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View Full Version : What does it take to Survive?



Sarge47
12-24-2008, 01:44 AM
There will be, I'm afraid, many answers to this question; but let's look at what's been posted recently. "What ONE item would you carry to Survive?"
"What do you have in your pockets right now to Survive on"? Probably the best was FVR's post on being "Neked with only a butter knife"! (remember TBWN & "only their knives & the clothes on their backs"?)

No, I'm not looking for list of all the "cool" survival crap out there, I'm looking for the "right answer", and here it is: What it takes to survive is the will to live, to overcome what ever crap-storm you're facing at the time. No one kit can cover every possibility, so every member on this site, by now, should have figured out on carrying the 10 to 13 "essentials" somewhere where they can grab them in any particular situation. Scrap the term: "Survival Kit" or even BOB. Hopeak mentioned his "man-purse". I carry a "War-Bag" with contents being swapped around depending on where I'm going. Right now I have several "Magic tricks" in there.

Some of you have accused me of being a bit abrasive, & that might be true to a certain extent; but that's only because I refuse to encourage the wrong mental attitude towards a life or death situation.

People with all the gear they would ever need have died, or come very close, while those who didn't panic & kept their wits about them did very well. It's an attitude. I'm not sure if it can be taught or not, & that's my question. I believe it was Remy who compared the "Survival instinct" in animals to that in man. My guess, at this stage anyway, is that you either got it, or you don't. I'll let others weigh in, & who knows, maybe I'll learn something in the process.:cool:

DOGMAN
12-24-2008, 02:01 AM
What does it take to survive?
I'd say the proper mind frame, and a bit of luck.

With those two things you can get pretty far. A survival kit is nice- but ultimatly a clear, calm mind is worth more.

Also, improvisational skills are a neccesity. Being able to seperate symbol from reality. being able to see things in there most basic form, and then making use of that. One mans trash is another mans treasure...you just gotta look at stuff and see the possiblities!

MCBushbaby
12-24-2008, 02:32 AM
"To Build a Fire" -Jack London

Kid had his matches, food, travel gear, mukluks, on a trail to a known safe zone, knew how to build a fire, knew the traps to look for, knew the terrain, knew pretty much everything and more. Hell the guy ran on dead feet a good distance too. Will to survive was there. But he underestimated the cold.

That was it!

So like Sarge says, people just up and die. But even with will, people still die. There is no hardfast safety net.

doug1980
12-24-2008, 03:13 AM
I think common sense is a big part of it. Determination, the will to live, ingenuity, and knowledge also goes a long way. I have called my kit a "survival kit" I'm guilty, more accurately it's a preperation kit for things I forsee happening. And no matter how much I plan, know the area, or skills I have can anticipate every scenario. And honestly no one knows if they have what it takes to survive unless it's happened to them. NO ONE.

Sourdough
12-24-2008, 05:31 AM
Sarge, I am going to say it is, "boots in the field time". More than the band-aids and problem solving equipment (survival kit) it is the skill to avoid the survival event in the first place. Like my hero detective Harry Callahan Say's, "a man has simple got to know his limits".

You can go to your "Limits", you can even look over the edge, you can even venture past there from time to time.

What you get with time in the field is a clear understanding of your limits, and this changes from day to day and hour to hour. You get a clear understanding of how your body is functioning moment to moment, and how much you have left in reserve.

As Zen Master say, "Know thyself".

At some point you understand that it is not you against the world. The wilderness is not the enemy, to be conquered.

It is you "and" the wilderness, the wilderness just "is". You become one with the wilderness, and see that wilderness is you.........;)

Pal334
12-24-2008, 06:22 AM
The responses so far show the value of these discussions. Pick and choose the tidbits that are most useful to you: ( I paraphrase some examples)

Jason: “I'd say the proper mind frame, and a bit of luck”.
Mitch: “But even with will, people still die. There is no hardfast safety net”.
Doug: “And honestly no one knows if they have what it takes to survive unless it's happened to them”.
Hopeak: "a man has simple got to know his limits".

