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#188578 - 01/14/15 11:20 PM Re: EMERGENCY SKILLS SURVEY: [Re: aimless]
wandering_daisy Offline
member

Registered: 01/11/06
Posts: 2742
Loc: California
aimless, I think you are defining "survival skills" too narrowly. I consider all of the below survival skills that need to be practiced:

fire building - actual building, efficient fuel gathering, where to build it, when it is helpful to build it and when not

locating natural shelters

off-trail orienting, with and without a compass

recognizing the stages of hypothermia

mental tricks to calm down and stay rational

reading the terrain to locate streams

reading the weather

You can read about all these skills (all good and also necessary), but there is nothing like actually experiencing. I have a lot less fear if I find myself in a situation that I have encountered previously.



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#188580 - 01/15/15 01:32 AM Re: EMERGENCY SKILLS SURVEY: [Re: wandering_daisy]
aimless Offline
Moderator

Registered: 02/05/03
Posts: 2838
Loc: Portland, OR
I think we've covered fire building already and we are all pretty much unanimous about it. You need to practice it or you'll fail when it really counts.

Much of what you are advocating as survival skills I agree would have application in wilderness survival situations, but all or nearly all are natural extensions of backpacking and hiking skills that develop normally as one spends time outdoors. One doesn't need to expressly change anything one normally does in order to practice reading the weather, or reading terrain. These skills develop in the ordinary course of backpacking.

However, I suppose the only way to 'practice' recognizing the stages of hypothermia would be to either start to become hypothermic on purpose, or convince your hiking partner to do so. This skill needs to be part of your mental equipment, but practicing it 'ahead of time' makes no sense.

I would note that the items on your list are not like the items on Minx's list in the original post, such as learning to boil water without a pot, practicing building shelters from brush, building signal markers or gathering edible plants.

So, I agree with your definitions of survival skills, wd, but I was addressing the definition that was implicit in Minx's posts. Your list makes good sense to me.

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#188582 - 01/15/15 11:36 AM Re: EMERGENCY SKILLS SURVEY: [Re: Minx]
dylansdad77 Offline
member

Registered: 03/12/14
Posts: 158
Loc: New Jersey
So lots of good information and dialogue in this thread - however, I'd like to hijack the topic slightly. I have been interested in taking some of these touted wilderness survival schools to hone my emergency skills. I found one that is run by a retired special forces operative (alleged) in the Hudson Valley in NY state.

I was wondering if anyone has attended any classes like this. What did you find beneficial? Any particular class you would recommend?
_________________________
Did you know that 83.6% of all statistics are made up on the spot?

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#188583 - 01/15/15 12:05 PM Re: EMERGENCY SKILLS SURVEY: [Re: aimless]
billstephenson Offline
Moderator

Registered: 02/07/07
Posts: 3865
Loc: Ozark Mountains in SW Missouri
Originally Posted By aimless
Much of what you are advocating as survival skills I agree would have application in wilderness survival situations, but all or nearly all are natural extensions of backpacking and hiking skills that develop normally as one spends time outdoors.


I dunno. A lot of backpackers never get off the trail, and the reason they don't is they're afraid they'll get lost, or afraid they'll get hurt and won't get found. That's a pretty weak link in their skill set, and so are the others W_D points out.

Quote:
locating natural shelters

off-trail orienting, with and without a compass

recognizing the stages of hypothermia

mental tricks to calm down and stay rational

reading the terrain to locate streams

reading the weather


There are times when the shortest and quickest way out is to bushwhack. There are a lot of situations where time can be a factor and that's an important skill set to already have when it is. Learning how to navigate without a map and compass goes hand in hand with that, as does reading the terrain.

I've only felt the panic of being lost twice. It's pretty powerful and it overtook me for about a minute both times. I realized I had to calm down, and so I started assessing my situation. Both times I ended up doing exactly what W_D says, I read the terrain and figured out where I needed to go. It's really pretty easy if you think about it. After both of those incidents I started thinking about it. After the second time I started practicing it.

