Some people with survival training have not used their skills and died. A key ingredient in any survival situation is the mental attitude of the individual(s) involved. Having survival skills is important; having the will to survive is essential. Without a desire to survive, acquired skills serve little purpose and invaluable knowledge goes to waste.

There is a psychology to survival. The person in a survival environment faces many stresses that ultimately impact his mind. These stresses can produce thoughts and emotions that, if poorly understood, can transform a confident, well-trained adult into an indecisive, ineffective individual with questionable ability to survive. Thus, everyone must be aware of and be able to recognize those stresses commonly associated with survival. Additionally, it is imperative that you be aware of your reactions to the wide variety of stresses associated with survival. This chapter will identify and explain the nature of stress, the stresses of survival and those internal reactions you will naturally experience when faced with the stresses of a real-world survival situation. The knowledge you gain from this chapter and other chapters in this manual will prepare you to come through the toughest times alive .

The Second thing to keep in mind is:

Preparing Yourself

Your mission as a person in a survival situation is to stay alive. As you can see, you are going to experience an assortment of thoughts and emotions. These can work for you, or they can work to your downfall. Fear, anxiety, anger, frustration, guilt, depression and loneliness are all possible reactions to the many stresses common to survival. These reactions, when controlled in a healthy way, help to increase a person's likelihood of surviving. They prompt the survivor to pay more attention in training, to fight back when scared, to take actions that ensure sustenance and security, to keep faith with his companions and to strive against large odds. When the survivor cannot control these reactions in a healthy way, they can bring him to a standstill. Instead of rallying his internal resources, the person listens to his internal fears. This individual experiences psychological defeat long before he physically succumbs. Remember, survival is natural to everyone; being unexpectedly thrust into the life and death struggle of survival is not. Don't be afraid of your "natural reactions to this unnatural situation." Prepare yourself to rule over these reactions so they serve your ultimate interest staying alive.

It involves preparation to ensure that your reactions in a survival setting are productive, not destructive. The challenge of survival has produced countless examples of heroism, courage and self-sacrifice. These are the qualities it can bring out in you if you have prepared yourself. Below are a few tips to help prepare yourself psychologically for survival. Through studying this manual and attending survival training you can develop the survival attitude.

Know Yourself
Through training, family and friends, take the time to discover who you are on the inside. Strengthen your stronger qualities and develop the areas that you know are necessary to survive.

Anticipate Fears
Don't pretend that you will have no fears. Begin thinking about what would frighten you the most if forced to survive alone. Train in those areas of concern to you. The goal is not to eliminate the fear, but to build confidence in your ability to function despite your fears.

Be Realistic
Don't be afraid to make an honest appraisal of situations. See circumstances as they are, not as you want them to be. Keep your hopes and expectations within the estimate of the situation. When you go into a survival setting with unrealistic expectations, you may be laying the groundwork for bitter disappointment. Follow the adage, "Hope for the best, prepare for the worst." It is much easier to adjust to pleasant surprises about one's unexpected good fortunes than to be upset by one's unexpected harsh circumstances.

Adopt a Positive Attitude
Learn to see the potential good in everything. Looking for the good not only boosts morale, it also is excellent for exercising your imagination and creativity.

Remind Yourself What Is at Stake
Remember, failure to prepare yourself psychologically to cope with survival leads to reactions such as depression, carelessness, inattention, loss of confidence, poor decision-making and giving up before the body gives in. At stake is your life and the lives of others who are depending on you to do your share.

Train
Through training and life experiences, begin today to prepare yourself to cope with the rigors of survival. Demonstrating your skills in training will give you the confidence to call upon them should the need arise. Remember, the more realistic the training, the less overwhelming an actual survival setting will be.

Learn Stress Management Techniques
People under stress have a potential to panic if they are not well-trained and not prepared psychologically to face whatever the circumstances may be. While we often cannot control the survival circumstances in which we find ourselves, it is within our ability to control our response to those circumstances. Learning stress management techniques can enhance significantly your capability to remain calm and focused as you work to keep yourself and others alive. A few good techniques to develop include relaxation skills, time management skills, assertiveness skills and cognitive restructuring skills (the ability to control how you view a situation).

Remember, "the will to survive" can also be considered to be "the refusal to give up."

The Third thing we must do is not let Stress Take over.

