Survival Scenario – Stuck in the Woods

These Survival Scenarios seem to be pretty popular and I’ve really enjoyed the comments you all post in response to them.  I’ve got to say I’ve seen some great ideas and it’s awesome the way that you all play off each other.

So… as a test run I’ve decided to do a “Survival Friday” for a few months, meaning I’m going to post survival scenarios on Fridays.  That will give you the weekend to work the problem and post your ideas for surviving.

Some of these ideas will be about you as an individual in a plausible situation, and others may be in a far out “Mad Max” kind of world.  Guess you’ll just have to tune in and see…

If you have any ideas along these lines you’d like to see covered please email them to me at and I’ll see what I can do about getting them posted.

Now, on to today’s fun…


This is a personal survival situation instead of one that affects the nation or the world.

It’s vacation time and you decide that rather than take the family on an expensive vacation that requires air travel you’re going to drive this year and stay with a relative who lives in a rural part of upstate New York.

On a back road in upper New York your GPS turns you onto a side road.  At first it looks legitimate, but after several miles the road narrows, then narrows again.  Your map is useless at this point so you put your trust in the GPS and it takes you further into the woods along many twists and turns.

Your spouse is getting nervous and wants you to turn back, but you don’t want to alarm your mate by telling them that you’re low on gas and probably won’t get back to the main road.


Jarhead Survivor and the Missus woke up to this one morning while camping out. Awesome!

It starts to rain and visibility drops to less than 100 feet.  The roads turn to mud and suddenly you feel the car lurch off the road and down into a small gulley.  Thankfully, no one is hurt, but you’re stuck.   Really stuck.

Here’s what you have with you:  less than a gallon of gas in the tank and whatever it is you’d normally take on a long trip.

Some people take along chips and cookies and stop at restaurants to eat, while others pack a cooler for the whole journey.  Which one are you?

You’re at least fifteen miles off the road with your family (visualize your wife, husband, kids, dogs, whatever here) and there is no cell phone coverage.  You realize that even if the authorities start looking for you you’re so far in the woods the chances of someone finding you are slim to none.   Not to mention your vehicle is stuck in a gulley with plenty of tree coverage over head.  It’s late August and it’s getting cool in the evenings, so you fall asleep in your vehicle that night and wait for the rain to end.  The one piece of good news is that there’s a small swamp nearby.

The next day dawns bright and sunny and your family turns to you for guidance.  You get out of your vehicle and see a moose standing in the swamp looking at you.

Do you try to effect a self-rescue or are you going to dig in and hope someone finds you?  It could take weeks or months before someone stumbles on you.  Based on the items that you have with you, and the experience you and your family have with the great outdoors, what do you do?

-Jarhead Survivor


This particular scenario has played out again and again over the last few years, so don’t think it can’t happen.  The question is how prepared are you?

43 comments… add one
  • Spook45 July 1, 2011, 9:03 am

    The first problem with this situation is that evil word”CAR” IF AINT FOUR WHEEL DRIVE, I WONT OWN IT! Second , if you are rambling through back roads in the country, the last thing you do before you leave is gas that puppie up! As for get lost on any kind of road, screw the GPS, those things are wrong all the time anyway, if Im in the styx its my element and therefore, I will be following MY INSTINCTS and when the road starts to look like a goat path instead of where I am going, its time right then to turn around. If I were “stuck in a gully” it would hv to be a mighty deep one, I would lock in the trusty 4X4 and gouge on it. after freeing my veghiicle I would drive it as far back to the main as possable and then it is time to break out BOB and the rain gear. Hump it out, get a gas can and hump it back if I couldnt get a ride. And the number one issue here is NEVER EVER GO INTO THE STATE OF NEW YORK! You may as well be in BOSNIA!! This situation sound remarkably like my daily routine where I live(except that mistake about going to NY).

    • gat31 July 1, 2011, 9:15 am

      agreed on never go to NY LOL l was born and raised in Florida and never been to Miami and have no desire to go there either.

    • riverrider July 1, 2011, 12:05 pm

      spook, when were u in bosnia?

      • Spook45 July 2, 2011, 8:13 pm

        Never, simple annalogy to NY being like a foreign country….

        • riverrider July 3, 2011, 8:41 pm

          okay,well i been there and i STILL prefer bosnia:)

          • T.R July 6, 2011, 1:23 am

            Interesting article I read that had the “overall freedom ” ranking state by state . NY was dead last ! at #50 and the ” peoples republic of california ” wasn’t too far ahead of NY at #48 or something like that . Glad i live in arizona #8 .

    • Bill July 3, 2011, 8:47 pm

      Spook, yeah, 4WD is a must. When you’re stuck with 4WD, however, you are really stuck. But I’ve never been foiled for more than an hour so. Seems like there is always enough bushes and rocks to jam under the wheels after you jack it up.

      I carry a big round metal plate tokeep the jack from sinking and don’t let the tires down to 8 pounds or so until after I’ve jacked them up a bit. Lowers the rear bumper too much for a standard jack, but I do carry a hydraulic one just in case.

      Used to carry two short sections of chain-link fencing to put under the wheels if I got into really deep sugar sand.

