Bill Tarling

Survival Tools - Pick One

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If you were allowed to pick one (and only one) of the following supplies to start off with in TLD -- which would you pick?

1) Folding Shovel

2) Small Wooden Toboggan (sled) w/ 3' braided twine towline rope

note: flat base sled, not the ones with runners

3) 50' Nylon Rope w/ Lightweight Grappling Hook

4) 4'x6' Canvas Tarp

5) Assorted Needles & Threads

various sizes from sewing needles to leather stitching sizes

6) Manual Crank Flashlight

no batteries needed, you just manual crank to generate power

7) Old Map (of the area)

note: some locations may be a bit outdated, but reasonable area representation

I know there are many other items that could be added, but these are your only options. You only have 1 minute to pick one for your inventory.

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Tough question...but, I think it's gotta be the tarp for me.

Can be used for shelter, weather protection, carrying things, probably a lot more.

Although, I'm very curious what @robdoar will have to say.

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I figure Rob or someone with some survival experience would definitely pick a more practical and survival valuable option than my choice...

Approaching the choices as a complete newb, I think the manual powered flashlight might be the best option to at least help me survive through the first couple of days. The other options provide way more alternative uses, but wouldn't help as much at first since I would be completely unskilled in foraging or making whatever I need to get my bearings [i.e. figuring out what does or doesn't work best for surviving].

Since even making a rudimentary shelter (no matter how good or shabbily it would be at first) will take way more time for the first few attempts. I doubt I would have a proper sense of time [when nightfall is approaching], so I know I would be fumbling around too much in the dark trying to get anything even remotely protective put together.

At least with the flashlight, I could still try to find pine branches for ground cover, sticks or branches for some sort of wind brace, etc. In other words, find bits and pieces to at least help build a structure I doubt I could easily complete in the remaining daylight of the first day of the event.

Being thrown into this sudden type of scenario (again, as a complete newb), it would probably give me the only comfort [safe feeling] to get me through the first couple of nights... I would think the night time disorientation would ease up a little after the first couple of nights (once the body and mind start adjusting/accepting the situation.

As well, in case someone is looking for me [i wouldn't know this was a widespread event yet], I would be thinking the flashlight could also act as a signal in the dark [so a rescuer would hopefully spot it and come my way].

That's why I mention it likely (in an inexperienced mind) be what I need most to start with -- rather than necessarily being the smartest or most helpful choice of the items.

WHY THESE ITEMS?

I chose those 7 items to give people a challenge in thinking about their thought process...

Do you pick something that could potentially help with environment protection first?

(e.g. shovel to dig shelter, or tarp as covering/keeping dry/windbreak/carrying things)

Or do you think your first instinct would be to find help or safety?

(e.g. map, sled to carry items or make it easier to travel, flashlight to try getting around longer)

Or do you pick something that can help gather natural survival items to last longer?

(e.g. shovel to dig for foot/build shelter area/act as some sort of minor defence weapon against animals... or rope which can be used to help reach difficult areas such as pulling down branches, or being used as a defensive swinging weapon to deter some wildlife, or using the rope to secure shelter stronger... or even the needles and thread to do some makeshift clothing repairs, make use of animal skins, use the thread as bindings, or even use the needle and threads for medical repairs)

In other words -- would your first impulse be to think short term survival [get through the first couple of days knowing that you have a learning curve ahead], or think long term from the start (even though you might be completely unprepared to even get through the first day or two alive).

In the game, we already know there absolutely will be buildings, and people to encounter... but how would you start out if you didn't know for certain that you would encounter them [i.e. IRL, you would search and expect to find people, buildings, and shelter -- but you might actually be heading further and further away in the wrong direction]

I'm interested to see how people think (short/long tern impulse planning) when you haven't a clue what's happened and find yourself stranded without warning... :o)

I'm very curious what @robdoar will have to say.

Me too -- it will be interesting to see how somebody with experience might approach the situation, and then for those of us who are newbs to think carefully about whether a different option would be better for us since we have less or no experience to start off with properly.

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I think I would go for the old map because I would be able to find landmarks more easily which could lead to me getting out of the situation faster. It could also help with finding places to scavenge for supplies. Because it is an older map if there are any building marked on it they may be abandoned by now, and abandoned building could provide shelter and supplies.

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For me it would be 2) Small Wooden Toboggan (sled) w/ 3' braided twine towline rope . . . .

