I’ve briefly touched upon how ineffective 21st century survival gadgets can be long term in my previous post on this subject. It appears that I’ve gone slightly off-topic; after all, this blog is about 8-bit computers.
This post however is inspired by the comparison between a ZX Spectrum and a Raspberry Pi. Both clearly inspiring computers for their generation. However, one can be easily repaired (or indeed cloned from schematics) and the other is impossible to hand assemble. Clearly the ZX Spectrum rates higher than the Raspberry Pi in the Monkey Apocalypse Derby.
Anyway, in response to my previous post, here are my top 10 gadgets for surviving a monkey apocalypse:
- Flint & Steel with Tinder Box
Clearly at some point you are going to run out of cigarette lighters and dry matches but don’t worry, you don’t have to start rubbing two sticks together. There is a much easier way to light fires; flint & steel. My kids can easily light fires using this equipment and woodland tinder. The Tinder Box is essential; gathering and dry storage of good tinder is an important part of many survival situations. Top tip – Silver Birch bark peelings make excellent tinder.
- Swiss Army Knife
Not just for getting stones out of horses hooves. The Swiss Army Knife is an essential tool; a good one will help you open cans and bottles, turn screws, strip wires and of course cut. I’d personally pick one with a corkscrew too. Top tip – Tinned food, properly stored, will last for years.
- Metal Billycan
You’re not going to get far without your billycan for cooking and boiling water. Apocalypse purists will scoff at your Go Outdoors purchase and will make their own out of large discarded tins. Top tip – ensure that your water is boiled vigorously for at least a minute (at sea level, longer for higher altitudes) to kill all micro organisms.
- Combat Fatigues, Walking Boots & Sunglasses
You’re hiding from intelligent apes. A bit of camouflage wouldn’t go amiss. A good set of walking boots will be your friend, trust me. Sunglasses will protect your eyes from UV and, combined with the rest of the equipment, lend a certain post-apocalyptic coolness to your appearance. To quote Sir Rannulph Fiennes, there is no such thing as bad weather, just inappropriate clothing.
- Compass & Maps
Forget your GPS; where you are going there are no roads. You need to man up and learn to read maps if you’re going to survive. Maps don’t need batteries and, assuming that the magnetic poles don’t start going crazy, the compass will guide you well. Don’t skimp on the compass; get a good orienteering model from a reputable manufacturer like Silva.
- Fishi & Snare Lines, Hooks
Fish is probably the easiest of animals to catch, prepare and cook. My scout group regularly prepare fresh, whole fish for the camp fire. Even the squeamish kids get stuck in! If you are feeling lucky you could also catch rabbit or even larger quarry. Top tip – mono-filament fishing line degrades over time; if you are preparing a survival kit use braided Kevlar line.
- Bow Saw
You may have to make a shelter at some point; the apes have driven man out of the cities into the wild. A bow saw will help you prepare a permanent shelter. Top tip – Don’t worry if you haven’t acquired a saw yet. You can build a temporary or bivouac shelter with whatever materials are at hand.
- Sleeping Bag
Ok, this is my luxury item. I’d personally get a 3 season rated sleeping back. A lot of people recommend the cocoon style bags but they just annoy me; I like to thrash my legs around when I’m sleeping.
- Needle & Thread
You’re a long way away from a tailors and even further away from a good A&E department. With a good needle and thread you can attend to all of your clothing and / or body part repair needs.
And finally, my luxury item, a crossbow. Useful for dispatching lunch and anything else that gets between you and survival. The best thing about crossbows is that unlike a gun it is silent and the bolts can often be re-used.
For the record our scout group has used all of the above in the field. OK, they wear sensible clothing whilst hiking, not combat gear and we’ve only let them loose with bows, not crossbows, but on the whole I reckon that given a few weeks solid practice they’d be fully adept at all those skills.