Stress

Before we can understand our psychological reactions in a survival setting, it is helpful to first know a little bit about stress.

Stress is not a disease that you cure and eliminate. Instead, it is a condition we all experience. Stress can be described as our reaction to pressure. It is the name given to the experience we have as we physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually respond to life's tensions.

Need for Stress
We need stress because it has many positive benefits. Stress provides us with challenges; it gives us chances to learn about our values and strengths. Stress can show our ability to handle pressure without breaking; it tests our adaptability and flexibility; it can stimulate us to do our best. Because we usually do not consider unimportant events stressful, stress can also be an excellent indicator of the significance we attach to an event in other words, it highlights what is important to us.

We need to have some stress in our lives, but too much of anything can be bad. The goal is to have stress, but not an excess of it. Too much stress can take its toll on people and organizations. Too much stress leads to distress. Distress causes an uncomfortable tension that we try to escape and, preferably, avoid. Listed below are a few of the common signs of distress you may find in your companions or yourself when faced with too much stress:

    * Difficulty making decisions.
    * Angry outbursts.
    * Forgetfulness.
    * Low energy level.
    * Constant worrying.
    * Propensity for mistakes.
    * Thoughts about death or suicide.
    * Trouble getting along with others.
    * Withdrawing from others.
    * Hiding from responsibilities.
    * Carelessness.

As you can see, stress can be constructive or destructive. It can encourage or discourage, move us along or stop us dead in our tracks, and make life meaningful or seemingly meaningless. Stress can inspire you to operate successfully and perform at your maximum efficiency in a survival situation. It can also cause you to panic and forget all your training. Key to your survival is your ability to manage the inevitable stresses you will encounter. The survivor is the person who works with his stresses, instead of letting his stresses work on him.

Survival Stressors
Any event can lead to stress and as everyone has experienced, events don't always come one at a time. Often, stressful events occur simultaneously. These events are not stress, but they produce it and are called "stressors." Stressors are the obvious cause while stress is the response. Once the body recognizes the presence of a stressor, it then begins to act to protect itself.

In response to a stressor, the body prepares either to "fight or flee." This preparation involves an internal SOS sent throughout the body. As the body responds to this SOS, several actions take place. The body releases stored fuels (sugar and fats) to provide quick energy; breathing rate increases to supply more oxygen to the blood; muscle tension increases to prepare for action; blood clotting mechanisms are activated to reduce bleeding from cuts; senses become more acute (hearing becomes more sensitive, eyes become bigger, smell becomes sharper) so that you are more aware of your surroundings; and heart rate and blood pressure rise to provide more blood to the muscles. This protective posture lets a person cope with potential dangers; however, a person cannot maintain such a level of alertness indefinitely.

Stressors are not courteous; one stressor does not leave because another one arrives. Stressors add up. The cumulative effect of minor stressors can be major distress if they all happen too close together. As the body's resistance to stress wears down and the sources of stress continue (or increase), eventually a state of exhaustion arrives. At this point, the ability to resist stress or use it in a positive way gives out and signs of distress appear. Anticipating stressors and developing strategies to cope with them are two ingredients in the effective management of stress. It is therefore essential that the person in a survival setting be aware of the types of stressors he will encounter. Let's take a look at a few of these.

Injury, Illness or Death
Injury, illness and death are real possibilities a survivor has to face. Perhaps nothing is more stressful than being alone in an unfamiliar environment where you could die from hostile action, an accident or from eating something lethal. Illness and injury can also add to stress by limiting your ability to maneuver, get food and drink, find shelter and defend yourself. Even if illness and injury don't lead to death, they add to stress through the pain and discomfort they generate. It is only by controlling the stress associated with the vulnerability to injury, illness and death that a person can have the courage to take the risks associated with survival tasks.

Uncertainly and Lack of Control
Some people have trouble operating in settings where everything is not clear-cut. The only guarantee in a survival situation is that nothing is guaranteed. It can be extremely stressful operating on limited information in a setting where you have limited control of your surroundings. This uncertainty and lack of control also add to the stress of being ill, injured or killed.

Environment
Even under the most ideal circumstances, nature is quite formidable. In survival, a person will have to contend with the stressors of weather, terrain and the variety of creatures inhabiting an area. Heat, cold, rain, wind, mountains, swamps, deserts, insects, dangerous reptiles and other animals are just a few of the challenges awaiting the person working to survive. Depending on how an individual handles the stress of his environment, his surroundings can be either a source of food and protection or can be a cause of extreme discomfort leading to injury, illness or death.

