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#84773 - 02/05/07 03:51 AM Re: Testing Yourself
Susan Offline

Registered: 01/21/04
Posts: 5163
Loc: W. WA
You can do a lot of stuff at home. It isn't wilderness (usually), but it's close and exposed to the weather. And if it's hunker-down time after a power outage, a tree comes down on the house, a earthquake collapses your home, you still might have to live in your back yard.

You can practice fire-building in rain or with one hand.

Try some nonfancy outdoor cooking (without the propane or briquets). Got edible plants like cattails nearby? Why not collect some and cook them?

Had to take a tree down or clean up some large fallen limbs that fell in the last storm? Use them to build a shelter. Even if you don't spend the night in it, you can see how it holds up in wind, how much rain got inside.

How many ways can you collect water? Can you create an above-ground solar still with the stuff you carry in your vehicle?


#84774 - 02/05/07 03:56 PM Re: Testing Yourself
Glock-A-Roo Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 04/16/03
Posts: 1076
Great topic, and one that is certainly under-addressed.

IMO practicing your skills is extremely important. True, your life is not on the line during practice. But if you can't do it in practice under low-pressure, how do you expect yourself to do it for real under high-pressure? Matt's analogy with EMS training is exactly right. Before placing my first ET tube on a live patient, I had only done the procedure on manequins. But if I hadn't done the "classroom" training I sure couldn't have done it right when it was for real.

Some think that they will magically do great when the shiite hits the fan. But I urge those people to remember a proven adage from the world of combat: "you will not rise to the occasion, you will default to your level of ingrained training".

Note that we are talking skills here, not the proverbial mom-becomes-superman and lifts the car off of her baby. No amount of "oh God this is for real" + adrenaline will enable you to build a fire or construct a shelter with skills you never knew.

Please understand I am not discounting improvisation and the ability to make-do with what you've got in an admittedly unpredictable crisis situation. But I believe we need to apply a concept used by explorers, soldiers & others who venture into the unknown: be really good at what you CAN control and it will free you up to better deal with what you CAN'T control.

#84775 - 02/05/07 04:04 PM Re: Testing Yourself
raydarkhorse Offline

Registered: 01/27/07
Posts: 510
Loc: on the road 10-11 months out o...
You wrote "you will not rise to the occasion, you will default to your level of ingrained training". I used to say almost the exact same thing every week for 5 years as I was teaching PPCT and firearms to police and correctional officers, but unfortunately when it comes to my survival skills I haven't paracticed what I preach. Gonna have to change that SOON! thanks for the reminder
Depend on yourself, help those who are not able, and teach those that are.

#84776 - 02/05/07 07:04 PM Re: Testing Yourself: Humbled
Blast Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 07/15/02
Posts: 3609
Loc: TX
So Saturday afternoon I decided to actually take my BoB on a 1.5 mile hike through thick, untrailed woods and spend the night camping out.

End result: Being a cheap-ass is bad. My gear weighed a ton (~40 pounds) and carrying that up and down through brush-filled gullies wore me out really fast. Even after getting a 2" thick self-inflating pad I spent the night shivering in my sleeping bag (no tent used). 32F is really cold. Water weighs a fricken' ton. Four knives and a machete are overkill...

The only thing that worked perfectly was my fire-building. One match and the fire was still burning 14 hours later.

This really showed me that my plans to walk home if I get caught far away need serious re-evaluation. If you are going to rely on gear to get you home it'll need to be extremely light and durable otherwise it weigh too much and break too soon. My low-priced stuff will NOT cut it.

If you are planning on "brush-shelters and boiled water" then plan on going really slow. It takes a while to get things like this set-up and it's very difficult (for me, anyway) to do it in the dark.

Of course, all this being said I still did have an absolutely great time!

-Blast, who discovered five feet of waterproof cannon fuse makes great tinder.
Foraging Texas
Medicine Man Plant Co.
DrMerriwether on YouTube
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#84777 - 02/05/07 07:18 PM Re: Testing Yourself: Humbled
Meline Offline

Registered: 02/01/07
Posts: 48
Well at least you had a learning experience, before your buns where on the line <img src="/images/graemlins/wink.gif" alt="" />

#84778 - 02/05/07 10:47 PM Re: Testing Yourself: Humbled
oldsoldier Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 11/25/06
Posts: 742
Loc: MA
I am doing something similar thursday night. Although, I AM goona cheat. I will have a BD megamid with me, a stove, and my 0* sleeping bag. My intent isnt to "survive", but, to try out my bag (I havent had a good chance to try it in real cold conditions). I will, however, practice my firemaking skills, and, perhaps water boiling (if I can get through the ice).
I am taking my nephew shelter building on saturday. I just ordered him his own Mora knife <img src="/images/graemlins/smile.gif" alt="" />. I plan on getting some video of thrusday, and pics + vids for this weekend. Stay tuned!
my adventures

#84779 - 02/06/07 05:40 PM Re: Testing Yourself
Craig_phx Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 04/05/05
Posts: 715
Loc: Phoenix, AZ
How about like this:

or like this (high of 36F low of 15F):

Thermo-regulate, hydrate and communicate.

#84780 - 02/06/07 05:43 PM Re: Testing Yourself: Humbled
Glock-A-Roo Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 04/16/03
Posts: 1076
Great job, Blast. Sounds like you got some excellent insights from your practice.

#84781 - 02/06/07 07:04 PM Re: Testing Yourself
Susan Offline

Registered: 01/21/04
Posts: 5163
Loc: W. WA
That looks nice and homey!

If that is a food bag suspended from the tree branch, and you are in the tent below, do you think a bear might use you as a step to climb the tree to try for the bag? <img src="/images/graemlins/grin.gif" alt="" />


#84782 - 02/07/07 01:28 AM Re: Testing Yourself: Humbled
samhain Offline

Registered: 11/30/05
Posts: 598
Loc: Baton Rouge, Louisiana
Thanks for the insight.

I have a lot of respect for someone who'll stand up and say "this is where I screwed up" and allow others to learn from it.

I'm curious Blast. What was your rationale about not using a tent or tarp cover of some sort (weight vs testing out what it's like without vs the kids had it, etc)?

Not criticizing, just trying to incorporate what you've learned into my own planning.

Do you carry some sort of stove in your BOB?

Thanks for the lessons.

samhain autumnwood

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