I practiced reading terrain a lot. I studied topo maps and learned to locate myself on them off trail with a high degree of accuracy without a compass, and I learned the lay of the land by memory from studying maps before I ever went there, and I learned to pay attention to it when I didn't know much about it at all and use that to guide me back.

Now I'm comfortable with it and it's changed how I backpack. Trails are no longer a necessity, they're a convenience at most, and an annoyance at worst, but I seldom spend any time on them. The biggest difference is I used to limit myself on how far off trail I'd go. I don't have to do that anymore. I realized it doesn't really matter.

All that said, I have seen the panic in those with me who're starting to think we're lost, and I've learned how to deal with that, and how to help prevent it, but it has proved W_D's points to me. If you're going to backpack you should practice those skills. I think they should be a part of your trip rather you're on or off trail.

As far as hypothermia goes, I think it's wise to at least know the symptoms and be aware when you're at risk. There have been a lot of times when I've hunkered down somewhere that's shielded me from wind and rain so I wouldn't go hypothermic.

None of that may be necessary for a weekend trip with your buddies on a known trail in a small park, but if you really want to backpack into the wilderness it is.
_________________________
--

"You want to go where?"



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#188591 - 01/15/15 01:16 PM Re: EMERGENCY SKILLS SURVEY: [Re: wandering_daisy]
OregonMouse Offline
member

Registered: 02/03/06
Posts: 6372
Loc: Gateway to Columbia Gorge
W_D, the items you list as "survival skills" are skills that should be learned by every hiker. I learned them in childhood and they're still with me. A few (such as my formerly highly skilled sense of direction) have deteriorated a bit over the years, so I'm careful to compensate. The skills you list are far, far more important than esoteric "skills" such as lighting fires with bow drills!

One reason I recommend a number of car-camping sessions to beginners is so they at least start developing these skills before they get out on the trail. It's much easier to cope with beginning hypothermia when you can bail out to a car with a nice warm heater!

The most important skill of all is the one you listed third from last!
Quote:
mental tricks to calm down and stay rational


Edited by OregonMouse (01/15/15 01:29 PM)
_________________________
May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view--E. Abbey

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#188605 - 01/16/15 12:13 AM Re: EMERGENCY SKILLS SURVEY: [Re: aimless]
wandering_daisy Offline
member

Registered: 01/11/06
Posts: 2742
Loc: California
I thought all Minx's original post simply was "here is a list of survival skills I practice if "all else fails", what do other's do?" He just wanted a survey of others methods. My lists are my methods, as well as other stuff I said. It is understood that avoiding survival situations in the first place and leaving an travel plan with someone is great. And in most cases "all else" DOES NOT fail. You may not agree with his list of skills but he did give an example where his fire building skill worked. And just because most backpackers nowadays are not willing to take the time to even think about what a survival skill would be, let alone practice them, does not negate the value.

Anyway, I would like to thank Minx for bringing up the topic. I think we have had a good discussion.

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#188609 - 01/16/15 10:05 AM Re: EMERGENCY SKILLS SURVEY: [Re: wandering_daisy]
DTape Offline
member

Registered: 11/23/07
Posts: 654
Loc: Upstate NY
Bill mentions an important aspect of many/most/all emergency situations, the mental piece. He mentioned how the situationcan quickly over take the person. This is very real and even a persin with all the tools, knowledge, experience, and skill can fall victim to the situation if one allows their mental state to make bad decisions and panic.

I, too, have been in some harrowing situations in which the adrenaline starts pumping. The sitting and calming one must do is hard, especially when alone. The worse the situation, the harder it will likely be as well.

Like other skills, it is good to practice centering oneself for those situations. Difficult to simulate when one isnt really lost, or knows it is a drill.

_________________________
http://ducttapeadk.blogspot.com

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#188613 - 01/16/15 02:30 PM Re: EMERGENCY SKILLS SURVEY: [Re: DTape]
aimless Offline
Moderator

Registered: 02/05/03
Posts: 2838
Loc: Portland, OR
A visceral fear response is difficult to control, in that it is largely based on the release of adrenaline and similar internal hormones into the bloodstream. Once they've been set loose, they can't quickly be neutralized.

