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#16183 - 05/21/03 10:58 AM New Survival Philosophy

Alright, I'm thinking up a new angle to come at survival. Basically an improved 'shirt on your back' sceneario. So you don't have to carry all that gear. What you lack in preparation, you make up for in resorcefullness and add libbing. Instead of trapping or hunting you gather plants and stuff. You relly on shelter more than fire (I put this in because it is impossible for me to make a fire without a lighter or matches. But I'm 16 and dont have money or a liscence [yet!] and can't get to them.) I'm still adding to it. And welcome any suggestions...(Nudge nudge, wink wink <img src="images/graemlins/wink.gif" alt="" /> )

#16184 - 05/22/03 04:59 AM Re: New Survival Philosophy

Hi Ruzz,

You said,
What you lack in preparation, you make up for in resorcefullness

I think in a survival situation, that is what you would have to do. Thats what I am trying to avoid as much as possable. If you are not prepaired, you had better be very resorcefull.

Knowledge is the best tool, and with a little effort it is free. If the best tools on the market are out of reach, then go with a lesser tool that still works.If the plan is to be resorcefull in a survival situation, now would be a good time to start practicing your resorcefullness in getting prepaired.

So when you say "Alright, I'm thinking up a new angle to come at survival." I think you are already practicing your resorcefullness in getting prepaired. At least you are thinking about it. Which is a heck of a lot more than alot of people are doing about it.

Good luck,


#16185 - 05/22/03 10:38 AM Re: New Survival Philosophy

Yeah, I have noticed the preparation or lack thereof department. I do have alot of the latest tools and stuff (knives, night vision etc) but I'm trying to find out my own personal way of doing things. I can make my own bows and arrows, knives and can repair many basic hand tools. I look at preparation as a stream lining of yourself. Like many things you have to be balenced, but most survivalists are leaning towards the preparation. What'd ya think of my more herbivorious idea, the local squirrels and turkeys are certainly happy! <img src="images/graemlins/cool.gif" alt="" />

#16186 - 05/22/03 11:09 AM Re: New Survival Philosophy

As has been pointed out many times, your brain is the most useful survival tool you have. You should sharpen it daily.


#16187 - 05/22/03 12:22 PM Re: New Survival Philosophy


I believe that if you go anywhere near the wilderness without a knife and a lighter then you are asking for trouble. Know how is essential but there is a minimum level of preparedness that you should make into a habit.

I teach primitive firemaking to people mainly to emphasize the point that you need to carry the means to make fire. Carry a knife of some sort. A knife is basic equipment for planet earth. Mac

#16188 - 05/22/03 12:39 PM Re: New Survival Philosophy


I had a lot of similar ideas, and some much further-out ideas, at about your age. Not sure exactly what survival scenario you're personally concerned with, but...

I strongly suggest you try it, under controlled circumstances.

Set up a "camping" or "backpacking" trip somewhere where you can easily bail out, or take equipment that you plan NOT to use. Make it at least three days.

I'm guessing you'll come back with a "Still Newer Survival Philosophy" from the experience, but it's not my journey of discovery, it's yours, and my guess may be wrong. For sure, though, the time to find out is when you have a solid "plan B" available.

Still, don't let anyone MY age convince you not to even try. As Heinlein said, "It's amazing how much "mature wisdom" resembles being too tired."

P.S. - Be very careful with the wild plant thing. I'm a cautious sort by nature, and I THOUGHT I was being very careful, and I nonetheless had a very bad experience with it.

#16189 - 05/22/03 12:41 PM Re: New Survival Philosophy

Let's take things in order,


Are you trying to prepare for mostly urban situations or are wilderness situations involved? Do you travel to / through / over truely wilderness areas where you might be unexpectedly deposited and isolated? Do your urban situations include truely inner-city urban, suburban residential, industrial / commercial?

It is one thing to survive in a suburban residentail environment with the "shirt on your back" type of preparedness. One can always find an abundance of material for expedient improvisation in a dumpster or un-garded backyard shed.

You can make a knife? I don't doubt that but what has it got to do with a 72 hour emergency survival scenario? If your scenario would be improved by having a knife then you won't have that benefit. Making even a lousy knife will require materials, tools and time that you won't have in the scenario. - this is equally true for all metal tools and most others. I don't doubt that you could unravel the bottom of your jeans and come up with decent fishing line - by day 2 ( but of course you would have to sacrifice some of your jeans to do this and it would be hard without the knife.)

