Sunday, January 25, 2009

#97 - Read the US Army Survival Manual

This is a reprint of the the Department of the Army Field Manual, and it's full of all sorts of awesomeness. While I will probably never have to use the evasion techniques to hide from a hostile force, it was an interesting to read, and there were all sorts of practical tips that can be used while camping or hiking far from assistance. I will definitely be including this manual anytime I am on long camping trips. It would be invaluable if you got lost and had to survive on your own for days or weeks.

Some of the coolest stuff, in my opinion, is the sections of the psychology of the individual in a survival situation. The "desire for comfort" and the "passive outlook" are the two main dangers to survival. As someone who values the lowest possible need for comfort, I found the section very interesting. How much pain, fatigue and discomfort can you take? The answer is almost always, more than one would think. The suggestions for dealing with pain are 1) understand it's source and nature, 2) Recognize it as something to be tolerated, 3)Concentrate on the things that you need to do, and 4) Take pride in your ability to take it.

When identifying the types of external bleeding, arterial bleeding is the most serious, and is identified by the bright, red blood and spurts. Venous bleeding is recognizable by dark red, black or bluish blood, and more steady of a flow. Capillary is usually common in scrapes and light cuts. It will begin scabbing almost immediately.

There is a large section on obtaining and purifying water in all sorts of conditions. It also outlines the Universal Edibility Test to determine if a plant is non-toxic and suitable for consumption.

Trapping, skinning and gutting animals has a large section. Lots of hand-made snares and animal traps. Creating shelters in all types of climates is explained in detail, with pictures.

The section of field-expedient direction finding by using a watch, stars and geography is very helpful. There is great guide on how to prepare different knots for different situations, how to deter sharks when stranded on a raft, signal to boats or planes, identify poisonous vs. non-poisonous snakes, etc.

Excellent read for anyone who is ever in the back-country, campers, hikers and outdoorsmen.

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