Family survival training is huge in a survival situation. As I write these blogs and look back at the hundreds of people we have had at our survival classes, retreats or even birthday parties at our ranch or in their homes, many things seem so simple to us. That because we have had countless hours of hands-on survival training. Our goal is to make your survival techniques and response in a survival situation as natural as walking. We want you to know how to survive and practice isn’t just for Boy Scouts, it’s for all of us be ready and it is one of the great things to do for family fun outdoors.
What to carry to survive? It is amazing the different opinions you will get from the pros and amateurs alike. When I first started to learn from former special forces, search and rescue instructors and many other experts it took weeks to get all the information. Looking back, some of the lists were over complicated and not practical. What you will carry depends on where you are going, how long, your personal needs and most importantly, how much actual hands-on survival training you have had. If all you have done is learn and talk with no practical application and experience, you are in danger and need to practice your survival skills. Most of us that have had basic to extreme survival training, over and over again, have learned to survive with very little for a long time.
A few basic items to always carry for survival in your pockets when going for a hike in the woods or traveling are as follows:
- A ferro rod and striker or a lighter in a freezer zip lock bag with a few grains of rice.
- Heavy duty tin foil, folded up into a small square
- A knife when possible
- A poncho or garbage bag
A ferro rod and striker or a lighter in a freezer zip lock bag with a few grains of rice. The Ferro rod and striker can be used even if they get wet, great for water sports. I had a small survival tin for a few years and opened it to find everything inside was ruined from humidity. Now I have a small sunglass case with everything in a zip lock freezer bag and rice inside the case that I use on mission trips. I don’t look like a crazy survival person, it looks so innocent but it is loaded with stuff and nothing goes bad. Rice will keep the humidity off the lighter, so it won’t rust over a long time. Please note, lighters do not work when wet, so check your survival gear and practice how to make a fire so it is easy when needed. It is part of our family fun outdoor, when we have a big get together and a little girl shows all the tough guys how to start a fire with a ferro rod, a battery or some other method they are not used to seeing. The freezer bag should be carried either way for water storage if needed in an emergency.
Heavy duty tin foil, folded up into a small square about 12” x 12” or even a couple of sheets. This is ideal for signaling for help, molding into a cup/bowl for catching, scooping water, also great for cooking over the fire.
A good carbon steel knife when possible, stainless steel will not work with a ferro rod. Carbon steel can be used as a strike on the ferro rod, a rock, etc to spark a fire. For survival a knife with a wide back, no serration, is preferred for battoning. Battoning will be discussed more later as a bush craft basic skill for processing tender, firewood splitting, cutting down trees, notching wood for snares and building, etc
A poncho or garbage bag. This is so simple and so important to protect you from hyperthermia. This can be used to keep rain off of you as you hike, for a shelter, solar still, to catch rain water and much more. Your body temperature is about 98 degrees, when the wind blows on your wet skin, you will go into hyperthermia much faster at even seemingly nice temperatures like 72 degrees. if your core body temperature drops 3 degrees you will need an outside source to heat you back up.
We have many, many stories of people that ended up in life or death situations that could have been easily avoided with a little training and by simply carrying or finding a few of the items listed here. Most of these items have dual purpose and redundancy is very important. For example, if the lighter does not work, what else do you have to start a fire. Learning all the things you can do with each item is very important. Fires are used to stay warm, for hardening weapons, to cook or purifying water and the charcoal a fire produces is great for purifying water, to eat it to absorb poison, rub on your skin for bug repellent or sunscreen, signaling for help, keeping predatory animals away and much more.
With so many fun things to do in Florida, training to survive and thrive can be one of the best things for families to do in central Florida that will allow them to really enjoy the outdoors.