Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

The Survival Game - Northern Woods

  1. Mar 9, 2017 #1
    You mysteriously find yourself alone deep in the Canadian woods in summer. The terrain is mountainous with a stream nearby. You are wearing a t-shirt, jeans and sneakers. You reach for the crackling radio and make out a voice saying help will reach you in 40 days. You are able to pick 8 items that could individually fit cleanly in the jeans pocket of an average man. What are those items and describe your plan to survive.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 9, 2017 #2

    Evo

    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    Oh great, now I am going to have nightmares. :nb)
     
  4. Mar 10, 2017 #3

    Mark44

    Staff: Mentor

    I suppose this is intended to be a thought exercise, but as this is something very much like what I do for fun on a regular basis, I would put in my two cents.

    I frequently (but not mysteriously) find myself and my usual hiking companion Steve deep in the woods and mountains of Washington, within just a few miles of the Canadian border. I usually hike wearing a T-shirt, but never jeans and sneakers - shorts and boots, plus raingear.Even in summer up this way, there's a significant risk of hypothermia, particularly after a rainstorm. As for the 8 items, I go with what the Seattle Mountaineers call The Ten Essentials:
    1. Map & compass
    2. Sun protection (sun glasses & sun screen & brimmed hat)
    3. Extra clothing (including raingear)
    4. Headlamp
    5. First-aid kit
    6. Matches
    7. Repair kit & knife
    8. Extra food
    9. Extra water
    10. Emergency shelter

    Obviously, this stuff wouldn't fit in the pockets of a pair of jeans, which is why we go with backpacks.

    Our longest trip was 10 days, during which we managed to stretch out the food we were carrying. If we had to make it for another 30 days, we would have to supplement our diet with fish or small animals such as marmots (a friend of mine killed and ate a marmot one time many years ago -- a serious no-no in Olympic Nat'l Park), plus berries and wild onions. Catching fish or other animals is really easier said than done, even with fishing gear, which we don't usually carry. If we managed to survive the 40 days, I would expect to be 30 to 40 lb. lighter
     
  5. Mar 10, 2017 #4
    Some clarification of the conditions might be useful here. If I were forced to guess, I would interpret "could individually fit cleanly in the jeans pocket" to mean that each of the 8 items would have to fit in that pocket - not that all 8 items together would have to fit. So @Mark44, of your 10 items, only "extra clothing," "extra food" and "extra water" would seem too big; possibly the headlamp also, depending on the model. To cut down on the size of the "emergency shelter," how about a silver "space blanket" that could serve as a very thin tarp or else poncho/extra warmth - do those still have credibility?
     
  6. Mar 10, 2017 #5

    Mark44

    Staff: Mentor

    Yes. I usually bring along one of those space blankets. The headlamp is pretty small -- it would fit in a pocket.
     
  7. Mar 10, 2017 #6
    Good question, yes, individually
     
  8. Mar 11, 2017 #7
    matches, fishhooks, fishing line, knife, sharpening stone, antibacterial cream: fish a lot, make a cabin, stay warm, stand up to bears.
     
  9. Mar 11, 2017 #8

    DrGreg

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    So you've also got 7 spare pairs of jeans with you as well? :smile:
     
  10. Mar 11, 2017 #9
    1. A knife with a thick blade
    2. Lots of ferrocerium
    3. Lots of "small rope" (i don't know what it's called, exactly)
    4. Fishnets (there is bound to be a river/stream somewhere close by, worst case scenario, a sea)
    5. A metallic container (for water)
    6. Medkit
    7. As large a plastic sheet as possible
    8. A good book that takes 40 days bare minimum to read.

    Alternatively, if I know roughly, where I am. I'd take a compass, solid footwear, long trousers, food and water, raingear and possibly something else and take the 100 mile hike back to civilization.
     
  11. Mar 11, 2017 #10
    Deet, or bug repellant, would be handy to have. Black flies and mosquitoes can drive someone insane.
    Duct tape is a must in any situation, and here it can double up as a wound covering.
    A laser pointer of sufficient strength could draw attention to your position to aircraft, if that is how they will extract you.
    Toothpaste and brush work wonders for that early morning get up and go feeling.
    A wineskin to collect water, to take with you on exploration.
    A bag to fill up on any food, or cool things, one may possibly find in the area and transport to home base, although if there is grass in the area I will drop that item, and the wineskin, for paper and pencil, in case they find my bones, they will at least have my story.
    Knife. A sharp one at that, not a butter knife.
    Vitamin, salt pills - is that any benefit if I don't get any calories.??
    A metal coffee cup for brewing things in.

