Just over two years ago, the concept of preparedness was something that the masses in many ways looked down on as doomsday horror. In true Swedish spirit, a 180° turnaround has since been made without blinking. Nowadays, it has rather evolved into a folk sport! If you really want to improve your chances for the upcoming apocalypse, you can take a look at how the bushcrafter thinks about preparedness, knowledge and gadgets!
It has been somewhat comical to see the large crowds go from bunkering face masks, gas masks and protective equipment. Six months later, there was a rush for toilet paper, and finally for water cans, camping stoves and canned food. Of course it’s a healthy thing to care about, but it is nothing new that you should have certain preparedness. It’s not wrong to have some things at home that can be useful if the electricity goes out or similar. In the old days, as in a few decades ago, this was more the rule than the exception. Above all, they probably also had a better idea of how to act if something unexpected were to occur.
Most Gadgets < Best Gadgets
There are endless amount of lists on what types of things you might need to have at home. Anyone looking at their preparedness for the first time may realize that he or she is not particularly prepared. Then it is easy to panic buy a lot of different gadgets that seem necessary to have.
KISS – Keep It Simple, Stupid
The same is true with preparedness in general. Too much stuff won’t help you, but a few well-chosen and tested stuff will get you by. When it comes to bushcrafting, these things might be a knife, axe, fire steel, a good sleeping bag, cooking pot, etc. For preparedness, these things can overlap to a fairly large extent.
The role of knowledge
When you are out and about in the woods and fields, you quickly realize certain things. First of all, it’s no fun to carry too much weight. You get pain everywhere and you don’t have time to enjoy nature. In true bushcraft spirit, the first instinct should be to minimize the amount of stuff in the pack. To go through it and see what you need and what you can do without.
Knowledge weighs nothing– Mors Kochanski
Knowledge is undoubtedly the best kind of preparedness you can acquire. You can carry the equivalent of a 4-page preparedness folder or 50 encyclopedias in your head and they weigh exactly the same. The same certainly does not apply to the equipment. It is not unusual at all to find people in distress from accidents and the like with equipment spread around them. Equipment that should’ve saved them on paper. However, it requires a willingness and a certain knowledge to be able to use them.
What does knowledge mean for preparedness?
You might think that survival skills don’t mean much to someone who lives in the middle of the city center of a Swedish city. It is enough to buy home a water bottle, a storm kitchen, some canned goods and dry food. If, on the other hand, you have to use the gadgets, you quickly notice that it would have been useful to have practiced a bit with the stuff first. The more you scale down on your equipment, the more you notice which areas you need to cover up!
An example of this is to simply try sleeping in a tent. In MSB’s brochure for if the war or crisis comes, they describe what to do if the heat were to disappear. Move the family into a room in the home and close up cracks and other things so that the heat stays in the room. You can even pitch a tent in the living room, which then forms two layers and double air gaps that insulate!
Condensation and the need for proper ventilation
A family of four exhales approximately 12 liters of water per day, which means approximately 4-6 liters per night. However, anyone who has slept in a tent knows how much condensation can form if you don’t open the air vents. Condensation on the inside of the tent fabric is an excellent way to cool down the air on the inside and even yourself if it gets so bad that it drips onto the sleeping bag! Indoors, everyone who has insulated old houses knows that the tighter it gets, the more problems there will be with ventilation, mold and other things.
Then heeding the advice to have a proper sleeping bag for your outdoor stays (and preparedness), instead of sealing all the cracks so that you are slowly but surely poisoned by bad air and black mold can be good to keep in mind!
Humans as problem solvers
The big reason why we are doing so well today is that humans are better problem solvers. The fact that I am sitting here today pressing keys and sending out texts that are read all over the world is an effect of the fact that we solved an enormous amount of problems. Problems which in the beginning may have been completely life-determining for a family, but which nowadays are more about satisfaction for the moment.
In a situation where preparedness is put to the test, you need equipment that is well suited to the type of problem you are facing. If, for example, it would snow so much that society would be paralyzed for a couple of days but electricity and heating still work, then you still have a fairly high level of preparedness where things that above all keep yourself and children occupied and fed are the most important.
Solving problems without electricity
If the electricity disappears, we end up in a completely different level for problem solving where problems such as being able to communicate, heat the home and buy food and other things will arise. It requires a new level of problem solving, such as the ability to stay warm, have larger reserves of food, fuel and certain hand tools.
Evacuations, what to bring?
In the next situation where you have to evacuate without being able to take more than you can carry half-running, you really have to sift. Electronics weigh a lot and are unlikely to help in this situation. Knife, axe, space blanket and a piece of food will get you further!
No matter what situation you expect for the scenario, it’s never wrong to go back to the absolute basics by being out and about in the outdoors with the least possible amount of equipment. Also consider which problems need to be solved and which tools are needed to solve them as efficiently and smoothly as possible!
A few things that I think are good for both bushcraft and preparedness:
- Camping stove
- A camping kitchen with fuel intended for the right number of people is worth its weight in gold for preparedness (and also for the bushcrafter sometimes)!
- Sleeping bag for cold weather
- Neat, thick woolen blankets
- Storm lantern & kerosene
- Open-air kitchen on alcohol or gas
- Space blankets
- A pair of well-worn, proper boots
Please comment below on what you think is good practice for preparedness! How will your bushcrafting skills aid you in different scenarios?
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