In the course of everyday life, each of us faces a number of moments, that help us learn something about ourselves, or we teach others, and even in teaching, we are learning something about ourselves. And in these moments, we are also defining ourselves, to others and to our own self. This process is called life, it is how we gain wisdom, even through our mistakes and failures- and often more is gained from failing than prevailing.
It’s from these failures, euphemistically and propitiously called, ‘experience’, that I share my little hit list of things that everyone could benefit from carrying on them at all times.
So what are the things that everyone can carry, all day, every day, that give you the best chances of survival in any situation, be it natural disaster or man-made situation?
This Simple device can help you cook food, boil water, make a signal, cauterize wounds, keep animals and insects away, as well as keep you warm, give you hope, help you work at night on camp craft and tools while it’s dark and in the absence of a structure for shelter, it can make a camp better. It can even be used to harden improvised knives and spears. In short, the FIRE can directly or indirectly give you all 8 basic survival needs. (I know, how does it help navigation? Try going through the dark without moon illumination, just to get more firewood or leaves for your bedding in the dark without it.)
There are many kinds, I carry both the Zippo style and Mini-Bic, they both have pros and cons, but the key is to carry the gift of the gods in your pocket at all times.
There are other cool factors to always having a lighter, even if you don’t smoke, you can give a light to someone stressed out after a major event, help a damsel in distress or give a brother a light. You can use it to start a conversation and gather “intel”, if so inclined, or just have handy for little things like burning fray strings off a suit, etc. Bottom line, they are a real tool and real cool and you can never go wrong to have one, and that, to me, is Grunt Style!
Yes, this is old school, but it was around for a reason. Yes, we have tissues and hygiene can be an issue if you use it to blow your nose a lot, ha! But these forgotten tools are more utilitarian than one might think at first blush, so let’s look at a few uses for the ‘Hanky’.
- Field Dressing for wounds, MEDICAL
- Strainer of pond water and used as primitive filter, WATER
- Net for catching minnows or for carrying gathered wild edibles, FOOD
- Some of the edges can be cut off to use as tinder, FIRE
- They can be used as hat, gloves, face mask, neck warmer, SHELTER
- They can be used with rock tied in it and slung as weapon, TACTICAL
- A brightly colored one can be tied to a pole or tree and used as SIGNAL
- And they can be used to draw a map on to help orienteer, NAVIGATIONAL
There are many, many more uses for the old handkerchief, in fact, a book can be written on it as the scarf, cravat, shemag, what have you is an ancient tool, for a good reason, it is simple and universal. The handkerchief is for the ever-ready Grunt Style.
ALTERNATIVELY- Always wearing a Grunt Style T-shirt, whether it’s your main top or under your button down, the T-shirt is a great Improvised replacement for a handkerchief. I have torn the sleeves off my T-shirts many times, to use as a dressing or in much the same way I’d use my scarf. In fact, I even did it on one TV show, Man, Woman, Wild on Discovery Channel while in Kentucky. (See Photo)
This goes without saying for almost anyone, but the knife is also an ancient tool with thousands of uses and easily helpful in ALL 8 categories, too.
The Key is to get one you like, can use ‘well’, and ALWAYS CARRY. It doesn’t help to leave it at home half the time, as the time you leave it, is the time you need it. I use mine to help women and children almost daily. Just getting toys out of packages, or opening some difficult product, the knife is more than a dangerous weapon, it’s a proper tool of the thinking person, making it Grunt Style. Check out the Hawke Brand Knives.
It is often one of the most under-appreciated and most needed items for any survivor. The uses for string are unlimited and cover all 8 areas. The best way to always have string is to have footgear with laces. The best way to max out those laces is to replace them with 550 Paracord. There are many types on the market and since they have 7 strands of string inside, some come with a Teflon strand that can saw through wood and a flammable strand that is easily used as fire starter. I always carry excess and cut off the ends as my first pull when I need cordage fast, and I still have full lace function and can replace the string when I get back to Fort Living room, but it’s a lot easier than making cordage from roots and bark, any day!
When I say hat, everyone knows what that means. Most folks understand we lose most of our heat through our head and perspiring is one of the main causes of dehydration. A hat can serve many other functions such as a carrying device, signaling, sitting, on, etc. I use mine to carry stuff. I had a survival hat made and any hat I choose has a pouch to carry a few key things. One thing I always carry is ALUMINUM FOIL. The Reason is that a device for boiling water is often one of the most needed survival items, and one of the hardest to make from scratch. Foil can easily be folded for storing, is super light and easily unfolded to make into a bowl for boiling water. Just think of those folks who wear foil on their head and you have the concept, a hat for your head with foil, or use the foil from your pocket as a hat and pot!
Bags have been around forever for a reason, they work for everyone, for everything and can only ever, be helpful and useful for a survivor. If you don’t carry a traditional backpack or side satchel, at least carry a lightweight, brightly colored trash bag. Those can be turned into improved shelters, raincoats, water carry bags, or even survival flotation devices. There are too many uses for a bag to list but everyone should always carry a bag, be it big or tiny.