Two Is One and One Is None: Do You Believe In Redundancy

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Redundancy is often times called the best backup plan. Nevertheless, there are limits to just how many items you can carry, because you fear one may become lost, broken or in some cases, is not the exact tool or material for the job.

Where Redundancy Is Important

Survival packs for each member of the group or family is important. If a member becomes separated from the group or family that person needs the supplies, tools, and materials to survive independently of the group. It would be easy to imagine a family or group dividing supplies in various packs based on how much a person can carry. The older or bigger members may be tasked with carrying the water or food supply because it is heavier. The younger children would of course carry the lighter supplies. This method only works if everyone ends up in the same place at the same time.

If the one carrying the water loses the pack, gets lost, separated, or delayed, then the rest of the group has a problem. Therefore, you do have to be redundant when packing multiple bags. Each bag should contain what each individual needs to survive. Individuals cannot carry individual supplies, gear or materials that the entire group would need to survive. In other words, each pack is identical and is a standalone survival pack capable of sustaining whoever is carrying it.

Too Much of a Good Thing

However, you can carry redundancy too far, for example, by piling up multiple fire starting materials in each pack. Some may believe you cannot have too many ways of starting a fire, and this is true to some extent, but there is a limit. You do have to carry more than just fire starting materials, but you also need, food, water, medical supplies, knives, a camp ax possibly, a small tent and/or tarp and so on. Weight is important and space is limited in your pack.

Think about what causes an item to fail, instead of trying to pack a dozen of the items that usually fail. One example is lighters, they fail when wet, cold, and they run out of fuel. If it’s frigid out, then all your lighters will likely fail, and so a dozen of non-working lighters are the same as not having any. Instead, carry what you know will not fail as a backup, such as a magnesium stick and/or a Ferro rod and some dry tinder.

Carry one or two lighters and matches to use when they work, but also carry what you know will work under any conditions. This will reduce weight and take away the stress of wondering. This is where skills and knowledge come into play. You have to know what works in the field. Anyone can get a fire going in their backyard, but you have to know if the same methods will work when you are under stress and in poor weather conditions while rambling about in the back country.

Instead of trying to carry a dozen or so AA batteries for flashlights, GPS systems and other gadgets carry a small solar charger panel and rechargeable batteries instead. It is a small investment to buy the solar panel and rechargeable batteries, but it will pay off soon enough.

How many knives do you need? If you worry that you will break or lose one knife, then you have to worry about losing or breaking all of your knives. This could be an endless cycle of worry and over packing.

Carry a quality fixed bladed knife, a multi-tool, a folding knife and maybe even carry a machete. Each cutting tool can essentially perform the same tasks, so if one does break or gets lost you have a backup. Think of multiple uses for an item instead of trying to carry six identical knives that can get heavy in the pack.

Know multiple methods of doing something instead of trying to carry six of one thing to perform one job. Know how to start a fire with a bow and drill, for example, because you can gather the materials from your environment. You can make a bow and drill with a knife and some cordage. This is where knowledge will lighten your pack.

The bug-out-bag craze has some believing that they can carry everything they need to survive in any environment, for an indefinite period on their backs. This is simply not true.