Survival Guides and Schools

For some people, the outdoors is a pleasant and easy experience. They can simply pack their bags and go off for a weekend away from civilization under the comfort of Mother Nature. However, if you’re someone like me, who is incredibly daunted by the thought of experiencing the wild first hand without proper supervision, then outdoor survival schools are just the thing for us.

In the coming weeks, I’m about to make my first outdoor survival school lesson. It’s a week long course designed to teach me the better part of living in the wild and surviving it. However, I didn’t go into this blindly, I had to choose the school carefully to go and learn the basics of survival. I started out by asking a few questions, which hopefully even you can use to find out which school is best for you.

The most important question you can ask yourself is how does a survival school work? Well, it’s simple; these schools teach you the basics of outdoor survival. Your trainers are experienced individuals, usually ex-military, who have been roughing it out for some time now. These trainers take you along with a group of people, into the wild. Here you learn everything from basic survival, such as food and water, to advanced techniques such as building your own shelter. Ask as much information about these instructors and trainers as possible. You’re handing your lives to these people and its better you know you’re putting your life into capable hands than to be unsure. Similarly, check the certifications, especially if it has affiliations that you can cross check with. Most survival schools also offer a money back guarantee, and while some might offer it as part of a scam, legitimate ones will always reimburse you should something go wrong.

You also need to find out if there are proper health and safety precautions. Some people don’t realise how dangerous a situation can get, and that’s where a well laid safety back up plan comes into play. When choosing a school always ask about health and safety, more importantly, you can also ask about any recent accidents that may have taken place. Remember, all these things are your right to ask, and if a company doesn’t have an answer that satisfies you then the company is clearly suitable for you.

Check out the school’s website to see if there are any testimonials by people. If possible, try and contact these people and ask them firsthand what their experience was like. Usually, company websites will have a forums section. These are message boards that you can use to find out as much information about the school and outdoor survival. Try and get as much information out of them as possible, because you’ll get genuine unbiased information from them whether they had a good time or not.

Finally, here’s a list of survival schools and their web addresses to help you get started.

The importance of survival knives

Some things haven’t aged a bit. Take a look at the wheel, it’s still the same and it’s still used for the same purpose, although in different ways. That’s also where the term ‘reinventing the wheel’ comes from, because the wheel is such a good tool, it has defied evolution. A knife is similar to the wheel because throughout the test of time, it has been an established and ‘must have’ tool for outdoor survival. It has helped us hunt, make shelter and more importantly, helped us defend ourselves.

The knife is a staple part of any survival toolkit; it’s a part of mine, that’s for sure, and it’s because I know how important it is in the outdoors. Here, in nature’s domain, man de-evolves from the comfort of his home to a much more primordial environment and here’s is where the knife comes into play. I use the knife here for a lot of things. Primarily, I skin my game with it so that I can eat it. It helps me to strip the fur from the meat and also to clean it out. This is for both land based animals as well as many of the fish I have caught. It’s particularly important for the fish because it can help get the bones out and clean the meat thoroughly. And when I’m done, I can use the knife to chop off some branches to make the fire to cook my food and stay warm too.

In the right hands, it can also be used as a deadly weapon but most outdoor survivalists use it mostly for self-defence from attacking predators. The beauty of a knife is that besides a weapon it can also be used for other purposes, such as a can opener.

Different types of survival knives are generally in use, some of them you may have seen in the movies. Those that you would see available in commonly available knife tool kits are the fixed blade knives, such as the Aitor mod, Fällkniven and the Gerber. A more comprehensive tool kit consists of the compendium called the Master Cutlery set. Other types of knives include the machetes and pocket survival kits too.

I usually forget to bring the can opener on my camping trips, but I’m least bothered about that since I have my trusted knife. Similarly, my knife helps me out wherever I have to use a rope. If I’m camping near snow, it also helps me clean out the frost from the night before and even hacking through ice for water. I’ve lost count how many times it has actually helped me get through some difficult times. It’s taken care of me and I tend to take care of it.

