Better Too Much, Than Too Little

Being only 13, I realized this situation all too soon. Ever been in a situation where you had needed something that you put back because you thought you wouldn't? Only to need it later on? I have, and it isn't a good feeling.

If you think you are going to need something at first, then take it. Do not second guess yourself, even if it is something that someone else may laugh at. So, you carry a little more gear, but that makes you more prepared then the rest if it is something that could come in handy later on. A good example of this would be a GPS. Yes, who would laugh at that? Really, who? I will tell you, people who think that a three mile hike is nothing to use a GPS for. But, what if you happen to find a path that you thought you knew and ended up way off course, and then a storm hit or worse, you become injured and you need assistance round the clock? Yes, you told someone where you were hiking (Or you should have, anyway) but, what if that one wrong turn you made meant you ended up 3 miles or so from where that spot was? It could take them an extra day to find you, or longer. A day that you may not have. However, you have a cell phone you can call and tell them your coordinates! But, wait, you didn't take that GPS because it was a short 3 mile hike, know what do you do?

Now, do you get the point that it is better to take more then not enough? Most likely not, as that was just one item. However, lets say you are going to go on a hiking trip in the mountains and you take the following items:

- Paracord (300 ft)
- GPS (Yep, making sure to take it this time!)
- Extra clothing
- Knife
- Flint and magnesium
- Flashlight
- Food for 5 Days
- The backpack with 4 Water bottles
- Cell phone
- Multitool
- Mini Survival kit (Fish hooks, 1 Sq Ft alum. foil, 10 ft rope, 30 ft fishing line, 2 sinkers, etc.)
(Not the best of a list, but, then again, this is to get you to the point that you should take more then enough then not enough)

Now, say that is only 15 pounds, and we are comfortable up to 30. However, you feel like you want to travel lightly, and the weather is supposed to be good.

Say, this stuff you looked at but thought you wouldn't need it, so you left it behind:
- Snare wire (None in the mini survival kit)
- Hatchet
- Extra Cell phone battery (Why would you need this anyway?)
- 2 AA Battery phone charger (Again, why?)
- Tent (The weather is supposed to be good)
- Sleeping bag
- Water filter
- Water purification
- .22 Pistol
- Tarp (10 x 12)

Alright, you think that extra 10-ish pounds would be too much for you to handle. Beside, it is supposed to be nice weather, and it is only a 2 day trip in the mountains.

Let's say we traveled to where we would be staying, and we go explore a little. Now, the weather was supposed to be nice, wasn't it? Then what was that loud roaring sound? Quick! You turn on the internet feature on your phone and her that there is a huge cold front going to be moving through and with it is coming some massive storms and fierce winds. It is going to hit in less than an hour. You get back to where the camping spot is, and you remember that you thought the weather was going to be nice and you didn't bring your tent! No problem, right, you will use your tarp. Oh wait, even that was too much extra weight for you to carry. Well, you could always set up that sleeping bag as a tarp! Wait, that was too heavy as well. Now, you are down to building a shelter. Alright, you quickly go to cut some branches from the pines to use as a shingle effect. But wait, you didn't bring your hatchet with you!

You go on the internet on your high tech phone and find out that there is a tornado warning only 20 miles west of you! Then you remember, you were just looking at the internet on your phone that you thought would work here. You quickly dial the phone number of your closest friend to come and get you! Right as they answer, your phone dies! Wait, the extra battery, that you didn't bring because the extra weight. The charger! Wait, we left that behind too, didn't we? So, you are now stuck with a storm going to hit in less than 10 minutes, in a makeshift shelter out of dead branches. You make with what you have, and eat a little to regain some of that energy. The storm hits and it rains for over 4 hours. Lets say we got about, 10 inches in that time. (A little much, maybe, but to get to a point) Alright, there is no problem, it stopped after 4 1/2 hours and the wind is blowing 50 MPH now. You are now completely soaked, so you change into your dry clothes.

