PSK True Tales

Discussion in 'Preparedness' started by Doc., Sep 19, 2017.

  1. Doc.

    Doc. Scout

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    A recent thread, assessing the worth of a PSK, leveled a challenge for those in defense of such a kit, to relate an episode that demonstrated their kit's worth. I recommend that responses to the challenge include two things:

    1) a listing of items included in the kit and where/how you carry the kit.
    2) Briefly relate the episode that demonstrates the worth of the kit.

    I'll start:
    1) My PSK is older than dirt. It consists of a SAK and Ferro on my keychain, a double length parachute cord bracelet worn on my wrist (long before these were chic), and a short dowel with a few winds of duct tape, flagging tape, and a waxed oil lantern wick. The dowel is slid into a fold of a large bandana which is folded and put in my back pocket.
    2) I picked up a new sail from the FedEx office that had been custom made for me for one of my self-made pirogues. I planned to venture out with it the next day after I got home (60 mile drive) so I had the boat strapped to the top of the truck but no gear other than my paddle and life vest. I couldn't wait, so while driving along the parkway I stopped to try out the sail. An unexpected wind storm arose and blew me across the reservoir and rendered me windbound for the night. The temperature (I found out later) dropped to 23F that night. I tied my boat to two trees with the paracord creating a lean-to shelter. I wrapped myself in the sail and wore my life vest over top of it. Made a fire and gathered wood for the night. Found an empty discarded tin can and cut the top off with my SAK so I could boil water in it. Made pine needle tea. Marked my spot on the shore with three strands of flagging tape. Tied my bandana around my head as a babushka. And with a few other tasks completed, I settled in for the night. I actually slept pretty well. And the Reservoir Boat Patrol came and picked me up around noon the next day. It was about a 21 hour ordeal. My biggest danger was the numerous widow makers in the trees around me but I was surrounded by swamp and lake so I just put that in the hands of the Big Guy. I'll always have my PSK with me.
    Doc.
     
  2. Unistat76

    Unistat76 Nerd Supporter Bushclass I

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    The paradox of prepared people, is they are the least likely to need to use the preparations.

    Don't take this the wrong way, but I hope I never have a story to contribute here.
     
  3. Youcantreadinthedark

    Youcantreadinthedark Amphibian. Supporter Bushclass I

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    bump


    I would like to see this thread get used and expanded. A trick I take for granted may be new to someone else, and vice versa, so here's an easy starter:

    Cutting spoon blanks in wet conditions two miles up a trail (feeder trail to an AT junction in JNF, VA) I slipped down an embankment with an open Silky saw in my hand; my only thought was "keep the saw away from your body". Successfully did that but at the cost of some scrapes and a historic Class 5 nail-destroying event. Had a FAK as always; gauze, tape, otc painkillers, alcohol swabs, bandages, everything I needed to contain and control the problem, and let me think clearly about what needed to be done (in this case, gather tools and supplies and get back down the mountain).

    The psychological benefits of being able to address injuries are significant - I double what I carry in terms of a FAK if I'm hiking with other people, especially people who don't worry about possibilities as much as I do. Once you've done what you can, it may hurt, but you can relax some knowing that you've been pro-active.


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    One thing I did (when I still had my orange Farmer :() is poke a small hole with an awl in the cap of a plastic water bottle to get enough pressure to sluice out my cuts and scrapes. I've done this a lot, and it's a good trick to know.
     
    Last edited: Aug 2, 2018
  4. JasonJ

    JasonJ Supporter Supporter

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    Damn @Youcantreadinthedark , those are some nasty scrapes.

    Sometimes scrapes and bark burn against your skin is worse than an actual cut... At least on terms of the pain. I can wrap and put pressure on a cut or laceration and move on, but large areas of wounds like yours or what you get on the side of your leg sliding down a rocky hillside are distractingly painful.

    Also, in case anyone wants to try it out, the nerves that process pressure on your body override the pain impulses to your brain; I.e. Basically they get there first. So applying a lot of physical pressure to a wound can make the pain level decrease for a time. That's why when you cut yourself badly, your first instinct is to grab the wound and squeeze.

    I can contribute any stories quite as dire as what's been presented thus far... But I have found myself or family members in situations where a FAK on my person or an urban survival kit has come in handy. (This is where most of the value of those damn altoid tins comes in).

    My son fell and scraped his leg while we were at the Detroit Zoo one year- admittedly the best case for an injury you're likely to get while in Detroit lol-

    Now this doesn't seem such a big deal except that he's 4 1/2 at the time and needs bandages (in his mind) for so much as a pimple. I had antiseptic wipes with a topical anesthetic for cleaning and addressinng some pain, fabric bandages that won't peel off with sweat, and a bit of medical tape and gauze... Got him bandaged up like a pro while we were in line to feed the giraffe.

    I carried my FAK gear in a red zip up case for a portable hard drive, with a white cross on the top made from said medical tape.

    Plenty of minor instances as well where an altoid tin of bandages, safety pins, Tylenol, leatherman micra or SAK classic SD, a lighter and flashlight have been employed to make mini rescues of an otherwise inconvenient situation.
     
    Last edited: Aug 5, 2018
  5. Sinjin

    Sinjin Firebrand Supporter Bushclass I

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    I've known a couple people who are strong believers in the mindset of"everything you need can be found in the woods". And while I truly appreciate this mindset, I do not agree with it when it comes to First Aid.

    I'm sure most of you, if not all agree with this.

    The times I have needed my FAK (which is part of my PSK) the last thing on my mind was," lets go see what mother nature has to offer as a bandage".

    I have needed stitches a couple times from accidents in the woods, and I was very thankful to have pre-made butterfly stitches in my FAK. I'm sure nothing serious would have occurred if I didn't have my FAK, but much like @Youcantreadinthedark has said, tending to your own wounds immediately allows you to relax and deal with the situation while remaining calm and collected.

    BTW Great Idea for a thread @Doc.
     
  6. CaliforniaCanuck

    CaliforniaCanuck Guide

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    Good for those “couple people” that told you that.

    I consider them foolish!

    When I need to deal with first aide issue I want my kit at my finger tips, clean, stocked, and ready to help get the injury under control as soon as possible.

    Then hopefully, I’m back to having fun!
     
  7. Sinjin

    Sinjin Firebrand Supporter Bushclass I

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    Exactly how I feel.
     
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  8. andy.t

    andy.t Guide Vendor

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    Hill People Gear talks about levels of equippage. Depending on where you are and what you're doing, you have different levels of equippage. In my case, the most basic level is my pants. If I'm wearing pants, I have a knife, a phone, a belt, and a lighter. If I'm leaving the house, there's a survival/first aid kit in the vehicle or in my backpack. If I'm in the woods, add a hydration reservoir, snacks, and trek poles. We should think of our PSK as a basic level of equippage, instead of a precious object that must be preserved intact and can only be opened and used under very specific circumstances.

    If you think of it as a basic equippage, then you'll find that you are constantly using your PSK. Band-aids and antibiotic ointment. Cordage. Fire starting. Duct tape. Tarp. These are items I carry and use all the time, for me and others. It's just a question of replacing the items that get used up.

    Example: a few weeks ago we were on a family vacation with my wife and kids, my parents, and my sister and brother-in-law and their kids. We needed the first aid kit so often that I just kept it on the kitchen counter. Same with my Mora Robust--it was the only sharp knife in the house. We used it to clean fish, to chop onions, someone appeared to have whittled with it, etc. My dad took my Silky saw out to gather firewood. I used the lighter to start the grill.

    These are items that I (should) always have. In an emergency, they could help me preserve my life or someone else's. In the meantime, they're just part of day to day life.
     
  9. Black5

    Black5 Supporter Supporter

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    Amen. My PSK has bandaged and soothed burns, cuts, and scrapes on grandkids so much. I guess I use the FA stuff more than anything, but I know with it I can survive a night lost in the woods.
     
  10. LostViking

    LostViking Supporter Supporter

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    I think Andy makes good sense here. As does YCRITD.

    Andy's referral to HPG's Level Philosophy is a good one.
    1/2 mile from the car. You don't need too much. 3 days from the car. The risks and ramifications increase exponentially.

    The level of preparedness and first aid knowledge and equipment should rise equally as the level of risk and difficulty of rescue rise.

    Doc's example is one I see over and over again. Not his actual boat incident. Which he seemed to handle very well.
    But the pattern leading up to it. It seems it is almost always a series of small mistakes that leads us into more serious trouble.

    In his case hitting the water without proper gear. Driven by excitement. He also probably failed to check the weather, or he would have known about the approaching wind/front. I bet he didn't make anyone aware of his abrupt plan to go sailing. So no one would even know where to look.

    I see much less need for a one mile hike on a well traveled trail. Than I do for bushwacking 10 miles into the back country.

    My kit is a mix of prepared and home build items. Bandaids and gauze, medical tape. Three different levels of pain killers. Antiseptic, wipes, iodine, But I also have corn starch to help stop bleeding. Honey for antimicrobial wound care and two small tubes of super glue for wound closure.

    I never go anywhere without the means to build a fire. No where.

    As much as any kit is worth its weight in gold when you need it. So is the knowledge of how and what to do. Buck Tilton's book Wilderness Medicine is in every vehicle I own. At the very least some crib cards are a good idea. Sure you know what to do. But what if you're the unconscious one.

    My best advice is, kits are cool. But learn to identify the small things before they become big things.

    I have a Silky saw.
    The thing is literally scary sharp. It eats wood for breakfast. It should never come in contact with flesh/bone. Sliding down the side of a mountain with one is not someplace I would ever want to be.

    I'm sure there were a few small errors made there. That when taken in aggregate caused some serious pain and discomfort. If not an actual life threatening situation. However if that Silky had been dragged across a femeral artery during the slide, it very well could have been a life threatening event.

    Seriously, I have both read about, and been involved in way too many of these situations. The weather turned, but we thought we could still make it. We don't usually hike more than a mile or two. But we planned a trip of three consecutive 8 mile days.

    Real life example;
    We are canoe camping along the Cedar River Flow,
    Father and son in a canoe in pouring down rain, pull onto shore. Temps hovering around 42F and slated to get colder.
    It's almost dark. He stops and ask us where he is?

    Stating, we are way behind schedule, because we got a late start. My son is shivering uncontrolably, I'm cold and starting to shiver, but I'm OK. But I still have 15 miles of unfamiliar river to navigate before we get where we planned on camping.

    We fed these two and gave them hot cocoa. The son was the voice of reason. At 12 years old he convinced his dad to spend the night with us by the fire, and continue on in the morning. Starting out warm and dry. Dad wanted to press on. Had it not been for the wisdom of a 12 year old. I'll wager they would have made the papers.

    The PSK that day was some hot chocolate, some food, and some common sense.
     
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2018
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  11. Doc.

    Doc. Scout

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    Well put brother! Doc.
     
  12. Moe M.

    Moe M. Supporter Supporter

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    LOL, took me a year, but I just stumbled across this thread and it brought back the memory of my PSK thread of Sept. 2017, I hope you don't mind my commenting as I have not changed my opinion of small pocket sized personal survival kits, I still think they are more a feel good idea that can be more potentially dangerous than they helpful in saving lives in the general sense.
    By that I'm referring to people who are just starting out enjoying the out of doors and that don't have the level of experience or training that you and other seasoned woodsman own, I remember asking in my thread for members who had actual experience using their small pocket survival kits in an emergency to relate their stories.
    Yours above is a good example and I'm sure there are other stories that are just as convincing that speaks well having a PSK available when you need it PROVIDING you have the knowledge and the skills to adapt the tools in your kit to your situation.
    Before going on, I'm only addressing woodland survival, I'm not getting into any other survival situations like SHTF scenarios, EMP's, or interstellar wars, I'm more concerned about newbies getting lost, injured, separated from the rest of their group, dumped overboard, or being caught in an unexpected serious storm.
    The more experienced and better trained woodsman will likely survive such an experience with little more gear than a good knife and a ferro rod or Bic lighter, but an inexperienced novice armed with the average candy tin tool box thinking it's going to save his life most likely will not fare as well.
    In my opinion even a modestly experienced camper/hunter/fisherman who is used to having all the comforts of a cabin or tent camp and finds himself lost, or injured and unable to self rescue may be at a loss with nothing more than a razor blade, two band aids, a ferro rod, a cheap Mylar safety blanket, five feet of duck tape, and a bit of bank line.
    Another side issue of this is that even having the benefit of a better kit, the shock of being twisted, fear of the unknown, or from a mechanical injury can and usually does affect a persons ability to think clearly or make sound decisions, unless they have trained or have some back country experience.
    Again, in my experience if you are exposing yourself to the possibility of being involved in a survival situation more is always better than less even if the difference is a few pounds of weight and a bigger pocket or tin, especially if you have more confidence in your little kit than you have in yourself.
     
  13. LongChinJon

    LongChinJon Guide

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    I'm glad you bumped this thread.

    This isn't a survival issue, but a while back, I was in the woods, nearly out of water, and feeling dehydrated. I didn't want to walk back to the road and end a good time in the woods, but I was starting to feel bad. Some time before, on a whim, I had put some Micro-Pur tabs in my wallet. So...a short walk to a creek, filled the canteen, and 30 minutes later had clean water. It wasn't survival, but it was nice to not end a hike.
     
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  14. LAKE CLARK

    LAKE CLARK Tracker Banned

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    What is a PSK...........???
     
  15. HannahT

    HannahT Firebug Hobbyist Supporter Bushcraft Friend Bushclass I

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    Personal survival kit. Check out BushClass for some good ideas!
     
  16. LAKE CLARK

    LAKE CLARK Tracker Banned

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    Thank You...........actually I have about 40 of those things. Just did not know what is PSK........but I do now.
     
  17. lopie

    lopie Scout

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    how do you mean 40?
     
