The right direction

by Marty
(Choctaw, Oklahoma, USA)

Use your survival gear enough to trust it with your life before you have to.

Survival situations can be stressful and stress affects your thinking. If you have used your gear on multiple occasions before an emergency comes your way, you'll be much more prepared, hence confident rather than becoming stressed or panicky.

A friend of mine and I were caught in a blizzard years ago we were not expecting. It was November, and the day had been so hot I had taken off my shirt while buiding a hunting blind. A front rolled in, wind turned to rain which turned to sleet which turned to snow and the temperature dropped by about 60 degrees F. We had canoed in to our location over lake water, but the high winds made our return by water impossible.

We took a compass bearing and headed out overland. After a short time, both of us sensed that we were heading in the wrong direction in spite of our compass readings. We followed our hunch instead of our compass and nearly got lost.

Had I used the compass enough prior to the storm, I am certain that I would have had sufficient confidence in it to trust it and we would have made it out of a bad situation much more quickly and without the pressure that comes with fear and uncertainty.

Comments for The right direction

Average Rating starstarstarstarstar

Click here to add your own comments

hmmm, compass?
by: Shaykh Idris

Did you orient yourselves on site when you arrived? Did you test your compass before buying it? Did you find out the local magnetic variation before going in? Even without a compass, the sun in the sky is enough to sort out North from South. You are right to say that one ought to check the gear before it goes anywhere.

Sage advice
by: J Wooldridge

Let me first say what an interesting and informative blog that you have produced here, I can see that I’ve hours of catching up to do. Regarding this post, I couldn’t agree more with you about becoming familiar with equipment, or techniques for that matter, before they are needed in an emergency. Although I cannot be classed as a great outdoors man (one day?) I fully realise the benefits of being comfortable and familiar with new equipment and/or skills before having to rely upon them in a potentially life threatening situation. Without this ‘comfort of use' the outcome may well not be the one envisioned when sitting in your favorite arm chair dreaming of adventures instead of preparing for them. Keep up the good work my man and I look forward to more postings from you.

Testing gear before having to use it
by: Anonymous

I bought what appeared to be a nice mil surplus poncho in excellent condition, only to find on my first use of it in the rain that it made a good water filter. It filtered the rain as it seeped onto my cold wet body. I was glad that the task we were on was only a couple of hours.

Click here to add your own comments

Join in and write your own page! It's easy to do. How? Simply click here to return to Wilderness navigation tips.