On the Grid

RECOIL OFFGRID - - Contents - By Pa­trick McCarthy

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 pm­c­carthy­of­f­grid@gmail.com. You can also see the lat­est prod­ucts I’ve got my hands on by fol­low­ing me on In­sta­gram at @pm­c­carthy10.

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