First, you can use the toboggan as, a toboggan. If you have a injury and you have a decent, you save yourself from having to trudge through it all. You can also use the toboggan as shelter. Its big enough to crouch down and then put it in such a way that it can deflect the elements off you. You can also use it as a base for a bed if you have shelter and keep you up and off the cold. You can if you need to in desperate times use the wood from the toboggan to light a fire and keep warm You can also take the braided twine and keep debraiding it until you have enough to make a decent length rope to use for trapping, or anything else you could use rope/string/twine for When/if you break the toboggan up for fire wood, you use the thin wood to make a pointed weapon, like a dagger, or a spear head. Could also use the nails in the toboggan as a needle of sorts and with the braided rope use the twine in that as a thread Use it to collect water use it as a door in a Snow Cave use the whole thing as a weapon or defensive weapon ~ ie Swinging it around from holding one end of the braided rope and hitting your attacker If it is plank like, you could fashion a plank into a crude Bull-Roarer to keep away animals or to get the attention of a rescuer And of course to carry things around. Better on a sled than on your back. And you could move larger heavier objects quicker and further with less energy.

And thats why i would pick the Toboggan

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For me the tarp would be a no brainier, if you want to survive you need something versatile. that tarp can be made it a shelter, poncho, blanket, boat (if you have a wood frame), way to signal, transport (water and food), and even fixing things like wounds and tools. All of this can be done with only the tarp if you had other tools with it your immaginations the limit

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I think I would have to go with the tarp, the versatility and relative light weight would make it very handy.

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There's a wide array of variables that would affect decision, but here's what I would take in order of importance, and why.

4'x6' Canvas Tarp - Shelter, sled, poncho, windbreak, hammock, a million uses.

50' Nylon Rope w/ Lightweight Grappling Hook - This was a very hard choice vs. number one. It's hard to fashion cordage in the winter woodland, and it's incredibly valuable. The hook is interesting, may be useful as some kind of a trap/snare.

Old Map - It's usefulness depends entireley on the level of detail on it. A highway map would be much less valuable than a forest trail.

Small Wooden Toboggan (sled) w/ 3' braided twine towline rope - It's purposes as a sled could be mostly duplicated with a tarp. It's heavy, and could be cumbersome going up hills.

Folding Shovel - build snow shelter, melt small amounts of ice for water.

Assorted Needles & Threads - Needles can be used for traps / hooks. Can repair clothes.

Manual Crank Flashlight - The aurora looks plenty bright to me!

Plus, going by the story line the electronics are likley fried.

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Manual Crank Flashlight - The aurora looks plenty bright to me! Plus, going by the story line the electronics are likley fried.

Love the order of selection -- I had thought almost every answer would automatically be the tarp, so it was interesting to see other answers showing up too...

For the Flashlight, that's why I marked it as a hand crank [the type with no battery source, just the 'squeeze' to turn the little 'generator']. Since power sources [especially those requiring turbines or battery sources] are described as defunct, I figured a little manual generator might still work -- no electronics other than coil and bulb.

I took into account the aurorae being bright, but also realized even travelling in deep woods, the light wouldn't be very strong and could even be more disorienting since it would also be moving shadows all around you -- so the flashlight might help.

Likewise in any buildings [which would like have spaces where the outside light doesn't real help] -- it might help find useful items in dark recesses.

Even in a crafted shelter (which would need to be pretty dark/well sealed), the last thing you would want to do is fumble around blindly [going through supplies, leaving something behind, or even getting bearings if there's an outside noise. As well, I would be hoping the small light might get noticed by help/rescuers out there since I wouldn't know what caused everything to crap out at this point...

But mainly (as a newb), it would just be enough to at least give me some 'mental' comfort to acclimatize myself to the unfamiliar circumstances... While I would hope I would choose something more useful from the other options, I know they would be useless if I was in a constant panic.

It wouldn't help much after a day or too [once I get through a night or two where I know the basics what to expect) -- but it might help keep me alive enough the first couple of days as I have to learn what works or doesn't work by absolute beginner trial and error.

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Tarp, I went backpacking one time when it all of a sudden got real dark and rainy looking andmy buddies and I managed to set it up quick enough to prevent us from getting too soaked. That would be a good start in the cold wilderness.

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I didn't pick the Tarp, because if you lay a 4'x6' Tarp on the ground, it really isn't that big, and I'm 6'2" + so it would fully cover me at all. 4' wide isn't very wide at all.

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Rope comes in first for me. So much you can do with rope, and it's a massive, massive pain to try and make, especially in the winter. The hook's probably useless, but only until I think of something to do with it.

The tarp is small, but still another really, really good choice. Another layer, a half shelter, a sack, lots of applications, but the rope wins out over it because I know I'm more likely to find extra clothes, sheets, and even tarps out wandering than I am good cordage in a 50' length.

The shovel would be #3 for me. Folding shovels are on the small side, but that's not a straight up disadvantage, and it's always nice to have a bit of steel, or better yet titanium.

The sled's a close call with the shovel, mainly because of the line it comes with. I'm figuring small means small, child sized. Great for hauling things over the snow, but without the rope and the tarp, or at least the rope, how do you keep things on it?