  • gat31 July 1, 2011, 9:09 am

    Well to me this one has been the easiest so far. First of all being a prepper, my car has food and water in it at all times. Going on vacation, means it has a cooler of sandwich items too. Also with my bug out mini pack l got everything l need.No way l could go out of state without son and grandson.
    My son has been going into the woods for a week or longer with a bottle of water, knife, tent, and fishing pole for years. So 15 miles at a slow walk is 5 hours give or take. So first find a clearing, dig a trench to prevent fire going awry, then make a fire. Put any kind of damp leaves after it gets going good to make smoke. People and authorities notice smoke in the woods really quick and investigate. If no one has come by noon, Son starts to walk back towards town (with one sacrificed t shirt cut in strips so he can tie off markings to know where he’s been so he can find way back or l can find him if help comes from another direction) or at least to main road.
    I’ll stay at the vehicle with the kiddoes to keep them calm and entertained til son gets back or authorities come.
    If no one has found us by day 2, then we go into survival mode and figure out how to get back to safety.
    On a side note, if someone gave me a gps l would smack them upside the head for being stupid and depending on them. l know several people who use it everyday to get them back and forth to work that they have been going to for 10+ years. Give me a map anyday!

  • Odd Questioner July 1, 2011, 9:36 am

    Wow – replace “New York” with “Oregon”, and you have a once-a-month occurrence on the evening news around here.

    Note that such a scenario is all too real, and folks have died in similar situations. As a somewhat widespread example, this gent used to run CNET (

    His family was rescued – he OTOH went for help and wound up doing what nearly every tenderfoot does… walked in a big circle and got lost.

    As someone who farted around in Utah’s back-country a lot, the Jeep was almost always stocked with emergency provisions, a firearm or two, *tools*, spare parts (belts, hoses, wire, tire kit, etc), water, and at least one 5-gallon jerry-can full of gas. Out west, you simply do not fsck around when it comes to going out into the woods, even if all the roads you’re on are gravel.

    A rule I’ve always followed is to watch the gas tank almost more than you watch the speedometer. When you get near 1/2 tank, the fun is over, and you start back-tracking to civilization, period. I always also keep an eye on the rear-view mirror – not out of paranoia, but to memorize what each turn will look like going back. Even if you’re with a lady looking to give you some back-country playtime (*wink/nudge*), never break these two rules, and you’ll generally do okay.


    Now in this situation?

    * take stock of what you do have – in the passenger compartment, trunk, etc.

    * stop and pray a bit – or maybe enjoy the scenery a little if you’re atheist and such.

    * IMHO, the moose will go away on his own – leave him be, and he’ll leave you be.

    * start re-charging the cell phone, if you can.

    * If you have a GPS thingy, use it to zoom out and see what the map looks like. If you have a pen and paper, sketch as much of it as you can. Even if you only have a crayon and the inside back cover of a kid’s coloring book, use it. The missus’ eye-pencil and a napkin works too. :) The important thing is to see if that map matches the turns and such you took the night before (ideally, you’d do all of this *before* you went to sleep, while your memory was still fresh, no?) Some GPS units (I think?) might have a replay feature which will tell you what turns you made, etc.

    * Figure down what route you took to get there. If it’s close enough, use it. 15 miles can be done in a day if you walk the whole time.

    * After making sure the family is okay in the car, get up on the road and start walking. Just remember one thing: Never, ever, ever, ever, *ever* leave the road. Make little notes on that little map of yours as you go. Also keep an eye on the cell phone bars. Odds are good you’ll get some kind of usable signal long before you get back to a main road.

    * If you see a house along the way, stop by and knock on the door.

  • Chris July 1, 2011, 9:51 am

    So long as the car is in decent shape, it makes good shelter from the elements. If you’re on a trip then you have clothes and generally other items with you that your normally don’t. If I was heading to rural NY I might even have some camping/backpacking stuff with me. Ah, such beautiful country up there, as I recall. Hope it hasn’t changed too much.

    It would take way too long for anyone to find us because they won’t have a good place to start looking, so in this case we are probably on our own. I would have at minimum a 2 meter handheld, if not a mobile rig with me along with a mag-mount antenna for the car and emergency ‘roll up’ J-pole. So I would probably attempt to contact someone on the radio (assuming none or spotty cell service) If the mag mount didn’t do the trick I would probably string the Jpole up a tree and see if that worked.

    If I could get a contact, great. If not, then I would just have to dig in. Better to dig in then to get even more lost, supposing I could get by in the area. If not following the road might be the best bet. Every decision has too many variables. If we have to dig in, even just temporarily until help to arrives, my family would have snacks and sandwiches that we pack for long car trips. Sleeping bags, because we have such a large family that people end up sleeping on the floor and anything else we’d probably need. Assign duties (firewood, etc), man the radio and bunker down with a good card/board game. We keep Dominion from Rio Grande Games in the car at all times. XD

    I doubt it would go as smoothly as that, but being on a long car trip as it is, helps things. As I said, car trip and a camping trip are not all that different.