Almost every week, without fail, whether I go camping or not, I clean my knife. I first sharpen the blade and then proceed to sanitize it. Sanitizing is particularly important because the knife comes into contact to all sorts of materials, organic and inorganic. I do that to make sure that the next time I use my knife it is as sharp as ever and ready. While I’m outdoors, I have the knife attached to my belt so that I can use it immediately.

It also gives me a sense of satisfaction to know that I have a friend with me that can help me get through the outdoors.

Outdoor Survival – a Starter’s Guide

I recently read a news story where a Japanese soldier survived in the jungles of the Philippines all the way through the Second World War into the 1970s, without being detected and surviving in the jungles. When discovered, he thought the war was still on and had to be contacted by his retired superior officer to believe the news that the war was over.

My first thought was, ‘How the heck did he survive all that time?’ Being cut off from civilization for nearly thirty years is not a small amount of time and even though he was part of the military who had given up the war and the search for him, he himself did not lose hope. This is what you’d call the power of will. The soldier wanted to survive enough that he did so for the time he did. I looked it up and that’s what you call a ‘survivor mentality’. The will is more important than the tools you need for survival, even though items like a knife and a tent can go a long way, if there’s no will to survive, there’s no way to survive.

The Japanese soldier got me thinking. What if I were to find myself stranded, perhaps on an island, or marooned in the ocean, how would I survive. Well, firstly, I’d want to survive and not give in to the immediate onset of depression and shock—but everybody panics, there is no stopping that. The trick would be to calm down and come to terms with the reality of the situation. Yes, things can get grizzly, but if I’m alive and safe, and if I put my mind to it, I’ll stay that way.

Then I’d have to make sure that those that were with me were also safe. Some might need medical attention, so a course in emergency medical treatment, like the one the Red Cross provides, could be of help. When health matters are under control, the next immediate concern is shelter. Let’s face it, when disaster strikes, you could be anywhere, on land or on sea, and getting to shelter and safety is also a very important part of survival. Most national parks provide courses in camping and the outdoors. Organizations like the Boy Scouts and the American Camping Association give basic as well as advanced courses on outdoor survival.

Now I know what you’re thinking, ‘I don’t need to know about surviving the outdoors’ or ‘I’m not an outdoor kinda person’, but just for a moment think about this. You’re travelling with your family and you are faced with a life threatening situation. It could be a terrorist attack or it could be a natural calamity. You could be yanked away from the comfort of your home and put into a terrible situation.

Day by day, man and nature are at odds with each other. At the same time, political stability isn’t what it used to be anymore. So any of the situations I mentioned earlier, such as a natural disaster or a terrorist attack, can come true and hence we should be prepared for it. I don’t know about you guys, but I’d rather have some sort of training to give me the peace of mind knowing that I’ll be able to take care of myself and others should any form of bad situation take place.

Snow Survival – How to Survive a Snowstorm

Snow Survival

Snow Survival

Snow survival is something that must be mastered in colder climates, where snowstorms are even remotely possible. Would you know what to do if you suddenly found yourself snowed in at your vacation cabin, or even in your own home?

What about if you were pushing the limit, trying to drive home, but the blizzard made driving any farther impossible?

Sure, our weather technologies have come a long way, but I’m sure you’ve seen your share of forecasted “flurries” turn into life-stopping blankets of white.

Survival on snow and in icy conditions is a specialized skill that you should master now, before it’s too late!

First things first: your trusty survival kit. A true and complete survival kit should be within reach at all times, because they will drastically increase your chances and duration of survival in any emergency.

That means you need to have one at home, in your car, and anywhere else that you frequent.

Snow Survival Kit

Some items to include in your survival kit are first aid supplies, flashlight, knife, matches, batteries, water, snacks, blankets, and an emergency cell phone.

Now, if you find yourself trapped in or around your car during a snowstorm, the first thing to remember is, “Don’t panic!” I know it may seem obvious and/or easier-said-than-done, but if you panic, your judgement will be drastically impaired, leading to even more problems and decreasing your chances of snow survival.

First, locate your survival kit either in the glove compartment, back seat, or the trunk. Turn the car off to conserve fuel, because you may need it later for heating as your body temperature drops.

