I cannot teach anyone how to survive in a short blog post, however I can give you the tools in which to survive. Because most of us will be travelling on the highways or the byways, chances are we will never get into the boonies where we will need many of survival tools that people would use while backpacking or hiking in the wilderness. In fact, the majority of our “survival issues” would be solved with a simple cell phone call to 911. However, there might be those times when the highways and byways just don’t cut it and we want a REAL adventure. We will go off the beaten path and take a few gravel roads (heck why not? It is time people learn there is another world out there – this is a post for another day however). So in this case, you might want to be prepared for no cell signal and not another vehicle in site for some time. Make sure you have a paper map of the area that you are going into however, because chances are, it is not going to be a road on your GPS!
Remember one thing here – the items below are tools, but the best tool you have is your mind. You can overcome almost everything if you think things through. You need to stay calm and don’t panic – easier said than done I know, but this is the key to survival. If you stay calm, you will be thinking rationally and not making rash and quick decisions which can turn out to be the wrong ones.
Don’t forget, you will be packing other “survival tools” with you as well. Your cell phone, your first aid kit, tools for bike repairs, maybe some rope or extra bungees, oil, gas and water. Do you have food or snacks already packed? Your mirrors on your bike work as signals to aircraft or ground crew if required. If needed, your battery can be used to start a fire or connect a single light as a light source. Use your head light to signal help. The stuffing in your seat can be used to keep warm. If needed, an inner tube can be used to carry water or used as a sling.
Here is a small survival kit I carry when going off the beaten path:
- A large clean empty tomato sauce (680ml) (or any large) tin
- Large pocket knife
- A fire starter.
- A survival blanket
- A large plastic lawn bag
- A small plastic garbage bag
- A travel bottle of Imodium
- A travel bottle of Tylenol
- A Multi-tool – the one with a pliers.
- 2 pairs of knee high nylon stockings (out of their packaging)
- 4 thick rubber bands
- A Micro-fiber towel
- Some band aids
- Two feminine napkins (the thin unscented kind)
- Small roll of electrical tape
- Pkg of steri-strips
- 2 bungee cords
- 2 large key rings
- 2 Kem lights, small
With a nail and a hammer, make a hole near the top of the can large enough to feed the key ring through. Then directly across from that hole, make another for the other key ring. Make sure that you tap the holes on inside of the can so there are no sharps that might cut you or anything you put inside the can. These key rings will give you something to hold onto when using or suspending the can.
The can is going to be large enough to put all of the above items into. When you have everything inside EXCEPT the Micro-fiber towel and the rubber bands, use the towel as a cover and secure it with the rubber bands.
Now I know you are going to question some of the items.
Starting with the can itself. The can is used not only to hold everything in one place but to heat water or cook food. To carry coals or hot rocks in. To transport burning embers. You get the point.
The Micro-fibre towel is multi-purpose and goes pretty much without explanation, as does the Band-Aids, bungee cords, Tylenol, Imodium and steri-strips.
The large lawn bag can be used as a rain cover, to lay on or as an under layer when riding in cold or wet weather.
Garbage bag is used to carry water, food stuffs you gather, you name it.
Now for the really questionable ones:
The two feminine napkins – used as gauze to dress a wound, they are much more absorbent than surgical gauges or sponges. Use as pot holders, shoe inserts to cover blisters, etc.
The knee high nylon stockings – used to strain water, tie things up, used along with the feminine napkins to dress a wound, a tourniquet or sling, add a few rocks and you have a weapon.
The survival blanket is used to wrap yourself up in at night to stay warm or during the day to stay cool. Use it as a shelter cover or a signal device.
You will be carrying rags for checking oil and to clean the bike anyway. Use these as toilet paper (you can wash them out in a river or stream so you can re-use them – I know – Yuck, but it works in a pinch).
If you need to “hibernate” until you can either get on your way or until help comes, find a spot where you can be seen but still have shelter. Try to find a place where water is close and easy to get to.
Remember, the key to survival is keeping calm and keep your wits about you. Those are your best tools and if you think clearly, everything else will fall into place.
This of course is not the most complete list and you may need to adjust it for your riding area and weather, but in most cases this will be a good starter kit without taking up a lot of space.