Depending upon the vegetation for sustainence is also scenario dependant. There are few botanists who would be comfortable thinking that they could forage successfully everywhere. The herbivorous wildlife are often brought to extinction due to lack of a particular food which they depend upon. Not everything is edible to everyone. Know your habitat and what grows in it and you can certainly survive on foraging. If your survival situation finds you in a different neighborhood or climate all of the plants will be unfamiliar and you may starve or poison yourself. The beauty of eating things that you have to chase down is that they are almost all edible and they do a decent job of processing the edible foliage that is found wherever you might be. Trust the local wildlife to know what is edible to them. A cow can live on straw but if you try that you will starve - a Goat can eat poison ivy and thrive but it will kill you dead; OTOH if you find a goat or cow that is thriving you don't really care what it is eating - shoot it in the head and chow down! (of course that implies you are carrying a gun and a knife at minimum and it would be helpful if you had fire to cook with as well).

In any situation where you are dealing with social unrest / collapse (such as followed hurricaine andrew or might be found in LA on any given day), a "shirt on your back" situation becomes a practice in Escape and Evasion. Unless you are part of one of the organized (read police or gang) groups or are extremely well armed your chances lie in being unseen, unnoticed, unremarkable in that order.

In a commercial / industrial situation including HazMat there is often no adequate preparation. Having goggles / n95 or better face-mask might help but short of SCBA gear you will probably be SOL.

In building collapse situation a whistle on the key-chain could mean that you are the one who is dug out first. Having leather gloves could mean that you are able to save some of your cube-mates.

In a wilderness situation there is no making metal tools. If you don't have a knife you probably won't be making wooden tools either. In wilderness, if you don't have knife you will be reduced to shelter and fire. And you won't have fire unless you practiced before hand. Friction fires are not easy to create. If you pin your hand behind a large stone and don't have a knife your vulture food.

There is a great deal to be gained by having the knowledge to enable you to improvise. But without the wisdom to know the limits of improvisation you are only setting yourself up for a nasty surprise.

My approach to streamlining my EDC is to carefully consider the possible scenarios for any given adventure and carry what is required for that adventure plus a minimalist set of gear that will help if something unexpected happens. If I am carrying something for the adventure that would be redundant with some of that minimalist gear, I consider leaving one of them behind.

So what am I carring today.

Scenario is commute through rural / suburban / residential / industrial to 1 storey office building in suburban / rural fringe zone to sit at a desk all day.

Altoids PSK in front Left
Altoids FAK in fron right
100' flat spool of twine in back left
wallet in pack right
Cell phone on Left hip
Leatherman Wave on right hip
whistle on each separatable section of my keychain along with swiss-tech utili-key and swisstech microtool+ and ASP saphire light
2 Butane lighter
Another mini-multitool with pliers, file, LED light, Blade, Screw-Driver.
Book of matches and pack of smokes.

I have carried atleast this for the past 2 years and I don't even find that I notice it. I rarely get more attention for this gear than I get for my 3 inch long beard or my fedora. I am able to carry this and more if I am in a suit. In a jeans and tee-shirt I am limited to only those four pockets and my belt.

If you think that is a lot you should checkout my vest gear, which I wear whenever it will be cool (temperature not style) enough.

#16190 - 05/22/03 02:34 PM Re: New Survival Philosophy

I'd like to offer a quick second to whay P.L. just said. Definitely have a Plan B when trying new ideas out. For a prime example of just how steep the learning curve can be, esp. concerning wild plants, you should read "Into The Wild" by Jon Krakauer. It describes a young man's minimalist attempt to brave the Alaskan wilds. Even using an extremely comprhensive plant guide he confused two plants, one edible, one deadly, and met his fate. There are several other stories of fellows who made similar attempts and met similar ends in the book. All of the stories are non-fiction.


#16191 - 05/23/03 12:14 PM Re: New Survival Philosophy

Thank you very much for the analysis. I would most likeley be in a rural area broken up by farms roads towns etc. Now that I think of it, I don't have enough plants memorized to really do good on. I could eat crops if I came on to them, or plantains or burdock roots but thats about it. Grasses dont ofer enough filler and dandelions dont taste good and have too much pollen. Oh, and I do have a knife, several actually but since I am always on my parents farm grounds and within walking, or even limping distance of my house I dont carry them except in the winter where I have a metal match and knife in my coat. I will start carrying them around all the time. Can you give me some help on primitive fire starting methods? I have tried everything I can to accomplish fire but just cant. I heard you have to use carbon steel when you use steel and flint. But can seem to find any. I cant really have a lighter or matches unless I filch them from somewhere. If I could make fire that would single handedly put me on a much more omnivorous diet. I am really adept at catching fish; spear, bowfishing, angling, or noodling. I will also have to try the survival weekend idea. Thanx.

#16192 - 05/23/03 12:18 PM Re: New Survival Philosophy

No no, I'll listen to you. I pride myself on being ahead of my generation because I have learned to listen to more experienced people, even when I dont understand them. But in this case it makes sense. What were your further out ideas?

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