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Thread: Resources for wilderness survival?

  1. #1
    Cantina's Official Doggy Poster Religion0's Avatar
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    Resources for wilderness survival?

    I have looked into it, and it doesn't seem taking a course on wilderness survival is a viable option for me, so I'd like some reputable resources for some general knowledge on how to survive with the basic tools, and what those basic tools would consist of. I would greatly appreciate if it was a title that could be summed up as "Surviving in the wilderness for fantasy writers" or similar. If a good resource is hiding in a TV show, that's also a suggestion I'm open to.
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  2. #2
    practical experience, FTW cornflake's Avatar
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    What kind of wilderness? Where? When? What tools are available?

    There's a totally different answer for a person dropped off in the Mohave Desert in 1800 vs. someone dropped in a forest in northern Canada wearing a North Face coverall and possibly carrying solar-powered stuff or pocket tools in 2017 vs. someone wandering Kenya in the '20s vs...

    The people who make unsupported polar expeditions today are in a better position than Scott back when, even if they're in the same area.

  3. #3
    Write. Write. Writey Write Write. mrsmig's Avatar
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    If you have access to Les Stroud's Survivorman series, I think you'd find it informative. It used to be available on Netflix (and might still be on Hulu); if you go to Stroud's website there's an option to subscribe to Survivorman TV, although I've no idea how that would work internationally.

    He films in different locales with different environments and different challenges.
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    Just Another Lazy Perfectionist Brightdreamer's Avatar
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    Hmm... not totally sure I'd trust those TV "survival" shows, myself; lots of that stuff is staged for the camera. Some of it would work, but some of it I'm a little skeptical about, especially if you're dealing with a layperson having to figure this stuff out on the fly.

    Gary Paulsen's classic MG book Hatchet drops a city kid into the Canadian wilderness with little but the titular hatchet; Paulsen has extensive woodcraft experience (as comes through in many of his writings), and the Brian Robeson books are as much about the mental shift required for survival as how he scrapes a living from the land with nothing but his wits, some jumbled memories of books and TV shows, and his hatchet.

    How to Survive Anything: From Animal Attacks to the End of the World, by Tim MacWelch (and the editors of Outdoor Life) covers a broad variety of scenarios, including different wilderness terrain survival. It debunks some common myths, too. Not especially in-depth, but could help point you in the right direction.

    Hope those help...
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    Quote Originally Posted by Religion0 View Post
    I have looked into it, and it doesn't seem taking a course on wilderness survival is a viable option for me, so I'd like some reputable resources for some general knowledge on how to survive with the basic tools, and what those basic tools would consist of. I would greatly appreciate if it was a title that could be summed up as "Surviving in the wilderness for fantasy writers" or similar. If a good resource is hiding in a TV show, that's also a suggestion I'm open to.
    ====

    There are books on survival and magazines on prepping as well as many web sites covering the topic.

    The question is what are you surviving from.

    You can live minutes without air, days without water, weeks without food, while enemies or sickness can take you out fast any time.
    You need to address those to survive.

    So in general you need oxygen , water, food, protection from enemies, shelter, health care, yada yada; and roughly in that order of priority.

    I would want gear for starting fire, communications, navigation, and clothing to match weather conditions year around, as well as tools for hunting/fishing, guns and ammo for protection and hunting, water purification, tool for building good shelter, antiseptics, bandages, motrin, anti itch glop, and more. Possibly solar generator blankets to recharge electronics devices.

    Could you be more specific about what info you need.
    Last edited by pat j; 11-29-2017 at 01:08 AM.

  6. #6
    Write. Write. Writey Write Write. mrsmig's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brightdreamer View Post
    Hmm... not totally sure I'd trust those TV "survival" shows, myself; lots of that stuff is staged for the camera. Some of it would work, but some of it I'm a little skeptical about, especially if you're dealing with a layperson having to figure this stuff out on the fly.
    Stroud does not bring a film crew on location with him - he films himself as he explains/demonstrates how to use what's available to him in the different scenarios. It's quite a bit different from the staged stuff Bear Grylls and those dudes on Dual Survival present. And it's a far cry from the melodrama of the survival competition shows.
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  7. #7
    practical experience, FTW
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    Quote Originally Posted by mrsmig View Post
    Stroud does not bring a film crew on location with him - he films himself as he explains/demonstrates how to use what's available to him in the different scenarios. It's quite a bit different from the staged stuff Bear Grylls and those dudes on Dual Survival present. And it's a far cry from the melodrama of the survival competition shows.
    I share this view of Les Stroud's shows. They are the most authentic that I've seen.

