Sitting here by the fire tonight, sipping some whiskey with like-minded people, I wanted to talk about getting out and training for real-world conditions. Tonight is night 7 of a 9-night training session in the field.
The last few days have been with my friend NC Scout of www.brushbeater.org and Brushbeater Training and Consulting. Next week, we’ll do a deep dive on the six days of training with him, but tonight I wanted to talk about testing in actual field conditions. Testing our gear, but more importantly, testing ourselves.
I’ve been living in a tent, eating my planned survival foods, rationing water, and trying to live in actual conditions. It’s been hot during the day, cold at night, and for the last 36 hours it’s rained like we’re in the South Pacific. Through it all, we’ve conducted training regardless, which gave me an opportunity to test out all of my rain gear.
The first lesson learned was that for all my preparedness and writing, sunscreen was not among my gear. I know, what a rookie mistake, right? I’d rather find out now and learn the lesson today, than wait and learn it during a real crisis. That’s the point of testing, after all. A little discomfort now is better than a lifetime of it later.
I did learn that my investment in extra poncho liners was a good thing, because when it gets cold, just pile on another one.
Another big piece was that despite this not being a field skills course (it’s all communications this time), I stuck to my principal of always keeping the ruck packed. Not only did it keep my gear organized and dry, it made it easy to find whatever I needed very quickly, because it was where it was supposed to be.
I found that my solar charger worked flawlessly for keeping the phone and radios charged all week.
An issue I found was with my Esbitt stove. I found that the fuel tablets I bought didn’t burn for nearly as long as the package claimed. This might seem minor, but it meant that I used fuel 3 times as fast as I had planned. Once again, I’d rather be inconvenienced today than run out of fuel when it matters. I also learned that while the stormproof matched WILL light, they aren’t very strong and the stick breaks easily.
So, what’s the point of this rambling? The point is to show that you need to get out for more than a 24-48 period and live in the field and resist the temptation to use support networks. You will validate what works among your preparations, and find out what doesn’t. It will help you fine tune your preps as the world continues to fall off the rails at record speed.
Get out in the field and train like your life depends on it, because it does.
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