  • Prepared N.D. July 1, 2011, 10:30 am

    2 adults, 1 small child, 1 baby.

    This is what we know:
    We’re in a car, so we’re STUCK. There’s a good chance we won’t be seen from the side road, and may not be discovered for several days or longer. We’re EXACTLY 15.3 mi from the larger road (my wife is a navigation nazi and watches the odometer like a hawk). Based on last year’s climate data, the weather is tolerable (I check this on unfamiliar trips). I have a relative in upstate NY who knows we’re late (we frequently call with updated ETAs and whereabouts). We know how to get back to the main road, and the terrain isn’t that difficult (we did it in a car afterall).

    It would probably be 12-24hrs+ before the authorities are notified by relatives, and a search of that area could take days. Waiting for SAR is not a good option with what we have on hand.

    This is what we have:
    We would have at least one BOB which secures water for several months as long as we can find a source. We have multiple fire starting methods (wet/dry), loads of fuel (we’re in a forest, and we have lots of extra clothes), and we have materials for shelters. We have 2 roller-type suitcases full of clothes and personal care items, a stroller (with large wheels), a roadside emergency tool bag, 2 baby carrier slings (a snugli and some other one), and a fully stocked diaper bag. We probably have a bunch of toys and other junk back there as well. My wife packs everything short of the kitchen sink on roadtrips.

    As far as food goes, we would have a plastic bag of bottled water and soft drinks, candy, a couple pounds of peanuts, chips, beef jerkey – snacks mainly. In the BOB we have more granola and some ration bars, a gallon of water is in the trunk. We stop at restaurants also, so we’re not exactly going hungry. All said, we have 2-3 days worth of calories, maybe more (baby is breastfed). If worse comes to worse, I have a small fishing kit, a Glock, and some snare materials. We have the capability to carry at least 3 gallons of water without improvising.

    What we do:
    Immediately after making sure we’re indeed stuck and everyone is okay, I would grab the reflective triangle and one of those cheap ass yellow ponchos and nail it to a tree or some other high visibility location next to where we left the road (write the date on the triangle with a permanent marker). Next, we would scan for local radio reception so maybe we would get a forecast, confirm no cell reception, check GPS for signal, and eat another supper.

    That morning, we would eat a big breakfast, drink plenty of fluids and replenish our supply using the swamp. If I saw an easy kill like a rabbit, I would harvest it. I wouldn’t go for the moose, the moose actually worries me because we’re getting close to the rut. I would have my wife write two notes (one taped in the window of the car, and another sealed in ziplock that would be nailed next to the reflector on the road). The note would describe who we are, how many occupants, our condition, our food/water supply, when we left, where we’re going, and contact information for at least 3 relatives. I would take small rocks or wood and make an arrow in the middle of the road next to the reflector indicating our direction of travel.

    We would obviously grab all the food/water, the stroller (it can hold a lot), one of the larger wheeled suitcases, and the baby slings. After removing unnecessary crap, we could probably fit it all in one of the suitcases or in the stroller. We want the suitcase because it would double as a crib if the weather gets inclement and we had to camp. The stroller would save time and we could cover it with a poncho if it decides to rain. If the gear gets heavy, the kid gets to walk and we throw the gear in the stroller. The baby slings makes carrying the baby easy/safe. We would also have our cell phones (turned off, and the GPS). If we happen to get cell service, we can relay our GPS coordinates to the dispatcher and it also gives us an idea of how much ground we’ve covered.

    From there on out, we would stick to the road we were on and head back to the main highway. If it gets late, we’ll camp. We’ll be sore and irritable, but it’s doable and certainly beats sitting on the side of road. We can’t sit there forever and deplete our food. If a car does drive by, we’ll be in the road so we’ll see it and flag them down. The primary concerns would be exposure, attack from wildlife, or some sort of injury. We’ll just take it slow and be as careful as possible. 15 miles on a road isn’t that bad, even if it is B.F.E.

    • Prepared N.D. July 1, 2011, 10:53 am

      It just dawned on me that my BOB has a handheld radio with a strobe feature. I would have that on strobe and directed toward the road the night we stay in the car.

  • Novice July 1, 2011, 10:40 am

    I may or may not try to wait for the rain to stop but, in either case my first course of action would be to attempt to pull/push the car out myself. With the help of my wife and the tow rope I always keep in the back it is possible. If we’re able to get it free I would turn around and drive as far back towards the main road as possible. Who knows, maybe we’d even make it back since my car gets around 30 MPG. At the very least, it would be less walking distance. I have two small children so having the family treck down the road is out.

    If I can’t get the car free or it runs out of gas on the way back to the main road I think the best option is to split up. I would leave the wife with the kids at the car and try the road myself using the snacks and supplies from the BOB that’s always in my trunk. I think this strategy gives me the best of both worlds. If someone finds the car, the wife sends them down the road after me. If I make it to the main road, I can flag down a car and go get help for the wife.

    This is actually a pretty low risk scenario since we are talking about summer time and a known road that leads out. If this were winter and we had no sense of direction I’d definitely have to rethink the strategy.

