Survival. Camping in the bosom of nature
There comes a moment when we face nature's harshness and ruthlessness. Completely alone. Sometimes without the support and equipment necessary in such a case. Contrary to appearances, it doesn't take much: passing a drop zone during a parachute jump, extremely strong current when landing from the sea, a vehicle breakdown in the middle of nowhere or just a stupid joke made by colleagues who will take you out of the camp one night and leave you in the woods.
Such possible accidents should be anticipated during the completion of the equipment. Remember the scene from "Black Hawk Down" when Hoot is packing a night vision device? Specialist Grimes peeps over an experienced operator, but Twombly stops him saying, "You won't need it, we won't be there long enough. This scene should be memorable and come back every time you pack your backpack.
While some things cannot be predicted or prepared for every possible and impossible eventuality, some items should always be listed. If we operate in combat conditions, the priority is to take appropriate weapons and ammunition for it, specialized military equipment and means of communication. But other than that, inventory planning looks similar, because the basic items we start with are:
- Materials for dressings
- Water purifiers
- Drugs we take
- Analgesics and anti-inflammatory drugs
- Documents (identity card, any permits if required at the camping site)
- Map and compass or GPS
- Analog watch
Uh, why analog? Today, each of us has a mobile phone, so items such as an alarm clock or watch are not mandatory, but a good waterproof wristwatch will not only save the battery's energy, but also serve as a compass. Setting the direction is very simple:
- In the northern hemisphere, we set the watch face horizontally, and a small pointer is directed towards the sun. Half of the angle between this hand and 12 o'clock will be north (from 24:00 to 12:00) or south (from 12:00 to 24:00).
- In the southern hemisphere towards the sun set 12 o'clock on the dial, and the remaining calculations are identical.
Planning, even if it must be done quickly, must take into account not only the specifics, but also the time spent outside the comfortable conditions of civilization. Time is very important for the priorities we will use during packaging. Of course, we can be very preventive, like the above-mentioned sergeant Norm "Hoot" Hooten from Delta, provided that we will be able to transport all the equipment taken without excessive energy expenditure. And if our legs are the main means of transport, we must compromise on every single thing. Of course, we are not relieved of thinking when checking into the wilderness, just the opposite. Heavy equipment can be pulled on improvised sleds in winter, and if the ground allows it - also at other times of the year.
However, we must remember a useful rule. The expected duration of "action" allows you to focus on three basic areas.
- Option I – Several hours – priority will be given to isolation from the destructive effects of weather conditions. We can easily give up hunting and cooking, if we get into trouble in the evening, and after sunrise we will be 100% rescue. Then the most important thing will be to ensure that we do not get sick - not to get cold, not to fall into hypothermia, or to die of chilling. If we are also able to determine the expected weather in the area of residence - it is already 90% success. We must remember about accessories for lighting a fire, for building a shelter and water treatment, as well as appropriate clothing - waterproof, warm, windproof.
- Option II – 3 days – the greatest attention should be paid to ensuring a shelter and drinkable water. To the extreme dehydration in temperate climates may occur after about 3 days, and the desert area - after several hours. Physical effort significantly shortens this time, due to energy expenditure and increased sweating. Therefore, the necessary accessories will be: a skin bag with water, tablets for its treatment and various types of water filters.
- Option III – longer than 3 days – in addition to providing water, we must also think about food. After a few days without food, the body goes into catabolic mode and after using up all body fat begins to burn muscles. Therefore, we must ensure that this process is stopped by providing fresh protein reserves.
You will also meet with a practical approach to the most important issues, based on the magic "three": you can survive 3 minutes without air, 3 hours without shelter, 3 days without water and 3 weeks without food.
The list of necessary things should be created at the planning stage - first of all, we can immediately put on it equipment corresponding to the specificity of the place, and then there is time to add something to it, as opposed to packing just before leaving. In that case, for one hundred percent, we'll forget about something. In the meantime, we check the list twice to see if it contains the most important elements, and when packing, uncheck items that have already been secured.
