Now we will move to the physical aspects of preparedness as they relate to survival.
Physical fitness is a given when talking about preparedness, but a detailed discussion of it is beyond the scope of this article. Suffice it to say that it is of vital importance and if you aren’t in shape right now you’re at an extreme disadvantage. During whatever time we have left, it would be prudent to at least take some positive steps to improve your fitness level if you haven’t already made it a priority in your life. Survival systems, on the other hand, are equipment that anyone with even a minimal budget can acquire. Every good survival system has a specific purpose so that the elements within it work in a harmonious and orderly fashion. The purpose of these systems is to keep you alive. There is a commonly known Rule of Threes that prioritizes the actions for survival. The acronym SURVIVE is used here for its obvious ease of retention. As a note, the latter actions are approximate timelines.
- Safe Air and Shelter – You can only expect to survive three minutes without air and three hours without immediate shelter.
- Uncontaminated Water – You can only expect to survive three days without water.
- Rations – You can only expect to survive about three weeks without food.
- Vital Medical Supplies – You might survive three months without companionship.
- Impervious Position – You might survive three seasons without strategic defense.
- Versatility – You might survive three years without innovation.
- Education – You might survive three decades without knowledge.
These three carry kits are listed in order of their proximity to your person as well as their likelihood of use. The easily remembered numerical labels are unique to this article, though their contents should be familiar to anyone who has already started preparing. It is recommended that you assemble them in the order they are presented. These kits are not all inclusive, neither are they a laundry list of particular products to buy, since everyone’s going to lean towards their favorite brand of gear. An added value of this particular list is that it supports how one can prepare survival kits according to the priority of actions listed in the Rule of Threes.
#1 (ONE) Kit – On-person Necessary Effects
This kit is an everyday carry, more commonly termed EDC, but I want to add the emphasis that this kit should be on your body at all times. It might be in a pouch on your waist or in a pocket. However, it would not be considered a ONE kit if it is in a bag that is either carried or shouldered strapped, as that would require you to wear or carry the larger bag at all times, and this is neither practical nor realistic. The ONE bag’s major contents would include but are not limited to:
- A lightweight emergency blanket,
- A medical mask,
- A lighter,
- Water purification tablets,
- An energy bar or some equally dense caloric food,
- A small first aid kit,
- Quality 3” folding knife,
- LED flashlight*,
- A small multi-tool,
- A flash drive of manuals and literature of personal significance, and a
- Concealed carry firearm, if it’s legal.
#2 (TWO) Kit – Tactical Wayfaring Ordnance
This TWO kit would be placed in your vehicle in the event of an emergency that results in your having to abandon modern modes of transportation and end up on foot. Its primary purpose is to provide you with what you might need not only to get home but also to protect yourself from the elements and other obstacles that might hinder you from doing so. Its major contents would include but are not limited to:
- A warm jacket, hat, gloves, goggles, spare clothes, and a gas mask,
- A Life Straw or similar compact water filtration system,
- A 72-hour supply of food,
- A medium size medical kit,
- A quality 6” fixed blade knife, folding trench shovel, compass, and crank radio*,
- A tool roll (Carhartt makes a good one) with basic tools,
- Survival manuals and literature,
- Items of personal significance, and
- A compact semiautomatic rifle, if it’s legal (think Kel-Tec Sub-2000).
#3 (THREE) Kit – Total Hit-the-fan Resources for Escape and Evasion
This THREE kit would be more along the lines of an INCH (I’m Never Coming Home) bag. (Some also refer to this as a bug out bag.) It would be used if you ended up having no other option but to abandon your dwelling with no guarantee that you could return to it in the future. Its contents would include but are not limited to:
- A sleeping bag and/or hammock and portable (one that can be put on your back if need be) tent,
- A Hazmat suit,
- Portable water filtration system,
- Seven days of food and heirloom garden seeds,
- A full medical field kit,
- A machete/kukri, axe/tomahawk, bow (disassembled), field radio*
- Bolt cutters, carpenter’s square, bubble level,
- Self-reliance manuals and literature,
- Items of personal significance, and
- *Semiautomatic rifle, if it’s legal.
To those of us who are committed to loving our neighbor, making it to the back end of this perilous period of our nation’s and world’s history will require faith, resilience, and perhaps most importantly compassion. We are all connected to one another as human beings, and those who cherish goodness and truth only want the highest good for others. These survival Samaritans embrace the divine connection that binds all of us together. This bond parallels the commitment that mountain climbers have when they rope up with one another before they attempt a climb. There is an unspoken pact between them that if perchance one of them slips, the others are there to either take their weight and prevent them from falling or go down with them. It is this type of stalwart commitment that we must have for our families, communities, nation, and ultimately the entire world. We have almost reached the end of the line as far as our present destructive, bellicose, and spendthrift way of living goes, but that doesn’t mean that we can not nor should not “rope up” and start a new line for the arduous climb to redemption that awaits us. It is not what will occur in the future that is most important but how we respond that will dictate where we end up at the completion of this redemptive race.
In closing, I would like to recall a true story that is mentioned in a highly recommended book entitled Deep Survival by Laurence Gonzales. This tale is especially pertinent to those who might be feeling self-satisfied after reading this article because you already know most if not all of the information contained herein. The story is about a highly trained military man who was engaged in recreational rafting when he fell out of the boat he was in. The guide of the rafting party frantically attempted to reach out and pull him up from the water, since he knew the dangers that lay ahead. The seasoned combat veteran felt quite comfortable in his surroundings since his mental model of himself was of a soldier who had endured hell and back in a multitude of other seemingly more deadly situations. In his estimation, floating down the rapids on a beautiful leisurely day was a cakewalk, so he refused the guide’s help and calmly let his body be taken with the current. Given his training and fitness level he felt he had no reason to believe that he was in any kind of danger and was more than confident that he’d just float to a convenient spot downstream and wade to shore safely. The man died that day. As they approached a dangerous current beneath the water, a treacherous section that the guide was aware of, the exceptionally trained soldier got sucked underwater and his leg ended up getting wedged between two rocks. He drowned a few feet from the surface of the river. Now that man was probably a better survivalist than most of us will ever be, but he is no longer alive because he became overconfident in his skillset and did not respect his surroundings just one time. This story illustrates in a dramatic fashion how easy it is to underestimate our present situation even with superior training and fitness. It also reminds us that we should never be too proud or self-confident to receive help or advice from others. We are all in this together, and as experienced hikers know, you are only as fast as the slowest member of your party. Let us be generous with our knowledge, patient with those lagging behind in preparedness, and humble enough to learn something new about a subject, even if we think we know all there is to know about it already. Louis Pasteur is quoted as saying, “Chance favors the prepared mind.” I would like to add to the sentiment of that statement by asserting that the basics of survival favor preparedness.
May the challenges that are sure to come find you prepared.