And yes, I even enjoy reading our resident curmudgeon , SARGE J

Our elementary teachers taught one valuable lesson “Walk, don’t run”. Most decisions can be made deliberately without snap judgments

wareagle69
12-24-2008, 08:11 AM
sarge quote some have called me a bit abrassive ha thats like saying biting into a lemon is a bit tart.
anywho it has been said already really well so i will try to add. I agree with the will to survive(now ya know remy is looking back thru his post wishing he had not earesed cuz he had a four page dissertation on the subject odf wiil to survive) there have been many found dead with a full pack beside them and many found alive with nothing at all. Call it what you like- a good constitution or intestinal fortitude or what have you, it combines serveral factors
1- being comfortable in your envorioment. let me clarify that, it means not seeing the spot your in as the enemy as omg i'm screwed i'll never make it out of here
2- i'm not sure i agree with know your limits. thats the point of testing yourself and being in this situation will expand your limits or kill you
3- the ability to improvise-even with a full pack what around you can you use to help yourself out
4-the ability to calm yourself and think rationally-people have the misunderstanding that because you are a pro at something that you never get frusterated or panic or even have fear- many times in my pro althletic carrer i was scared but its the ability to back off breathe and drive on thru anyways
5- abit of luck- always said i 'd rather be lucky that good.

Sarge47
12-24-2008, 12:52 PM
Resident Curmudgeon? Harumph! Hey! I resemble that remark!:rolleyes: Well, like I always say: Call me anything but late to the dinner table!:eek: Here's a point I want to throw in. Over a year ago both my sister & her husband were in a real nasty car wreck! They live in a small town near here, & work in other towns so both were in my Brother-in-law's Chevy Silverado pick-up driving down a heavy fog-bound highway in the early-morning darkness when a car coming to the free-way off of a side road didn't see the stop sign & plowed right into them! My sister got the worst of it with a gash on her fore-head that has since made a cool-looking Harry Potter type of scar; a very bad break in the leg; and both wrists were broken so that she couldn't use her hands. My Brother-in-law suffered some leg injuries but the scary part was just starting. Both doors were severely jammed & neither one could move to get out of the vehicle. Cars were moving their way at a pretty good clip & just missing their vehicle as the fog was still there. If not for a motorist stopping, who used a flashlight to ward off on-coming cars it could have been even worse than what it was!

Now think about it! This is a Survival situation! Your trapped & unable to move, help yourself, or even be able to grab anything in your "Survival Kit", much less be able to use it. My sister couldn't use her hands until she had surgery & many months of physical therepy. Her husband had some leg problems but he fared better in the accident yet was still unable to help...& he's a former Army Ranger! Actually, the only hero to this story was the motorist who helped fend off on-coming traffic, (A local high-school principal, BTW) so he gets the credit. Here's the point! We don't get to "pick & choose our circumstances! It becomes a Survival situation when we or others near us are facing a very perilous situation!:cool:

backtobasics
12-24-2008, 01:24 PM
Resident Curmudgeon? Harumph! Hey! I resemble that remark!:rolleyes: Well, like I always say: Call me anything but late to the dinner table!:eek: Here's a point I want to throw in. Over a year ago both my sister & her husband were in a real nasty car wreck! They live in a small town near here, & work in other towns so both were in my Brother-in-law's Chevy Silverado pick-up driving down a heavy fog-bound highway in the early-morning darkness when a car coming to the free-way off of a side road didn't see the stop sign & plowed right into them! My sister got the worst of it with a gash on her fore-head that has since made a cool-looking Harry Potter type of scar; a very bad break in the leg; and both wrists were broken so that she couldn't use her hands. My Brother-in-law suffered some leg injuries but the scary part was just starting. Both doors were severely jammed & neither one could move to get out of the vehicle. Cars were moving their way at a pretty good clip & just missing their vehicle as the fog was still there. If not for a motorist stopping, who used a flashlight to ward off on-coming cars it could have been even worse than what it was!

Now think about it! This is a Survival situation! Your trapped & unable to move, help yourself, or even be able to grab anything in your "Survival Kit", much less be able to use it. My sister couldn't use her hands until she had surgery & many months of physical therepy. Her husband had some leg problems but he fared better in the accident yet was still unable to help...& he's a former Army Ranger! Actually, the only hero to this story was the motorist who helped fend off on-coming traffic, (A local high-school principal, BTW) so he gets the credit. Here's the point! We don't get to "pick & choose our circumstances! It becomes a Survival situation when we or others near us are facing a very perilous situation!:cool:


Lucky the passer by had a flashlight. That made all the difference.