For the rest, there are a few basic points to keep in mind:
- Building a shelter
- Protection against cold and rain
- Ensuring fire
- Preparing a meal
And here we can divide humanity into two types of people: those who will make most items for themselves and those who always have a ready gadget at hand. Either way, the necessary items will be:
- A good waterproof backpack
- Hunting knife
- Pocket knife or multitool
- Hatchet or ax
- Tinder / lighter / matches (waterproof)
- Insect repellent
- Toilet paper
Of course, this list is just the beginning - if we're not survival experts, I suggest you don't forget to add a few necessities:
- Tent and accessories (herring, ropes, (mat, sleeping bag, fleece blanket)
- Waterproof coat with a hood
- Flashlight and spare batteries
- Dry change of underwear and clothing
- Hook with line
And what to do when we are there, with the equipment that we were able to take? First thing: building a shelter. In given conditions, it is necessary to ensure that the entrance to the tent / hut is from the leeward side, if possible. The longer we stay, the more solid shelter we need, but in each case you should take care of preparing the ground. Lining with branches, use a mat, if possible, a mantle, a blanket or anything else we have. In a moderate climate and further north, thermal insulation from the ground will be the most important. The further south, the more important will be to raise the "floor" above ground level to protect against the visit of most insects and reptiles. Majority.
To build a hut, we can use a trunk of a fallen tree, leaning on another trunk, erecting a wall structure on their skeleton. We can build simple sheds or really solid huts. But the ideal solution is to have a lightweight tent that is easy to unfold, which will perfectly isolate us from fauna and flora, from weather conditions and allow for a comfortable and safe sleep.
Having taken care of a shelter, we need to stock up on water. Of course, we have a chance to choose the right place for camping, near running water - rivers, streams. We must remember that, depending on the climate zone, herds of different animals will go to the same river at night and at the crack of dawn.
If the environment does not provide natural watercourses, ensure that all available water is collected. Precipitation - rain and snow provide water free from mechanical impurities, so it is worth having some collection vessels and do not dispose of plastic bottles under any circumstances. Trees and other plants, eventually animals. Yes, animal blood can be an important substitute for water, although the amount of parasite it can abound puts it at the end of our list.
Regardless of the courage we can show in the face of danger, pain and suffering, there is no logical justification for drinking water straight from the stream. Today, we can buy cheap and effective water disinfection and treatment agents as well as mechanical filters, which is enough to ensure safety. A simple filter can be made by ourselves, alternately placing charred wood and sand with layers of material. This will filter out mud, sludge, plant and animal remains. Carbon should react with some chemical contaminants, and the treatment tablets will do the rest. Boiling water for at least 10 minutes will do the job too.
Food – the third of basic survival conditions requires a little more effort. We start with the simplest - we look for fruit and bird eggs. By the way, we collect branches of pine or spruce and rinse with boiling water to rinse the wax coating. The needles are rubbed between the stones and bring the infusion to a boil. Similarly, we can grind birch bark or brew wild roses.
Survival specialists advise on setting up animal traps, which I probably can't do here, but I have to point out that in a life-threatening situation everything should be done to preserve this life. Personally I do not like setting up snares, and recommend the implementation of the spear and bow.
The comfort of taking full camping equipment should result in expanding our list of kitchen equipment. We can also simply get an incandescent lighter, gasoline or ... tinder. And, of course, a mess tin, a cooking can, whatever we cook and eat food in.
We can also provide food: military food rations, packed food, high energy food...
And if we rely on what she gives us or maybe I can put it more accurately - mother nature will let us pull out, it is also worth learning about plants useful in field kitchen. Even if we manage to catch an animal, a bird, a reptile or even a fish, we will not necessarily like it after cooking. Always walking around the forest or meadow try to see the gifts of nature that will allow us a little luxury even in the most difficult moments. Why not? Survival depends most on one factor – the psyche. If we are able to think positively, direct our thoughts towards the loved ones, then, as we get colder, more tired and hungry, we will feel discomfort and loneliness, we will endure worse the hardships of hiking or camping. At such a moment, nothing increases your spirits like a warm, tasty meal. Therefore, I encourage you - train at home to prepare simple sauces for meat based on forest fruits - berries, blackberries and even rowan. The topic is worth developing in another article, so soon I will tell you the secrets of green cuisine, using products such as mushrooms, flowers, rapeseed leaves, nettle, yarrow ... and many others.
A keen observer will see among the plants those that will allow us to survive not only hunger, but also a cold or infection. Simple things can be effective: find wicker shoots and cut one into pieces, boil for 5-6 minutes, and you'll get ... the perfect natural equivalent of aspirin.
I don't need to tell you about the antiseptic properties of plantain, sage, chamomile or nettle?
Survival or ordinary bivouac on the hiking route, the rules of conduct are the same. The differences are only in inventory and forced ingenuity. This article barely touches the most important issues in communing with nature, therefore it will be the beginning of next topics, next articles and I hope - discussion.
After reading, I encourage you to try to create your own list of equipment that you would take for camping. Maybe I forgot something?
1 Loose quote from the movie "Black Hawk Down," directed by Ridley Scott, written by Ken Nolan, based on the book "Black Hawk Down" by Mark Bowden