    The mountain stream probably does not have any fish, and animals are elusive, but there must at least be some kind of critters around. Looking for squirmy things under rocks might be the best choice for acquiring some subsistence. Knife can make pointy sticks, and cut the duct tape into a string. Making fire might be a problem, but the old fashion way will have to do.
    First thing to do would be to build a shelter, collect rocks for a fireplace, make pointy sticks, look under rocks for food to boil up as a gritty tea.
    Berries and all that might not be in season, if they are so much the better.

    If I sit tight I may loose about a pound every 3-4 days, I think.
    By exploring, about a pound every 2nd day.
    Basing that on 3500 calories for every pound of body fat.
    So what I do depends upon the plentifulness of edible and nutritious organic material in the immediate area after an initial exploration.
    And then re-access and tweak if needed.
     
  12. Mar 11, 2017 #11

    Vanadium 50

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Education Advisor

    1. Iridium phone.
    2. Credit card.
     
  13. Mar 11, 2017 #12
    I might have taken this too seriously to have suggested the boyscout gear. I'll just take a box of paper towels so I can weep for those 40 days. As for the other 7 things, I'll take a plastic bag and 6 stacks, as large as possible, of 500 euro notes. I'll return a wealthy man :)
     
  14. Mar 11, 2017 #13
    [Dials] Hello, operator?

    [Voice with crackling in background] We told you . . . 40 days!!
     
  15. Mar 11, 2017 #14

    DaveC426913

    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    Heh. 7 survival items - plus a diamond as big as my eyeball. :D
     
  16. Mar 11, 2017 #15

    DaveC426913

    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    Methinks you are playing fast & loose with what constitutes
    • a single item
    • fitting in a pocket, and
    • 8.
    :biggrin:
     
  17. Mar 11, 2017 #16

    DaveC426913

    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    A hunting knife.
    A foil blanket.
    A 100' coil of thin wire.
    A Survival Guide.
    A box of matches.
    Flint.
    A windup flashlight.
    A flask or collapsible cup.
     
  18. Mar 11, 2017 #17
    1) a belt attached sheathed knife with a hilt >6'' blade length
    2) highly compressible, insulated, water repellant, calf length, hooded, pocketed coat to shield from the elements and mosquitoes and store things in
    3) collapsible water jug
    4) medium size metal cup for cooking and boiling water
    5) flint/steel firestarting kit ... assuming the shoes you are wearing have shoe laces as a back up for fire starting
    6) pair of thick wool socks to alternate with the ones you are wearing
    7) waterproof bag full of salt to cure fish or kill bacteria in open wounds
    8) survival handbook
     
  19. Mar 11, 2017 #18

    Mark44

    Staff: Mentor

    You didn't read the rest of what I posted:
    and
    Based on what I do on a regular basis, I wouldn't find myself in the situation that Greg described (i.e., in jeans and tennis shoes, with only 8 items), so the hypothesis is flawed.
     
  20. Mar 11, 2017 #19
    Remember, the hypothesis involves "mysteriously" - in many ways, from how you get there without your knowledge to how you suddenly have a pick of narrowly defined items after you get there. So you don't have any choice in being dumped there, but do have a choice of how to survive.

    Plus, apparently you are also in possession (mysteriously) of a crackling radio. So that makes 9 items. Maybe you can take the radio apart & fashion a fishhook from a resistor.
     
  21. Mar 11, 2017 #20

    DaveC426913

    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    Yes, I was going to point this out.

    It's no fair altering the given scenario.
     
Know someone interested in this topic? Share this thread via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook

Have something to add?
Draft saved Draft deleted



Similar Discussions: The Survival Game - Northern Woods
  1. Northern Ireland (Replies: 7)

  2. That game (Replies: 16)

  3. Northern hemisphere. (Replies: 18)

Loading...