Rethinking the Wilderness Survival Kit

img1473474510236This certainly will shake the foundation by which some of you have based your ideals on, but it is worth discussing and examining with a critical eye. For some of you, it will mean nothing and you will go on with the popular norm. Others may actually put some common sense into play and rethink your survival kit. And yet others will say I am preaching to the choir and their views will be congruent to mine.

What if I said your knife is quite possibly the least important tool in your wilderness survival kit? Yes I can already feel the ire brewing within some of you. I mean here you are having possibly spent a few hundred dollars on your prized possession that is the cornerstone of your kit and I’m telling you your money was ill spent, that is unless, of course, you already have your most important base covered, at which point spend all the money you want on your survival knife.

The thing is, time and time again, we see it is not the most important piece of kit in a survival situation, yet many hang onto that belief. Every time we watch a survival type show, be it “Naked and Afraid,” “Alone,” “Mountain Men,” etc etc, The knife is NOT the most important “SURVIVAL” tool. In fact, the most important survival tool is demonstrated so subtly that it usually goes unnoticed, yet without it it would certainly spell doom to some of the participants. I’m talking about communication.

In every incident, where there is a severe injury or threat to life, a call out to the medics is made. “So and so has severe cramps. CALL the MEDIC.” “So and so just fell into the fire. WE NEED HELP CALL THE MEDIC”. Call the Medic, Call the Medic, Call the Medic is the recurring mantra when the situation has turned dire. In the Show “ALONE” each one of the contestants were armed with a PLB. If the situation became life threatening, or they simply wanted to tap out, the participants pressed the button to call for help. In fact, the clearest shot of a contestant using the PLB was Jose Amoedo when he turned his home brew kayak and he fell into the water. Did Jose break out his knife and start playing Davy Crockett? NOPE! He pressed the button and help came to his aid. Smart move on his part, as far as I’m concerned. Like he said, he knew his clothes weren’t going to dry out and the temps dip really low at night. Far as I’m concerned he averted disaster, but only because he had the ability to call for help.

So why does the knife sit on the throne as the most important survival tool in your kit? I don’t know. My guess is it was a main stay of a persons kit at a time when people had to be more self-reliant, because the technology didn’t yet exist. Times have changed, however, and technology is in place that consistently saves lives over and over again.

I don’t quite know why a PLB isn’t being adopted as the CORE component of a survival kit. Well, actually I do. It’s not sexy. It can’t start a fire, carve a stick, tie up a tarp. In fact, if your lucky it’ll sit in a dark corner never seeing the light of day. For a lot of people that’s a hard nut to swallow for something you hope to never use. A solid working ACR ResQlink will set you back about 25o dollars, so I suppose that puts people off for something you don’t want to ever use. Boy will you get a litany of answers why not to have one—they don’t work well in slot canyons. They don’t work well in rainy conditions, etc. But ask any of these people if they would have preferred a knife to their ACR and pay close attention to the conditions they were in when they did use them

It’s ironic how many of the people who crap on a PLB and place a knife at the top of the list, will be the first to use a cell phone back in the city when an emergency occurs there. That simply just doesn’t make sense. If anything, when in a remote area the situation is more dire.

Do yourselves a favor, if you haven’t already done so, reconsider your survival kit and make a PLB your core component. An emergency situation is not only being lost, but can likely be diabetic shock, heart attack, stroke, hypothermia, allergies, getting bucked by a horse, cut by an axe, going over the side of a cliff, etc. The technology is in place and this is definitely one that should be taken advantage of. If anyone attempts to dissuade you with rubbish about how it doesn’t work in certain areas, this or that, do yourselves a favor and tune them out.

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