The night that got me into "Survival"

Share a survival experience with us and explain what you learned from it. You might help someone.

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Mrbeefy
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The night that got me into "Survival"

Post by Mrbeefy » Tue Sep 25, 2012 12:09 pm

So here's the tale: This April my sister passed away. We Natives have a tradition of keeping a fire burning from the time of your loved one's death, through the wake period until the funeral. Thus fire must stay burning and be attended by at least one man until the funeral. As you can guess it's hard to get people even in your family to come and keep the fire. I understand that people have their own lives, jobs and families so it didn't bother me that I was up there every night until 8M when I'd get some relief.(My boss gave me 3 nights off of work and I have no children) One night in particular, my brother and I were tending the fire and we could see a storm rolling in before sundown. I had nothing on me to prepare for this. We managed to salvage an old tarp from the back of my brother's van. We managed to locate some 2x4s with nails portruding from one of the ends, it apeared they were used to create a fire shelter before. We were then without any lashing material. Luckily we found some old clothesline laying about. Now I was without a knife. My skewed thinking was "Why bring a knife to the church? What would I need it for?" By this time the rain was dumping buckets on us. I made a failed attemp to burn through the rope with a bic lighter in the rain, I finally realized we had an axe laying in the wood pile so I retrieved it and proceeded to make some foot long strips out of the clothesline. I lashed the tarp to the garage we were burning next to at the church while my brother stood the 2x4s up as the front of our shelter. We then took the two remaining strips and tied the 2x4s to some big firewood chunks that we couldn't split with the axe. Of course by the time our shelter was complete I was soaked to the bone and it was approximately 45 degrees out. I removed my denim jacket and began drying that on a string between the two 2x4 uprights and sat shivvering in my fleece sweater. My brother was just as bad, he wore just a hoodie. About four hours of riding the storm out in our rickety tarp shelter taught me a few things: Always be ready for rain, that rain sapped my energy because I was so cold. I was only there for four hours when my Uncle came to relieve us and we left cold, tired and hungry.
1) Put a simple tarp in the trunk of the car
2) I now have a survival bracelet in case of an emergency need for cordage
3) Never leave my EDC knife home. I now know that I can always leave the knife in my car if it's not welcome anywhere.
4) Keep some stable foods in the car. A simple granola bar for the two of us would have done wonders. A bag of trail mix would have made it a "wonderful" experience I think lol.

I just wonder what would have happened if we were stranded out in the woods on a fishing trip? Let's say the truck broke down? Luckily I was close enough to home where it didn't matter and the whole ordeal was really only 5 hours long.
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Re: The night that got me into "Survival"

Post by Neddog » Tue Sep 25, 2012 6:51 pm

Indeed, I always have enough survival gear on my person to build fire (of course this wasn't necessary in your case), build shelter, contain water, hunt and snare small game, dress said game, etc. More appropriate to your example of being lost in the woods on a fishing trip than your church situation, but I'm sure you would have given anything for a knife and cordage while trying to burn through that clothesline!

This is the PSK (Personal Survival Kit) I carry in my pocket and around my neck... Takes up less space than my wallet and coin purse, and can be carried even during business meetings.

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Re: The night that got me into "Survival"

Post by Mrbeefy » Tue Sep 25, 2012 8:18 pm

I have now made two PSK for myself one in an altoids can with a couple razor blades for cutting that I can take to work and another in a larger tin big enough to hold a space blanket and a little knife. I leave the larger one in the car in the center console but it does fit in cargo pants pocket or the back pocket of regular jeans should I need it. I have gotten my wife on board and built her one for her purse ! :clap:
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Re: The night that got me into "Survival"

Post by Kutter_0311 » Tue Sep 25, 2012 10:57 pm

Sorry about your sister.

Nice work on the shelter! Way to improvise, adapt, and overcome!

Cold weather with rain can be a killer in our AO, MrBeefy, and I've had my share of it, too. I started investing in milsurp goretex as soon as I could get my hands on some, and it's my EDC when the weather gets the least bit chilly. During warm weather, it sits rolled up in my car, waiting.

When I was young, my dad hated on my milsurp, it wasn't 'quiet' enough for him. I'll admit, the early stuff was noisey, but at least you were dry, and if you're dry you have a half a chance to stay warm.

The hand-me-down hunting stuff my dad gave me was about 30% useful, and about 70% crap, so I bought my own as fast as I could!
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Re: The night that got me into "Survival"

Post by Mrbeefy » Sat Sep 29, 2012 5:05 am

Thanks for the kinds words Kutter.

Yeah, cold/wet weather gear should be part of our gear on a beautiful sunny day in the middle of July here in N.E.WI !
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Re: The night that got me into "Survival"

Post by JohnE » Sun Sep 30, 2012 12:04 am

No offense intended and you have my sympathies for the loss of your sister but why didn't you go inside the van?

Sounds like it was parked nearby, why not use it?
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Re: The night that got me into "Survival"

Post by Kutter_0311 » Sun Sep 30, 2012 12:29 am

I think many would consider the van a bit outside of tradition, JohnE.

I'm not Native, but I can understand the sanctity of their traditions is generally more important than comfort.

Anyway, fine Scottish Wisconsin weather! Any time the rain falls straight down is good. Sideways rain is a bad omen.

It's colder, too :wink:
JAYNE COBB wrote: Well, what you plan and what takes place ain't ever exactly been similar.
TravisM.1 wrote:If a rifle is an option, a rifle is usually the answer.
minengr wrote:I've said it numerous times, a quality rig is only as good as it's weakest link. Which usually is the nut behind the butt.

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Re: The night that got me into "Survival"

Post by Mrbeefy » Sun Sep 30, 2012 2:40 pm

JohnE wrote:No offense intended and you have my sympathies for the loss of your sister but why didn't you go inside the van?

Sounds like it was parked nearby, why not use it?
What Kutter said ^

The fire must be attended at all times. I made the connection to a survival situation because in our minds we really didn't have that option. I was just imagining if we were miles from civilization caught in a storm. Could have been deadly to the unprepared. Got to get working on some gore-tex too, still on the list.
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Re: The night that got me into "Survival"

Post by Flying Lead » Sun Sep 30, 2012 8:00 pm

So sorry for the loss of your Sister.

Nice to see someone think on the fly. I wish my crew at work could do so well.
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Re: The night that got me into "Survival"

Post by TheLastOne » Sun Sep 30, 2012 10:05 pm

I think that's a great tradition. Good for you for going the distance to make it happen. I'm sure your sis would have been proud and grateful for your efforts.


1st world humans are quite spoiled. It is remarkable how small changes in our environment etc can nearly kill us.
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Re: The night that got me into "Survival"

Post by Vicarious_Lee » Sun Sep 30, 2012 10:35 pm

Awesome story and I'm sorry for your loss.
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Re: The night that got me into "Survival"

Post by killr7 » Sat Oct 06, 2012 4:39 pm

Mrbeefy wrote:The fire must be attended at all times. I made the connection to a survival situation because in our minds we really didn't have that option. I was just imagining if we were miles from civilization caught in a storm. Could have been deadly to the unprepared. Got to get working on some gore-tex too, still on the list.
If you want a good deal on goretex check out some of the mil-surp websites. I just picked up a like new Flecktarn goretex jacket for about 20 bucks. They had similar deals on other older patterns.
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Re: The night that got me into "Survival"

Post by Mrbeefy » Mon Oct 08, 2012 5:11 pm

definitely have to check tht out.
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