Do It Yourself

A Not So Gentle Reminder of the Importance of Survival Gear



Importance of Survival Gear

This past week the wife and I took a little vacation.

If you remember from an earlier article about the Carnival Triumph (Click here to read the original story) I told  you that I would be taking a few extra precautions and bringing my own supplies on board.

No amount of gear that I had could have prepared us for what would happen on-board that ship.

The quick and dirty of  it is this; It was our worst vacation ever, involving a 72 hour quarantine in a 230 sq ft cabin, blistering sunburn, and bees; but that is a story for another time.

Our trip started out rather chilly but on Day 3 of the cruise it had finally warmed up a bit.  I decided that it was time to take a relaxing dip in the hot tub.

So I tossed on my swim trunks, grabbed a towel, and headed up to the spa level for a relaxing dip.

But I forgot one very important thing… I am pale and the Caribbean sun is unforgiving.

Oh I brought sunscreen, 3 bottles of it to be exact (my wife is even more pale than I am), I just forgot to put it on.

P.S. Be sure to check in next week, I'll give you the details of our worst vacation ever!

Thirty minutes later I was back in my cabin having a quick shower.

When I stepped out the first thing my wife said was something like “I didn't know that I married a lobster”.

One look in the mirror and I understood… The next few days were going to be painful.

Luckily that was the only time I went out with sunscreen.

I have put sunscreen over a burn before and it never seemed to help keep the burn from getting worse.

But I had also never used Neutrogena Wet Skin after already being burnt.

I was dreading the next day as we had a 3 hour snorkeling excursion planned for my wife's birthday and i didn't want to end up a crispy red lump for the rest of the vacation.

The good:

A large bottle (1 bottle lasts 4-6 full body uses for both myself and my wife).

Easy to activate and lock to keep from spilling in your luggage or emergency kits.

A range of SPF ratings (30-85) to suit just about any need for protection.

Here is the best part it can be applied and reapplied to wet skin! It's not called Neutrogena Wet Skin for nothing.

This comes in really handy if you are out kayaking, swimming, or even just a heavy sweater, you don't have to stop and dry off before you can spray it back on.

The Bad:

The price is a little steep (running between 9 and 11 dollars per bottle unless you find it in a bulk pack from a Sam's or CostCo)

Chemical smell is a little strong ( as a side note applying it to 2 people in an enclosed space such as a cruise ship cabin is not recommended…)

It may just be a personal thing with my body chemistry, but extended exposure tends to make me break out.

The Bottom Line:

I spent over 3 hours in the sun with an already nasty burn and it didn't get worse… although the application did sting and itch for a bit where I was burned.  But the fact that I didn't have to take time out of my excursion to towel off and wait for it to soak in saved me a ton of time and allowed me to make the most of the experience.

I do highly recommend keeping Neutrogena Wet Skin on hand regardless of if it is in your bug out bag or just taken with you on a vacation especially if you are as ghostlike as my wife and I.  Even if you decide not to use this particular brand, make sure that you have some sort of skin protection.

Your skin is the largest organ in your body and it is tough, but it is still only 2-3mm thick.  Having a sunburn on vacation is one thing but you can't afford to have your skin compromised during a survival situation.

What sunblock do you use?  Do you have something better, or maybe have a recipe for home made sunblock? Let me know!

Want to know more? Check out these related articles from our site:

9 Survival Gear Items That Can Fit In Your Glove Box

Survival Gear: Buyer Beware (Caveat Emptor)

Survival Uses for Everyday Items

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  1. john

    March 14, 2013 at 9:37 AM

    SUNBURN ! Another use for apple cider vinegar. Apply liberally to the sunburned area. it takes the heat out and speeds the healing process. I’m of western european descent with a liberal infusion of native american. However, the blue eyes dominate, as does the pale skin. I learned the vinegar use from a native american relative by marriage when I was a kid. It works for me.

  2. Tammie

    March 14, 2013 at 12:24 PM

    Aloe is great for taking the burn out and helping heal quickly whether in plant form or in a bottle purchased from Dollar Store or Walmart. If in plant form make sure to get all the prickly things off because on a sunburn they feel like torture. No good ideas on sunscreen though!

  3. Linda

    March 14, 2013 at 5:01 PM

    Both aloe and apple cider vinegar work AFTER you get fried. But to avoid in the first place try a good rash guard shirt. My last trip in June to the FL keys I burned despite my very good sunscreen. By the end of the trip I was snorkeling in carpi pants, longs sleeved shirt and a scarf to protect my scalp. I leaned my lessons. No tan is worth the pain.

  4. Chuck

    March 14, 2013 at 10:43 PM

    Not to mention that sunburn today may equal skin cancer tomorrow. Just because you are dark skinned doesn’t mean that you can’t get sunburned and get skin cancer. Bob Marley was quite dark and died from metastasized melanoma on his big toe. When I am out in the field it is always long sleeved shirt and trousers for me and a 3-inch wide brimmed hat. Sun screen on parts not covered with clothing. Dark clothing protects better than light. University of Michigan spent $300,000 of taxpayer money to find that out. My daughter was on a swim team when she was in grade school and jr high. She said, “I could have told them that for a lot less money.” Another swim team had striped dark and white swim suits and she reported all the girls had striped sun tans.

    • Joe

      March 15, 2013 at 12:45 AM

      Exactly Chuck,
      Skin cancer runs in my family, and that is not exactly a legacy that I hope to carry on.

  5. Micheal

    March 14, 2013 at 11:52 PM

    I use Bull Frog Marathon Mist – SPF 50. I am [was ;-)] a red-head. I never used sunscreen much in my younger days so I’m paying the price now. Every trip to the doc has him freezing those pre-cancerous damaged areas on my arms and face.

  6. Jim

    June 4, 2013 at 12:12 PM

    The Sun doesn’t cause skin cancer! Sunscreen and over exposure can. Get out in the Sun BEFORE you go on vacation. Spend some time in your back yard in your bathing suit playing with the kids or whatever. Get some base tan. Don’t stay out in the Sun all day. Divide your time under the shade 50/50. You can also wear long sleeves and pants of a light material. Basically use Common Sense. If you’re pale skinned, I’m sorry for your bad luck but, that means even less time in the sun for you

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