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Survival Kit
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I've taken survival and wilderness training more than once. Each time, we get out the survival kit and lay out the items on the ground. The instructor comes around with comments and suggestions.

So far, so good.

Then we have to re-pack the kit. Many blue words are heard. It is difficult--nigh impossible--to get all that stuff back into the kit. The instructor is falling out, laughing. Finally he points out that having your survival kit packed so tightly you can't get at anything without unpacking it, leaving you with a mess you can't re-pack in an urgent situation, is not smart.

Point taken. We review our kits and look for non-essentials to eliminate, how to repack immediately required items last, on top. We talk about possibly getting a roomier kit. And carry it how? Hmmmm....

The conversation widens to how you survive in many situations. What do you do first? What resources would you have (or not) in the environment? How much first aid stuff to bring versus long-term survival items? What do you expect to encounter? How will you handle it?

The instructor then interrupts us with a little lecture. In a disaster--plane crash, hurricane, whatever--many people are found who should have survived (not injured too severely, for instance) but inexplicably perished. It is speculated that they expected to die and they just gave up the ghost.

The instructor then asked us, "What single thing would you have with you that would help you survive those first critical 24 hours, when so many seem to surrender to fate?"

The answers were as varied as you can imagine.

Some would include the Bible or the Bhagavad Gita. Some had to have their glasses. Some said they would pack a photo of their loved ones to keep them going. One woman wanted to include a map of the world. The man next to me, a tiny notebook and a pencil.

I said I would pack two slim packets of freeze dried coffee. If I can just have a cup of coffee on that first awful morning, I can sit down on a rock and sip and think what to do. Or, if there's no potable water available, munch on the coffee crystals and make a plan for survival until help arrives (planning is my specialty).

And you? What one extra thing would you include?

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