About the only way I know to improve one's chances of avoiding a surge of fear in an emergency is to imagine oneself in such a situation, in as much detail as possible. You may not be able to duplicate all the conditions of a real emergency in advance, for example you wouldn't set a grease fire in your kitchen to learn how to put one out. But mental practice in dealing with a dangerous event does help to make it seem more familiar and manageable, even if you've never actually experienced it before.

As Minx and WD would probably point out, and rightly so, putting your whole self into the effort of imagination, by physically going through all of the steps you'd take during the actual event, is the most complete and most effective way to prepare oneself mentally, even if it is not always the most practical way. To extend my previous example, most of us will never actually confront a 'test' fire and discharge a fire extinguisher as a form of practice, so that we could see the flames, smell the smoke and feel the discharge at firsthand, but if we did, we'd be better prepared than those who only pointed the nozzle at a non-existent fire and imagined pulling the trigger.

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#188618 - 01/16/15 05:22 PM Re: EMERGENCY SKILLS SURVEY: [Re: aimless]
4evrplan Offline
member

Registered: 01/16/13
Posts: 628
Loc: Nacogdoches, TX, USA
Originally Posted By aimless
About the only way I know to improve one's chances of avoiding a surge of fear in an emergency is to imagine oneself in such a situation, in as much detail as possible. You may not be able to duplicate all the conditions of a real emergency in advance, for example you wouldn't set a grease fire in your kitchen to learn how to put one out. But mental practice in dealing with a dangerous event does help to make it seem more familiar and manageable, even if you've never actually experienced it before.

This may be slightly off topic, but I thought it was really interesting. Some researchers believe this is why we have nightmares - to prepare us for difficult situations in real life.

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#188619 - 01/16/15 05:32 PM Re: EMERGENCY SKILLS SURVEY: [Re: 4evrplan]
Rick_D Offline
member

Registered: 01/06/02
Posts: 2801
Loc: NorCal
Originally Posted By 4evrplan

This may be slightly off topic, but I thought it was really interesting. Some researchers believe this is why we have nightmares - to prepare us for difficult situations in real life.

In that case I am prepared to appear at my statistics final late and buck naked, for all of eternity. blush

Cheers,
_________________________
--Rick

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#188622 - 01/16/15 06:12 PM Re: EMERGENCY SKILLS SURVEY: [Re: aimless]
OregonMouse Offline
member

Registered: 02/03/06
Posts: 6372
Loc: Gateway to Columbia Gorge
Here are some ideas:

First of all, you should think of/imagine panic situations enough that you condition your first response to be STOP and STAY. (Yes, I know that sounds like a dog obedience class!) That also works if the situation is a wild animal; as I've mentioned a number of times on this forum, to a predator, if it runs, it's dinner!

Sitting down and brewing a cup of tea at the first sign of panic is an excellent idea. I once read an acronym for this, but I've forgotten it (so much for mnemonics!). Even on a dayhike, having an alcohol stove, enough fuel for a couple of boils, a small pot or metal cup and a couple of herbal tea bags make a delightful break even if there are no problems. (Thanks to phat for this idea!). In a panic situation, by the time you've gone through the motions of making and then drinking the tea, you should have calmed down considerably. You've also added to your hydration, which is always good, since dehydration can decrease your mental capacity.

One that was drummed into me in childhood was, "You're not lost, it's your car/camp/house that is lost."

Practicing these responses periodically is important!
_________________________
May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view--E. Abbey

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#188634 - 01/17/15 03:18 PM Re: EMERGENCY SKILLS SURVEY: [Re: Rick_D]
dylansdad77 Offline
member

Registered: 03/12/14
Posts: 158
Loc: New Jersey
Remind me to never take a statistics class...
_________________________
Did you know that 83.6% of all statistics are made up on the spot?