  • irishdutchuncle July 1, 2011, 11:16 am

    yeh, what Spook said. at least it isn’t snow. you’ve really fouled up this time. you should have turned back, while you had enough room to do it. (this applies whether you’re flying, driving or boating) why didn’t you? was it your ego? you didn’t want the wimmin folk to think less of you? so you “pressed-on”, and now all of you may die as a result. the distance you covered in an hour by car, may now take you a week, on foot. (even if you have good walking shoes)

    because you’re now in a gully, the remaining gallon of gas in your tank, may not be usable, because of the (slippery!) slope, you’re on. fortunately your vehicle was not carried away in a flash flood, during the night. you all could have already drowned.

    fortunately, you all have several changes of dry clothing in your suitcases. the cool night-time temperatures could easily lead to hypothermia, especially if you’re damp. you may need to kill that moose, for her pelt, if you don’t have a few blankets with you.

    now that it’s daylight, locate some dry tinder, and build yourself a small, smokey fire. (taking the usual precautions, to prevent a forrest fire) no one (i repeat, no one, especially the children) should venture out of sight of the vehicle, for any reason. ( keep a big spool of “mason” s line with your bug-out gear. tie one end on to your vehicle, or “camp-site”; do not go any farther away than the “end of the line”)

    a long tow strap, or a rope would have been an excellent item to have had with you. (even para cord would be helpful)

    what would I have done? i would tie a line onto one of the vehicles “tow-hooks”. (end closest to road) lay the line across the “road” and take two turns around a sturdy tree. station an assistant on the end of the rope, to take up slack . jack, push, pull or lever the car back onto the road. maintain your progress by holding the free end of the line tightly, and pulling any slack around the trunk of the “anchor” tree. if necessary i might change trees, a few times, in order to achieve the straightest “pull”.

    back onto the road, i would start the car, (if it will start) and drive out in reverse, until there is enough firm ground available to turn around. at that point you can decide whether to drive back some, or to camp in place.

    build a smokey fire, again or try the cell phone, again. use a “signal mirror” if i heard an aircraft.

    • irishdutchuncle July 1, 2011, 12:36 pm

      it may be helpful to “air-down” the tires (driving wheels only) to 15 PSI. in an attempt to “drive” out of the gully. (don’t waste too much gasoline in the attempt)

      the Delaware, and New Jersey departments of “environmental resources” have a list of items you must carry, in order to lawfully drive on their beaches. (for surf fishing) these items are good to have in any vehicle:
      1) 3/4 tank of gas at least.
      2) first aid kit
      3) shovel
      4) tow strap
      5) one foot square of 3/4″ (or thicker) plywood, for use under the…
      6) jack
      7) ABC fire extinguisher
      8) tire gage
      9) … and of course: fishing gear.
      (i think they require drinking water, flashlight, jumper cables, and a blanket as well… and of course, only 4 wheel drive vehicles are allowed)

      • Odd Questioner July 1, 2011, 10:24 pm

        May want to be careful about how low you let those tires go.

        It’s a popular trick on off-road vehicles to get extra traction, but I’d personally never go below 20 without bead-locked wheels installed. Anything below 15psi, and you run a risk of having the tire bead separate from the rim, causing a flat that you won’t be able to fix out in the boonies. The heavier the vehicle, the higher the risk. Pickup trucks with big ol’ balloon tires? No way. An average car with average tires? around 20psi would be about it IMHO. My Jeep doesn’t weigh nearly as much as a typical commuter car, and 20 is my lower limit w/ ordinary rims.

        • irishdutchuncle July 2, 2011, 4:46 am

          Roger that. will change it to 20 PSI, in my notes. thanks.

          • irishdutchuncle July 2, 2011, 6:38 am

            i’m also going to add a length of steel cable, and a “come-along” to my basic equipment list.

  • russell1200 July 1, 2011, 12:40 pm

    You could use the Jean Hegland method.

    You take a few key items from your means of shelter (the car). Use the remaining gasoline to burn it.

    Shoot the occassional pig with your father’s rifle that you barely know how to use. Collect lots of acorns. Live in a big hollow tree (or some such). Become friend with the Moose and ride around on it. Live the apocalypse now!

    I added the part about the Moose.

  • Jason July 1, 2011, 3:23 pm

    Great topic Jarhead, this really hits home.

    Many years ago I was stuck in an extremely remote area of Mainland Mexico – the car was DOA. I had no choice but to hump it out of there and hope it didn’t get stripped while I walked out. My buddy & I buried our valuable items (surfboards, stove, beer & box of canned food) in the bush and made the 15 mile journey to the main highway. It spooked me quite a bit being only 19 and in the tropics – we were in the state of Oaxaca which has lots of jungles.

    We were walking through the bush at one point (tried a stupid short cut) and saw a snake big enough to devour a small town that startled the SHTF out of us. Our machete seemed pretty pointless to this beast. Being the brave souls that we were we ran like scalded cats!

    It was dark when we hit the highway and we hitch hiked to get to the next town – 30 minutes by car. It was kind of a novelty that this big white guy (me) spoke Spanish fluently so it wasn’t too much of an issue but then again this was the early 70’s. Today, I would not entertain that idea – even here in the States!

