Ask Survival Coach: 3 Things to Bring into the Wild

Dear Survival Coach,

I have a strong urge to to reconnect with mother nature for an indefinite amount of time. I’m going bare bones.  What 3 things should I bring with me?

Anita Reconnect, Ducktown, TN


Dear Anita,

We’ve all been there – Mother Nature’s call to the wild is strong and you should listen. Do you have a “bug-out bag”? If so, much respect to you for being prepared. If not, I’d suggest these three things.

I’m not talking about some little girly knife. It needs to be sturdy, well built, and as indestructible as possible. In this case bigger (as in blade length) is not necessarily better. Grab a knife that has multiple blades, can saw through a small limb, includes tweezers to yank that thorn out of your arm, perhaps integrates a compass, and on, and on, and on.

Not to make a shameless plug to the guys who sponsor this blog, but if all hell broke loose, my first grab (other than my bugout bag) is my Swiss army knife. Like a bugout bag, a good multitool SAK is like cheating – the whole asking a genie for more wishes type thing.

Fire Starter
Don’t think waterproof matches; think about the big picture. You’re eventually going to run out of matches, but you’re always going to need a fire. Moreover, unless you really know what you’re doing the whole fire drill, fire bow, fire press endeavor is going to leave you tired and frustrated (and probably cold).

Your best bet is one of two options. You could go for a magnesium fire starter, something that will give you 10,000 or more 5,000-degree strikes. Magnesium fire starters come in a variety of sizes and with various accessories. Also, and I haven’t tried these products but have heard great things about them, are the modern fire pistons. Cool new engineering based on a very old idea.

Seven-strand, 550 Paracord
Snag the biggest roll you can carry. It will help you rope together a shelter, hang a bear bag, make traps and snares (I’m stopping here, as this list could go on and on). Paracord is available in a huge variety of places so I’m not going to give you a link. Just make sure it’s seven-strand 550 – other variants, while good, can snap when say, traversing difficult terrain.

Note to Readers:  Email your survival questions to Ron Marr.