Tuesday, July 29, 2014

EDC Series: Food (Part 3 of 5)

What do you think of when you hear Everyday Carry (EDC)? EDC means different things to different people. (see blog 7/16/2014 EDC What’s In Your Wallet?)
In this series, I’m going to go through ideas for “kit”, loadout, or whatever you may call your basic EDC.
In doing this series, I’ve reevaluated my idea of EDC. This is where I am working from:
Level 1: Clothing and everything on your person.
Level 2: Items in a pack, bag, purse, or case that you have with you all the time.
Level 3: Items in your vehicle (Obviously if you are on foot Levels 1 and 2 apply only)
When I teach survival or preparedness I teach with this foundation and the acronym ASWiFFS. That is: Air, Shelter, Water, Food, Fire, Security. That is what I will base this basic EDC on.
Do you carry any food with you? I do in Level 2. My get home bag in my vehicles have non-perishable food in them. At times, I’ve carried power bars with me. Of course, depending on where I’m going, I may have some food with me.
One thing I have in level 1, 2, and 3, is means to procure food. I have line to fish with. Wire to snare with. Knives to clean and prepare food with. Something to start a fire.
A knife has multiple uses. A multi-tool has multiple, multiple uses! To get food you must have some skills. Learning to prepare an animal for cooking is important. So is filleting a fish. Learning to fish, snare, and trap are skills that need to be honed with practice. Most of what I consider EDC are skills. Some tools make things much easier, but skills as always, trumps gear. Learn the basics of getting food. Know a little about the edible plants in your area. Be careful with plants, if you are not sure do not eat a plant you only believe are edible. I’d rather be just hungry than sick and hungry.
Remember the rules of three’s. You can live 3 minutes without air, 3 hours without shelter, 3 days without water, and 3 weeks without food. And you usually have 3 seconds to react to a threat.
Not only do you need skill in catching food for your EDC. You need skill in preparing this food. Making fire is extremely important ( and it’s the next “F” in our acronym). Ever skin a rabbit? If you know a hunter or someone who lives in the country, let them know that you’d like to learn and see if they can get a rabbit for you to learn on. Most would be happy to teach you and give you that experience. When I was in survival school, we had to snare an animal and eat a portion of it without cooking it. I’m here to tell you rabbit eyes are like eating soft nuts. Salty. I knew I should have caught a fish. But I guess I’m not that fond of sushi either. Old survival manuals and old Boy Scout manuals can teach to snare and fish.
Insects and birds are also a source of food. Learn which insects are easiest to catch. Crickets are considered a delicacy as are grasshoppers. Grubs and mill worms are edible and a good source of protein. There are classes that are taught on this subject. Seek them out. Again survival manuals can help with this information.
Fire starting and building is a lost art. I was on a training camp out once. This was adult leaders being trained for Boy Scouts. In this portion of the training, adults camp and live like boys would in a Troop. We had just gone through some training on teaching fire building. We were talking about what it would take to start a fire. One guy issued a challenge. He said he could start a fire with just two matches. Someone else said they could do it with one match. So the next day we set up a competition. Whoever could boil water the fastest would be the fire building champion. There were a lot of friendly ribbing and boasting. Norm, the quietest guy of all was the last. He took out a squeeze bottle of insect repellent, squirted it on his tinder, threw a match and had the water boiled a full minute under the leader. When some guys balked at his accelerant, he said “There were no rules!” He had taken the easiest and most effective route to fire that he knew. And he won! I learned that it’s possible to use flint and steel to start a fire. A bow and drill will work too. But the easiest way that I know would be a match or lighter! Use the easiest way you know how, but practice the more difficult way. Know how to start a fire in a variety of ways with a variety of materials. This is something that has no short cut. You must practice to stay proficient. We’ll talk about this in greater detail in the next article.
Hunting is also a skill that should be learned and practiced. If you have a gun in your EDC, then hunting could be a viable option. Too many people hunt by baiting and waiting. If that is possible, then do so. In most survival situations you won’t have this luxury. Hunting this way is certainly easier than actually tracking an animal. If your hunting experience is sitting in a deer stand waiting for deer to come to the whir of the feeder, then maybe you’d better find someone with real “hunting” experience to teach you and show you how to hunt for your game. I grew up hunting game, it wasn’t until the last 20 years that I learned how easy it is to sit in a deer stand and hunt. Also, finding game animals is great, but in a survival situation eating snake, porcupine, raccoon, or even skunk might be what you kind find. Don’t think a McDonalds hamburger is going to just walk into your camp, you must make your own opportunities.
When you think of your EDC, consider what you could include for food procurement and preparation. These are life saving skills.

Semper Paratus