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#188636 - 01/17/15 04:22 PM Re: EMERGENCY SKILLS SURVEY: [Re: dylansdad77]
billstephenson Offline
Moderator

Registered: 02/07/07
Posts: 3865
Loc: Ozark Mountains in SW Missouri
Originally Posted By dylansdad77
Remind me to never take a statistics class...


I'd be flattered to be in RickD's dreams, but I don't think I'd do anything at all to improve his nightmares laugh
_________________________
--

"You want to go where?"



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#188637 - 01/17/15 04:25 PM Re: EMERGENCY SKILLS SURVEY: [Re: Rick_D]
billstephenson Offline
Moderator

Registered: 02/07/07
Posts: 3865
Loc: Ozark Mountains in SW Missouri
Originally Posted By Rick_D
Originally Posted By 4evrplan

This may be slightly off topic, but I thought it was really interesting. Some researchers believe this is why we have nightmares - to prepare us for difficult situations in real life.

In that case I am prepared to appear at my statistics final late and buck naked, for all of eternity. blush


laugh


_________________________
--

"You want to go where?"



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#188641 - 01/17/15 09:34 PM Re: EMERGENCY SKILLS SURVEY: [Re: Minx]
Minx Offline
member

Registered: 11/22/14
Posts: 23
Thank you to everybody for adding their comments. After a little bit of a rocky start I think the conversation has wandered into some interesting areas. And maybe that was my fault for not prefacing the inquiry with some basics, ie. planning trip, telling friend, etc. I figured most here would already be doing that and educating others about the need for these (what I think are) basic precautions. My bad.
I especially appreciate the comments about mental preparation/attitude. I go into this a lot with with those new to backpacking I teach. In fact it's the first thing I explain. "FIRST and foremost, you need to be mentally capable and in the right head-space. Your attitude and knowledge will get you through more than any physical abilities or equipment you carry. Get in the mindset of being a backpacker. In a word, you need to be self-reliant. (Ok, that's two words, but they're hyphenated.)
YOU WILL NEED TO BE SELF RELIANT AND SELF SUFFICIENT. It can not be stressed enough. You are going to a remote location and there will be far less, if any, people. You will be on your own. This is a concept that does not resonate with some people. A bit of careful consideration is needed. You will want to be safe and have a good time. To do that and not become a burden to others or the environment you must be able to take care of your own needs and follow some basic principles for everyone’s (and everything’s) well-being."
From my blog www.raisedbyraccoons.blogspot.com
Also,
Aimless brings up some good points. "...but all or nearly all are natural extensions of backpacking and hiking skills that develop normally as one spends time outdoors. One doesn't need to expressly change anything one normally does in order to practice reading the weather, or reading terrain. These skills develop in the ordinary course of backpacking."
I agree but the need to recognize the acquisition/level of these skills is important.
Aimless goes on with, "I would note that the items on your list are not like the items on Minx's list in the original post,..."
And this was exactly the idea of the post. What are the things you do...? Maybe the terms 'Emergency' & 'Survival' were not exactly the all-encompassing terms I should have used.
I tend to subscribe to the theory that, The more I learn, the better. We didn't call it "Bushcraft" when I was a kid but I find a lot of helpful items in the bushcraft bucket as well as the survivalist bucket and UL bucket, etc. Being too zealous about adhering to any one method is, in my mind, dangerous. Jeet Kun Do.
billstephenson writes, "A lot of backpackers never get off the trail, and the reason they don't is they're afraid they'll get lost, or afraid they'll get hurt and won't get found. That's a pretty weak link in their skill set, and so are the others W_D points out." and "None of that may be necessary for a weekend trip with your buddies on a known trail in a small park, but if you really want to backpack into the wilderness it is."
Yes. I agree. Still no cell in many areas of the southwest Wilderness. It is.
Oragonmouse, "Sitting down and brewing a cup of tea at the first sign of panic is an excellent idea."
Right on.
And, Thanks W_D. You're welcome. This was my first real attempt to get something going on a forum. I appreciate everyone's input. It's Interesting.
Lastly,
balzaccom writes, "I'd suggest that your planning was pretty poor if all of those things fail." in response to comments about relying on gear and planning.
I am not exactly sure what to do with this. I did not realize there are those out there that think their gear and planning could NOT fail. !?! Hum...
Imagine, you are 20 miles out on a remote wilderness mountain trail. Camp is high. Views, spectacular. A day hike away from camp with little more than your leatherman takes a turn for the worse when you mis-step and slide 1000 feet down a shale wall into the valley below. You survive the slide with only a twisted ankle and open cuts, bruises and sprains. ALL your gear is 1000 feet up an unclimbable wall if you were in good shape. The walk to where you might be able to ascend to it is 8+ miles down the valley. It's late in the day. The night will be cold. Your pals do not even know you fell.
Finding water, making fire, improvising shelter and taking care of the cuts and ankle become, I think, pretty nice skills to have. Even better with some training and.... I dare say... practice.
Or, as I said in my original post,
maybe I'm nuts.
Cheers