    A couple of days later we made it back, towed it out and got it running again and continued down to Guatemala. We eventually flew home because the car finally wheezed it’s last breath & expired.

    I have had this happen several times in my life where the vehicle broke down in Australia, Spain, Italy and it was never a lot of never but if you don’t think/over analyze it too much, it somehow works it self out.

    To answer your question –

    I always carry a few gallons of water in the car & a couple days worth of emergency food & a full sized backpack. If I was stupid enough to go as deep as you described – and I am dumb enough to do that, I would hump it out with kids or whomever in tow. I am extremely determined, would shut my mind off & just march out, no problem. I’d be upset later …. maybe.

  • john July 1, 2011, 3:50 pm

    Well, I would have to pick another state because I would not even drive through NY because of their gun laws.

    I would never trust the GPS over a printed map.

    As soon as I started getting lost where my gas would have started to run out of fuel, I would have backed down the road if need be. So, if my vehicle got 10 mpg and I had only five gallons, I never would have gone more then ten miles. Especially since ten miles takes a while to walk and I would not go off road farther then I am willing to walk in the current conditions. In a blizzard that would mean <1,000 feet.

    I would have had a filled cooler of food and water, at least one .22LR gun, a compass, knife, and flashlights at a minimum. I normally carry at least a .40+ gun, knife, and 9v flashlight all the time. Plus, my vehicles all have flashlights, a compass, and floor jack.

    Assuming my vehicle was hopelessly disabled.

    I would have charged the cell phone, then shut it off, hike out the ten miles, turn the cell phone on, call for a 4×4 wrecker, and everyone gets to carry the cooler and/or supplies. If I was low on water, unlikely, I would drain swamp water into a hubcap through tube socks, started a fire, and boiled extra water to take just in case. I would avoid getting water from where the moose was pooping and leave him alone. Water weighs 8.3 pounds per gallon so I would put a max. of 5 gallons in the cooler. I would assume any standing water has poisons in it so it would be for exterior cooling.

    If it was a long walk from the main road to someplace civilized, I would hide the family in the woods where they could not be seen from the road and take another male member with me to effect a walked rescue.

  • Jim H July 1, 2011, 3:51 pm

    I would start a forest fire, if my life depended on it and conditions allowed it. Folks might not care about YOU, but when their precious god-trees are threatened, they get folks out there in a hurry.
    I know of only one place where this has worked, but it was a few decades past in California. For it to work, you’d probably have to do some serious logging, fell a few trees (fortunately I always have a double bitted axe in my truck).

    But before I do that, I would set my spare tire on fire – I might do that first. But a smoky oily fire looks different than a wood fire and fire-observers and forest rangers know the difference.

    A spare tire can burn for a few hours, and you still have four more to use in case you need it.

    It is important that you start this fire pretty quickly after you determine you are not going to get out. Dont wait days, three days without water and you’re gone past the point of being able to exert yourself.

  • T.R. July 1, 2011, 3:57 pm

    Well , Thing is , if you have the most or should be the most important thing with you in your life, which is your family . Driving and allowing yourself to get below half a tank of gas at ANY time along the way when you can help it is negligent . Another thing , with your family’s safety , you need to check your ego at the door ! If your not sure where your going , acknowledge it and turn back and GET GAS ! no big deal ! your kids may tease you but your wife will appreciate your thoughts and concern for your family . I drove across country from AZ to live in Maine about 5 years back , then the country was in a relatively normal state . You could easily get gas , food , lodging as you needed them along the way . Things didnt work out and we got a divorce . FF 3 years later . I packed a u-haul with all my shit and started back across country to AZ again . This time it was a real shock and a grim eye opener . It looked like a bomb went off all over the country ! You wanted to get food , and gas or lodging off the interstate in some places …. GOOD LUCK ! I made an absolute rule from the get go …… Fill up at half a tank ! Good thing I did , going through the Texas panhandle ……… there was absolutely NOTHING but desolation and closed up stores as far as the eye can see . I was never so glad to get into New Mexico in my life . In new mexico , things got a lot better , cross the line into Arizona , you couldn’t tell anything was affected by the economy and were as normal as when I left for Maine 3 years earlier . Been 2 years back now and I still have the half tank fill up rule with my new sweety . ” better dead sure than sure dead ! ” The truck always has the emergency basics in it at all times , a bit of food ( 3600 cal datrix rations ) 2 gallons of water , salt tab bottle , a tarp , blanket , fire kit , first aid kit , and a speztnaz shovel and road flares . The woods would be bad enough , but the desert !!? sorry man , but i’m not taking any risks . I hike in the desert for enjoyment , getting stuck out there for being stupid is not an option if I can help it and one of the last places you want to be in that situation .

