This is a series I’d like to start about wilderness survival. For those of you who do a lot of hiking, camping, canoeing or kayaking or even for those driving in remote areas, this series might help you if you get lost or stranded in the wilderness.
To start with we’ll talk about the Rule of Threes. There are variations on this rule, but in keeping with the KISS method here’s my version of it. Remember, this is for adverse conditions. If it’s a sunny day shelter might not be as urgent; however, don’t be lulled into a false sense of security. If you’re going to be out over night a shelter should be at the top of your survival to-do list. If it rains that night and you’re stuck outside without a fire or shelter it can go from miserable to deadly in a very short time.
Rule of Threes
- Air – you can survive three minutes without air
- Shelter – you can survive three hours without shelter
- Water – you can survive three days without water
- Food – you can survive three weeks without food
These are generalizations of course, but if you think about the order they fall in you’ll know what to work on next.
For example: if you’re on a canoe trip with your friend and your canoe tips over in some rapids you’ll want to work on getting out of the water first. (Obvious, I know, but work with me here.) Once you’re in no danger of drowning and you pull yourself out of the water the next thing you’ll need to worry about is shelter and getting dry – especially if it’s cold.
After that’s taken care of you’ll need some potable water to drink. You can filter it with a t-shirt, but there’s a decent chance the water will have various organisms that can make you sick. You’ll have to find some way to purify it before you drink it.
Once you have shelter, fire, and water you can then start thinking about food sources. Survival is a full time business especially if you start out with very little!
Just for fun I’m going to set up a little problem and I’d like to see how you’d solve it:
Problem: going back to the example above let’s say that you’ve tipped your canoe over on a camping trip and lost all your gear except for three items. I’ll let you choose the three items. (This is a spin off of a contest that Dave Canterbury ran over at his site.) Another condition is that you’re in the back country and you’ll be expected to survive at least three days without help. Here’s my last low blow – the only food you can have is a package of beef jerky that you had in your pocket. The rest of it was swept away by the rapids along with your cooler. Sorry, the beer and water is gone too. (Ain’t I cruel?)
How are you going to survive? Using the three items you were able to recover answer these questions:
- What kind of shelter will you build?
- How will you dry out? (The temperature up here in Maine in early May is about 55 degrees to 60 degrees F during the day and dropping into the 40’s at night.) Use the environment in your area as a guide.
- Where will you get potable water?
If you don’t have any idea about this, but are interested in looking for some answers on your own browse around the web and check out Youtube. There is tons of information out there about surviving in an emergency situation.
As to the three items think of what you would have in your canoe if you were on a week long camping trip. Would you want a tent and sleeping bag? An axe? A lantern or flashlight? A coil of rope? A rifle or pistol? Water purification tablets?
I’m going to come back in the next post and work on all the questions above. Bear in mind there is no one single right answer because as long as you survive you’re a winner!
Take what you have to work with and use it to survive any way necessary. Be creative and remember that a little knowledge goes a long way.
In the next survival post I’ll list the three items I’d want and tell you why.