I have a lot of keys on my keyring, which always sit more or less uncomfortably in my pocket. My keys never seem to want to conform to the contours of my pocket, and every once in a frustrating while they get stuck amongst the entire keyring mess in ways I could swear only Harry Houdini could get them out of. I’m not Houdini and I always get them unstuck and sitting relatively comfortable… but this always takes time and patience that I would rather devote to something else in my already busy life. I recently found the answer to my problem.
A while back, I wrote an article based on a video I made taking a nostalgic look at “The Survivor”… the cheapo hollow handled survival knife inspired by the film First Blood. After making fun of that piece of crap knife that so many of us naive 10 year old “survivalists” got from Santa Claus in the early 1980’s… I went on to recommend a few that my research revealed as viable survival knives.
Hollow handled survival knives appeal to minimalist survivalists who like a complete survival kit in one item… and to those who like essential survival item redundancy.
The means to reliably make fire is essential to any survival kit. There are many popular firestarter choices, one being the magnesium bar with an attached ferrocerium rod. I have compared 4 brands both to their efficacy and their durability.
Polar Pure water disinfectant had been a long time favorite among outdoorsy types who like to able to quickly and conveniently disinfect the water they refill their canteens with while out and about. Polar Pure uses iodine crystals to disinfect, and it became very popular over the years when it was available… for almost three decades. It has a small sturdy container size, an indefinite shelf life (unlike iodine pills), and can disinfect up to 2000 liters of water against water-borne pathogens (biological agents that causes disease or illness to their hosts), including Giardia cysts… Giardia of course being marketed as being the pathogen to be aware of! These qualities of Polar Pure make it an ideal solution… ba-da-bing!… except for one thing… well, two things actually.
Hollywood and its depictions of what is practical in the real world are more often than not… waaaay off. But when when it comes to what size knife Rambo thinks makes a good survival knife… Hollywood got it right… bigger is better! Sorry MacGyver, but that Swiss Army knife is not enough for the real world, you’ll need a big knife as well.
What is the most difficult survival skill to master? Shelter building… fire making… purifying water… primitive weapon making… mind over matter… etc… ??????
I see blog after blog after blog… mine included… on the topics of preparedness, self-sufficiency, and survival. But the ultimate fact is, despite the fact that we are all authorities on our collectively shared topics of interests… that very few, if any of us, have yet mastered or even really begun to master the most difficult survival skill of all.
TV show survivalists pay close attention. This is the story of a man who loved the wilderness so much that he built his own cabin with only hand tools. His craftsmanship is remarkable… and he filmed the entire process! What is even more remarkable is that after he built his cabin, he lived in it… alone in the wilderness for over 30 years! Richard Proenneke’s life and legacy are one of the greatest examples of the American spirit of independence and self-reliance we have to learn from.
There is much controversy over what first aid advice to follow in the event of a venomous snake bite… the very first one I’ll get out of the way is… venoms are toxic via being injected into tissues otherwise protected by the skin surface, and not by being swallowed or touched; whereas poisons are toxic regardless of how they enter the bloodstream (whether via being injected into tissues, absorbed into the skin, breathed, or swallowed). It is an important distinction: if it is toxic because you bit it… it is poisonous, whereas if it is toxic because it bit you… it is venomous.
Here is a US Navy training film from 1955 titled Survival in North Temperate Regions… Living Off The Land. It focuses mainly on recognizing, procuring, and preparing plants and animals that can be commonly found globally throughout the north temperate region roughly between 45° and 70° north latitude. It is based on the premise that most plant life found in the north temperate region is edible and that animals are abundant. The film does not go into detail on how to identify plants, nor much into how to procure animals for food, although it does show a few illustrations of some snares and traps such as the figure-4 deadfall.