What Do You Need To Survive. Wilderness Living.
If you do not have a retreat to go to, then when you leave the city you will have to go to the most remote part of the bush you can find. No matter if you are travelling by water or by car, you do not want to take with you any more gear than you can carry on your back. It is doubtful that you will be able to go all the way by vehicle, and if you have to ditch the vehicle at any time, then there is no point in leaving equipment behind.
What will you need to survive? You will need to survive the wilderness; it is not a home away from home. Living will not be easy. You do not need modern gadgets and “Rambo” survival knives. You need to carry practicle tools designed to perform the tasks of wilderness living. Yes you may need to use these tools for self defence, but their main purpose will be to serve you in the performance of living skills. You need a good butcher knife to skin and dress game. This knife is designed to perform this function, a “Rambo” knife is not. You will need more than one knife, and you will need a tomahawk, because no one tool can perform all duties easily and efficiently.
When you are packing your “bug-out” bag for the trail, there must be some compromise made between maximum self-reliance, and minimum weight. You may love your solar torch, but at the end of the day, would you rather have one more round left for your gun, or would you rather have that torch?
No matter how much you like the thought of being able to carry your modern breach-loading firearm, the reality is that it is going to cost you a lot of weight in ammunition, regardless of whether or not you intend to reload your own ammo, there are other important items you need to carry with you. A self-bow or a muzzle-loading gun is a far better choice for long term wilderness survival. If you have enough people going with you, then by all means have someone carry a modern firearm. But they can not afford to be laden down carrying a lot of ammo. You are just as dead if you are hit by a .22 as you are if you are hit with a .308, so if you are carrying a firearm for self defence, then go for a .22 with light ammo, or a 12 gauge and carry less ammo.
The muzzle-loading gun has many advantages over the breach-loader for hunting, the main one being that you can easily retrieve the spent lead from shot game and remould it. This means that you can afford to carry more weight in gunpowder than in lead, and your ammo will last longer.
Tents and hammocks are restrictive when you are survival camping. They restrict your movement, and it means that you have to carry extra bedding or a sleeping bag to stay warm on cold nights as you can not gain any warmth from a fire. If your camp is raided in the night, you will be at a disadvantage. So I recommend that you choose a simple canvas or oil cloth lean-to shelter. You can see more and hear more, you can gain heat from a reflector fire if it is safe to make a fire. You do not need poles or rods to hold this shelter up. In actual fact you are better off in dry weather sleeping without any shelter or fire at all.
Cooking utensils are many, but all you need is a kettle/billy. Do not add more weight or bulk by carrying anything else, it is just not needed. Don’t carry a camp stove and fuel, it is not needed. Instead make sure you are carrying trail foods that do not require cooking.
Fire lighting tools need to be as basic as you can make them. Fire lighting must be sustainable, this means learning some fire lighting skills beyond the use of matches, lighter or ferrocerium rod. The ferrocerium rod relies on everything being right, and if this rod is dropped and breaks, you are stuffed. Learn to use a flint, steel & tinderbox, and learn how to make and use the fire-bow. You can’t keep up a steady supply of Vaseline cotton balls or “charcloth” in the wilderness, so learn how it is really done and you will never be without fire.
The author's blades.
Tomahawk. Making trap and shelter stakes, hammering in stakes, pounding plant materials, shelter construction, throwing for recreation, throwing for hunting, butchering game, self-defence, trap making, making pegs, hammering in pegs, dispatching game, debarking timber.Hunting Knife. Skinning and butchering game, hunting, self-defence, eating.
Clasp Knife. Camp chores, making trap triggers, cutting cordage, harvesting plants, making fire-bow parts, back-up for other tasks.
Legging Knife. Self-defence, back-up for skinning and dressing game.
Benefits of the flintlock over the modern firearm. Copyright Keith H. Burgess.
- Spent lead can be retrieved from shot game & easily remoulded into swan shot or round ball by using a simple ball mould & a light lead ladle. This means you can carry less weight in lead, & more weight in gunpowder, which means your ammo will last longer.
- You are not carrying the extra weight of brass shells & do not have to worry about moisture damage to primers. You are not carrying heavy reloading gear.
- Flintlocks are easy to repair, especially if you are carrying a few spare springs. Flintlocks rarely break, but if the lock did break, & you had no spare parts, you can easily turn it into a matchlock or a tinderlock & continue using it.
- A flintlock smoothbore can digest round ball, swan shot, or light bird shot, or any combination of two of these in one load. IF you were eventually to run out of lead, there are other projectiles that can be used.
- The lock on a flintlock can be used to make fire without the use of gunpowder.
- A .32 caliber flintlock rifle will take any game a .22 will. It will also take larger game. It uses only about 14 grains of black powder so ammo is light & it lasts a very long time. With another mould, you can also use minnies (conical) which are heavier & have even more killing power. They are very accurate.
- Paper cartridges are easy to make for the smoothbore, & makes for much faster reloading.
- The fact that you are carrying black powder, means that you can use it to make fire even if you have no prepared tinder.
- You can carry a flintlock pistol in a matching caliber For instance, a 20 gauge fusil & pistol. The pistol can digest exactly the same ammunition, swan shot (buckshot) & ball is devastating.
- Ignition is supplied be a piece of hard sharp rock. You can of course carry spare flints, but should you run out, you can find suitable rocks in the bush.
- You can if you are careful, make your own gunpowder. I have read that you can make suitable gunpowder by using just charcoal & Potassium Nitrate, but I have not tried this yet. Both of these elements can be made in the bush.
- Anything hit with a large caliber ball from a flintlock will not get away, regardless of where it is hit.