- Cigarette lighter (without fluid)
The gravest danger facing the group is exposure to cold. The greatest need is for a source of warmth and the second greatest need is for signaling devices. This make building a fire the first order of business. Without matches, something is needed to produce sparks, even without fluid, a cigarette lighter can do that.
- Ball of steel wool
To make a fire, the survivors need a means of catching the sparks made by the cigarette lighter. This is the best substance for catching a spark and supporting a flame, even if the steel wool is a little wet.
- Extra shirt and pants for each survivor
Besides adding warmth to the body, clothes can also be used for shelter, signaling, bedding, bandages, string (when unraveled), and fuel for the fire.
- Can of Crisco shortening
This has many values. A mirror-like signaling device can be made from the lid. After shining the lid with steel wool, it will reflect sunlight and generate 5 to 7 million candle power. This is bright enough to be seen beyond the horizon. While this could be limited somewhat by the trees, a member of the group could climb a tree and use the mirrored lid to signal search planes. If they had no other means of signaling than this, they would have a better than 80% chance of being rescued within the first day.
- 20 x 20 foot piece of canvas
The cold makes shelter necessary, and canvas would protect against wind and snow (canvas is used in making tents). Spread on a frame made of trees, it could be used as a tent or a wind screen. It might also be used as a ground cover to keep the survivors dry. It’s shape, when contrasted with the surrounding terrain, makes it a signaling device.
- Small axe
Survivors need a constant supply of wood in order to maintain the fire. The axe could be used for this as well as for clearing a sheltered campsite, cutting tree branches for ground insulation, and constructing a frame for the canvas tent.
- Family size chocolate bar (one per person)
Chocolate will provide some food energy. Since it contains mostly carbohydrates, it supplies the energy without making digestive demands on the body.
- Newspapers (one per person)
These are useful in starting a fire. They can also be used as insulation under clothing when rolled up and placed around a person’s arms and legs. A newspaper can also be used as a verbal signaling device when rolled up in a megaphone-shape. It could also provide reading material for recreation.
Because a compass might encourage someone to try to walk to the nearest town, it is a dangerous item. It’s only redeeming feature is that it could be used as a reflector of sunlight (due to its glass top).
- Sectional air map made of plastic.
This is also among the least desirable of the items because it will encourage individuals to try to walk to the nearest town. It’s only useful feature is ground cover to keep someone dry.
How to score:
Each item should list its top 5 choices in order prior to seeing the answer sheet. Award points to each team’s top choices according the the numbers here. For example, the map would earn 12 points, while the steel wool would earn 2 points. Lowest score wins (and survives).