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Thread: Most important survival parcatice in my opinion.

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    Junior Member Gary's Avatar
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    Default Most important survival parcatice in my opinion.

    Hello everyone,

    Well I made my first post in the introduction section so now it's time for a second. I have read several survival books and watch many shows (Man vs Wild isn't one of them) and there is one bit of prep that gets mentioned but in my opinion does not get stressed nearly enough. If there is one thing you can do that will vastly increase your chances of making it out of a survival situation alive is tell people where you are going and do not deviate from it. I know this is not a revolutionary new idea but I don't believe it get stressed nearly enough. You can have all the survival skills and gear you want, but if you get hopelessly lost and nobody knows where you went you are in big trouble. I always leave a note on the fridge for my wife even if I am going on a short hike and I know the route well. I also leave the same information with a friend. It tells where I am hiking to, the route I am taking and what time to call someone if I am not back. If I get injured or lost, it would be a huge psychological boost to know that search and rescue will be looking for me in the general area I am in. It's great to learn how to make shelters, start fires, procure water etc, all valuable skills to know. However, if people know where you are and that you didn't make it back at the time you said you would be back, chances are your survival ordeal will be a short one.

    Gary


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    Senior Member MrFixIt's Avatar
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    I agree. While being able to use the gear you have, if you get injured, that really throws the "simple day hike" into a level that I personally don't want to have to deal with.
    When all else fails, read the directions, and beware the Chihuahuacabra!

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    Super Moderator crashdive123's Avatar
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    I agree Gary - very important, and probably not done nearly as much as it should be.
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    Senior Member hunter63's Avatar
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    This was maybe done a lot more before cell phones and GPS's....now the since security is in you pocket...."If I get into trouble, I'll just call....."

    I can never really recall heading out with out discussing when, where, with who, the day/night before.....

    Great comment, and reminder..
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    I all but refuse to carry a cell phone or a GPS (map & compass for me) so I always tell my wife (who stays at home) what my plans are. Repeatedly. I talk about it for days leading up to a trip. I ALWAYS sign in at trail registries and sign out when I return. I can survive, but I count on that little practice to get me found. The areas I hike in are vast and anything I can do to narrow the search is to my benefit.

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    Wilderness Traveller Brooks Range's Avatar
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    Default I often don't tell people where I'm going to be...

    I know what you're saying, OP, and it's very good general advice.

    That said, losing the freedom to go where you want, and when you want, and to not deviate from a plan is a huge loss of liberty and a great price to pay for an additional layer of security.

    For example, this summer I spent 70 days living exclusively "off the land" in Alaska. It would have been totally impractical to tell people where I was going to be at a given time. I didn't know myself until the time came to make decisions. I think my safety depended on flexibility.

    It's similar when I go on a simple hunt in the backcountry. I try to give people a general idea of where I'll be, and when I expect to be out, but I reserve the right to deviate from the plan if conditions dictate. (Example: I plan to hunt south of Bobcat Road. If my pickup isn't there, look for it at one of the trail-heads along the Pine River Road.) One thing I won't deviate from is ignoring a solid return date.

    I still haven't forgiven a friend who once told me "if I'm not out by September 10, I'm dead," and then didn't make it out in time, nor did he call me right away when he got out. I'd already called the Troopers and our friends to get the rescue going.

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    Woodsman Adventure Wolf's Avatar
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    This is important. I always give my parents the day I am leaving, and the day that I am returning. I always make it back my return date, if not I know that my father will call everyone associated with rescuing stranded people in the wilderness, and then grab a set of bloodhounds to go after me.

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    Administrator Rick's Avatar
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    Attached is a Word Document you can use to leave with someone you trust.
    Attached Files Attached Files

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    Default agree with OP, write down details

    I agree with leaving a written and verbal note of one's travel plans in most situations in addition to a GPS messaging service that can be tracked by one or more people back in civilization for "some" more extreme trips. Most camping trips I take my wife and most of my friends and relatives have no idea what the place is or how to get there or who to call if I do not call in at appropriate check in times so I need to leave detailed information in writing.
    That movie "128 Hours" with actor James Franco illustrated the value of it. Some places just do not get a mobile or even GPS signal.
    If you are like me you already have local Sheriff, Game Warden, Park Rangers etc phone numbers programmed into your phone for favorite wilderness areas, NPS, NFS, etc so be sure to add these to your trip info list. My wife is very smart but might have a hard time finding the correct numbers. Some of these folks I know personally and talk to fairly often, she does not.
    Last edited by TXyakr; 11-28-2014 at 02:36 AM. Reason: add phone numbers

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    Secondary to a well written trip plan could be a Loraine GPS Tracking device or Spot GPS Messenger (read the reviews talk to people who use these). But these fail so IMO minimum time to call for a rescue if no signal is 24 hours, or for me about 3 days, for some people about a week or two, depends on the written plan with some variance depending on skill level, location, climate, etc.

