What would you carry?

My son is an avid player of first-person simulation games. He recently acquired one called “Stranded Deep”, which follows a story line similar to the plot of the movie “Castaway” (starring Tom Hanks). The player is stranded on a small tropical island, and must collect items from the environment to build what he needs to survive.

This made me think of a classic discussion that was passed around by many of the makers in the online community.

What one tool would you prefer to have, if you were stranded on a deserted island?

Well, this simple scenario assumes an environment that is friendly enough to humans that you might last a few days with almost nothing. Think “Robinson Crusoe”, or even “Gilligan’s Island”. But what about a more realistic approach? What about the environments that commercial airline traffic flies over routinely, yet is extremely inhospitable to humans? How would we “maker” types use our specific knowledge to help us survive?

Let me set up some scenes, and you can help out by telling your solutions in the comment section below.

  • Scenario 1: You appear to be the sole survivor of an airplane crash, high in the Canadian Rockies. The plane broke apart, and you were in the tail section, last row. The remainder of the aircraft traveled an unknown distance after the breakup, and is not in sight. There is snow on the ground, and the mid-day temperature is near freezing. You have the clothes you were wearing, the items you carry in your pockets (allowed by TSA), the last row of seats, the rear lavatory, and the mechanicals housed in the tail of a typical commercial airliner. You can see, far down in the valley between mountains, a gravel road.
  • Scenario 2: You again are the sole survivor of an airplane crash, this time in a small private craft, somewhere in the desert of the South-Western United States. No TSA restrictions, but the aircraft burned after crashing, so there is little remaining aside from your every day carry gear. You know that the airstrip you left is about an hour’s flight time to the West, and there is a military base somewhere to the North. Your current location has no view of an man-made structures, but you recall crossing a faint track of a road some distance back.
  • Scenario 3: While on a cruise down the Western coast of Mexico, a sudden violent storm threatens to capsize your vessel. The crew prepares to launch life boats as a precaution. A sudden surge washes you overboard and out to sea. Fortunately, that same surge breaks one of the life boats free as well. After several minutes in the water, you spot the life boat, swim to it, and are able to hang on to one of the trailing ropes until the sea calms, hours later. You find the strength to climb aboard, and see that you are alone, with no land or vessel in sight. You have the clothes you were wearing, your life vest, and enough usable emergency provisions to last a single person at least five days. There is an emergency radio beacon in the craft, but it appears to have been flooded by the storm, and will not power on.

Pick one of these scenes and tell me, how do you:

  1. Protect yourself from the elements?
  2. Find water?
  3. Find food?
  4. Attract a rescue or extract yourself to safety?

Here is the twist: as makers, we all have tools we favor, often using them to do things above and beyond their intended purpose. Choose one of those tools, which could (believably) have been on your person or in the available resources given for each scene. Perhaps your chosen tool could be fabricated from the materials at hand, if it wasn’t already available. Then let us know how you used that tool to help you survive.

I’m really looking forward to hearing your solutions!

 I will tell you mine in my next blog post, but here is a hint: I will be working within the limitations of the TSA.

Until next time,

Savor the Sawdust! (and don’t starve)

2 comments on “What would you carry?”

  1. Missy Frazier Reply

    One Christmas I was having trouble opening a box and asked my brother if he had a pocket knife. He answered my question with the question, “Am I wearing pants?”

    Being female, it is more convenient for me to carry my “Swiss Army” in the form of a wallet sized card, and I can tell you that for many years I have used it nearly every day in one capacity or another.

    My imagination may not be vivid enough to outline a survival scenario for one of the above examples, but I can promise you that little credit card pocket tool would be involved in the “MacGyver-ing”.

    I will be following this to see what you people smarter than me will come up with.

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