Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Improvising for Survival - Thinking in the Survival Mode

Self-Imposed limits on your ability to survive can be a real threat to your survival. One of the ways many people create problems of this nature is with their dependence on gear. Our society has evolved to the point where we live in an environment where “throw it away” and “replace it” has become a dominant part of our thinking. This type of thinking can actually get you into a lot of trouble when something goes wrong. It’s important to remember that in a survival situation, the “replace it” option may not be available.

Now there’s nothing wrong with having ready-made survival gear handy just in case. Unfortunately, gear more often than not gets lost, breaks or simply wears out. When this happens, you will need to be able to improvise a solution or devise a replacement of some sort. If you find yourself where a needed item is not part of your gear or is not available, your survival may depend upon your ability to improvise.

Improvising requires a change in the thought process we normally use. This can be accomplished quite easily by using a couple of simple tips to put your thinking on the right track. Here are just a couple of the ways that can be used to put your thinking into the “survival mode” and increase your ability to improvise.

1. Use your past experiences to come up with alternate solutions. One of the things most often required in a survival situation is the ability to cut something. If you find yourself lacking a knife, you only need think in terms of your past experiences. How many times in the past have you cut yourself with something other than a knife? Probably a lot more often than you care to admit, including myself. It may have been one of those cheap disposable razors, a tin can lid or a broken piece of glass. Any or all of these items could serve as replacement.

2. Think in terms of the basic function of the item needed.  One thing that serves a useful purpose in a survival situation is a container. Now you might have a need to carry anything from water to an injured person. The basic function is the same in either case and only the need is different. You could use anything from a balloon to a plastic baggie to carry water if necessary. Most often as not, if it’s water-proof, it can be used as a container to carry water. If you need to carry items of a different nature (like an injured person), you could use anything from a piece of netting to a blanket to create a make-shift litter.

Improvising for survival will require innovative thinking on your part to make sure you are able to get into the proper frame of mind to get into the “survival mode”. So the next time you look at a rock, think "hammer".

Staying above the water line!



Anonymous said...

Well stated point that needs to be said over and over - IMPROVISATION IS A SKILL THAT NEEDS CULTIVATION! Playing 'what can I make or do with this' is a great mind game.

One of my favorite multi-use items I carry is a hammock. Can be used as a rope, a gear sling, an arm sling (tuck ends into rear of pants after cradling arm), a chair, a rifle rest, a 'ghillie suit' (sorta kinda :^)) and oh yeah - you can catch a snooze too. All from a piece of kit that can be rolled up to fit a small pot, and weighs hardly anything.

riverwalker said...

To: anonymous 7:41

Those are some great ideas. You could even use a hammock as a make-shift net to catch fish with.

Thanks anon for the tips.


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