Rule of Threes, when going solo

Posted by: dweste

Rule of Threes, when going solo - 03/06/16 07:11 AM

With various attributions and formulations, how can the "Rule of Threes" be applied to the gear of an individual going solo? What is really practical?

Clarification: The Rule in question is sometimes expressed as "one is none, two is one, three is a spare."
Posted by: hikermor

Re: Rule of Threes, when going solo - 03/06/16 08:17 AM

If I understand you correctly, the "Rule of Threes" applies with equal force, whether you are solo or in a group...
Posted by: Bingley

Re: Rule of Threes, when going solo - 03/06/16 10:23 AM

Are we talking about the ida of surviving for up to 3 minutes without air, up to 3 days without water, and up to 3 weeks of without food? Or is it Jack Tripper has to pretend to be gay to live with Janet and Chrissy?
Posted by: dweste

Re: Rule of Threes, when going solo - 03/06/16 10:42 AM

My bad. I was thinking of the "one is none, two is one, three is a spare" ideas.
Posted by: Tjin

Re: Rule of Threes, when going solo - 03/06/16 01:12 PM

I climb mountains for fun. If you carry too much stuff up a mountain, you will be slow and end up needing your stuff.

Light and fast does not really mix well with reduncancy. Redundancy is your mates pack and simply not lossing/breaking things. (Don't go solo in the mountains).
Posted by: hikermor

Re: Rule of Threes, when going solo - 03/06/16 02:16 PM

That rule of threes is one of my pet peeves. it is just an excuse to load up on more gadgets. One exception seems to be for many of us is redundancy in tools and equipment to start a fire.

Tjin nailed it in his response....

Going solo really has nothing to do with it or with how much gear you pack. When solo, everything - all the decisions, all the actions - for good or ill - are your responsibility. The situation is both liberating and burdensome at the same time.
Posted by: wileycoyote

Re: Rule of Threes, when going solo - 03/06/16 03:02 PM

gear is important, but knowledge is king.

i find the redundant rule helpful and use it, but it means nothing if those items are left in the tent while you're hiking a trail. its what in the pockets/pack you have with you that count.

regarding size/weight of carrying all these muliple items: get smaller/lighter. in other words, three tiny AAA flashlights may be a better/smaller/lighter option than a single larger/heavier light...
Posted by: Russ

Re: Rule of Threes, when going solo - 03/06/16 03:49 PM

That's not a rule, it's barely an axiom. As I recall the statement was, "one is none and two is one". The second one is the back-up, there's no three.

The actual Rule of 3 in survival is about continuing to live -- air, water, food -- the basic necessities of life.
Posted by: Alex

Re: Rule of Threes, when going solo - 03/06/16 08:50 PM

I believe it's an army born adage to account for dumbest among dumb.
Posted by: Bingley

Re: Rule of Threes, when going solo - 03/06/16 09:29 PM

Alright, how many of you carry a spare of any item in your EDC kit? How many of you carry two spares of any item?
Posted by: chaosmagnet

Re: Rule of Threes, when going solo - 03/06/16 09:55 PM

My on-body EDC has a locking folder (almost always a mini-RitterGrip but sometimes a full-size) and a backup blade on a keyring multi (LM PS4). I also carry a primary flashlight (Nitecore MT10C) and a keyring backup (Thrunite Ti).
Posted by: wileycoyote

Re: Rule of Threes, when going solo - 03/06/16 10:12 PM

Originally Posted By: Bingley
Alright, how many of you carry a spare of any item in your EDC kit? How many of you carry two spares of any item?


i just emptied my pockets to show you what i EDC 24/7:



kit with custom peanut lighter, custom SAK Minichamp, back-up survival Mako AAA flashlight, razor sharp william henry lockblade folder for emergencies, plus a DQG AAA flashlight for daily use and CF small sebenza for everyday chores.

thats three knives, two flashight and a lighter on me, and my pack has additional backups.
Posted by: bacpacjac

Re: Rule of Threes, when going solo - 03/07/16 12:13 AM

Originally Posted By: Tjin
Redundancy is your mate's pack and simply not losing/breaking things.


Having intimate knowledge your area and your gear fall in line with this philosophy. It will also help refine your redundancies so that you're not carrying multiples of everything, but have back-ups for crucial gear.
Posted by: williamlatham

Re: Rule of Threes, when going solo - 03/07/16 01:39 PM

This is one of those rules that I hate. Back when I was a cave diver (probably the most dangerous hobby one can have) there were basic rules. You always had three light sources, but only one set of tanks that could be isolated from each other. Two regulators, but that was to support your buddy in case of emergency. Everything else was singular including cave reel. My point, you made sure that your gear was always perfect, you were streamlined so as to not catch anything, and you were trained above and beyond what normal divers do.

Carrying backups is fine in some situations, but they do add up in weight and bulk which causes additional stress on the body and starts to kill your performance.