    OP, you may find Les's general approach to be useful, given that you haven't specified the environment in which you'd be surviving (and it's fantasy anyway, right?). Les uses a layered approach when 'you find yourself in a survival situation'. Which resources do you have on you; which resources are close at hand; which resources do you have to travel for? Going though that process should work in any environment, although the specifics will change.

    Hope that helps,

    Techs

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    There was a series of books in the 1970s called Foxfire that were about basic back to the land stuff. These were not survival guides per se, but they did include some survival basics. I'm sure they're long out of print, but you might be able to find them used or in a library.

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  9. #9
    Evil and sparkly tiddlywinks's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mrsmig View Post
    Stroud does not bring a film crew on location with him - he films himself as he explains/demonstrates how to use what's available to him in the different scenarios. It's quite a bit different from the staged stuff Bear Grylls and those dudes on Dual Survival present. And it's a far cry from the melodrama of the survival competition shows.
    Quote Originally Posted by Techs Walker View Post
    I share this view of Les Stroud's shows. They are the most authentic that I've seen.

    OP, you may find Les's general approach to be useful, given that you haven't specified the environment in which you'd be surviving (and it's fantasy anyway, right?). Les uses a layered approach when 'you find yourself in a survival situation'. Which resources do you have on you; which resources are close at hand; which resources do you have to travel for? Going though that process should work in any environment, although the specifics will change.

    Hope that helps,

    Techs
    Thirding this series. He also wrote a book, if you find you like his approach. Some useful info in there.

    The older Alone in the Wilderness PBS series following a guy who built his own cabin and lived alone in Alaska for thirty years is interesting. Again, there are also two One Man's Wilderness titled books (abridged and bigger) that were written in relation to this. You might have an easier time getting ahold of the books, Rel, as I don't think the PBS is available on any streaming that I know of.

    There are a couple of other books I have up at the cabin that are decent for camping / wilderness survival reference - I'll try to remember to check their titles when I'm up there this weekend or next.
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    The Tripinnate Kitkitdizzi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tiddlywinks View Post
    Thirding this series. He also wrote a book, if you find you like his approach. Some useful info in there.

    The older Alone in the Wilderness PBS series following a guy who built his own cabin and lived alone in Alaska for thirty years is interesting. Again, there are also two One Man's Wilderness titled books (abridged and bigger) that were written in relation to this. You might have an easier time getting ahold of the books, Rel, as I don't think the PBS is available on any streaming that I know of.

    There are a couple of other books I have up at the cabin that are decent for camping / wilderness survival reference - I'll try to remember to check their titles when I'm up there this weekend or next.
    Fourthing Survivorman. Doing a trip with Les Stroud is a dream of mine.

    Alone in the Wilderness is awesome. I'm still in awe of the spoon he made. At least some of it is on Youtube.

    I have been trained in wilderness survival so if you have any specific questions, I'd be happy to answer. My experience is in mountains and high desert. Mercifully, I haven't had to use it in anything serious, though I did once have to make a camp and go without food for three days, to experience what it feels like and learn my limitations and how hard it is to try to survive when you're really hungry. (it really sucks by the third day, by the way)
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  11. #11
    practical experience, FTW
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    Stroud is the real deal. The only sop to emergency he used was, I believe, a sat phone, which I don't believe he ever used.

    Dave Canterbury has an excellent youtube channel. He sells stuff in his store, and he's wont to use it in the vids, but he actually does the things he talks about, and he'll even post the videos where he screws up. He teaches how to make tools and etc. His focus is on 18th century woodcraft.

