Mental Push-upsJanuary 27, 2016
Back to BasicsFebruary 11, 2016
We have spent some time talking about improving our mind for the rigors of a survival situation, how we can apply these improvements to our daily life and some basic mind training and stretch techniques. Let’s talk about some physical environment enhancements that can have an immediate impact on our survival situations, particularly in the wilderness.
It goes without mentioning that techniques learned may have to be adapted from climate to climate or as the environment changes. These are meant to be simple techniques that can be learned quickly and stowed away use as needed in the future. They can be easily practiced and once learned easily modified to fit a range of needs. Let’s get to it.
The survivalist needs to rely on more than what they can take with them. Survival will call upon diverse basic skills to be successful. The more diverse the skill set the more success can be achieved regardless of location or situation. We are always trying to tip the scales in our favor. We know we won’t be able to control everything, but why not do our best to ensure everything within our area of control is dealt with efficiently.
- Learn first aid – We can take advantage of a variety of sources to learn first aid. Online or in-person. Make sure the course you sign up for includes CPR and if possible some wilderness training as well. In a real life survival situation there has been an accident or your plans were blown apart. Those are prime recipes for the need and application of first aid. Chances are you or someone in your party is hurt or could become hurt during their survival period. In addition to learning basic first aid the wilderness survival portion of training may include plants that would be beneficial to survival. Try to find an experienced bushcraft trainer to learn some staple survival plants where you plan on spending your time. Keep in mind you can learn a few at a time. There will be plenty to take in as you expand out from your environments into others.
- Learn how/where to find water – Almost every environment will have a water source available to you. By reading and understanding the lay of the land and also the local vegetation you can greatly improve you chances of finding a water source and get you set in the right position to acquire it. There is a wealth of ways to learn about where and how to find water. Books, videos or training sessions are all great ways to get the knowledge. Don’t forget the knowledge will be fleeting if not practiced. Not only will the knowledge be temporary if not practiced it can be dangerous to not have any real world experience when you call upon what you learned. Field training is an invaluable piece of the survivalist kit.
- Learn how to acquire food from your environment (foraging) – Foraging is especially useful because it will not require or, is not dependent upon the types of tools or equipment you carry with you. You will find that many times in survival situations people are caught unprepared and will not have all the tools they would like to have with them. Once you learn to identify and understand some edible plants you will be much more self-sufficient. begin your studies with what you can find in your own back yard or neighborhood. Go out and practice finding some edible plants near you. If you have correctly identified them and done your proper due diligence you could even include them in your meal tonight.
- Practice using your survival tools – If you are one of those people who purchase the newest greatest thing or gadget in survival that’s great, just be sure you’re not stashing them away for bragging rights over your friends for simply having owned them. Make sure you get them out and put them to work. Read the instructions, understand when and how they are to be used and do it. There is no substitute for having experience on the tools that you may call upon in your darkest hour. It’s true that manufacturers are getting quite adept at producing simple tools that users of all ages and abilities can use effectively. Maybe I have a hard time trusting people in general, but I would rather rely on what I have learned for myself than what I could see from the reviews on Amazon.
- Learn how to fish – This is a no-brainer. You get to take the day and learn how to effectively fish in a variety of ways with a number of divers tools. What could be better, spend some time fishing and learning to fish in different environments. Streams, rivers, lakes and even the ocean offer their own unique rewards and challenges. Talk to other fisherman and try what they tell you for yourself. Again, you can find a number of resources online and in print. Take the book with you and get practicing.
- Learn fire-craft – Fire-craft is simply the knowledge to build and maintain a fire in a number of environments and situations. This is similar to fishing. What could be better than playing with new and better ways to safely and efficiently build a fire? We have all spent those long, cold and lonely nights without one. Having a fire will keep you warm, help you prepare your food, lift your spirits, provide light and security and even offer you protection from unfriendly animals. Nothing can replace the overall good of having a fire. There are as many ways to start fires as there are environments where you might need them and there is no shortage of material to learn from. Go out and (safely) practice your fire-craft.
- Go camping – You can and probably have read numerous books and watched more videos on camping survival. How often do you go out and practice what you have seen/heard/learned. Putting the knowledge into practice, just like all the other steps, is critical for learning comprehension and retention. Don’t sell all your research and study short by not getting out and putting it to the test. You’ll discover methods that do and don’t work for you. You’ll find ways to adapt them to how you operate and so on. But if you never put them into the field you will not know how to act or what to expect in a real life situation.
- Learn orienteering – Orienteering is traversing terrain on foot using a simple navigational tool like a compass and map. A map and compass should be regulars in your kit where ever you go. Take some time to familiarize yourself with the map and some major landmarks you might see while you are out. As with the other items on this list there is any number of methods to learn and sources to study. Take additional caution when practicing orienteering as it is by way of its nature a very easy way for a beginner to become lost.
I trust you will be able to use this list to get started and mold it as you see fit. Nothing has to be written in stone, be prepared.