Being prepared when you venture out, whether in Nature or driving your car, is always a great idea. Why would you go on a hiking excursion without water and basic first aid supplies? Why would you drive in winter weather without proper clothing and boots? It really doesn’t take much to put a cold weather pack in your car and leave it there for the winter. It isn’t difficult to carry a small pack, with a water filter at least, when hiking. Yet many people do just that. Many people wish they took the time to prepare.
That is basic, but with all the preparation in the world, you can still be in trouble…if, when the time comes, you panic. Your brain is the number one survival tool that you have. The key is to keep it under control. Don’t panic. Sit for a minute and catch your breath, relax, meditate. Ask God for guidance. Most situations afford you the time to get your emotions under control.
Make sure you are putting everything in their perspective place. People have died trying to walk to safety when their vehicle got stuck in a snow storm. The fact is, they walked away from relative safety when they left the vehicle. It takes a long time to starve to death, so their concerns for the lack of food was over rated. Of course food is a great help, but more important than walking 10 miles in a snow storm without proper clothes? Probably not. The more important need would have been heat and shelter. The chances are, they had a lighter or something to get a fire going. If they properly prepared with a winter/vehicle survival pack, they definitely would have.
Once you have put everything into perspective, which is to say, have confidence you will survive your situation, take stock of your resources. Don’t take anything for granted. Realize that simple things can be used in an emergency in ways that the manufacture never intended. Even a simple tube of lip balm can help you survive your situation.
Lip balm, for example, not only protects your lips from drying out, it can also be used to protect any exposed skin. Your face is a good place to add a layer of the balm. But there are other uses as well. Lip balm can be used a lubricant if you need. Most importantly, it also makes a good fire starter. Put a half inch chunk of it under some tinder and light it. It will burn pretty hot and long enough to start a fire.
Look around your car. There is probably other material that can be used to help get the fire going as well. Access the situation. Is it truly survival? If it is, don’t worry about the condition of your car. The seat covering material is dry and likely would burn long and hot enough to start even wet branches.
Do you have a spare quart of oil? That will get a blaze going. A spare tire will certainly burn all night. Just don’t breath in the fumes or you will have another survival issue.
If you have a can in your car, use it to melt snow for drinking water. Are there pine trees around? Pine needle tea is great in a survival situation. It is calming and you are putting nutrients into your body.
If you were hiking and got lost, take a seat. Listen intently. Sometimes you can hear vehicles on a highway from a long ways away. Hopefully you packed a compass in your pack. Why would you go hiking without one? Survival really does start with preparation. Did you do a map reconnaissance before entering the woods? No? Why not? google-maps . Well even if you didn’t, don’t panic. There aren’t too many places in the Great Lakes area that there isn’t some sort of civilization, fairly near by. Click the link to google maps above. Look at the area before entering. Know what boundaries there are. Roads, power lines, creeks, open fields.
What ever you do, just don’t wander. Walk in one direction the best you can (good use for a compass right?) and you will run into one of your boundaries. Once you hit a boundary, you should know where you are at.
For a list of survival tools when visiting nature, click surviving nature packing list.
The following are suggestions of things you should have in your car, but first, lets talk water. Keeping water bottles in your car has been linked to cancers as chemicals (bpa) leech from the plastic into the water in hot weather. Most manufactures are moving away from plastics containing bpa’s but they are still out there, however, the amount that you would be drinking would have a minuscule chance of causing any harm. I still would recommend that you carry a good quality water filter that can make non potable water, potable. There are some good ones on the market for less than $30.00. These are not those water bottles with filters in them that remove some tap water taste, but survival filtration systems that filter out 99.99% of microbes and chemicals. Have the filtration system in your car along with factory sealed non bpa bottles of water. I buy a case in the summer and drink them. That keeps them in constant rotation and I keep hydrated, which is a very important survival strategy to begin with. If you are properly hydrated to start with, you will be in much better shape from the get go.
Drinking water source.
Fire starting source; lighter, matches, striker and tinder.
Cat litter to help get on stuck in snow and ice.
Sun tan lotion.
Hat, coat, gloves, boots, extra socks.
Small tool box.
Tire changing tools (allot of people couldn’t change a tire if they needed to because of incomplete tool sets and even the lack of a spare tire).
Vehicle in distress kit; flares, reflector triangle, etc.
Charged cell phone.
I’m sure you can think of more, but that gives you an idea. Follow this link for all your emergency supplies: Emergency Supplies
The bottom line is. Think. Use your best survival tool…your brain. Use it before you get into your car. Use it before you head out into Nature. Properly prepare. Use it when you are enjoying your activity but most importantly, sit back relax and use your brain when a survival situation presents itself. You likely have more resources than you realize.