Those times when you’ve wondered what another person was thinking: did you asked them? Probably not. We humans tend to keep those kinds of questions to ourselves, for fear of the answers, or out of fear that our ignorance might be revealed.
But Outdoor Life’s editors must have lost their inhibitions, because they’ve been asking me lately what I was thinking. I hope they’re okay with the answers…
They figured that you, beloved reader, might have similar questions, so we’re initiating a few posts to answer some of the questions you may have wondered about in the realm of survival.
We’re kicking this off with some starter questions, but hope you’ll drop us a line with your own vexing thoughts and queries. Silly, sober or grim—all you have to do is ask. Here’s the first batch we’ve cooked up in house, and I’ll take the lead answering them.
What are the top three most important survival skills to either learn or practice? And why?
Shelter, fire, and signaling are the top three skills that I incorporate into my personal practice. The reason is simple: these are the most likely to keep you alive in a real survival scenario, and they are better employed in a real emergency only after regular practice.
Shelter, of course, protects you from the elements. Fire building is just plain fun, and a critical skill set as well. Finally, signaling for help is your ticket home. Wouldn’t that one be worth a little practice time?
How many BOBs do you personally have stashed?
When the editors and I first broached this one, I quipped back “not enough!” I stand by that comment, but I’m happy to expand the thought. I have six right now for our family of four. These are scattered about our home and vehicles, essentially keeping our eggs in separate baskets. My goal is to increase to 8 or 10 bags, with a few stored securely offsite. Just in case.
Would you want MREs or freeze-dried food for a survival food supply?
Variety is the spice of life. I’d never have just one type of food storage. You could start out with a pallet of MREs for the family, because it’s cheaper than most freeze-dried options (when counting calories vs price, not “servings”). Then when you are able, add the long-lived freeze-dried food since it can last decades, versus years. Round things out with grain storage (or start there if you’re on a budget), and you should be sitting pretty.
What’s your most favorite and least favorite bug to eat and how would you prepare them?
I hate slugs and snails! They are horrible little beasts with an appetite for dung. Even when boiled in garlic butter, I still can’t stomach their taste. The right wood grub, however, can taste a bit like shrimp when pan fried. Not too bad!
What’s the best fire starter for someone to carry? Is that the same as your favorite?
For fire making, Bic lighters are the greatest thing since the strike-anywhere match was invented. They are one dollar each, waterproof, and contain the start of hundreds of fires—what’s not to like? But as much as I love their functionality and want them for survival situations, my favorite fire method will always be friction fire. To coax a fire from dead sticks of wood is like using some form of provable magic in an age of soulless science. It’s truly an amazing art form.
Which is the worst/best way to die: hypothermia, drowning, or starvation?
Starvation has to be the worst. It drags out over weeks, maybe even months if you are living in a calorie deficit. Drowning would be my next worst pick. Even though it’s a quicker process, drowning survivors have still told horrific tales of the pain and panic of drowning. I think hypothermia is the best way to cash out, from those three choices. You feel warm and sleepy toward the end, and then you lay down to sleep and pass away quietly.
You’re stuck on a deserted island with a current celebrity, who would you want and why?
You may think I’d want another survival guy, maybe one of the TV gurus. No way. I’d want TV star Eva Longoria. She’s far more than just a lovely lady. She grew up fishing, hunting, camping, and learning survival skills with her family. Not only would the scenery improve our island, but we’ve got a solid chance to stay alive until the rescue teams find us. After all, who wouldn’t turn out to search for the castaway Ms. Longoria? Sounds like my odds of survival and rescue would be pretty high.
Okay, now it’s your turn. What would you like to ask us? Just email your question to Survival@OutdoorLife.com and we’ll consider it.