Hunger and Thirst
Without food and water a person will weaken and eventually die. Thus, getting and preserving food and water takes on increasing importance as the length of time in a survival setting increases. For a person used to having easy access to food and water, foraging can be a big source of stress.

Fatigue
Forcing yourself to continue surviving is not easy as you grow more tired. It is possible to become so fatigued that the act of just staying awake is stressful in itself.

Isolation
There are some advantages to facing adversity with others. In school and in training, we learn individual skills, but we also learn to function as part of a team. Although we complain about higher headquarters, we become used to the information and guidance it provides, especially during times of confusion. Being in contact with others also provides a greater sense of security and a feeling someone is available to help if problems occur. A significant stressor in survival situations is that often a person or team has to rely solely on its own resources.

The survival stressors mentioned in this section are by no means the only ones you may face. Remember, what is stressful to one person may not be stressful to another. Your experiences, training, personal outlook on life, physical and mental conditioning, and level of self-confidence contribute to what you will find stressful in a survival environment. The object is not to avoid stress, but rather to manage the stressors of survival and make them work for you.

We now have a general knowledge of stress and the stressors common to survival; the next step is to examine our reactions to the stressors we may face.

 

SURVIVAL ACTIONS

The following sections expand on the meaning of each letter of the word "survival." Click on the link to each section to study further and remember what each letter signifies because you may some day have to make it work for you.

    * S - Size Up the Situation
    * U - Use All Your Senses, Undue Haste Makes Waste
    * R - Remember Where You Are 
    * V - Vanquish Fear and Panic 
    * I  - Improvise
    * V - Value Living
    * A - Act Like the Natives
    * L - Live by Your Wits, But for Now , Learn Basic Skills

 

PATTERN FOR SURVIVAL

Develop a survival pattern that lets you beat the enemies of survival. This survival pattern must include food, water, shelter, fire, first aid and signals placed in order of importance. For example, in a cold environment, you would need a fire to get warm; a shelter to protect you from the cold, wind and rain or snow; traps or snares to get food ; a means to signal friendly aircraft; and first aid to maintain health. If injured, first aid has top priority no matter what climate you are in.

Change your survival pattern to meet your immediate physical needs as the environment changes.

As you read the rest of this manual, keep in mind the keyword "SURVIVAL" and the need for a survival pattern.

 

Something we all have and must use to stay alive.

Natural Instincts

Humankind has been able to survive many shifts in its environment throughout the centuries. The ability to adapt physically and mentally to a changing world kept humans alive while other species gradually died off. The same survival mechanisms that kept our forefathers alive can help keep us alive as well! However, these survival mechanisms that can help us can also work against us if we don't understand and anticipate their presence. It is not surprising that the average person will have some psychological reactions in a survival situation. We will now examine some of the major internal reactions you and anyone with you might experience with the survival stressors addressed in the earlier paragraphs. Let's begin.

Fear
Fear is our emotional response to dangerous circumstances that we believe have the potential to cause death, injury or illness. This harm is not just limited to physical damage; the threat to one's emotional and mental well-being can generate fear as well. For the person trying to survive, fear can have a positive function if it encourages him to be cautious in situations where recklessness could result in injury. Unfortunately, fear can also immobilize a person. It can cause him to become so frightened that he fails to perform activities essential for survival. Most of us will have some degree of fear when placed in unfamiliar surroundings under adverse conditions. There is no shame in this! Each individual must train himself not to be overcome by his fears. Ideally, through realistic training, we can acquire the knowledge and skills needed to increase our confidence and thereby manage our fears.

Anxiety
Associated with fear is anxiety. Because it is natural for us to be afraid, it is also natural for us to experience anxiety. Anxiety can be an uneasy, apprehensive feeling we get when faced with dangerous situations (physical, mental and emotional). When used in a healthy way, anxiety urges us to act to end, or at least master, the dangers that threaten our existence. If we were never anxious, there would be little motivation to make changes in our lives. The person in a survival setting reduces his anxiety by performing those tasks that will ensure his coming through the ordeal alive. As he reduces his anxiety, the person is also bringing under control the source of that anxiety his fears. In this form, anxiety is good; however, anxiety can also have a devastating impact. Anxiety can overwhelm a person to the point where he becomes easily confused and has difficulty thinking. Once this happens, it becomes more and more difficult for him to make good judgments and sound decisions. To survive, the individual must learn techniques to calm his anxieties and keep them in the range where they help, not hurt.

