Have you ever thought about what you would do in emergency situations?
Maybe you’re caught in a freak snowstorm while driving home from visiting family. Or maybe you wandered away from your campground during a weekend in the woods. Here you are, uninjured but with no camping or survival gear with you. What do you do?
If you’re anything like MacGyver, you’ll whip something up using a paper clip, sock and a candle and can catch and cook fish or small game using just those things. However, the chances are high that you aren’t MacGyver…yet.
Surviving in the wilderness becomes a matter of life and death relatively quickly. As humans, we have some basic needs to survive; shelter, water, sleep and food. If these needs aren’t met, disaster can follow.
Everyone should have a survival preparedness kit stored in your car, but how many of us actually do? When we have no formal supplies, you’ve gotta improvise.
In this article, we’re going to take a look at the top 10 survival items — and they’re all things you probably carry around with you every day. If not, it wouldn’t be hard to start.
Before dismissing this and thinking we’re crazy, hear us out. As you know, drinking water is a must. If you are fortunate enough to find water, you’ll still need to have a way to transport it. If you are familiar with Cody Lundin, author of the survival book “98.6 Degrees“, a condom can easily hold up to a gallon of water — enough to keep you alive for a full day — without getting overstretched [source: Lundin].
Condoms are also easy to carry around when they aren’t filled with water. Lundin talks more about this in his book “98.6 Degrees” and you can read more about that in the book. You can also use condoms to keep other items dry, such as matches.
While some of you may be familiar with Duck Dynasty’s Willie Robertson can always be seen wearing a bandana, many people don’t wear them or even carry them. According to Cody Lundin’s book on survival, “98.6 Degrees,” a bandana has some fairly obvious uses in survival situations, including as a signal to catch the attention of possible helpers, as a sling or as a hat to protect against the sun. Lundin points out that a bandana is helpful in both hot and cold conditions: Used to cover the neck, a bandana will hold heat in if there is a chill and reduce heat gain when it’s hot.
As well as the bandana being quite fashionable, you can also use your bandana as a filter to breathing in dusty or cold conditions, straining water, as well as a tourniquet for bandaging a wound.
3. Garbage Bags
Garbage bags are an amazing thing to carry around. Many experienced campers bring plastic bags because it not only allows you to take everything you brought and used home with you, but you can also use them to cover your backpack or yourself to stay dry during a quick rain.
Another use for garbage bags is that you can cut a hole in the top of a large bag to turn it into a rain jacket or windbreaker. These can even be used as protection from the sun, you can turn it into a mattress or pillow by putting leaves in it. You can also use garbage bags to obtain drinking water. You can fill it with snow and leave it to melt in the bag.
2. Wrist Watch
While time of day is probably the least important thing for you in a survival situation, your watch can still help. Everyday watches can be used as compasses!
First, you’ll need a non-digital watch in working condition and a sunny day. Hold your watch with the dial facing up and parallel to the ground. Turn it, while keeping it parallel, until the hour hand is pointing in the direction of the sun. If it’s morning, south should be about halfway between the hour hand and 12 o’clock, clockwise. If it’s afternoon, south lies about halfway between the hour hand and 12 o’clock, counterclockwise. North will be on the same line but in the opposite direction [source: Farmers’ Almanac]. The technique isn’t 100 percent accurate, but it will give you enough of an approximation to make some informed choices about which way to go.
Shoelaces can serve a number of purposes — whenever you might need rope or string, your shoelaces usually can do the job. You can use them to make a splint in case of injury. If you have a sharp object to use as a hook, a shoelace can make a decent fishing line. Tie sticks together to make a quick lean-to shelter or even a raft.
You can quickly build an emergency “poncho shelter” by using your shoelaces along with a tarp or rain poncho. Tie the laces together, stretch them between two tree trunks, tie them around and hang the plastic over, like a tent. You can then use some sharp sticks as tent stakes.
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