On the Grid
The Myth of Cutting and Sucking Venom Out of a Snakebite
In Pocket Preps at the beginning of this issue, I mentioned how humans’ poor night vision puts us at a disadvantage compared to many other members of the animal kingdom. Fortunately, despite our weakness in that area, we also have a tremendous strength: our ability to create and use tools. So even though our eyes can’t perceive much in low-light conditions, we’ve developed portable flashlights and night vision devices to compensate. The development of tools is perhaps our greatest strength, and one of the main reasons we’ve been able to succeed as a species.
Keep in mind that knowledge, experience, physical fitness, and mental fortitude are all undeniably essential — Cody Lundin aptly reiterates the value of these fundamentals in this issue. But properly selected and wisely implemented gear will amplify your skills. Even if you have muscles like Rambo and the creativity of MacGyver, heading into the backcountry with no tools will pose a serious challenge.
When it comes to survival gear loadouts, there’s a full spectrum of philosophies, ranging from extreme minimalism to borderline hoarding. We’ll touch on a few archetypes below.
The Primitive Expert: barefoot, muddy, and calloused, this person is surprisingly adept at making the items he or she needs from little more than sticks and stones.
The Bushcrafter: still capable of skillfully crafting a wide array of traditional gear from natural materials, but also carries a basic kit of simple and highly-durable essentials.
The Old-School Outdoorsman: tends to carry a bit more than the previous categories, but leans toward traditional gear that’s stood the test of time — wool over synthetics, carbon steel over stainless, and a ferro rod over a lighter.
The Modern Adventurer: occupying the middle-ground position, this individual is rarely accused of carrying too much or too little. Their gear might be a few years old, but it’ll stay in use until it wears out.
The Gear Connoisseur: with the latest and greatest gear, this is the person you turn to when you forget something, because they probably have several extras (and they’re all made out of titanium).
The Extreme Geardo: like the Inspector Gadget of survival gear, this is the person who seems to have high-end products stashed everywhere from head to toe. Often found posting hashtag-heavy photos on social media, with customized gear from companies you’ve never heard of before.
Where does your survival gear philosophy fall on this spectrum? Do you lean toward minimalism and making do, or would you rather carry extra gear just in case? Let me know by emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also see the latest products I’ve got my hands on by following me on Instagram at @pmccarthy10.