Required for this exercise
- First line gear (your "kit" should include rifle, knife, ammo, magazines, water - Camelbak or bladder, medical kit, radio, secondary weapon - pistol with extra mags, dump pouch with 550 cord, power bars or beef jerky, other items appropriate for your area). Note: Sir Knight's first line gear weighs 20 pounds and Master Hand Grenade's weighs 18 pounds.
- Second line gear (3 day pack or equivalent, extra food, survival net, poncho and liner, extra 550 cord, multi-tool) NOTE: the 2nd line gear is mission dependent. The items you put in this kit will depend on your purpose or mission. Note: Sir Knight's second line gear weighs 29 pounds and Master Hand Grenade's weighs 25 pounds.
- Location to perform drill - preferably private property (doing this in the state park may raise some eyebrows and perhaps your local SWAT team).
Without any practice and having never done this before, we were able to set up the hammock and the shelter in less than 30 minutes. Take down time was approximately 10 minutes. This time included securing the 550 cord and removing all of the knots, getting everything back in the pouches and getting ready to roll. This time (both set up and take down) could easily be halved with practice.
After reading Joe Nobody's Without Rule of Law, Sir Knight was inspired to make some changes in our survival gear. One thing in particular peaked Sir Knight's interest - the survival net. According to Mr. Nobody, the survival net is an integral part of your kit, regardless of whether you are planning on bugging out or just making your way home when the roads of are closed.
Over the course of the past couple of months, Sir Knight and Master Hand Grenade have been refining their 1st, 2nd and 3rd line kits, trying to determine required equipment for every situation. After squaring away most of their other gear, my guys decided that the time had come to try the survival nets and determine if they really were as necessary as Joe Nobody had indicated.
Off to the woods we went, 1st and 2nd line gear in tow. Our plan was to put the survival net into service as a field expedient hammock. We located a likely position to set up camp and proceeded to deploy our survival net as a hammock. The first thing we noticed was that once in place (secured to the tree with 550 cord) the hammock had a huge amount of give in it. We had to hang the hammock high in the tree to keep us from hitting the ground when we positioned ourselves to rest. Rather than leaving a significant amount of slack in the cord, we snubbed it rather tightly to the tree. I have to say, the hammock was by far more comfortable than the ground! Now, for you young bucks, the ground may be just fine, but the older you get the harder the ground becomes! When you are in a survival situation, you would be very well served by a good nights sleep, making the hammock a much better option that the cold, hard ground.
|Securing the area|
|Can you spot the Hand Grenade?|
|Preparing to set up camp|
|Deploying the survival net|
|Gathering the end of the net|
|Paracord (550 cord)|
|Beginning the knot|
|Finishing up (you will need one of these knots on both ends)|
Next, tie a loop and make a slip knot, put that knot over the whipped 550 cord so that it will "bite"
|There are no rocks in this hammock!|
|Sir Knight yarding himself out of his hammock|
|Retrieving a poncho and liner|
|Tying the poncho cover to the tail of the hammock line|
|Securing the sides|
|Tying the rope to sticks (tent stakes)|
|Bivouac in comfort and style|
|Notice the poncho liner being used as a blanket|
Our hat is off to Joe Nobody. He couldn't be more correct - the survival net is an absolute must have item. Not only does it provide practically instant sleeping accommodations it also has innumerable other uses. The survival net can be used for:
- Making a Ghillie Cloak/Hide
- Fishing Net
- Makeshift Litter/Stretcher
- Looter's Bag
- Climbing Tool
- Emergency Shelter
- Emergency Coat or Blanket
- Door or Window Security
- Cargo Net
Survival nets are easy to acquire (we bought ours from Old Grouch Surplus). They are inexpensive, making them attainable for every member of your group. Another option is making your own using old fish netting. These really are worth having. In fact, you should never leave home without one.
Remember, there is wisdom in not just acquiring gear, but putting it into service. An emergency situation is no time to learn that your gear doesn't work or doesn't fit. Now is the time to hang your hammock, string up your poncho and try wearing your 2nd line gear over the top of your 1st line gear. Put your kit and your skills to the test now so that you can depend upon them later. Put into practice your own Survival 101.