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#188643 - 01/17/15 10:30 PM Re: EMERGENCY SKILLS SURVEY: [Re: Minx]
OregonMouse Offline
member

Registered: 02/03/06
Posts: 6372
Loc: Gateway to Columbia Gorge
Part of proper planning, to say nothing of exercising a reasonable amount of common sense, would be never going off on a dayhike with only a Leatherman. In your scenario: If, as you should, you have the "Ten" Essentials with you on your day hike, you might not be comfortable, but, if you keep your wits about you, you will survive the night!

_________________________
May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view--E. Abbey

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#188644 - 01/17/15 10:55 PM Re: EMERGENCY SKILLS SURVEY: [Re: Minx]
aimless Offline
Moderator

Registered: 02/05/03
Posts: 2838
Loc: Portland, OR
I did not realize there are those out there that think their gear and planning could NOT fail. !?! Hum...

I don't think that is what he said.

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#188649 - 01/18/15 12:15 AM Re: EMERGENCY SKILLS SURVEY: [Re: balzaccom]
Minx Offline
member

Registered: 11/22/14
Posts: 23
Originally Posted By balzaccom
Originally Posted By Minx
Agreed, the best safety is to avoid an emergency situation altogether. All of the statements above are valid and generally a given I would think. I am surprised, however, to find half the comments relying on gear and planning though. This was intended to be a study for when all that fails. Granted a pot and stove is nice, GPS or beacon is grand, hunkering down in a tent is preferred, but, when all those things fail? When the truly remote emergency situation comes up?


I'd suggest that your planning was pretty poor if all of those things fail. Can you give us an example of how that might happen?



Maybe I'm missing something. But that's not the point. The point is; being prepared. What YOU do to prepare yourself for when there is no gear. We can not get to the discussion if we can not imagine a situation where we might be separated from our "10 essentials".

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#188653 - 01/18/15 02:20 PM Re: EMERGENCY SKILLS SURVEY: [Re: Minx]
aimless Offline
Moderator

Registered: 02/05/03
Posts: 2838
Loc: Portland, OR
We can not get to the discussion if we can not imagine a situation where we might be separated from our "10 essentials".

Gear is not just some stuff you bring with you. Gear comprises the tools available to you to survive. When you are in a city, you are surrounded by essential survival resources, so you can be lax about it. This is not so in the wilderness.

If you watch documentaries about, for example, tribes in the Kalahari or New Guinea, you will notice that the men do not go anywhere without their bows/arrows and a few other essential tools. Those are their equivalent of the "ten essentials". They are never without them. The adults don't take a "day hike" assuming they'll get back to camp ok without their tools. Backpackers and day hikers who understand their situation develop similar habits.

Tools aren't optional in the wilderness. They are your teeth and claws. They are extensions of your self that allow you to live. You should no more go off without them than take off your skin and leave it behind.

But, if you read the thread again, you'll see we actually have gotten to a conversation about survival skills that are not entirely about replacing missing or broken gear, and would apply quite well even when you have the ten essentials with you. There's no reason why it couldn't continue.

