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North Texas Outdoors Message Board › Alaska - Wilderness Survival, The Basics

Alaska - Wilderness Survival, The Basics

Johnny H.
user 10485579
McCall, ID
Post #: 14
As most of you who know me...know, I'm a strong believer in the basics. Survival skills, water gathering, fire starting, a good sharp knife, etc. I think many people who spend time out in the wild today, do not practice the basics due to technology advancing and other items that replace in some cases the basics we should practice and be prepared for. Don't get me wrong, I love cool gadgets as much as the next backpacker, but it never replaces those basics. For example, so you have matches, great. This doesn't mean you forget and discard the knowledge of how to use a basic flint and tinder. An event today, brings this home more so then others.

A dear friend I grew up with, her dad is and has been flying bush/float planes in Alaska every summer since he retired from American Airlines and was a Marine Corps pilot before working for American. See the stories below....note, his plane made it home while the other is currently unaccounted for.... flying 500 feet off the deck to make it back....

"The second plane left Swikshak 15 minutes later with two people and made it to King Salmon in an hour, but had to fly much of the way 500 feet above ground level due to deteriorating weather conditions, the Park Service said."

The story here...

Other insight...


The area they were flying these rangers into is extremely remote and is Southwest from Anchorage. You can see the cabin they were intending on replacing in one of the above articles. It's also big bear country as can be noted by the article below.


Regardless of where we journey as backpackers, its important that we prepare ourselves not only from a gear perspective, but a knowledge prospective as well.

Whats the weather normally like for my scheduled trip into that area?

For several areas, weather plays a large part of what gear is required....and what can be left at home. Alaska for example, poses unique requirements that are beyond what we would bring to Colorado example. (Gaiters, ice axe, crampons) Melissa and I have literally been keeping up with weather patterns for weeks now...for a trip coming up heading to Alaska, the prevailing pattern is cool and wet for September for example. Average high being about 58 and average low being about 29. Yes, I'm sure we can leave the beach shorts at home. :)

What gear are requirements, what are nice to haves?

It may sound funny, but separating what is an actual need...and what is simply a nice to have or "want" can be trying. We NEED and REQUIRE means to provide clean water in Alaska. So, a water filtration system is not just a nice to have. A basic survival and first aid kit, kind of a requirement. :) For example, I travel without fail with a Adventure Medical Kit, Mountain - Weekender. From Alaska to Colorado, to Cross Timbers.....I always bring it. :)

For Alaska, and considering how far we are out, I'm also bringing along an Adventure Medical Kit, Professional - Suture Syringe Kit. Yes, I have experience with stitches and it was a requirement for Special Operations Marines to have this among other medical skills. :) (IV's, Stitches, etc)

How can I best prepare for my adventure? (Physically, Mentally, the right gear)

Ever hear of this search engine thing called Google? :P We have a wealth of knowledge among this group but I'm a strong believer in also looking into other knowledge stores and repositories. Never hesitate to ASK QUESTIONS. There is no such thing as a dumb question when our shared preparedness as a group of backpackers can very well depend on the level of preparedness of your neighbor. :) I have stated before and will state again, it is important to adventure with people you have trust and confidence in...your life may very well depend on it.

In closing, the situation with Rachel's dad, our upcoming trip to kind of brought all of this home. Please keep her father and the pilot and crew from the still unaccounted for plane in your thoughts. These rangers perform an amazing job in some of the most remote areas in America.....Alaska. My hat is also off to the brave pilots who get them into and out of these desolate areas....

Johnny H.
user 10485579
McCall, ID
Post #: 18
Reading this, I have to just smile. :)

Most are aware, the Adventure Medical - Suture Syringe Kit REALLY came in handy while we were in Alaska! Ajay had the privileged of sewing my knee shut! :P (6-7 Stitches, no local)

Rather then start a whole new thread I thought I'd continue this one. I know several of us are serious about putting together kits of our own, supplementing ones we already have, NOLS - Wilderness First Responder Training, etc. To that end, I have been purchasing several aspects. If you need any of the below, please do not hesitate in letting me know. I bought in small bulk, simply cheaper that way. :) This is no cost to you.

***I assume no legal responsibility, accountability or other in your use.***

  • Dynarex Alcohol Prep Pads (2000 MD)
  • Exel Disposable Syringes, Model 3ml Luer Lock Tip W/22G 1 1/2in needle (these replace the syringes/hypodermics we used in Alaska.)
  • East Touch Insulin Syringes, 1cc W/29G 1/2in needle

My next step is to replace all stitch tools etc. I'll keep the group posted to other items to share.
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