Most of us are familiar with the popular survival adage “The more you know, the less you need!” There
are a lot of “survival guys” (and girls) that use this adage as a way to
disparage other “survival guys” (and girls) that have a tendency to rely on
more heavily and invest in nice survival gear. While we absolutely see the point and merits of this adage, it is true… only
to an extent. This saying is only
true to a certain point and we all would be wise to realize that it is a gross over-simplification. The reality
is it’s a bit more complicated than that and you simply cannot live in a world
where knowledge is your only asset.
we have given this subject considerable thought and discussion as of late, and
we have sort of “settled” on (at least for the moment) an improved survival
hierarchy of sorts. You see, the implied hierarchy in the adage above would be
That’s it. Knowledge trumps gear, end of story. OK… but is
that really it? We should 100% invest in knowledge as it trumps gear (tools,
materials, resources) 100% of the time? That seems like a pretty extreme
viewpoint. Hmmm… Aren’t there other fairly significant “assets” in terms of
survival also? Well we certainly think so.
For example… What if you know how to make a fire with a bow
drill… but one of your hands was injured during a fall. Something tells us that
in this situation you might be willing to trade in your fire bow knowledge for
a Bic lighter. ;)
There are an endless number of hypotheticals like this. As
we know, there are always exceptions to the rules, aren’t there? And just to be
clear, we are not in any way trying to
diminish the importance of knowledge. We agree that knowledge is a powerful
tool! But it is not the only tool! And… it is not
necessarily the most powerful tool either! What we ARE trying to diminish is
ARROGANCE. Foolishly dogmatic statements
like the adage above (if held as a core belief) can put you in great danger if
you foolishly believe that you can overcome any disastrous situation if you
simply know enough. Simply put… this is frequently not the case. Even
Angus MacGyver had that paperclip. ;) Supplementing
your knowledge with tools, resources, experience, skills and other important
items can not only increase your chances of staying alive… they can also help
you do it more easily and more comfortably!!
After much thought and discussion, we at Equip2Survive have arrived at a new “Survival
Hierarchy”. Let’s take a closer look COUNTDOWN STYLE!
This one is pretty self-explanatory. You are unprepared on all fronts. No
gear, knowledge, emotionally… you are pretty much hosed if anything happens to
(Tools, materials and resources!)
Now we are getting somewhere. Now you have some tools, some food, a way to
produce light, power, stay warm, stay cool, stay safe and secure… you have
stuff. Resources to tap into. You have knives, saws, solar panels, sleeping
bags, flashlights, duct tape, paracord… you are on your way, but are you really
prepared now? Mmm… no. You can have a tire iron, a jack & a spare tire, but
this doesn’t mean you know how to change a flat tire, does it?
But that being said… Better to have the
gear and not know exactly how to use it than to know how to use the gear but not
(What to do and how to do it!)
Now we are getting somewhere! Now you know
what to DO with that gear! You KNOW
you need to keep warm, stay hydrated, stay safe, stay cool, stay fed, a way to
illuminate after dark… and you know how to use all of those tools to meet those
needs! Right? You are all set! Or are you??
You can know all kinds of stuff but still be poorly equipped for a situation.
Knowledge alone is not going to save your life. You can “know” that you need a
72 hour kit to help you get through a crisis, but if you don’t actually create
that 72 hour kit… well, that knowledge did you little good. You
have to actually ACT upon that knowledge for it to be of real value.
(practice what you know, experience)
This is where the rubber hits the road. The key word here is action!
It is one thing to have lots of gear and equipment with you in a survival
situation. It is another to know what to do with them. But it is
even better to have developed skills and experience using them well!
You can “know” all kinds of great survival tricks by watching Dual
Survival or Survivorman, but until you actually get out there and try it,
this knowledge does you little to no good.
Nothing is more frustrating and demoralizing than knowing what to do yet not
being able to do it! It is one thing to watch it be done on TV. It is quite
another to be able to do it yourself! The key to developing a skill is to do
it, gain success and keep doing it over and over again! PRACTICE!! Repetition makes it become a part of who you are!!
And finally… #1 on our countdown…
Will is a funny thing. It is a powerful
asset in a disaster situation and can allow you to accomplish incredible
things. There are many survival
stories where would-be victims are able to defy all odds and survive a crisis
with little but the clothing on their backs in the harshest of conditions for
days and even weeks!
While these inspiring stories do exist… Simply having the will to live is not a survival plan. You simply
can’t count on “willing” yourself to
live in a life-threatening situation. Your “will
to live” really needs to be backed by some real knowledge, tools and
So why then did we put “will” at our
number one on our “Survival Pyramid”
then if you can’t rely on it alone to keep you alive? Simply put… even if you
have gear, knowledge, & skills… if you don’t have the will to live, the
rest are worthless. And even if you don’t
have much in the way of gear, knowledge or skills, but you do have the will to
push on and do whatever it takes to stay alive… your chances of surviving are
The key is not to give up! DON’T GIVE
UP! People are looking for you! People love you, care about you and will
miss you! Your wife! Your husband! Your children! They need you! Stay alive for
them! Know who are and what is worth
living for and do anything and everything you can to stay alive for them!!
Believe it or not, you can actually strengthen your will! The military
is a prime example of this! They put our brave men and women through rigorous
training and experiences to help them learn their limits and to strengthen their wills!
Getting out there in the woods and trying things, challenging yourself, safely
pushing your limits and your abilities can actually strengthen your will! TEST your will! Push yourself! Mental toughness and your ability to withstand stress, discomfort, pain & fear can
actually be expanded and can be an educational experience as well... but DO IT SAFELY!!! Don’t push yourself too
hard or too far. Don’t do it alone! It’s good to gently and responsibly test
your limits… but don’t DISREGARD
NOW IT'S TIME for us to come clean about
something. We haven’t been entirely forthcoming with you in this article. After
putting you through this whole mental exercise regarding survival priorities…
it’s time to give you the truth:
At the end of the day… you can’t really realistically put these
survival assets into a neat little linear triangular graph like we did in the
graphic above. We only did this to facilitate conversation and thought.
Honestly, all of these assets are really important in a survival
situation and each of us should aspire to develop each of them to use in
harmony together. We all need to strengthen ourselves on ALL of these fronts!
As a disaster preparedness-minded individual, you need to prepare your home,
your vehicle & your family with the proper gear, tools, food &
water preps, light, heat, cooking, hygiene & sanitation, firearms &
ammo… everything you need to make it through a crisis situation. Then you need
how to implement and leverage your preps and teach your family how to
as well. Next you need to practice your preps and develop
skills and experience! And last but far from least… talk to your family about why
it is important to prepare, stay alive, continue living life and never
give up even when things get tough! That, my friends, is a survival