Sarge47
12-24-2008, 01:34 PM
Lucky the passer by had a flashlight. That made all the difference.
Sorry, I just got off of the phone with my sister; I had assumed the fellow had a flashlight, but he didn't, he just used his body and arms to wave the vehicles off! Seems like the lights on the truck were out! BTW, the POINT to this post was about "not being able to choose our circumstances." Seems like most everybody has this "it can't/won't happen to me" attitude!:cool:

Pal334
12-24-2008, 01:56 PM
Hope no offense was taken on the curmudgeon remark was dealt with respect, one curmudgeon to another :)

Sarge47
12-24-2008, 02:04 PM
Hope no offense was taken on the curmudgeon remark was dealt with respect, one curmudgeon to another :)
The TV guide line-up summerizes the Jack Nicholson film "As Good As It Gets"
by labeling Jack N. as a "Curmudgeon". I guess we're in good company, huh?:rolleyes: Besides, what kind of Survivor would I be if I let silly things like this get to me? That'd make me a NUMPTY! Rather be a Cur...whatever.:D

wareagle69
12-24-2008, 04:55 PM
see told ya.
well i can't speak for anyone else sarge and maybe i am paranoid but i live my life evry day like it will happen to me today that is why i force my self not to get complacent about my gear or attitude as saying i truly like is complacency breeds contempt, allot of folks drive the same road evryday and i think after a while there gaurd gets let down due to familiarity i look at every bend in the road as what lies ahead today cuz ya never know

SARKY
12-24-2008, 05:52 PM
What does it take to survive.......In one word......ATTITUDE! What I mean by that is the proper mental attitude to handle anything that man or nature throws at you. That is why the system I use to teach is A.S.K. Attitude, Skills, Kit. People have survived with nohing bu he will to survive and people have died surrounded by everything they needed to survive....go figure!

hoosierarcher
12-24-2008, 05:59 PM
Force of will, heart, courage, intestinal fortitude, optimism, faith and a good knife helps.

Sarge47
12-24-2008, 06:51 PM
see told ya.
Yeah I know, that's why I started a new thread for this, figured he'd need the room.:D:cool:

Sarge47
12-24-2008, 06:55 PM
see told ya.
well i can't speak for anyone else sarge and maybe i am paranoid but i live my life evry day like it will happen to me today that is why i force my self not to get complacent about my gear or attitude as saying i truly like is complacency breeds contempt, allot of folks drive the same road evryday and i think after a while there gaurd gets let down due to familiarity i look at every bend in the road as what lies ahead today cuz ya never know
Absolutely! Most auto-related accidents occur within 25 miles of home! When going through the extensive training required to become a bus-driver I mentioned to my trainer that, at one point I was able to finally relax. He quickly informed me that I should NEVER relax, but always remain alert, which is what I endeavor to do all the time behind the wheel.:cool:

MCBushbaby
12-24-2008, 07:03 PM
Force of will, heart, courage, intestinal fortitude, optimism, faith and a good knife helps.

hmmm, I have to argue the faith parameter. Being optimistic that you'll come out alive, sure, but that someone up there will help you? No place

Sarge47
12-24-2008, 07:07 PM
hmmm, I have to argue the faith parameter. Being optimistic that you'll come out alive, sure, but that someone up there will help you? No place
I'm a die-hard believer, yet I agree with Mitch. Someday we all will die & that time might very well be in a Survival situation! I like the way our Native Americans say it: "It's a good day to die"!:cool:

Sourdough
12-24-2008, 07:19 PM
"It's a good day to die"!:cool:


:eek::eek::eek: On the day BE'FOR Christmas, No thank you, April 15, maybe.:eek::eek::eek:


My poodle bought me a new SWT for Christmas. Not a good day to die..........

skunkkiller
12-24-2008, 07:40 PM
not april 15th thats my wifes b day and not a good day to die .