The next morning you are going to leave the way you came in, but you are flooded in, since you did come up over a hill into a valley, then up a mountain. The way you came in is in 8 feet of water. You go to get a drink, but, all your water happens to be gone, and you didn't try to catch any the night before. No problem, you go to get some from the streams! Wait, you remember something you previously saw on TV about the water in the streams about how even the flowing water because of the recently dry years, all of it had some parasites in it, and all that is mixed with the freshly fallen rain! Wait, use the water filter. Oh, we can't because we didn't bring it!

NOW Do you get the idea? Good, because you should.

The main point of all of this is that if you don't bring enough, you could be miserable. If you take more then you need, you will use a little more energy, but you won't be miserable if something happens where you actually need to use that stuff.

The items as follows I always hear of people saying "Why? Who cares about that?"

Extra Cell Phone Battery - Your cell phone may not work where you are going, but what if it does for a few minutes? This could be extremely useful. What if you are lost, you have a cell phone, but your battery is dead? And you didn't tell anyone where you were going (Like you should have)? That extra cell phone battery would be extremely useful here.

2AA Battery charger - Same as above, except charging the other battery

Signal Mirror - Now, these IMO are debatable, however I do find that if you have an effective signal mirror, they are helpful. Let's say you injure yourself and you see someone flying over pretty low. Or you see some campers a ways away they can't hear you. If you had that signal mirror, and knew how to use it, you could easily signal where you are.

GOOD QUALITY Whistle - Sure, the toy whistles are better than your voice. But not as good as a high quality whistle in the least. With a good whistle you should be able to hear up to 2 miles away. If this is the case, then you should have no trouble getting help should something happen IF you are in a highly populate area. (Where people come all the time) Plus, it saves your voice.

Hatchet/Axe - Yes, they are heavy. Think of the advantages though! If you need shelter, you can cut branches for shingles, or for a lean-too. If you need fire wood and find a dead tree, look, you can chop it down!

Survival saw - Debatable, they may snap, however I have personally had great experience with them. They are very lightweight, and can help in the makings of a shelter, build a fare, or when worst comes to worst, make a small snare out of it.

Snare wire - Yes, snares, old fashioned! Use a gun, right? Wrong. What if your gun gets jammed, or the aim is off? Or you use all of the bullets and get no food? Exactly. You wish you had snare wire. When made right, these WILL catch you food in a day if you place them in a decent spot.

Fishing kit - Who needs it? Well, I take one, and when I needed food, after I set my snares, then what? You go set fishing hooks. In this kit, you should have - 12 Hooks (Pick your own sizes depending on where you will be fishing) 50 ft of 20 pd test. 100 ft of 12 pd test. 16 assorted sinkers, 8 jigs, some bait (If you need it) 20 ft of Paracord. Paracord you say? Yes. Tie some to a tree, then a tree across a stream/ creek if there is one. Then dangle hooks off of it into the creek/stream. No fishing, just trapping basically. Or if there are no creeks in your area, only ponds, then bring an inner tube and a decent size weight and float it out with the bait dangling.

Tarp - Yes, just bring a tent! No, don't just bring a tent. Bring a tarp and make a tent. Not that hard. Plus, it can be used for many more things than just a tent. Cover yourself up, waterproof your shelter, use it as a solar still, etc. etc.

Tube Tent - Now, these aren't the best by a long shot, but if you need a shelter and QUICK then use it. Just make sure you have a tarp or a garbage bag handy to block one of the holes and you have something as good as a tent

Garbage Bag - Large ones. Use them as a make shift tarp, makeshift Poncho, or tent. Very useful when paired with a tube tent. Make an actual tent (Almost) Cut it down the two seams, and then in half put one half over the back hole and seal it around it and the other the front hole but leave it hang to get in and out

Compass - You know what way to get out, North. But, how can you tell the direction? What happens if you head in what you thought was North and go South and end up even further from safety?

Blaze Orange markers - These are in NO survival kit I see. I say they are an essential. What happens if you need to start moving, and the next day people go thru where you were? Use these to mark your path. Make sure to have an adequate amount of them. Over 100. I would just bring a roll of the Blaze orange tape. That way you can make arrows on trees.

-Dale Reynolds

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