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#188661 - 01/19/15 01:28 PM Re: EMERGENCY SKILLS SURVEY: [Re: aimless]
Minx Offline
member

Registered: 11/22/14
Posts: 23
Oh, I agree with you about tools. Whole heartedly. And as I mentioned in the original query, I would like to know what people practice with or without tools. I am sure most of us would not be geeking out on a cool gear forum here if we did not think a lot about tools/gear. I educate people every day at the gear shack I work at, about the importance of essentials, even on a day hike. Many, new to hiking, are surprised that some essentials are recommended/needed even for short outings in our city parks which are wide open mountainous areas here in Phoenix, AZ. It seems like every year there is some hiker who gets lost in a park overnight and has had to "survive" the night. I totally appreciate the experience you, aimless and oregonmouse and w_d and all the others share on this forum and in this post. I believe in constant education and learn a lot here. Please do not get me wrong on this. A quick perusal of my blog, “Backpacking Basics”, on my site will reiterate this. I am sure that you and I would meet eye to eye on most philosophies when it comes to this. I am equally sure that we can learn something from each other as well and this is what I seek.
I think skills are among our best tools. I am not convinced where or even if our philosophies take slightly different paths on this. I find no harm in contemplating being separated from my gear. It would not happen. It could not happen. But if it does… ? Is this unimaginable? I am sorry but I laugh a little each time I here somebody say "If you would of had your 'insert ambiguous gear selection here' with you, you could'a survived better." realizing full well that they are right of course.

Aimless, I like your analogy of the tribesman because I see it as the point exactly I am researching. You note that;


Originally Posted By aimless
you will notice that the men do not go anywhere without their bows/arrows and a few other essential tools. Those are their equivalent of the "ten essentials". They are never without them.


I love these shows. So, you would probably also notice in those New Guinea documentaries that each and every tribesman/woman can also ‘Make’ the tools they need for any given situation as well. Using only the resources offered by the environment, tools are fashioned with surprising efficiency because they…. wait for it….. practice! It is part of their everyday existence. They are brought up doing it. Making bows, arrows, shelter, fire... This is what I am trying to touch on here. So +1 on tribesman knowledge.

The fact that our society has somewhat lost touch with the natural abilities of our evolved form in its relentless quest for convenience is a topic we can discuss til the cows come home. One could even argue that our plug-and-play conveniences ARE our natural environmental fashionings these days, I guess. Instead of whittling it out of wood and using vines to lash it, we use our skill to order it from eBay. Not the broad philosophical input I was expecting with this post and I’d rather have that one over a bourbon with ya. I was originally simply pondering the crossover of lightweight backpacking, bushcraft and survival techniques. Mainly because I find that going ‘ultralight’ provides for somewhat less redundancies in systems so this seems to me to go hand-in-hand with having the proper abilities to back up these systems. I seem to carry way too many redundancies or comforts anyway, keeping my baseweight beyond what I desire and I am sure causing New Guinea tribesmen to laugh hysterically at the oddity of it all. (can we change it to The 20 Essentials? LOL)

I hope that all makes sense. This discussion has really gotten cool.
You are all so great to learn from. Thanks.

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#192021 - 09/23/15 02:05 PM Re: EMERGENCY SKILLS SURVEY: [Re: Minx]
Zuuk Offline
member

Registered: 09/22/15
Posts: 70
Loc: NB, Canada
Excellent posts!

I'll just quickly expand a bit on hypothermia, things to remember. It's not a cold weather killer. It's simply your body not being able to produce heat faster than it's losing it. That's why most cases of hypothermia deaths are not in what most people consider cold weather. If you're out there alone, there is only one real symptom that you can recognize before it's too late to help yourself. After that you basically lose your mental ability to do anything productive. The symptom is uncontrollable shivering. When you get cold, your body naturally tries to make heat by shivering. You can consciously stop shivering if you're just really cold, but if you try to stop and can't, then it's time to stop whatever you're doing and get warm. You don't have much time. What comes next is that you're still cold and you stop shivering; that's when your body abandons the "make heat" mode and goes into "conserving heat" mode, trying to keep your body core warm. By this time, you won't be able to help yourself. People have been known to die from hypothermia with hot coffee still in a thermos.