    • Jason July 1, 2011, 7:27 pm

      And all of that because of an experience with the state of Maine …. take that Jarhead & Ranger! :-)

  • razr July 1, 2011, 7:23 pm

    Well guys….now you have disappointed me….while there are some good ideas here…..YOU SHOULD ALREADY KNOW HOW TO SAVE YOUR LIFE….. OR STAY OUT OF THE WOODS!!!!!….We have to go out in the middle of the night every hunting season and rescure flatland hunters…I live in the mountains of montana….only 4 wheel drive (would never have a GPS) I carry a 3 week supply of mre’s water filters, 5 gal water…also side arms,tarps,fire starters, a good steele, ammo , and just about everything else you can imagine….All of this fits into one med size box and a six gallon bucket….I also carry extra meds,first aid kit and extreme hi energy bars… boys….if I can figure out how to survive in these woods at 70… can as well!

    • Spook45 July 2, 2011, 8:25 pm

      Acctually, I would rather be in the woods. Thats where all of the food, water, shelter and fuel(for fire) is. I am very much at home in the woods. I live, sleep, hunt, fish and play there, at least I did for most of my life. All the points I made earlier were a sort of simple way to point out that there just some places I wouldnt be caught dead NY being one of them.

  • Suburban Survivalist July 1, 2011, 8:45 pm

    This is a pretty good training scenario. Our vehicles have get home bags with some basic survival supplies, nothing extravagant for the metro area. Does have water, ponchos, fire making items, a multi-tool, knife, paracord, emergency blanket, a plastic drop cloth, etc. If on a longer trip, I also take a CB, a handheld GPS, and a firearm depending on what state(s) we’ll be in. Obviously no firearm in this case.

    If I was the guy you describe, though, probably wouldn’t have any of that stuff. Why is he concerned to turn around and tell his honey they’re gonna run out of gas? She’ll be happier driving a few more miles into the forest before that happens?

    If you have a firearm (another state) and a good knife, moose steak dinner! Just kidding, actually stay the f*** away from the moose, if I recall correctly, they kill more people in Canada each year than bears do.

    If you don’t have anything else, use the cigarette lighter to make a fire, assuming you can find anything dry, and if needed. Shelter in the car that night. We have kids, that means food/water in the car on trips. If needed, could use the plastic drop cloth to collect rain water, or even the ponchos.

    First thing next morning, after the moose is gone, walk to the road. Take what you need for the day (and what you’d need if out another night) and go. It’s only 15 miles, a few hours walk unless someone in the group has mobility issues. Just carry the kids.

    If someone is unable to make that walk, they stay, you go. Depends on if this trail had a lot of cross-trails and if you have any sense of direction at all. Build up a big fire or some other signal, e.g. honk the horn every hour beginning after X hours.

    Stuff I’d want that I don’t normally have; an ax/saw, a hand winch and good cable, a shovel, a pint of vodka and some lime juice.

    • T.R. July 2, 2011, 4:07 pm

      I’m always armed , just dont advertise it , or try not to anyway .

  • Michael July 2, 2011, 1:31 am

    Well, scrub the family from my scenario, I’m single, never married, no kids.

    I’d love to say that I’d never get into that scenario, but truth be told, I could probably screw the pooch that badly.

    I’m never without at least some food, 1/2 gallon of water & a few other basics. From what you described, I’d probably be rolling with the works: week worth of food, tent, sleeping bag, stove, backpacks, a bicycle or two…

    Hunkering down for the night was the right call, for sure. And like Suburban said, stay away from the moose! Next move honk the horn a few times to scare off the moose and maybe see if someone else is around, eat some breakfast, drink some water, pop a couple of Advil (don’t know exactly what’s coming, but sore muscles are a given). If no one shows up after breakfast scout around for a quick hike that you wont get lost or killed on and might get you cellphone reception.

    If you can’t get cell reception it’s time to either hunker down or walk out. Remember that most people that hunker down get found. Matter of fact, that’s exactly what me and my brother, who was a back country ranger for the forest service for a decade and found lots of folk both alive and dead in the woods, taught all my nieces and nephews: hunker down, get found. Walk off, get lost. According to the scenario you are already lost. According to the scenario you’re already freaked out and sleep deprived. Maybe a little chilled.

    If it were me, I’d have food gear and the ability to at least know sorta where I was and could walk out. Walk out? Nah, I’d probably have my mountain bike to ride out on with me.

    But, if I was somehow one of the folk in the scenario as written, I’d hunker down. First thing I’d do is shut down the cell phones until 2 hours after it was time for people to start wondering where I am, you’ll want to save the batteries. Walk down the road as far as you can comfortably go and start making signs that would point people too you. Since they can’t see your car from the air leave things that can be seen from the air. Stick pop cans on upward facing branches drag logs in an arrow pointing to the car. Make SOS’s and arrows in the road with rocks. If you have a screw driver, and you don’t have much to make signs with, start taking apart your car. You can get the head lights, tail lights and maybe the hood off the car with just a swiss army knife. Drag the spare tire out in the middle of the road. Honk your horn at regular intervals. Three beeps in a row every 15 minutes and then SOS (— — — · · ·). Gather stuff for a fire, but don’t light it yet, unless you need it to keep warm or keep the skeeters from the swamp at bay, you’ll just be wasting wood otherwise. Once it’s time for people to start looking for you turn one of the cell phones back on SAR will be trying to ping it. Don’t drink the swamp water, unless you’ve figured out a way to boil it!

