Top Ten Things to Have on a Deserted Island
I have always both loved and hated TV shows about people who find themselves marooned on deserted islands. From the fun and family-oriented offerings such as The Castaways, Swiss Family Robinson, and Gilligan's Island, to the more serious Robinson Crusoe, and the downright spooky Lost, castaways on deserted islands have fared well or poorly depending on the whims of their writers.
There are pros and cons to the whole deserted island scenario. I love the idea of finding solitude in some exotic paradise, but I hate the idea of being stuck there completely alone. I totally embrace the idea of being released from housework, which can be boring at the best of times, and onerous on a beautiful day, but I'm not crazy about the necessity of having to forage for food every day.
...and how would we know what to bring with us, provided we even had that option?
Airlines Are Out
After long study and research, I have become convinced that being ship-wrecked is definitely the way to go, if you're planning to be cast away on a deserted island.
Even though Lost would have you believe differently, the chance of actually crashing on the island, or at least close enough to salvage any supplies, is a real long-shot. Islands tend to be surrounded by really deep water, so unless you're a diver, you won't be retrieving much gear from the cargo hold.
Besides, no self-respecting flight attendant would let would let you board with even minimal survival equipment, and no airline allows tools in your carry-on - especially machetes, saws, pry-bars and their like.
An idyllic tropical resort hideaway, situated near the southern tip of St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
Practical Items to Have on a Deserted Island
If you were ever really stranded on a deserted island, you might want to have a few things along with you. Actually, you would probably like to have lots of things along with you, as well as a few friends to keep you company.
Item 1: The top item on my list would be Mike Holmes and his crew, from the hit home renovation show, Holmes on Homes. I know they'd be able to erect an amazing shelter in no time - and it would well-surpass anyone's building code.
Barring Holmes and his crew though, I'd opt for a good set of tools: a sturdy hammer or two, both a Swede and straight saw, a hatchet, and an axe.
Item 2: The second item would be a medi-center, preferably one with an excellent trauma facility, and a doctor, and staff who are all well versed in curing tropical diseases, and treating insect bites.
As that might be tricky to arrange in advance, I'd settle for a first aid kit with several scalpels, some good, sharp needles and suture material or thread, a large bottle of salt tablets, a water purifying kit or bleach tablets, rolled gauze for bandages, alcohol wipes, and sulfa powder.
Items 3 - 5: Though it might be handy to have an assault rifle, a scope, an unlimited supply of ammo, and an armorer to fix it when it jams up, especially if the island was home to wild pigs or, heaven forfend, a tiger, I'd probably do fine with a machete, a couple of sharp knives and a whetstone.
Attaching one of the knives to a length of bamboo, or a straight branch would create a dandy fishing spear, and a sharpened and fire-hardened pole would make a useful medium range defensive weapon. Besides, rifles are noisy. I'd really rather just go fishing, and gather fruit and coconuts.
The Best Gear to Take Along
Item 6: The next thing on my wish list would have to be fishing gear. A good rod and reel, plus some tackle would make fishing, and life so much easier.
Items 7, 8 & 9: Heavy-duty combat coveralls and camouflage would also come in handy, along with a wet suit, though bathing suits and loose cotton clothing would be more comfortable. I would be happy to compromise on some UV protective long-sleeved shirts and long pants, and a pair of sturdy hiking boots.
Have you ever noticed that there rarely seem to be any mosquitoes on TV shows? In real life, however, the ubiquitous little blood-sucker infests almost every area in the world. The protective shirt and pants would help minimize bug bites, and protect me from the worst of the sun. To keep the sun off my face and head, I could weave a broad-brimmed hat from palm fronds or grasses, and ditto for a parasol or sun-shade.
Item 10: The last thing on my list, but probably one of the most important, is a supply of water-proof matches, or a lighter and lighter fluid. A far more practical addition to my supplies would be a flint and steel in a waterproof container. Then I could light as many fires as I needed to, and never have to worry about running out of matches.
The next time you travel, consider packing some emergency supplies. Even some waterproof matches and a couple of energy bars can help if you are stranded for a time. It's far more likely that you'll be stranded in an airport terminal, though, and that's a whole other ball game. Just ask Tom Hanks...
Survival Quiz - Do You Have What it Takes?
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