SARKY
12-24-2008, 07:43 PM
No matter your belief system,
"death is not the end, but the continuation of the path we are on" Gandalf the White.
Faith in yourself, faith in abilities, faith in rescuers to find you in time, fith in your loved ones to carry on if you don't make it, faith in something greater than yourself.
All of these add to your attitude.

skunkkiller
12-24-2008, 07:43 PM
it is not a good day to die unless in battle and with honor or saving someelses life ...attitude is the only thing you lose it you die.

MCBushbaby
12-24-2008, 08:04 PM
...attitude is the only thing you lose i[f] you die.

"I just killed a hundred blitzing mongols by headlong rushing them with a 6ft sword, hand-madeby the best ****ing forge in Rome! You should've seen it - I was smashing steel and ripping those ****ers to pieces when some random arrow comes out of ****ing nowhere and get me in the skull! So I rip that bastard out and go on bashing skulls until I realize I tore half my skull away 'cause of that arrow. So what? I'm pouring blood and guts but I'm giving as much as I'm taking! The dust is all around me and I run into a ****ing pike! Gored on this thing, I grab it and pull the bastard on the other end close enough to stab him through the neck! Aha! It was brilliant! But now I'm dead and talking to you in heaven... what's there to do up here anyways? Oh no matter, that angel over there just gave me the stinkeye. Time to bash some ****ing angel heads! CHARGE!!!!!!!!!"

larmus
12-25-2008, 05:13 AM
your mind is the most valuable piece of equipment you own... if you can keep your cool, dont panic and keep your mind thinking, you can overcome anything set before you... once you overcome your fear, you will begin to think clearer and then try and figure a way out of your current "problems"...

Leighman
12-25-2008, 03:02 PM
I go with "attitude" and "will" as was recently revelaled to me by my landlord.

"Jack" is a retired, soft-spoken gentleman. One summer day we were chating in the backyard and I mentioned how hot it was.

He told me how "hot" is nothing but that the "cold" is everything.

Turns out Jack was in Korea (7th Infantry Divison, I think) and stuck smack dab in the middle of the Chosin Reservoir.

He quietly told me how tamely the history books treated the ordeal.

Gear? None to speak of for that enviornment. The much-needed insulated rubber/leather combat boots never arrived. Plucking the better boots from dead GI's was par for the course but away from the view of combat phtographers (for obvious reasons).

Nor was the weapons grease to lube their Garands always avaliable.
They often (and collectively) urinated on the frozen actions to thaw them out.
If someone died and dropped an unusually 'loose" M1, another GI quickly picked it up as a loose and sloppy action worked better in those conditions.
Being a gun nut I asked him about the M1's accuracy.

"Accuracy doesn't mean squat if your rifle's action won't cycle and you can see thousands of crazy Chinese pouring over the hills 2000 yards in front of you!"

Resupply of small arms ammo was difficult and Jack told me the the commands of "retreat" and "fix bayonets" was heard too many times.

He said he didn't think of God, gear, or Country to survive.
He thought only of the guys around him and of killing more of the enemy than they killed of us (the old B&W photos he showed me were a testament to his "survivor" mentality).

He said all he wanted was to do his job and get the Hell out of that horrible place as fast as humanly possible....and he did just that.

Wilderness survival vs combat is very diifferent of course, but the human element of "attitude" and "will" are constants.

Gear is somewhat subjective; the human will to survive is not.

minuteman
12-25-2008, 10:31 PM
Ultimatley there are 2 things that can save you in a survival situation. Will Power and Knowledge.

1. Will Power
If you lose the will power to survive, then all the survival gear imaginable will not help you. You will simply die. Stay focused and utilize your imagination. Constantly be thinking of what you can do to better your situation and improve your odds to survive.

2. Knowledge
Your mind is the most powerful survival tool you have. There are minimalist survivalists out there who have learned to survive 100% off the land utilizing the bounty that Mother Earth provides. It may not be easy, but it can be done. All the survival gear in the world can't help you if you don't know how to use it. I recommend learning primitive survival skills so that if that dredded day comes and catches you off gaurd and unprepared, without your bug out bag, 72 hr kit, survival kit or what ever you choose to call it. You will still have an edge on survival being able to utilize the back to basics primitive survival skills that you have learned.:eek: