Test Your Gear and Practice Your Skills

I was out walking the other day and decided to grab a canteen I had not used in a while. I was literally just walking and jumped from one rock to another and a plastic fastener broke on the carrier sending the canteen full of water scooting down a steep hill. What if I had been in the middle of nowhere? It could have meant real trouble.  I do not care how many times you have used an item, you have to check and test it on a regular basis, so that when you need it you know it will work.  Plan a short trip to check your equipment under real conditions and practice your survival skills. If a trip away is impossible do it at home and take you kit for a hike in your area to see that your gear is in serviceable condition and everything works as advertised.

Camping is the best way because you are forced to use the items as you would in a real situation unless you camp in a high speed motor home or trailer.  The trick is to not cheat yourself. If you are trying to start a fire witrh a spark or fire bow, do not cheat, do not give up see it through so that you know you can do it under stress. Failure is a great teacher.

You should not own one piece of gear that you have not put to the test. Try it out put it to the test on a regular basis,  you want to see if it is going to break like my canteen after just a few uses. It is better to find out now instead of finding out in an emergency that what you have does not work.

Testing our equipment lets us  find out if a tool or piece of gear is really more of a hassle than help. When you are carrying things on your back in the wilderness you do not want to be 50 miles out and find the gear doesn’t work for you and you wasted a lot of energy caring the crap for nothing.  Worse put your life at risk because it doesn’t work or it malfunctions and causes injury.When you find out a piece of gear is junk get rid of it unless you intend to teach a class showing others why it is not a good idea to buy it.

When the time comes that an emergency hits you want to know that your gear will hold up, and  how to use that gear correctly and it will meet your needs for the situation you are in.

Put all your gear through rigorous testing on a regular basis. Don’t just buy it and toss it somewhere. Along with testing it, keep it clean and serviceable and store it in a location where you can keep it organized. There is nothing worse then getting ready to take off on a trip or being in an emergency like a storm or power out and not being able to locate your equipment.

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