Needle and threads... would have a higher priority in the summer. Even so, this isn't virgin wilderness, this is ongoing quiet apocalypse. This is the sort of thing that you will, eventually turn up, and you won't need right away.

Old map won't tell me much, even if its something like the excellent NSGS topo maps. It's winter, I can see the hills already, and everything else is buried in snow or frozen. Ultimately the main use for this is as tinder.

Crank up flashlight, assuming it works... I wouldn't take if I could take as many of the above as I wanted. What can I do with a flash in the dark, I can... make myself a target, ruin my night vision, and see a little bit more clearly in a really tiny area, at the expense of everywhere else. No thanks, TLD isn't set in a cave.

The short of it: rope. If you need rope, and you don't have it, you're screwed.

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I can't decide between the map, the rope, and the tarp.

I'd like to think I'm pretty good with maps, and I know I'd be pretty useless out in the complete wilderness, so I'd definitely want to get to somewhere with shelter and possibly more supplies right off the bat.

But rope is always an incredibly useful thing to have because it has so many possible uses.

The tarp is an interesting idea because it also has several important uses -- as a shelter, as protection from the wind, as a way to carry things... but I'm not sure I'd take a tarp over rope just yet.

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I would take the rope or the Toboggan which has a rope.

I would need the rope to make a bow and with the bow i can make fire (see my discussion how to make fire).

#2 choice would be the shovel which I can use as a knife and an axe.

But it is easier to make a knife in the wilderness than a rope.

But I need a rope to make fire.

Maybe I don't need fire immediately to survive but I will need it in long term and it would make life much more easier.

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But it is easier to make a knife in the wilderness than a rope.

Really? I can braid any number of fibrous foliage into cordage. Flint-like materials for knives are very hard to find, and time consuming to knapp.

But I need a rope to make fire.

Why? There's many ways to start a fire beyond bow-drill.

Maybe I don't need fire immediately to survive but I will need it in long term and it would make life much more easier.

Ever tried spending a night in the north winter exposed to the elements?

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First post for me here!

As a person with some experience in this arena, I'd say the rope, for most of the reasons listed above.

The most obvious is that cordage, either natural or manmade, is an invaluable resource for doing almost anything in a survival situation, and there's not a place that I go all day long that I don't have some at least reasonably close, especially away from the house.

Thanks - T

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Definitely rope.

1.) Bow-drill

2.) lashing branches and trees together for a lean-to/raft/

3.) snares

3.) climbing/hauling supplies

the list goes on and on

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Being a survival instructor for the US Navy. Granted retired now. But of the items you have listed the most important is the MAP. I've used some of the items on your list before. Has anyone ever use that flashlight... I have for about 2 minutes then your hand is so tired you say screw that! Some of the idea people have listed for their reasons for the item they pick arn't bad. But if its the first thing you need to know is where you are, so you know which way to go. Running around the wood with pulling your toboggan loaded with ALL the items is pointless if you just end up going in circles.

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As a climber, I would rather die with a good rope than without.

I would need the rope to make a bow and with the bow i can make fire (see my discussion how to make fire).

I can't imagine making fire with a nylon rope. It's probably 6-10 mm thick. Maybe if you chop a piece off and split it into fibers...

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Being a survival instructor for the US Navy. Granted retired now. But of the items you have listed the most important is the MAP. I've used some of the items on your list before. Has anyone ever use that flashlight... I have for about 2 minutes then your hand is so tired you say screw that! Some of the idea people have listed for their reasons for the item they pick arn't bad. But if its the first thing you need to know is where you are, so you know which way to go. Running around the wood with pulling your toboggan loaded with ALL the items is pointless if you just end up going in circles.

While you make a good point regarding needing to know where you are and where you are headed, the OP stated that this would be in TLD meaning if you were Will, which would you pick., I assume that Will knows the area he is flying in/around at least in a general sense and can use terrain association to help him at least get in the general area he is trying to go.

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As was mentioned in the original topic post, the map is outdated. It could be 50 years outdated, it could be 5 years outdated. Also, in a split moment decision, you aren't likely taking into account the amount of detail a map may have.

@Retsam In terms of survivability, a map may be useful in the long term, but it won't likely keep you safe from harm or warm at night. If you can't survive long enough, in a northern environment, to use the map, it becomes useless. Though, i do see your point.

Getting a a reasonable area representation can be accomplished by climbing the nearest hill or tall tree (assuming you are not injured).

For these reasons, i would not choose a map, personally.

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Also, it could be a 2 week old highway may. That will not help you at all in the middle of the woods.

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Yes it could, it could also be a flight path map that airplanes use too, but it was stated that it was "Old Map (of the area) note: some locations may be a bit outdated, but reasonable area representation" not a 2 week old highway map. So based on that my original point still stands.

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