My EDC, Ritter mini, streamlight (CR123), bic lighter, 4 quarters, mini fisher space pen, and my phone. Photon on my key chain, but I don't always have them with me. Firesteel with tinder in my parka pocket, but only if I wear it.
Posted by: Montanero

Re: Rule of Threes, when going solo - 03/07/16 01:52 PM

I am with Russ, I have never heard of such a "rule". The axiom of "2 is 1, 1 is none" is really intended for critical items that have a tendency to fail. On a military mission, failure is not an option, you can't just turn around and say "I will try again tomorrow" so you carried redundant gear and accepted the weight.

In this vein, however; I would carry some redundant capabilities that are critical, but generally multi-use, such as shelter (ponchos), cordage, fire starting methods, tools (but generally different tools with different capabilities such as a sheath knife and a multi-tool), light (headlamp, larger flashlight, small pocket light). I may carry a little extra in the way of expendable supplies as well, but not double or triple.
Posted by: hikermor

Re: Rule of Threes, when going solo - 03/07/16 02:26 PM

The thing about going solo is that, among other things, it sharpens your planning and preparations, because getting out of a jam depends entirely upon you, your gear, and your capabilities. in some ways, you may even be safer than going in a group and depending upon "group think" to deal with the unexpected.

Going solo into demanding terrain (i.e., mountains) is usually not a good idea. As a responsible climber, I never did it more than once a month....
Posted by: M_a_x

Re: Rule of Threes, when going solo - 03/07/16 03:18 PM

I carry about a dozen matches. Technically that accounts for 11 spares. I carry two ferrocerium rods (one on my keychain, one in my PSK container) and for redundancy a mini BIC lighter. I have a fixed blade knife and as backup (or spare) a locking folder. I have two pens in my pocket and one in my PSK. Usually I have one small flashlight and a Photon as a spare. I also have spare batteries for my handheld radio.
Posted by: M_a_x

Re: Rule of Threes, when going solo - 03/07/16 03:29 PM

Originally Posted By: Russ
That's not a rule, it's barely an axiom. As I recall the statement was, "one is none and two is one". The second one is the back-up, there's no three.


The way I learned it, it originally was about the buddy system and not about gear and backup.
Posted by: Russ

Re: Rule of Threes, when going solo - 03/07/16 05:14 PM

That could be true; it would put an end to the thought that since your buddy has a knife, you don't need to carry one. Or since he's a smoker and always carries a lighter, I don't need one. If you get separated, one becomes none.

I generally don't have a back-up person so that idea wasn't in my head, but it makes sense.
Posted by: clearwater

Re: Rule of Threes, when going solo - 03/08/16 12:50 AM

Bringing just one of an item forces you to make sure it is a good one, that you know how to use it, and that is will be up to the task.

That old quote about the man who only owns one rifle---.

Consumables are something else. That rifleman probably has more than 1 bullet.
Posted by: BruceZed

Re: Rule of Threes, when going solo - 03/09/16 04:52 PM

Fire I Carry 3 Items Always: Lighter(to use till it Stops working & to save Matches for Critical Times), 25x Strike Anywhere Matches(Stored in a Waterproof Container), and as a Backup a Good Quality Striker.

This is My Present Survival Kit on a String


It is just to dangerous to really on one method of lighting a fire in the Cold Forests I travel and teach in
Posted by: clearwater

Re: Rule of Threes, when going solo - 03/10/16 12:26 AM

Originally Posted By: BruceZed
Fire I Carry 3 Items Always: Lighter(to use till it Stops working & to save Matches for Critical Times), 25x Strike Anywhere Matches(Stored in a Waterproof Container), and as a Backup a Good Quality Striker.

This is My Present Survival Kit on a String


It is just to dangerous to really on one method of lighting a fire in the Cold Forests I travel and teach in


Why not carry enough of something that always works?
Posted by: hikermor

Re: Rule of Threes, when going solo - 03/10/16 01:27 AM

Because nothing always works. I carried a very nice lighter for my stoves and fires for over fifteen years (at least). It stopped working after I left it carelessly exposed to morning dew a few months ago. I too carried matches as a backup.

Looking back over the really critical fires i have had to light, matches have almost always worked, but there are times when the "Bic" is preferred.
Posted by: CANOEDOGS

Re: Rule of Threes, when going solo - 03/10/16 05:28 AM

this is why i always end up with too much stuff on canoe trips!
once out on the lakes there is no where to resupply so you better have back ups for just about everything.i end up with at least four fire starting methods,a spare burner in case the main stove
breaks and just not extra battery's but several camp lights including a candle lamp.a couple knives and back up fishing pole and reel.i could go on but this is from 30 years of wilderness
tripping and not "new guy nerves".
i once read a old book about the trappers in Canada and someone
said everything that could break would and everything else would
get lost.
Posted by: Mike_H

Re: Rule of Threes, when going solo - 03/10/16 01:28 PM

There are a few things that I carry backups for. Fire starting is one of them. Spark light, ferro rod, matches, mini bic. I will have some water purification tablets in addition to my UV pen.

