Miscellany: Notes from Byron Kerns Survival School - the Bare Bones class
If you ever get the chance, I recommend taking a class with Byron Kerns, a wilderness survival instructor who teaches in Florida and Georgia. My friends and I completed his popular "Bare Bones" course and found ourselves changed at the end; when you know what you need, it's easier to let go of what you don't need.
To give you an idea of what you're getting into, here are my notes from the class, minimally edited. This is not comprehensive by any means - we learned a heckuva lot more than what is outlined below:
Shelter Site Selection
Sunrise and Sunset - know when they happen.
Ground - ants. Above - limbs. Level - water drainage?
Use clear bag, rock to weigh down, most plant surface area. Pine trees work the best. As much sun on the bag as possible. Close tightly!
Priorities of Survival
Positive Mental Attitude = #1 priority
Two extremes - apathy/give up (not enough stress) vs. panic (too much)
STOP - Sit down, Think, Observe, Plan.
Fears - death, darkness, loneliness, animals, ridicule
Stressors - hot, cold, hunger, boredom, thirst, lack of sleep, weather, health, terrain, bugs
Purposes of a fire - morale, drying clothes, boil water, cook, light, signal, heat, protection, meat preservation
Wilderness First Aid = # 2 priority
Take control of victim
Look at injury - two circles is bad (pit viper), straight or halfmoon is good
Circular snake retina is good (except for coral), elliptical is bad
Is there pain/swelling?
Snakebite kit can be used as placebo
Wound - direct pressure (5-10 min), elevate
Other priorities - personal protection, shelter, fire, signals, water, food
Rule of 3s - 3 minutes air, 3 days water, 3 weeks food.
Fire starting - Fatwood/tinder, pile it, strike it with spark
Fire triangle - fuel, oxygen, spark/heat
Fire Method - platform and brace (allows control of airflow)
Smoke means either => lift wood for air, or you have wet wood.
"Gears" of a fire: first gear = tinder (ignite with spark), then kindling, then fuel
Iodine pills should be grey - they don't last long (a few months after opening)
Fishing - fishing line, tide pool, netting, hit 'em with a club
Signalling - three fires/stones/whatever = distress. White vs. black smoke. Intermittent signals. For attracting a plane - higher fire is better.
Trapping is very difficult. But fairly easy to make traps and snares. Takes days, even if you are good. Need to know animal behavior.
Weather prep. Tent condensation. Leave ego at the door. Wouldn't have gone if I knew the forecast. Can use tarp to shield tent. Buy good gear.
Positive mental attitude and overcoming fear.
Hypothermia (more clothes, close in)/hyperthermia (lay down, clothes off, sip water, elevate legs). Medkit contents: Tums, Melatonin, Antidiarrheal, Visine, Sunscreen. Allergic reaction - local v general. Fire burn = need water.
Alaskan Pack Strap Demo
MyTopo - agonic line. isogonic line. Lensatic compass is tough, though almost any working compass can do in a pinch.