Survival skills (or simple return to the roots)

Today, we invite you to a special meeting where you will have to be at the top, a unique encounter with the one to whom the human species owes everything: nature. Wild, forest or desert, cold, temperate or tropical, it has so many faces that we think we know… Yet, in a natural setting, even a few miles from home, the adventure can be difficult or even cruel if one does not prepare for it…

[ Hakuna Matata: no problem, just solutions ]

Getting closer to nature, leaving to explore new territories is a trend. At a time when Survivor and Mike Horn are so successful, most of us limit to a few escapades in the mountains or in the forest. But hiking becomes an unpleasant journey when, totally lost, stress wins you. The slightest noise evokes a wild creature and you suddenly understand what it means to be homeless as the night comes…. Even if the only monsters you see are jumping rabbits, you will have to cope. It’s time to remember this sketch about a tropical island where a tourist says “nature is hostile… Over there, you need thigh boots, not rangers… because scorpions sleep in the rangers… after the first bite, I wore a size 25.” Let’s keep smiling.

Immersion in a natural environment will be wondering if you know how to prepare yourself in humility, avoiding some mistakes such as not drawing your way, leaving without warning or not providing suitable clothing and equipment (waterproof bag, compass, map, knives, blanket, first aid kit, head-lamp, etc.). When lost, the basics of survival are:

> Choose points of reference such as a hill, a river, trees and most of all, do not move randomly

> Build a shelter

> Think about finding water (food will come after)

> Know how to light a fire with the available means

> Be able to report, call for help (without phone)

[ Look for the bare necessities ]

… Just the bare necessities. In the nature, hydration and protection are the most important vital elements. Spending several days without food is still possible but 72 hours without drinking can be fatal. Our tourist mentioned above also admitted “I lost 12 kg. It is my fault, I drank water…” Would the infamous word “turista” come from his ignorance? Water – whether it comes from a plant or a natural water source – must be filtered before it is consumed. If you can’t boil it, having a few chemical treatment tablets and a filter will help you. Simple tissues or paper coffee filters could do the trick.

Protection in the natural environment means shelter and fire. A Light tent, hammock or tarp will adapt to all types of grounds. Twigs, moss and foliage or your survival blanket placed on the ground will insulate the shelter from moisture. Just take a few ropes and know how making strong knots that you can also undo without spending the day… Even if you are not very skilled, the chair knot seems to be the good one. This makeshift shelter will protect you from temperature variations, mosquitoes, rain and allow you to sleep to stay sane.

Let’s talk about fire, a burning topic and probably the most difficult to manage. It helps to purify water and cook food, warm and light you up and to keep wild animals away. After finding the necessary wood, you will have to install it at a short distance from your shelter but far enough from the vegetation. You will probably bring matches or a lighter to light the few bark, dry grass or lichen that will serve as tinder. If not, there are other methods such as the energetic friction of dry pieces of wood that will produce the first ember. A stone struck on a steel blade can also produce sparks and under the sun, a hand lens placed above the tinder will suffice at the start of fire. You will then need to arrange in a cross the dry branches above the ember. Obviously, this advice will be useless in case of strong rains…

Concerning food, the length of your journey will determine your needs. If berries and other plants can provide you with the main nutrients, you must first make sure they are edible. If the stay continues anyway, maybe you will become a hunter, a fisherman…

We are not talking here about survivalism, Bug out Bag (Bob) or Commando operations, just about precautions. The Survival skills will depend on whether you are surveying icy regions, coniferous forests or a burning desert. However, the basic principles will remain the same. Anticipation and humility will guarantee your survival no matter what (and probably nothing will happen to you ☺). Far from the cameras and an extreme media exposure, you will enjoy serenely a preserved nature, in all simplicity.

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