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  18. LAKE CLARK

    LAKE CLARK Tracker Banned

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    Well I have 42 survival kits, Assuming we are referring to the same thing. I just never used the "Personal" word, just always called them plain "Survival Kit". So the "PSK" kind'a threw me off.
     
  19. lopie

    lopie Scout

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    but what do you carry on YOU at all times?

    maybe I'm the one who doesn't understand? Maybe a PSK doesn't have to be on your person?
     
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  20. LAKE CLARK

    LAKE CLARK Tracker Banned

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    Yes..........I think my system is different, and more extensive. I don't think it needs to be on my person. But my situation is likely very different. I have a system that is a modification of the "Leatherman System".

    I fear that I may have inadvertently hi-jacked the thread, and as I just joined today, I don't want to get banned today.
     
  21. LAKE CLARK

    LAKE CLARK Tracker Banned

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  22. TAHAWK

    TAHAWK Guide

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    :dblthumb:
     
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  23. Guttersnipe

    Guttersnipe Supporter Supporter

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    Best answer I've seen so far I believe.
    I made up a "psk" from a Sucrets tin.
    I keep it in my "edc" backpack and occasionally steal items from it.
    Mostly it's small inferior redundancy things.
    I have no doubt I could spend an unexpected night out without much issue as I have in the past.

    In the summer of 2002, my brother and I were hiking in the back country of Glacier National Park on a multi day trip and came across two younger guys out on a day hike. They were apparently climbing a rock face when one of them disturbed a Bald Face Hornet's nest.
    He was in rough shape.
    I gave him some Benadryl to help.
    They were talking about trying to get out that evening and my brother and I talked them into staying with us for the night. It was a good four hour hike to the trailhead with less than an hour daylight left
    They had no equipment, food, or much of anything.
    We fed them that evening and said our farewells in the morning.
    I think that was a good reality check for all of us.
     
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  24. THRsucks

    THRsucks Guide

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    Great story, doc.

    I had a multi day situation after being robbed in Minneapolis.

    I was not able to call the police, and my gear was stolen, leaving me with what was in my pockets.

    I had a cigarette lighter, my sawyer water filter, a black sharpie, and the clothes i had on.

    It was early spring. After surviving the attack from multiple thugs, i made off unhurt, and was forced to navigate to safety running and jumping fences as i was being chased.

    I ran and walked all the way to a city called royalton. It was over 90 miles from my starting point.

    Night 1.
    Walked the entire night, luckily i was in excellent physical shape at the time. I found a church that was locked, but it opened when i gave it a hard yank, i sat in a lobby completely uncaring if police arrived and threw me in jail or not. I performed pushups, and rolled myself up in the floor mat to prevent freezing to death until sun up.

    Day/night 2

    I collected any scraps of paper and dry grass along the highway, stuffed the insulation into my pants and into my jacket for insulation. I started a fire next to the highway for warmth and signal help. Waved at the state patrol, they never stopped. More push ups.

    Day 3. Hungry, walk in to a sams club, take the entire tray of free samples and eat them as i leave.
    Walk into walmart, bring sawyer filter to customer service, return it, use the money to buy yet more food, lighters, and water.
    Eat and drink the entire works.

    Continue walking and running. Held up a sign after grabbing some cardboard behind the store and using my marker to write on it. Hold the sign for about an hour, freezing to death. Decide to keep moving.

    Need a shower, and in St. Cloud. See a hotel with a pool, flirt with girl behind counter, she lets me use the shower next to the pool. Throw away socks and underwear.

    Run all day and all night, stop at a roadside bar for a glass of water and continue on my way.

    Day 4

    In the throws of hypothermia i begin removing clothes, walking around with no shoes, begin screaming at staff in a gas station hoping to get arrested. Paramedics come. I won't sign for the ambulance, they check me out, my feet are broken from running i can barely walk,pass out for several hours, take a nurses lunch and make my way out the door.

    I hobbled to a truck repair place just outside of royalton. Started a fire, burning tires, pallets, run out of fuel. Find a semi ooen with keys, start it, fall asleep in it.

    Wake up in a panic,grab anything i can find , sweater, change, etc.
    FINALLY stopped by police. No arrest was made. They arranged a ride from scotties log bar., i pay driver with whats left on my walmart gift card.
     
  25. LAKE CLARK

    LAKE CLARK Tracker Banned

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    WOW.........
     
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  26. Kenneth

    Kenneth Scout

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    Wow indeed. On day 3 when you went into the Sam's and Walmart, did you ask any to call the police for you? Incredible ordeal

    GOD Bless you and your family

    Kenneth
     
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  27. THRsucks

    THRsucks Guide

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    Truth be told, the damage was done. And i really didn't have anyone to call. Hahahaha. Family included unfortunately. That's a whole other discussion.
     

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