Anger and Frustration
Frustration arises when a person is continually thwarted in his attempts to reach a goal. The goal of survival is to stay alive until you can reach help or until help can reach you. To achieve this goal, the person must complete some tasks with minimal resources. It is inevitable, in trying to do these tasks, that something will go wrong; that something will happen beyond the survivor's control; and that with one's life at stake, every mistake is magnified in terms of its importance. Thus, sooner or later, survivors will have to cope with frustration when a few of their plans run into trouble. One outgrowth of this frustration is anger. There are many events in a survival situation that can frustrate or anger a person. Getting lost, damaged or forgotten equipment, the weather, inhospitable terrain, enemy patrols and physical limitations are just a few sources of frustration and anger. Frustration and anger encourage impulsive reactions, irrational behavior, poorly thought-out decisions and, in some instances, an "I quit" attitude (people sometimes avoid doing something they can't master). If the person can harness and properly channel the emotional intensity associated with anger and frustration, he can productively act as he answers the challenges of survival. If the person does not properly focus his angry feelings, he can waste much energy in activities that do little to further either his chances of survival or the chances of those around him.

Depression
It would be a rare person indeed who would not get sad, at least momentarily, when faced with the privations of survival. As this sadness deepens, we label the feeling "depression." Depression is closely linked with frustration and anger. The frustrated person becomes more and more angry as he fails to reach his goals. If the anger does not help the person to succeed, then the frustration level goes even higher. A destructive cycle between anger and frustration continues until the person becomes worn down physically, emotionally and mentally. When a person reaches this point, he starts to give up and his focus shifts from "What can I do" to "There is nothing I can do." Depression is an expression of this hopeless, helpless feeling. There is nothing wrong with being sad as you temporarily think about your loved ones and remember what life is like back in "civilization" or "the world." Such thoughts, in fact, can give you the desire to try harder and live one more day. On the other hand, if you allow yourself to sink into a depressed state, then it can sap all your energy and, more important, your will to survive. It is imperative that each individual resist succumbing to depression.

Loneliness and Boredom
Humans are social animals. This means we, as human beings, enjoy the company of others. Very few people want to be alone all the time! As you are aware, there is a distinct chance of isolation in a survival setting. This is not bad. Loneliness and boredom can bring to the surface qualities you thought only others had. The extent of your imagination and creativity may surprise you. When required to do so, you may discover some hidden talents and abilities. Most of all, you may tap into a reservoir of inner strength and fortitude you never knew you had. Conversely, loneliness and boredom can be another source of depression. As a person surviving alone, or with others, you must find ways to keep your mind productively occupied. Additionally, you must develop a degree of self-sufficiency. You must have faith in your capability to "go it alone."

Guilt
The circumstances leading to your being in a survival setting are sometimes dramatic and tragic. It may be the result of an accident or military mission where there was a loss of life. Perhaps you were the only, or one of a few, survivors. While naturally relieved to be alive, you simultaneously may be mourning the deaths of others who were less fortunate. It is not uncommon for survivors to feel guilty about being spared from death while others were not. This feeling, when used in a positive way, has encouraged people to try harder to survive with the belief they were allowed to live for some greater purpose in life. Sometimes, survivors tried to stay alive so that they could carry on the work of those killed. Whatever reason you give yourself, do not let guilt feelings prevent you from living. The living who abandon their chance to survive accomplish nothing. Such an act would be the greatest tragedy.

 

The first task we need to do is find a place to protect ourselves from the environment and wild animals.

Finding Shelter

When you are in a survival situation and realize that shelter is a high priority, start looking for shelter as soon as possible. As you do so, remember what you will need at the site. Two requisites are

    * It must contain material to make the type of shelter you need.
    * It must be large enough and level enough for you to lie down comfortably.

When you consider these requisites, however, you cannot ignore your tactical situation or your safety. You must also consider whether the site

    * Provides concealment from enemy observation.
    * Has camouflaged escape routes.
    * Is suitable for signaling, if necessary.
    * Provides protection against wild animals and rocks and dead trees that might fall.
    * Is free from insects, reptiles and poisonous plants.

