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Monthly Archives: August 2012

  • If You Didn't Bring It - You Don't Have It: An Example of Survival Basics

    Although stories of extreme survival aren’t unheard of, there are some stories that leave a lasting impression. Stories of ordinary people in dire circumstances strike us the most because they almost always occur in normal situations. Whether it's a young man trapped by a bolder or a couple stranded in the snow with a nursing infant, we often find ourselves wondering why they weren’t more prepared.

    For those of us in the survival industry, keeping survival items around is second nature. We realized that some don't take the time to consider all the bad things that could happen. Few people plan to be trapped in a terrible situation. Regardless, you can literally save lives by keeping even the smallest survival kit in your home, car, backpack, or boat. Aron Ralston’s harrowing tale of 127 painful hours best exemplifies how even the most knowledgeable can fail to consider basic survival guidelines.

     

    The Story

    For those that are unfamiliar, Aron Ralston is an accomplished mountain biker, rock climber, and avid outdoorsman. In 2003, Ralston was rock climbing in Canyonlands National Park in Utah when a suspended boulder trapped his hand against the canyon wall. Unfortunately, he brought minimal equipment and forgot to tell anyone where he was going. Armed with a gallon of water, five chocolate bars, two burritos, and a muffin, he began to try to free himself. Because it was only a day hike, he had nothing to keep him warm and no way of alerting people to his dilemma. Ralston desperately tried to free himself with his climbing gear as he recorded the event with camera equipment. He ran out of rations after 5 days and, with little hope of rescue, Ralston was forced to consider an extreme option. Using an off-brand Leatherman multitool, he freed himself by amputating his own arm.

     

    Preventable Mistakes

    Impressively, he was rescued just four hours after amputating his arm. Ralston left for his trip, trusting his skills with little equipment to back up his plan. Despite having enough food and water to last several days, his lack of emergency planning, signaling equipment, and protective clothing stands out the most. If it hadn’t been for a nearby family, the distance from help coupled with a lack of first aid could have done him in. Whether you are simply going for a day hike or preparing for a week-long trek in the woods, there are some survival essentials and skills that you must have.

     

    Always Remember

    • Make a plan and communicate with others; this applies to all circumstances. When going on a venture, always tell at least one person where you are going and when to expect you back. It is impossible to count on rescue teams when no one knows where to look.
    • Carry equipment that compliments the environment. Despite years of outdoors experience, Ralston brought only what he needed for that day. Always consider the possibilities of the environment. It is essential to carry several tools that can signal for help. Carry at least two signal devices: whistle, signal mirror, signal panel, or emergency strobe light, .
    • Educate yourself and practice skills before going into the wild. Ralston was educated enough to understand his arm would require more than a simple amputation. He was also acutely aware of his symptoms as he struggled with dehydration and loss of circulation. Knowing basic first aid skills and taking the time to practice is just the beginning.

     

    Aron Ralston’s bravery and determination for survival is most important survival skill he had and ultimately it saved his life. He faced desperate odds with little hope of rescue yet his survival psychology ultimately led him to safety. Ralston was an educated and experienced hiker and outdoorsman; however, his story best exemplifies the concept of “if you didn’t bring it, you don’t have it”.

     

    Remember - "Fortuna favet præparaverat  -  Fortune Favors the Prepared!"

    This entry was posted in Uncategorized on August 28, 2012 by Patrick Carey.

    Sources

    Ralston, A. (2004) “Between a Rock and a Hard Place: The Basis of the Motion Picture 127 Hours”.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aron_Ralston#Background

  • 6 Questions to Ask When Buying Survival Equipment

    As the survivalist and prepper way of life becomes more popular, the options for survival equipment become more diverse. Amazon alone features over one million results for ‘survival equipment’ and Google produces an impressive 16 million results. When we think of the ideal qualities in survival equipment: simple, effective, low-maintenance, and indestructible is just a start. If the options for fire starters alone could yield thousands, possibly millions, of results, people need a guide to help them decide what qualities they should be looking for.

     

    1. Does It Have Utility?

    The item should obviously perform as advertised but we value survival items that are multi-functional and offers utility for numerous tasks. Ex. is the emergency blanket strong enough to be used as a makeshift shelter?

    2. Does It Do What It's Advertised to Do?

    Many companies advertise items that ‘last forever’ or work ‘rain or shine’ but do they really? Consider buying two items and trying one at home; you gain practice while testing the reliability of essential items.

    3. Is It Durable?

    According to Murphy's Law, the conditions in which you have to use survival equipment will likely be very poor. Will it work under poor conditions? Will it work when it has to? How long will it last you? Does it have an expiration date?

    4. Is It Dependable?

    Survival items should not only work when you need them, they should continue to work regardless of conditions. A fire starter that only works 5 or 6 times will not be very useful.

