I think the most important things are the least glamorous.
1. Protection from exposure
2. Protection from dehydration.
3. Injuries in the field.
That is really about it. Everything else is fluff. Cold and wet can kill overnight. Dehydration can kill in a day. No one is going to die of hunger in 72 hours. People like me could befit from cutting back on the chow. Stoves are a luxury item. Funny for me to say this as I have a stove collection that borders on silly but no one is going to die because they lack a stove. Fire starting items are part of exposure protection. So is even a cheap poncho or tarp. A knife and cordage is really all about shelter aka exposure risks. Water purification and canteens fall into the hydration category. Bottled water covers the canteen for a refill and water for the BOB at the same time. Sure it is not fancy but those plastic bottles don’t leak. The same can’t be said for some Wall-mart water bags and canteens I have tried.
FAK stuff for injures but the best FAK is inside ones head. Teaching the value of risk to reward ratios can overcome most injuries. Is it smart to expend a 1000 calories looking for forage or profit from opportunities alone the way. In a few weeks when fishing for trout I will be picking fiddleheads as the species that are edible and tasty grow along the same streams. This photo was taken by a friend I view as an expert in Bushcraft.
But would I crawl all over creation looking for fiddleheads spending my currency of calories if too far out of the way. Then I must start a fire and boil some water to remove the tannins. Are a few fiddleheads really going to make the difference? A broken leg sure will. Running out of water sure will. Not setting up a shelter a few hours before dark sure might. Risk to rewards. Do I cross a deep stream or avoid the hazard by walking a few hundred yards. Come to think of it is the pasture really greener on the other side? Is it smart to move though the bush at night even with a headlamp if someone is confused in an ER rather than playing it safe and bedding down. Navigation skills reduce all three big risks by removing someone from an unfamiliar environment faster or reducing the time to their intended location. If lost sometimes not moving is best however in a bugout we move.
The whole idea of constantly playing it safe and moving at a measured pace seems to contrast with media hogwash like Man vs. Wild. In any case the bush is inert. It is neither for nor against anyone.
Being constantly aware of ones environment is key. Like the 3 big risks this is often overlooked when beaten down. How many have slipped during the later stages of a hike because they no longer gave a rat’s ass. I have. Simple stuff like checking the camp for widow makers aka dead branches and trees. Looking up to see if there are any rocks ready to give way. Looking to see if the camp site is in a flood area. The stupid stuff that is so easy to just ignore and not nearly as entertaining like edible plants and critters but potentially lethal none the less.
I am no expert on this topic. I wish Allen who runs that primative fire starting web site would key in.