You must also remember the problems that could arise in your environment. For instance

    * Avoid flash flood areas in foothills.
    * Avoid avalanche or rockslide areas in mountainous terrain.
    * Avoid sites near bodies of water that are below the high water mark.

In some areas, the season of the year has a strong bearing on the site you select. Ideal sites for a shelter differ in winter and summer. During cold winter months you will want a site that will protect you from the cold and wind, but will have a source of fuel and water. During summer months in the same area you will want a source of water, but you will want the site to be almost insect free. When considering shelter site selection, use the word "BLISS" as a guide.

B - Blend in with the surroundings.
L - Low silhouette.
I - Irregular shape.
S - Small.
S - Secluded location

 

A human can go around 8 days without food and 5 days without water but we need to eat and drink to keep our strength and mind active.

What to eat

What if you were lost and alone in the wild? Imagine that you have no experience hunting and there's no river to fish. What if your only food source was crawling underfoot? That's right -- bugs. It may not be a gourmand's preference, but now isn't the time to get picky -- it's a matter of life or death. Maybe you should pull up that rotten log and chow down on some termites. That would be an excellent plan -- termites are loaded with protein and the second most eaten insect on Earth. Or perhaps dig for some worms --they have plenty of protein, and these squiggly fellows can be downed raw or cooked.

Whatever your pleasure, you have your choice from more than 1,400 edible insects to choose from.

 

 

 

 

 

Starting a Fire

fire starter

Curling up in front of a nice warm fire is something many people look forward to each fall. The same can be said for a survival scenario. A fire provides warmth in the cold, heat to cook food and purify water, and a potential rescue signal. Survival experts will tell you that a fire is also good for helping you to keep a positive mental outlook.

Aside from your first aid kit, any backwoods hiker should also pack a fire-starting kit. Get a waterproof box and pack it with a couple of lighters, some weatherproof matches, a flint and steel or magnesium fire starter, and a small magnifying glass lens. Another good thing to keep on hand in the event of wet conditions is some wet fire tinder. It's inexpensive and burns at a scorching 1,300 degrees in almost any conditions. The magnifying glass lens can be used to concentrate the sun's rays into a fire-starting beam. The flint is used with a stone to make a spark. Even if you're just a car camper, pack a fire kit and practice starting fires without using your lighter and wax fire log.

 

Water Treatment

water treatment

If you're stranded or lost in the wild, the one thing you need to live long enough to tell your harrowing tale is drinkable water. Humans can only live a few days without it, and that's in ideal temperatures and conditions. You can live without food for up to a few weeks as long as you have water.

If you're planning on going on a wildlife adventure, you should have more than one way of purifying water available to you. Water filters come in all shapes, sizes and prices. You can choose anything from one no bigger than a fat drinking straw for emergencies to a pump model that screws onto your water bottle. These can filter a quart of drinkable H 2 O in just a few minutes. Make sure your filter takes care of cryptosporidium and giardia, two of the most common parasites.

To be on the safe side, you should pack some water purifier tablets or solutions as well. They're generally made of iodine or chlorine compounds. If taste matters to you, go with the less offensive chlorine. It's also a good idea to pack them in different areas in case you become separated from your backpack. Put the larger filter in your backpack and your tablets and emergency filter in a waist pack, or even carry them on your person.

 

 

Items useful and important to keep with you

Compass

compass

You felt like mixing it up this summer so you splurged for a wildlife adventure tour in Africa. It was all leopards and lions until you got left behind by your tour group. Now all you have is a canteen of water and the compass your wife got you as a good luck charm. You're in business. With a compass and some orienteering skills, you may just be able to find your way back to camp -- where you can get a refund on your trip.

Compasses use a magnetized pointer in concert with Earth's magnetic field to calculate direction. If you have a compass on hand and know how to use it, you can use a map of the area to go wherever you need. If you don't have a map, the compass will still get you going in the right direction.

When shopping for a compass, look for tough, unbreakable Lexan models -- they'll last a lifetime and never lose sight of magnetic north. Some models come with a built-in magnifying glass -- intended for zeroing in on map details, but also useful for starting a fire and extracting tick heads and insect stingers.

