Pack a survival kit

Anytime anyone leaves the comfort and safety of McMurdo Station in Antarctica, he or she must be prepared for anything. In minutes, hurricane-force winds can begin to blow, sending sheets of snow and ice into the air and making it impossible to move, let alone know which way is home.

Before you go out in the field, you must spend three days in survival school. They call it "Happy Camper School."

For three days, happy campers eat, sleep, and live in a tent camp on the ice plateau near McMurdo. They learn survival skills and how to use what's in a large orange duffel - the survival bag. Inside is about 40 pounds' worth of everything you need to survive alone for at least three days. (For drinking water, of course, you can melt snow.)

Here's what's in the one-person kit:

Mountain tent with instructions and repair kit; 10 tent stakes, 6 ice screws, and 2 snow flukes (snow anchors to support the tent)

Down sleeping bag

Bivy bag (a Gore-Tex sleeve for the sleeping bag)

Ensolite pad, 24 by 48 in. (to use as an insulated mattress)

Collapsible snow shovel

Snow saw (it looks like a regular carpenter's saw,

but with really big teeth; it's for cutting blocks of snow to make structures)

First-aid kit

Cookstove with instructions, repair kit, and a bottle of fuel (white gas)

3 boxes of matches

(35 per box)

Cookset (3 pots

with lids)

Rock hammer

Hard-plastic mug

Spoon

Pocketknife

Signal mirror

Burning paste (used as a fire starter in very cold conditions)

Survival manual

A book or game (to combat boredom)

Roll of toilet paper

50 feet of

parachute cord

3 dehydrated meals

Big bar of chocolate

6 tea bags (herbal and regular)

6 packets of hot-chocolate mix

9 food bars (in an extreme situation, this is enough to nourish someone for 4 to 6 days)

Pair of wool socks

Pair of wool mittens

(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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