    Make yourself comfortable, you’re going to be there for a while.

    • irishdutchuncle July 4, 2011, 1:57 am

      “DC” cell phone charge cords are often so cheap, they can be found in dollar stores. one of the few things i do “right” is to keep one in the car…
      marking the spot where you went off the road is an excellent idea. (either the way you suggest or as Prepared N.D. suggested)

  • KC July 2, 2011, 2:47 am

    I’m from upstate NY, its been a 3 or 4 year sents I was last up there, but Chris the biggest change I saw was the open fields are growing in do to the farms no longer let the cows open graze. It is still very pretty up there.

    Okay, as for as this scenario goes. One its raining, you drove your car into a gully, that gully has water more than likely, a creek or brook, running down it and if it doesn’t now it will as the run out water comes down the mountain. The car could flood so you would be better off getting out of it. Get your rain gear and make a shelter up by the road. As soon as it stops raining get dry clothing on.
    In the morning, get your GPS, cell phone and other gear, like BOB and start walking back the way you came. STAY ON THE ROAD! No trail blazing even if you see a house off in the distance. You don’t know what you may come across when your cut a trail to that house, i.e. a body of water like a lake, river, cliff or even an animal, jumping off cliffs and swimming a flooded river looks cool on tv when Bear does it but its a good way to get yourself killed in ready life. So, stay on the road. As someone who spent a lot of time hike in upstate NY and VT, the people are pretty nice in that area and are willing to help, yes I said “nice and willing to help”. After all we aren’t talking about the NY City, beleave it or not in rural upstate NY people wave as you pass them on the road, so look for someone to help on the main road.
    Have a good one!

    • T.R July 2, 2011, 6:37 pm

      Drove through up state NY , beautiful country and the people are nice , mainly farming towns that I could tell . Dont know why some people think a college town is a good thing , I dont want to be around or support a bunch of irresponsible , disrespectful , self centered kids that cant handle their booze . And have taxes raised so some unappreciative sports team can build a new stadium ! Farming towns are full of down to earth , by in large hard working decent people , that dont get everything handed to them on a silver plate .

  • Bill July 3, 2011, 6:28 pm

    First, stay in the car until the moose leaves or try to scare it away with the car horn. Male or female, in season or out, moose kill people;

    Second, leave the car in the ditch. Why expend valuable time and energy with less than a gallon left and only two chances of getting it un-stuck: nil and none.

    Third, don’t toss the map or the GPS–unless it is a street GPS, which might explain why it got the family lost. The ones designed for the street have an auto-direction feature, and those are worthless off-road and potentially misleading on country roads. It’s too late for the family in the scenario now, but here are some tips for their next outing:

    1- Buy a GPS designed for off-road with lots of topo-map memory and a high-sensitivity receiver;
    2- Buy or make a topo map of the area you plan to visit and study it before you leave;
    3- Use what you learned from the map to design and load a GPS track of your intended route;
    4- Load a digitized topo map of the area you plan to visit into the GPS;
    5- Turn the track record feature on when you leave the main highway.

    Maps are essential. I never leave home without one. But my experience has been that very few people can use a map to go anywhere off-road or find their way back. Not so with a GPS. Just follow the track it recorded on your way out. Even with a map, it’s a good idea to mark the spot where you left your car with a GPS waypoint. Did you remember to bring extra batteries for the GPS?

    Fourth, fill whatever containers you have with water from the swamp. The woman probably isn’t wearing panty hose, but perhaps she packed filters for the coffee and if so they can be used to filter most of the sediment from the swamp water. Not sure what New York is like, but here in California, it’s best to assume that every lake, pond and stream has the Giardia parasite. Takes a few days to “percolate” in your intestines, so this family might be home before diarrhea and dehydration are a problem. But every survivalist should have Halizone tablets, a small water purifier or some way to boil “wild” water.

    Fifth, start walking–it’s only 15 miles. Unless the children are really young, of course. The scenario doesn’t say if everybody in the family is fit, but every survivalist knows that hard times favor fit people who think and behave at their best;

    Sixth, check the cell phone signal every 20 or 30 minutes. Got enough bars to call for help? Did you bring the phone number of a friend or family member? How do you call non-911 emergencies in that area? The operator?

    Seventh, talk, sing songs, keep everybody’s spirits up and focused on the task–getting home safely…

  • riverrider July 3, 2011, 8:56 pm

    well at the risk of being armchair psycho-analized again…wouldn’t happen, because i never,ever use gps. oh i get lost, just not by gps:) so i hunker down til dawn, pull out my map n backtrack to the hardball, call AAA to pull me out. thats why i pay for the premium membership:) ghb has enough to keep wife n kids happy and healthy til i get back. of course all this assumes bullwinkle isn’t in the rut, in which case it becomes, you guessed it, a COMBAT SITUATION JASON and i pull out my m268 200mm heatseeking antimoose lazer ray gun with uranium238 space modulator and vaporize earth because its blocking my view of venus:) analize that numbnuts :)

    • gat31 July 3, 2011, 11:23 pm

      LMAO!!!!!! Where do you get one of those antimoose lazer rays?
      Gander Mountain?