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    Senior Member Highhawk1948's Avatar
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    Thanks Rick. Excellent way to communicate.
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    Administrator Rick's Avatar
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    I always like to include the local LEO number on that document. That way whoever has the document will know who to call if I/we don't return when expected. It might be DNR, county or state LEO.

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    A good idea I've heard of is to use some aluminum foil and step on it leaving a copy of you foot print. Put it on the dash of your vehicle at the trailhead. Leaving a pair or socks or pants you wore the previous day in your vehicle may also be an idea. It'll will serve as a starting point for search dogs to pick up your scent

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    Administrator Rick's Avatar
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    I've used that before. I also draw an arrow in the dirt with my boot to show direction of travel. I do that periodically. It doesn't bother the woods and will be erased with time.

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    Junior Member Gary's Avatar
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    Brooks Range...I agree with what you are saying. The post was geared towards most people who are going on day hikes or a couple night backpacking trip. Atleast for me, those short trips have a destination if not an exact route. If you are spending 70 days out in the wild (I'm jealous!) then leaving a detailed trip plan isn't practical. I spent 7 nights backpacking in an area called Stein Valley. Our group had no destination in mind, just start hiking and see where it leads us. The area is over 1000 square kilometers. My family new I would be in that area and when I would be back but that was it. I enjoyed having the freedom to go where looked good. Even that small amount of information would have been a starting point for search and rescue.

    I do backpack with a gps and have considered buying the spot messanger. Handy to have but electronics can fail so I would still like to leave as much information as possible before I head out.

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    Default Borrow electronics or pay friend who brought one, pay per use

    Quote Originally Posted by Gary View Post
    I do backpack with a gps and have considered buying the spot messanger. Handy to have but electronics can fail so I would still like to leave as much information as possible before I head out.
    I have been lucky to have hiked and canoed with other people who had expensive electronics (as a backup). One guy said his Loraine was pay per only the months he needed it (liked it better than Spot) another friend who occasionally worked as private personal security overseas had an older satellite phone that was pay per use. These saved on cost for them but are not always the best option. Sharing cost among friends is good, I try to remember to offer some $ toward such gear costs that are not my own. I also check coverage maps ahead of time where there might be a signal for my mobile phone's carrier to make "All OK & location call", and ask locals about extraction points etc. Talking to local LEO is always worthwhile, they often answer specify email question weeks before your trip. Park rangers probably avoid me lest they get stuck answering my 1000 questions. Like "heck even if he is violating the solid human waste disposal regulations, I recognize him from before, just pass on by and fast!!!"

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    Senior Member xjosh40x's Avatar
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    All great ideas. I'm fortunate to hae never been lost on a hike. Was lost overseas once with my team. But here were I hike and camp is easy enough to navigate although the swamps aren't as easily to travel. I always use Google Maps and determine where the roads, highways and house are in either detection. Drawing a range map. I can determine derection and time without man made items. So even if I get turned around or my equipment fails I can still make it to safety. You can have all the fire making and shelter skills possible but without some skills and know how of finding yourself home is more important. Yeah sure you could get lost for a week and struggle until rescue arrives and maybe make some money writing a book about the ordeal but I'd rather be home with my family

  18. #18

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    another important thing people dont know or practice is when you're hiking or just walking in the woods always keep looking back, because it will help ya know the torain. People tend to walk and never look back now lets say you get lost and want to turn around and work your way back everything looks totally different going back and if you didn't keep looking back every 5 mins or so chances are if you dont have a compass or a map, gps, ect. you might get lost.
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    Junior Member Tokwan's Avatar
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    I practice looking at the compass before going into the trail head...if I am heading East, then I know the road will be on the west....a good marker should the GPS fails.
    I'm a Gramp who is not computer savvy, give me a slab and the rock ages tablet..I will do fine!

  20. #20

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    From my experience, which I wont manifesto here, and feel no desire to do so...

    The greatest skill in a survival situation is to keep calm. Panic ALWAYS skews thinking and becomes a vicious cycle. It happens, but though the years, Ive just learned to say "screw it, Im gonna cop a squat and have a hot cup of Joe while I figure this out".

    Your first "Im lost" scenario never goes like you prepped for, you ALWAYS panic on the first... Ive been lucky to not be in the middle of no where and was able to recover with only bruised ego.

    After that you learn real fast, what to take on the innocent "day hike" that may turn into 48 hours! HA HA!


    EB

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