 

 

Mirror

mirror

Who's the fairest of them all? The fairest is the one who survives a worst-case scenario with a mirror in hand. Finding food, water and shelter are keys to making it through your harrowing experience, but so is finding rescue. In fact, no survivalist would be caught dead without a signal mirror in his or her kit.

Some mirrors are specially suited for signaling rescue and include sighting holes that allow you to more accurately aim the reflection. They better ones are typically made of something besides breakable glass, like Lexan. And some of them float so you won't lose it in water or have ties you can tether to a backpack. But in a life-or-death situation any kind of mirror will do. The great thing about signal mirrors is that size doesn't matter. Even a small 2- by 3-inch mirror flash can be seen during the daytime from about 100 miles away. They work best in good sunlight, but they also work on overcast days and can reflect headlights, flashlight beams and even bright moonlight. You can also use it to check your face for injury or simply to admire the beard you're growing.

 

 

Survival Knife

survival knife

If you grew up in the 1980s, chances are you had an affinity for Sylvester Stallone's iconic character John Rambo and his survival knife. Moviegoers witnessed Stallone sew a laceration in his arm shut with a needle and thread that was packed in the handle of his trusty knife. Not only that, but the handle had a compass built into the cap. Rambo's hollow knife handle made for good cinema, but truth be told, solid handles are sturdier in the wild. When choosing your knife, go with one that includes a blade that is 4 to 6 inches long, 5/32 to 8/32 inches thick, and made of high carbon or stainless steel. Some people give a thumbs down to partially serrated blades because they're hard to sharpen. But they can be handy. There's also the option of a tough butt cap for hammering and defense, and a well-designed, non-slip grip is essential. High-quality blades hold their edge under rough treatment, but it's a good idea to have a handy, easy-to-use sharpener on hand just in case.

Some popular brands include the Gerber LMF II (above, top) the Sog Seal Pup M37, the Cold Steel SRK and the simple Fallknivens (above, bottom). Survivorman often favors an inexpensive Buck knife, while Bear Grylls might use an expensive custom-made model. In the end, it mostly comes down to your personal preferences for grip, balance and extra features -- and your knife skills.

 

Rope

rope

This essential tool will always surprise you with how many ways it can be used, including securing equipment, making traps and shelter construction. There are many types of rope and cordage out there, but most experts agree that for a lighter load and superior versatility the best all-around cordage is the military-brand 550 parachute cord, which gets its name from its 550-pound test strength. This legendary cordage is woven from seven strands of white nylon that can also be unraveled and used as heavy thread or string, making it an ideal multipurpose survival tool. 550 cord is too slender to be used as climbing rope, but there's no reason you can't include some dry-treated, non-stretch nylon rope in your survival kit as long as you're willing to accept a bulkier load. While we're in this category, do yourself a favor -- pack a spool of snare wire and a small reel of fishing line with a hook. And if you don't know how to tie a few basic knots, you're almost better off leaving the rope at home!

 

Lighting


lighting

Many might leave "light" out of their top 10 tools list, but darkness can render all the other tools useless (yes, even fire, if you need light in a hurry and there's no easy fuel around). Most of us don't have the courage or skill to give up most of our vision for long spells of darkness and, besides, it's always a plus to have a mobile light source if you need to venture out into the night. But there's no reason to carry around a big conventional flashlight; the batteries weigh too much and don't hold out very long, largely because even small incandescent bulbs waste too much energy as heat. Now you can have dependable, portable light by taking advantage of high-efficiency LED lights that provide nearly equivalent illumination for much longer stretches with lighter batteries -- or even forget about batteries altogether with the latest hand-crank lights that never need any power but elbow grease. One of the coolest new survival light sources combine the electroluminescent (EL) technology used in chem-lights with super-efficient energy consumption and control. These lights can double as both a focused utility light source and an emergency locator flare.

 

 

Survival Blanket

survival blanket

One of the greatest challenges you'll face when caught out in the open is conserving body heat, especially when lack of food may make it harder to stay warm. Lying unprotected on the ground also exposes you to heat-sapping moisture and all types of unsympathetic creatures. You can easily hold on to your own warmth with one of the latest survival blankets or bivvy sacks; the latter are essentially ultralight sleeping bags that offer even more efficiency with little extra cost and about the same load. Whatever you choose, it should be both thermally reflective to conserve body heat and light reflective to double as a visual location tool.