      • riverrider July 3, 2011, 11:37 pm

        acme, of course. thats where wile e. coyote gets all his equipment.

  • Jason July 4, 2011, 12:04 am

    My, my, my – aren’t we sensitive. I think I’ll refrain from “analyzing”, you’ve said quite enough. :-)

  • gat31 July 4, 2011, 1:25 am

    hey guys check this house out. Man talk about the ULTIMATE survival house!!!

    • T.R July 6, 2011, 1:41 am

      Very Cool !!!!! just needs bunkers , looks like he just trapped himself in .

  • ChefBear58 July 4, 2011, 6:16 am

    I appologize, I haven’t read the other responses yet. So if I am “beating a dead horse”, please just let me know!

    }First off, I use a road atlas, but assuming I decided to use the GPS, I would still refer to the map before things got crazy… However for the sake of discussion I will “play-along”!

    It would likely be my girl and myself (though what we are doin’ in Ny I have NO IDEA!). She is pretty well versed in the outdoors, so she would be an invaluable asset to the survival situation. Also, I don’t travel light, if I am heading out in town, or if I am driving 500mi. I go prepared!
    – First, double check for injuries, and damage to the vehicle
    – Pull the sleeping bags out of the back, pull up the “tumble seat”, move the gear bags to the front seat, then curl up with the prettiest woman in the world in the back of the JEEP (not much stretching room, but not horrible either!)
    – Maybe have a snack out of the emergency kit before bed, then some rest
    – I drive a JEEP Wrangler so I have a great 4wd system, short wheel base, higher ride-height and a fairly lightweight vehicle, whcih should help in extracating the vehicle
    – Find the nearest tree that will support the weight of my JEEP
    – Hook up the winch, if it’s facing the way out
    – Hook up the “Hi-Lift” jack in the “winch” set-up if I need to pull it from behind (HIGHLY reccomend these to anyone with a 4×4!!!)
    – If needed I have a MAX-AXE in the hatch, which gives me an axe, pick, shovel, hoe, rake, etc. so I have tools to help dig-out
    – Probably place a couple sheets of thick cardboard (with sand glues to one side) I keep under the carpet in the JEEP, under the rear tires to hopefully help get a bit of grip
    – Once the JEEP is out, clean up/pack-up the cables, straps, hooks, etc. Then give the winch a quick shot of oil, “clean up” with a wet-wipe shower, get changed (I keep spare clothes in my kit), clean any mud out of the interior that I can
    – Probably cook some lunch for my girl and me, I keep at least 6 MRE’s and a “tommy-cooker” in my emergency kit.
    – Take one of my Gerry-Cans off the rack and put 5 gallons of gas in the tank, replace the can
    – Place the GPS in front of the rear-passenger side tire
    -Drop the clutch and tear apart that piece of crap GPS (then pick-up the peices, no need to litter!)
    – Double check to ensure everyhting is cleaned up, trash is picked-up, gear stowed,
    – Resist the urge to try and gather som moose-meat with the M1911!

    Then I reckon we would get back on with our vacation, with minimal interuption! If needed I usually carry enough gear/supplies for 8 days by myself, so if my girl is with me (she would likely have her cool little dog to, so he can help warn of predators… that’s bear country afterall!) that’s 4 days, plus I would likely have a colapsable .22, fishing gear, snares, etc. So I don’t see food being an issue. For water, I have a basic ceramic filter, and silver oxide to treat it with, and I usually have 3 gallon-jugs of spring water in the floor-boards in the back seat. I carry a .45 M1911 for defence with 4 loaded Mags and usually 150rds (75 hollow-points/hydrashocks & 75 FMJ), as well as my MAX-AXE, several different knives, 2 multi-tools, my pocket knife and a hatchet. Also got the F.A.K., so I could treat injuries up to a minor gun-shot. Fire-starting kit, seasonal clothes, couple blankets, and a sleeping bag or 2.

  • T.R July 5, 2011, 7:14 pm

    I wish somebody would start remaking the US Army Field Ration D again .
    ( fortified chocolate bar ) would be great for a car or BOB .

  • William Davis April 25, 2012, 6:53 pm

    Lol, been there done that. When I was young and single, I always kept a small supply of camping stuff in the truck. (Live in Utah). Never knew when I would just feel like sleeping put while driving around in the mountains. On several trips, I either got stuck, broke down, or ran out of gas. I always had a small amount of coffee, some cans of beans and stew, a blanket, always had my buck knife, and rope, tarps, blanket or sleeping bag in the truck. I usually ended up hiking out, 15-20 miles, or just camping for a week or two until someone came along. Lived on fish, hoped I had a job when I got home…(I used to quit jobs just tocamp, so wasn’t to worried). To me, it was fun. Now, with 3 daughters and a wife, who knows.

  • William Davis April 25, 2012, 6:58 pm

    Course, not everyone is as crazy or dumb as I was. My wife just said so. Give me the minimum, and the mountains, and I’m happier than I am at anytime, with any amount of crap, in the city. Still that way.


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