For most part, I make sure to maintain my gear in good shape, ensure that I have extra batteries, and things that are crucial are on my person and not my pack.
Posted by: drahthaar

Re: Rule of Threes, when going solo - 03/10/16 06:01 PM

I thought the rule was: One is none, two is one, three is spare, four is backup, five is best.
Posted by: Russ

Re: Rule of Threes, when going solo - 03/10/16 06:06 PM

...six is a collection wink
Posted by: TeacherRO

Re: Rule of Threes, when going solo - 03/10/16 09:35 PM

I've always though using bad math was silly; Also, you can't give 110%.
This poor 'rule' leads to over-buying and over packing; too many edc and GHB bags topping 10 kg. (without water)
Posted by: Alex

Re: Rule of Threes, when going solo - 03/10/16 10:03 PM

LOL! Good one! Russ.
Posted by: wileycoyote

Re: Rule of Threes, when going solo - 03/10/16 10:49 PM

Originally Posted By: TeacherRO
... you can't give 110%....


maybe you can't, but regardless, i've read that 92.38% of all statistics are made up
Posted by: AKSAR

Re: Rule of Threes, when going solo - 03/11/16 02:27 AM

Originally Posted By: Russ
...six is a collection wink
And seven is obsession smile
Posted by: hikermor

Re: Rule of Threes, when going solo - 03/11/16 02:57 AM

seven seven, do I hear eight......

Going, going....
Posted by: Brangdon

Re: Rule of Threes, when going solo - 03/12/16 01:56 PM

Originally Posted By: Bingley
Alright, how many of you carry a spare of any item in your EDC kit? How many of you carry two spares of any item?
Right now I have two torches; an AA that I actually use, and a coin-cell as backup. Plus my mobile phone will put out some light for a while. I have a small multi-tool with blade and scissors, and also a small penknife with ditto. I have a peanut lighter, and ferro rod. I have a bandanna and a handkerchief. I have more the one credit card, and more than one store of cash. These are all in different pockets.
Posted by: clearwater

Re: Rule of Threes, when going solo - 03/13/16 01:56 AM

And most of us will die from heart attack/stroke. What are your backups for that?
Posted by: Bingley

Re: Rule of Threes, when going solo - 03/13/16 06:41 AM

Originally Posted By: clearwater
And most of us will die from heart attack/stroke. What are your backups for that?


Applying the rule, I have signed up for three different religions so I'll be taken care of in the Great Beyond.
Posted by: quick_joey_small

Re: Rule of Threes, when going solo - 03/13/16 08:44 AM

And most of us will die from heart attack/stroke. What are your backups for that?

someone asked what the best kit for not dying early was years ago: lots of us played with him and answered with what we googled: healthier diet, exercise, no dangerous activities....

which is the real way not to die early.

Anyway not to worry chums; there's a legend st patrick went on hunger strike against god (our boy doesn't chose easy opponents). until god agreed that patrick could raise the dead a week early on judgement day patrick refused to eat. a good example of the irish thinking of stubborness as a virtue; our best man went eye ball to eyeball with god and god blinked.

It sounds plausible to me so by the time you all get to the afterlife; I'll have got the drinks in!
Posted by: tomfaranda

Re: Rule of Threes, when going solo - 03/14/16 04:15 AM

Make mine a Guinness.
Posted by: LesSnyder

Re: Rule of Threes, when going solo - 03/14/16 12:41 PM

a small pill vial with an aspirin might help with the heart attack

Posted by: TeacherRO

Re: Rule of Threes, when going solo - 07/26/16 07:54 PM

If you are going solo, the rules change - more important to let people know where you are going, and stick to that schedule. I know I'm more cautious. Maybe pack a PLB?
Posted by: hikermor

Re: Rule of Threes, when going solo - 07/28/16 02:18 PM

Multiple backups do provide peace of mind and security, but add weight , critical when traveling one foot. I multiple up in two categories - fire lighting - matches in waterproof case, Bic lighter, and ferro rod of some sort and light - usually three sources- my key chain light, a really good headlamp, and one additional light (varies with circumstances). This follows the traditional caver principle of three independent light sources which is a proven prudent measure when underground in a cave.

For everything else, I tend to favor adaptable, versatile gear that can serve a variety of uses. I can get along just fine with one knife or multi-tool, although sometimes a second blade will sneak in when I don't need to worry about weight.
Posted by: WesleyH

Re: Rule of Threes, when going solo - 07/31/16 06:23 AM

Regarding the concept. . .Just keep this in mind:

Synergism:
An effect arising between two or more agents, entities, factors, or substances that produces an effect greater than the sum of their individual effects. It is opposite of antagonism. See also synergism.


So, two can be 2.5 or 3. . 3 can be 7.5 to 10 just depending.

One, with the right tools can be self sufficient. . Under the right circumstances.

And ultimately, 3 people in the desert with No water and no skill. . .still doomed.