Many of us know the Rule of Three of survival. Three minutes without air. Three hours without shelter. Three days without water. And.... Three weeks without food. Three Months without hope. So, how do we make sure we can survive when the odds have been stacked against us. This is where the 5 C of survival come in to play.
The 5 C's Survival cover the minimum amount of equipment you need to help keep you stay alive until help arrives. In a long-term situation allows you to create the additional things you need with a little knowledge to get you back on your feet if the situation does not improve. These five things are hard to produce in the field so this is the reason you should not be without them.
The 5 C are Cutting, Combustion, Cover, Container, Cordage
Many of us have work on having an effective EDC kit (Ever Day Carry). While this might help, it usually isn’t adequate for getting lost on a day hike or in a get home situation. If I pull everything out of my pockets where most guys EDC resides. I will find a P51 can opener on my keychain. My tactile folder clipped to my left pocket and my SOG Multi-Tool clipped to my right all the tools lock into place. This makes a big difference on your aggravation factor when you must use it. A pocketknife sharper is also in that pocket. I also have about 2 feet of paracord made into my keychain and a ranger bead bracelet on my wrist. I also usually carry a lighter even though I don’t smoke.
If we look at this from the perspective of the 5 C’s we have the following:
Cutting: We have that covered but if you must make kindling how much batoning can that knife take. So, let’s take this to next level for 5 C’s same goes for your get home bag and will do this all the items we should have.
When it comes to an effect-cutting tool there just certain things, you can’t compromise on.
The knife should full tang. The knife tang refers to the extension of the blade into a knife handle. A full tang knife has a tang which extends all the way to the end of the knife’s handle or grip. It may or may not cover the entire area of the handle, but a full tang knife will always have a tang which runs the entire length of the knife.
The length of the blade is important you are going be processing game with this as well as wood for your fires. Cutting up food that you forage as using it to carve other tools that you made need. So it has to be long enough to process firewood but short enough to do detailed work. The minimum would be a 4 1/2 blade the Max would be no longer than about 8 inches.
Blade thickness is also important. You are going put this knife under a lot of abuse I don’t recommend anything less than 3/16th of an inch you don’t want this knife breaking on you in the field at the wrong time.
These are the most important things. I could add a few more but these are the minimum things you must look at for your 5 C cutting tool.
Combustion: If we look at our EDC we have our lighter okay we’re set right well not so fast. Have you ever had that friction wheel of that lighter jam up or somehow all fluids gone because that button got depressed in your pocket? So maybe we need a second option. So, for 5C combustion we need sure fire. A good ferrocenium rod and striker (which also could be your knife). Also, you need dry tender that will stay lite long enough to get your kindling started. One of the cheapest options is dryer lent yes be great if it was all cotton, but it does not have to be. The dryer lent needs to be soaked with petroleum jelly or wax it will stay lite for a good bit more time. There are commercial options as well.
Cover: This is where your EDC kit fails us totally. Yes, you have the clothes on your back. That might be totally inadequate when the weather turns bad you are stuck in a place with no shade on a blazing day. So, what is the minimum you should carry in your 5C for cover. A multi function cover would be a military style poncho that has the snaps and the grommets. You can use it as a poncho or a tent or even a waterproof sleeping bag cover. You may want to use an 8 by 10 tarp instead. A little less versatile but has a little more space. You may also want to add another couple other cover item. That will not add much weight. Those would be a 6mil 55-gallon drum liner also an emergency space blanket spends the extra money and get a reusable one.
Container: What container can’t say it’s failed it just doesn’t exist in a normal EDC kit. A 32 oz Stainless Steel bottle or a canteen and stainless-steel cup set will work. You must be able to boil water for purification and have a way to cook your food that you cannot put on a stick.
Cordage: Yes, you could make cordage in the field, but this would take up valuable time in an emergency. So, there are two good options that you can use. Paracord or you can use tarred bank line. While Paracord is an option it has tendency to fray and slip it also stretches more than bank line but takes more to break it. Bank line works better for making snares and for making lashings for tools that you make in the field.
In closing, I would like to say understanding the many uses of these items in the 5C kit system and practice using them. Will help you survive where many people would succumb to the elements. Practice is important when you are using a basic kit like this. Without the knowledge and the practice of using this kit, you will still find yourself at a disadvantage when you need it most.