General rule of thumb, once you start to really shiver and be cold, that's the time to stop and get warm. It only takes minutes to go from hard shivering to uncontrollable shivering to stop shivering. If you're not aware of truly how cold you feel, it can sneak up on you fast.

As pointed out earlier, backpackers are probably more prepared with gear than say hunters might be. I mean, shelter from the rain, ability to cook or make a fire, etc. are right in the pack. It's still not an excuse not to be aware though. Only takes a slip in a creek to get wet and the thought of, "I can make it to the next campsite, it's not that far away..." to get into trouble.

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#195096 - 04/25/16 07:19 PM Re: EMERGENCY SKILLS SURVEY: [Re: aimless]
Jim M Offline
member

Registered: 11/23/03
Posts: 235
Loc: Kitsap Peninsula, WA
I also agree with Aimless. I have helped teach Basic Mountaineering for some time. The "culture" (if that is what you call it) among the instructors, some of who are SAR members, is that you carry the 10 essentials always and learn how to use them. I see lots of day hikers on popular trails in summer with nothing but a water bottle, if that.
It is a free country and they can do what they want, but for me and my friends it would be unacceptable if you are hiking/climbing with us and that just happens to be the way we have been trained and what we do. Besides, part of the reason i day hike is to get in shape for longer hikes. Why not carry a few extra pounds and get used to it?
It has been fun on a few occasions to have a tarp to sit under hand have lunch during an unexpected rain shower. If you live in the Pacific Northwest you lean to take rain gear if you intend to get very far from the car.
_________________________
Jim M

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#195568 - 05/30/16 10:29 AM Re: EMERGENCY SKILLS SURVEY: [Re: Minx]
Reggie Offline
newbie

Registered: 05/16/16
Posts: 14
Loc: Europe
There are a few different themes in this forum! Cool.
I'll start with an initial response to Minx. What do I do/practise when out bush? Navigation first. I have never been much of a trail walker. I learnt using compass and map (what a few have called bushwhacking), and that is always how I have got around. This is due to the nature of my work (wildlife ranger then military). I simply don't use tracks. Of course in high-traffic areas, I stick to the track for conservation reasons. Whenever I can, I do a resection. Why? Constant navigation checks are essential, and these things should be second nature. Learning or trying to remember how to do them when you're tired, hypothermic and your brain is just not working and so on is fated for disaster. It should be a drill.
Shelter building is usually just a part of setting up a night location. I augment the tarp by making use of natural shelter - nooks, crannies, branches etc.
Fire making I practise occasionally. I'll use the striker just to make sure it works. For a giggle I'll use the magnifyer on my compass or my binoculars to incinerate some tinder. I'll build a fire bow when I happen across the materials. I've done it enough so it works every time, with some effort.
Other basic 'survival skills' I practise whenever I get the urge. Solar stills and other water collection methods are a favorite. Solar stills, in my opinion, are the new hiking 'duct tape'. I love them.
I also practise setting snares and traps, where permitted. I don't usually intend to catch things - I've already done it enough to know they work. It's just to keep my hand in.
I'm always aware of the surrounds and terrain because, apart from the navigation fetish, I like animal tracking, botany - I'm basically interested in anything that's alive. So it's a hobby, not a chore.
I keep useful reference material such as ground-air signals, poisonous/edible plant identification - whatever - in a clear plastic sheet notebook in a thigh pocket. Not sure what my American friends call it - I use the term vueetuee (Google it).
Regarding 'survival' bits and pieces, I always carry paracord and duct tape (doubles as first aid kit for big lacerations), nylon (fishing and snares) and a wee selection of hooks and swivels. Do I ever use them? Only in practise, but they're light, and they are there. I don't carry much specifically intended for 'survival' apart from the hooks. Everything else is just part of the hardware store I tend to carry - but that's just me.
As many other commentators have pointed out - attitude is the key thing to get right. I have views on that too! More to follow...

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