I’ve said before that I do not watch much television. On one hand, I don’t have much time for it. On the other, I share a house with four girls, and their entertainment preferences often do not align with mine. Given the fact that I’m greatly outnumbered, I have to choose to watch what they want, or go work outside in the yard. Our yard is always neat and trimmed. However, in this week’s edition of the “Pinstripes to Camo Podcast”, the Netflix show “Alone” was brought up, and I had to check it out. (Note: neither of my co-hosts are outnumbered in their homes)
Let me give you a quick rundown of the show. Ten participants test their mettle in a survival show for a cash prize. They are allowed to bring ten items of their choice (no firearms) and are dropped off in remote locations. From there, they self-film and see how long they can last. Out of all of the seasons thus far, most of them are in Canada. Cold and alone in Canada seems like it would be about as miserable as you can imagine. After checking out an episode, my wheels were spinning wondering how I would fair in a similar situation. For me, Canada would be out entirely due to my body’s natural resistance to freezing cold weather. But what about Mississippi? If given ten items, and dropped off in DeSoto National Forest, how long could I make it?
First, let’s take a look at the ten items that I would bring. Let’s just say the task will take place in South Mississippi in September. The first item that I would choose is a flint lighter. Fire is a necessity for survival. It can cook your food, fight off hypothermia, and lift your spirits. Anyone that’s watched the movie “Cast Away” knows this all too well. The second item I would bring is a pot. A pot is useful for cooking food and for boiling water to drink. September in Mississippi is going to require you to drink plenty of water. If you drink water that hasn’t been boiled and is contaminated, you’re not going to last very long.
The third and fourth items would be a tarp and rope for a shelter. You can obviously build a shelter out of raw materials that you find, but a tarp would provide a nice roof in the event it rains. Even in September, a wet body wouldn’t last very long before the risk of hypothermia set in. The rope would help secure the shelter, and it may provide more uses over the duration of your stay. The fifth necessity would be a bow/arrows. The show allowed for that to be used as one item, so we’ll keep with the theme. With a bow and arrow, you’d have the means to procure wild game from the abundant forests of Mississippi. It sure beats the heck out of trying to make snares to catch birds and squirrels. My sixth item would be fishing line/hook. If it is going to take too much energy trying to hunt with the bow, you can always sit in the shade by a creek and catch fish. You can easily make a pole to use out of small trees or branches.
Now that we’ve gotten food, shelter, and water out of the way, let’s talk about other things that would be beneficial in a survival situation. Item number 7 is a knife. This one is for obvious reasons. Unless you plan to make a knife from stone, this is a no brainer. Just about every survival situation you come across will involve a knife. The next item falls along similar lines, a hatchet. A hatchet has many purposes in survival. I would use it mostly to cut trees for shelter or wood for burning. These are two items that you must be careful with when using. If you’re not paying attention to what you’re doing, they can cut your trip short (pun intended).
The next couple of items are more for creature comforts than actual survival. You can make bedding out of natural materials, but I’d hate to sleep on a straw bed each night, especially if I plan to be there for an extended time. That said, my ninth item would be a sleeping bag. A good night’s rest is vital if you’re going to survive in the wilderness. Curling up to sleep in a damp shelter on a cool September night would be much more pleasant with the aid of a sleeping bag. The final item that I would bring is a solar powered flashlight. It’s probably not a good idea to go wandering around the Mississippi forests in the dark. However, if you must do so, the aid of a light would be important to avoid injury. Or worse, stepping on, or near, something that might bite you. A snakebite in the woods is a quick way to extraction.
When I camp on the river, or during deer season, I carry most of the items that I’ve talked about. Even if it’s not technically a survival expedition, most of these items are necessities when outdoors. There’s a part of me that would love to have my own little “Alone” adventure later in the year. Even with my hatred of the cold, I’ll probably wait until after the first good frost to knock back some of the mosquitoes and snakes. I wonder how many days I can make it until they call me to come back to work.