If you’re stranded for more than a day and must leave your car for any reason, you need to find other shelter as quickly as possible. Try locating some thick tree coverage where snow is less likely to penetrate, and build a small fort underneath.

In extreme cases, when no other option is available, you can actually use the snow itself to dig a snow cave. Snow is actually a good insulator if packed tightly enough, but you’ll want to avoid getting too wet at all costs.

Survival on Snow

Snow survival is also possible by literally surviving on snow, as it may be your only source of water, which is even more important than food in the early stages. When eating snow, be sure to eat only a small amount at a time, and let it rest in your mouth for several seconds to avoid cooling the inside of your body too much.

When it comes time to sleep, use any and all blankets, clothes, and cover that you can to stay warm, and if you’re in a group of two or more people, huddle together as tightly as possible.

If you followed the above tips and survived your first night in the snow, you need to muster up any energy you have left to look for help and proper shelter, because your body will not last long in extreme cold.

Snow survival is one of the most dangerous situations to be in, but with enough preparation and survival skills training, you will find yourself in front of a fire in no time!

Sea Survival Training Course

Sea Survival Training

Sea Survival Training

Thousands of people travel the world’s oceans and seas every single day. Some brave the water for a leisurely cruise, while some go in search of fish (for sport or food), and still others enjoy diving expeditions and exploring the depths firsthand.

No matter what group you fall into, if you spend any amount of time in the vast expanses of water here on Earth, you must have at least a basic grasp of sea survival training.

To survive sea trouble in any circumstance, there are several tips and techniques that will drastically increase your chances of survival.

Sea Survival Course

First and foremost, life jackets or vests are the single most important item you must have on hand anytime you set foot, boat, or anything else in water deeper than your knees!

Make sure there are enough vests for everyone on board and that each one is properly sized and tested for each person. For example, adults will require a different type of life vest than a small child, and mixing them up could be almost as bad as not having one at all.

Taking floatation devices one step further, investing in a high-quality survival raft will allow you to stay stranded at sea for much longer. This is not the time to skimp on cheap blow-up devices, because this could become your main vessel for several days in an emergency.

A worthy safety sea raft should included at least the following: paddles, pump, covers, bailing bucket, reflective mirrors, repair kit, and fishing fear.

Sea Survival Training Kit

Once you have the absolute basics covered, then it’s time to round up a more complete kit to survive sea emergencies.

Have as many of the following items grouped in one water-proof bag or box, so you can quickly grab them if your boat is going down: flares, compass, GPS device, first aid kit, emergency cell phone, flashlight, sunscreen, matches, and plenty of drinking water.

Understanding Drifting

Upon first entering the life raft, you should paddle away from the sinking ship as fast as possible, so you are not sucked down by the force of the vessel going down.

Once you escape this pull, then it is best to just drift until you can see land, so you don’t end up wasting energy moving in the wrong direction. Everyone will be very disoriented and panicked at first, so it’s important to relax as much as possible early on and gather your bearings.

H2-NO!

As you probably know, humans can survive for much longer without food than they can without water, and you may think you’ll have more than enough H20 while you’re lost at sea. After all, you’re surrounded by it!

But, drinking sea water will do more harm than good, causing hallucinations, increased thirst, and eventually death, so it should be avoided at all costs.

Besides the bottled water you should have in your emergency kit, rain water is the next best option, which can be collected in your bailing buckets and/or on a makeshift tarp or crevice.

Signaling for Help

After you’ve collected yourself, organized your supplies, and finalized your water plans, it’s time to start signaling for help.

A proper life raft and life vests should already have reflective tape on them, but you can also use small mirrors placed around the raft for even more intense reflections.

Also, if you have a flare gun in your emergency kit, be sure to save it for the right time when a ship or low-flying plane is nearby.

Survive Sea Trouble Conclusion

Following and practicing the above sea survival training will allow you to survive much longer than the average person, giving you a much better chance of being found alive and taken to safety.

Don’t think it can’t happen to you, because it does to someone every single day!