It’s tough being out there in the wild. There are dangers lurking around every corner; deadly insects looking for a human-flavoured meal, wild weather waiting to blow you off a cliff-face and deserts that are so arid that nothing can live in them. Bear Grylls - the World Record-holding, Everest-climbing, television-presenting survival superstar - fears none of these things! Grylls has single-handedly popularised survival as a hobby through his hugely successful television shows and adventure expeditions. It should come as no surprise that more and more people are taking to the forests, mountains and deserts to have a go at survival themselves. Here is a collection of my favourite survival tips straight from the Bear’s mouth.
1. Finding water
When you’re on an adventure out in the wilderness the most important thing you need to find is drinkable water. The problem is that finding water out in the wild isn’t the easiest thing to do, so the sources of water you have are quite limited and sometimes even disgusting. Bear suggests peeing on an item of clothing which will absorb the liquid - this can both cool down your head and provide water to drink in a desperate situation.
2. Look for bamboo
One of the most versatile materials that is on offer and easily recognisable in forests and jungles alike is bamboo. It’s flexible yet incredibly strong if you’re looking to build a shelter and it floats on water should you find yourself on a desert island in need of a material with which you can build a raft.
3. Learn how to eat snakes
Grylls suggests that it’s a good idea to watch out for snakes, scorpions centipedes, and other deadly creepy crawlies. Spend some time before a trip learning some of the local survival techniques that people may have been using for centuries, as each location has different natural resources. In certain places in Australia they look to snakes as a good source of protein. There are even aboriginal tribes who are able to snap a snake’s neck using only their mouths.
4. Surviving a sandstorm
Trapped in a sandstorm? If you are or ever find yourself in one the best thing to do is remain calm. Covering your nose and mouth with a cotton t-shirt is the first thing you should do, as not doing so may result in suffocation. Keep low to the ground - all the fine dust particles responsible for getting into your lungs and stopping you from breathing will be higher up in the air. Make sure you stay put while the storm is blowing because navigating out of one is almost impossible.
5. Surviving a blizzard
The cold and wind that you experience during a blizzard are the two factors that are the most life threatening. Even the tiniest section of exposed skin could be subject to frostbite if they’re not covered up completely. As it’s unlikely that you’ll be able to work with any materials in a blizzard, try digging a hole in the snow to protect you from the winds is certainly better than nothing.
6. Stay dry when it’s cold
If the weather is freezing out the most important thing is to stay dry and warm. The reason for this is that when you’re wet your body can lose heat 20 times faster than when dry - a pretty dramatic increase. In one episode of Bear’s show he was forced to jump into a freezing lake after his raft sank. Once on dry land he removed all the wet articles of clothing, started a fire and sat next to it as quickly as possible to raise his temperature. If you’ve got dry clothes in your backpack, don’t jump into the immediately as this might make your dry clothes wet - wait until the fire has dried you.
7. Make fire
As obvious as it might sound making fire is one of the most challenging things about staying alive in the wild, but absolutely essential if you’re going to last longer than a few days. As well as hydrating you it will allow you to cook food, boil water for purification and even keep wild animals at bay. Waterproof matches or flint and steel are two of the most common ways to get that kindling alight, but if in doubt find two sticks and get rubbing!
8. How to use a dead seal as a wetsuit
Seal have a protective and very warming layer of fur, skin and blubber to keep their temperatures up even in the coldest of waters. If you happen to come across a dead seal (there are strict laws against killing them), you’ll be able to skin it and fashion a crude wetsuit. This will keep you comparatively warm even if you have to swim in icy waters.
So there you have it... 8 survival tips from one of the most hardy survival experts there is. Be aware that while these points are a good summary there is an awful lot more that can be learned about surviving in each of the above situations. Make sure you conduct adequate research before heading out on any trip!
“The difference between ordinary and extraordinary is so often just simply that little word – extra. And for me, I had always grown up with the belief that if someone succeeds it is because they are brilliant or talented or just better than me…and the more of these words I heard the smaller I always felt! But the truth is often very different…and for me to learn that ordinary me can achieve something extraordinary by giving that little bit extra, when everyone else gives up, meant the world to me and I really clung to it.” - Bear Grylls
Joe is the founder of jetsetterjoe.com. He has an insatiable lust for travel and very much enjoys writing words in straight lines. If you want to read some of Joe’s straight-line travel words, check him out on Google+
Image Credit 2; Kalei Brooks, Alaska National Guard