Whether you’re a trail-runner, cycler, hiker, or just out for a weekend camping trip in the backcountry, survival situations can strike at anytime and if you don’t have at least a basic knowledge of how not to die, your ass is grass. Take Aron Ralston for example. This avid outdoor enthusiast became the stuff of legends when a quick biking adventure in the canyons of Utah landed him between a boulder and a canyon wall. Though James Franco made Ralston’s ordeal somewhat sexy in 127 Hours, in the end, there was nothing sexy about Ralston having to amputate his own arm with a dull multitool, hike out of the canyons and rappel down cliffs to reach help and safety. If you follow these few simple safety tips, you may come out of your survival situation with limbs intact.
1. For the Love of God, Leave a Note
If you’re off playing Daniel Boone by yourself or in a small group, it takes no time at all to leave a note detailing the following information:
- Where you’re going.
- When you plan to return.
- Who you’re with.
- When to call for help if you haven’t returned.
- You vehicle information: Make, model, color, license plate number.
If you think you can survive sawing off one of your limbs, then by all means don’t leave a note. If you’re slightly squeamish and like your extremities, put pencil to paper.
2. H20 and Fire
Guess what!? You need water to live and you can’t always stroll up to a faucet in the wilderness. One of the leading causes of death in the outdoors is overheating and dehydration. If you’re playing in the outdoors, always bring enough water to keep you well hydrated. The standard is typically 32 ounces a day for moderate to rigorous activity. Invest in a CamelBak. Buy a colorful Nalgene and put some obnoxious stickers on it.
Another interesting fact: You need to stay warm to survive. Keeping your core body temperature above 95 degrees in the outdoors insures that you are cognizant enough and have adequate motor functioning to make it out of your survival situation alive.
- Learn to build a fire.
- Pack extra layers of insulated clothing. Wool (you know, from sheep)…is awesome.
- Stay dry. A wet body is colder than a dry one.
- Find shelter…fast.
- Get naked with a hottie in a sleeping bag.
Do what is takes, but warm your core.
3. Knives Are Really Cool:
Chicks dig ‘em. They’re pretty handy and they can do a ton of cool tricks. Like cut through human flesh, bone, and tendon in a survival situation. Just one example. Knives can help you repair gear, leave markings so that search and rescue teams can find you if you’re on the move, cut twigs to build a fire, and slit your own throat when you realize you forgot to leave a detailed note and left your water at home.