For most of my 39 years I’ve had an interest in survival techniques. Some of these were as basic as avoiding a beating from one of my two sadistic older brothers, let’s call this family survival. Wilderness survival such as tracking, animal behavior, shelter and fire-making, setting snares, edible plants, etc has also been an interest, probably so I could run away into the woods and escape the relentless beatings.
I’ve never had a reason to put to use any of the information I’ve gleaned from Tom Brown, Larry Dean Olsen and other revered experts to use. Mostly this is by choice, because no one wants to find themselves in a real-life survival situation. Other than terrorizing rabbits in my youth with my best bud Jason and a stint at a summer wilderness camp called Keewaydin, I’ve warmed, sheltered and fed myself with the almighty dollar.
The success of shows like Man vs Wild, and Survivorman are based around the escapism that survivalism affords. It’s great to fantasize about starting a fire with toe lint and nose grease, but if you were actually faced with a setting sun and freezing temperatures with nothing to protect you from the elements wouldn’t you have to ask yourself ‘self, why the hell did I ever think this would be fun?’
The old adage ‘always be prepared’ should keep most people out of a life and death survival situation, but if you happen to find yourself in one remember to stay calm, attend to any injuries as soon as possible, find a reliable source of water, make a shelter, a fire and make yourself visible from the air. Also, always be sure to let your friends and loved ones know where you’re headed BEFORE you head out.
In future Bitness postings I’ll talk more about survival, so consider the above a disclaimer of sorts. There is a ton of cool equipment (knives, clothing, navigation, etc) and techniques which open up a whole new category to Bitness (so I did). If anyone would like to see a particular product reviewed let me know in the comments.