    For desert survival, Cody Lundeen has some legit stuff, although he's kind of over the top, and I wouldn't follow his "shoes optional" concept.

    If you can find any of them, the old Paladin Press copies of US Military manuals were good source material. If you know anybody currently serving, have them go to their MOS Library NCO and ask for a copy. I abused the hell out of that system when I was active duty.
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  12. #12
    Ideas bounce around in my head Jason's Avatar
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    There's elements that in the series Naked and Afraid when I've had occasion to catch it on TV that are on the mark as well - but it's also reality TV and as others have mentioned, elements are likely staged for dramatic effect.
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  13. #13
    Cantina's Official Doggy Poster Religion0's Avatar
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    Thank you all so much! You've been super helpful!
    There is, in all likelihood, a small cuddly dog holding me hostage by virtue of lying on my foot. In a moment, she will clamber up my body and devour my brain through my nose. Please send help.

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  14. #14
    reaching for the sun Bushrat's Avatar
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    www.wilderness-survival.net should cover just about everything you want to know

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    Perpetually in transit Helix's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bushrat View Post
    www.wilderness-survival.net should cover just about everything you want to know
    Had a look at the bits applicable to Australia. (Because I am nothing if not parochial!) If setting something in Australia, prob. worth noting there's some dodgy stuff in there about dangerous animals, especially the identifications.


  16. #16
    Downbeat, and loving it! van Adel's Avatar
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    Can't believe no one has mentioned the guy behind Primitive Technology on YouTube. He's got you covered for basic survival tools and more.

    https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCAL...Sm8AlZyD3nQdBA

  17. #17
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    Just to add something not to specific, you might not have considered looking at reports from archeology and current tribes of hunter/gatherer types. Learning a bit from them has helped me, as I often retreat to my woody spot to work on building a homestead out there. My longer stints almost always go badly after about a month.

    Water purification and a reliable source is a must. Running water is best, as river and creek beds will do a lot of the filtering for you. You can also boil water in just about anything, even a paper bag, believe it or not, but I wouldn't recommend that. Spring is obviously the best time to survive, but after a month in the woods I came out with Lyme disease, which was not a fun time at all. Anything can kill you out there, and it's usually not the bears and wildcats that worry me. It's the smaller critters that are looking for someone to cuddle with at night.

    Anyone quoting the 3 weeks without food thing, I encourage you to try that in the wilderness and let me know how it goes. You need calories, and you will burn a lot in the brush. Larger people that have high metabolisms (like weight lifters) will suffer fatigue the fastest. If you aren't getting enough energy producing food, you are going to be tired, unmotivated, and probably riddled with headaches. To that note, I recently discovered that a LOT of protein and calories in hunter/gatherer tribes came from insects, which after being out there long enough, is a revelation you will have sooner or later. They're easy to catch, and they are abundant most of the year. Pick a shady spot, and they will come to you. Depending on the terrain, snakes can be easy prey. If you know how to set simple traps, then smaller furry critters are pretty easy to catch. I think the army manual has a long section on that topic.

    Temperatures drop at night, and it gets hot during the day. This varies, but expect some drastic changes throughout most of the year in most places. Shelter from the elements is a thing. Most of my experience until I got a simple cabin constructed was sweat all day, freeze at night.

    Maybe there's a couple of nuggets you can dig out of this post, but definitely look into the bushmen of Africa, and maybe South American and Australian tribes that research has been done on. The best survival experts aren't selling plastic "survival" tools on TV. They're out there living in the brush.

  18. #18
    Benefactor Member WeaselFire's Avatar
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    Air Force survival manual, Boy Scout wilderness manual, any survivalist web site...

    Hard to believe anyone with an internet connection can't find any information they need on this.

    Fire, water, shelter, food, in that order.

    If people will be looking for you, stay put. If not, walk downhill until you reach water, follow it downstream and you will eventually find civilization.

    To find out if it's edible, rub some on the back of your hand and wait an hour. If no reaction, rub it on your lips and wait another hour. If no reaction, rub it on your tongue, same deal. Then chew and spit out. Then eat a tiny amount. Then you can figure it's at least not instantly deadly.

    Lots more info out there...

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