    5. Can You Carry It?

    This has more to do with how the item will fit in your pack, pocket, or vehicle? Items should be light-weight and compact. Consider how much everything will weight together because food and water rations often make up a lot of weight.

    6. Is It Affordable?

    There are a lot of high quality survival items on the market yet not all truly offer high-quality utility. Fire-starters that cost $80 often feature identical designs compared to more affordable models and tend to be overly complicated. We tend to offer items at various price points in order to help customer chose what works for them.

     

    Depending on the item in question, there are likely other things to consider (customer reviews, child-friendly, etc.). However, the above questions apply to all of the items we consider for inventory. We pride ourselves on the methods and standards we use in choosing our products. We’ve spent years collecting and purchasing equipment based on our own survival adventure experiences. A.S.E. was founded following our own experiences trying to gather equipment for a series of wilderness treks. Our products are chosen based on personal experience, military knowledge, consistent research, and customer feedback in order to update and maintain our products. If you are looking for survival gear that meets all of the criteria and more, A.S.E. features kits, gear, and accessories for any need.

     

    This entry was originally posted in Uncategorized on August 11, 2012 by Brian Greenlee

  • Survival Equipment Requirements for Alaskan and Canadian Air Travel

    As survival and adventure enthusiasts, not too long ago we choose to plan several flights from the southern United States, through Canada, and into Alaska. As we packed our Cessna, we had to make sure we packed for every possible circumstance. Both Alaska and Canada require specific survival equipment before flying in their airspace, according to government regulations. Before our trip we gathered everything, we needed, plus a few extras, but we found ourselves struggling to find exactly what we needed.

    Through a great deal of shopping and research we finally had everything required: the equipment, the airplane, and our adventurous spirit. We found ourselves completely mystified by the beauty of the “Great Alaskan Wilderness”. As we few over 3,000 miles, we were shocked by how truly wild the Alaskan and Canadian wilderness truly was! After seeing the wilderness below, counted ourselves lucky for the survival equipment they required.

     

    Flying Through Canada

    Think of survival equipment as a secondary insurance policy. Although flying this terrain is considered safe, there is always a possibility of something serious happening, especially in areas where help is far away. Due to the vast expanse of unpopulated and wild terrain, Canadian authorities used to be extremely thorough in their approach to required survival equipment; however, deregulation has left rules undefined and vague. Canadian statues require the means for starting a fire; providing shelter; purifying water; and signaling distress. More information can be found at http://www.equipped.com/ak_cnda.htm

    The former regulations can be considered a guideline for all DIY survival kits. The items required were specific in terms of value and quality, for example acceptable rations are “Food having a caloric value of at least 10,000 calories per person”. They also required: cooking utensils, matches, compass, axe, flexible saw, a stove and fuel (certain conditions apply), 30 feet of snare wire, fishing equipment, a gill net, mosquito nets, tent, sleeping bags (conditions apply), snow shoes (when expecting snow), signal mirror, pyrotechnic distress signals, knife, survival manual, and a conspicuity panel (Signal Panel).

    Although Canada is known for its aggressive bear population, we DO NOT recommend carrying a firearm into Canada on your trip. Canadian Customs have strict regulations regarding firearms which may cause problems for you in the future; handguns are prohibited and all long rifles must be registered. Consider carrying an airhorn or other loud noise making device instead.

     

    Flying Through Alaskan Glacier Fields

    The Alaskan state laws are more lenient and less specific compared to former Canadian regulations. Found in the AS 02.35.110 section of the Alaskan statutes, air travelers are required to carry: rations for each occupant to sustain life for one week, an axe, first aid kit, a survival fishing kit, knife, fire starter, mosquito head nets (much needed!), and two signaling devices.  They also require a set of snowshoes, a sleeping bag, and one wool blanket per occupant during winter months. There is no longer a requirement to carry a “survival” firearm. More information can be found at http://www.equipped.com/ak_cnda.htm

     

    Preparing to Travel

    Any prudent traveler should carry at least the minimal survival equipment; enough to take care of immediate needs when rescue is far away. Although regulations are vague, it is essential to prepare for any possibility. For minimal expense, you can have a basic survival kit that could save your life.  Adventure survival equipment offers their own Alaska Aviation Survival Kit that was created in conjunction with Let’s Fly Alaska. Whether you purchase a premade survival it or make your own, remember:

    • First aid items can save your life
    • Always carry at least two signaling devices
    • Clothing, shelter, and fire provide essential heat
    • People can survive without food but water is an immediate need
    • Include a small, inexpensive survival manual, regardless of skill or knowledge

     

    Fortune Favors the Prepared!

    Information from this article was published in a copy of Cessna Owner Magazine and Piper Owner Magazine.  It is reprinted here with permission from the author.

     

    This entry was posted on August 9, 2012 by Brian Greenlee.

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