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Survival Skills

Facing wild animal

Lost? Don't Panic!

How to find your back

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March 2018

Build a shelter How to light a fire Campfire recipes

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Survival threats What can kill you

Survival Skill

Facing wild animals

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May 2018

Build a shelter Basic wilderness First Aid Choosing a campsite

S�r�i�e� Build a shelter + Basic wilderness First Aid + Choosing a campsite

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Trip planning

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It's essential to dealing with emergencies

July 2018


Plan ahead

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Things go awry What to do to get out of trouble


Tools and methods

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August 2018

Build a shelter Getting along with wild animals How to light a fire Choosing a campsite

S�r�i�e� Build a shelter + Getting along with wild animals + Choosing a campsite

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To perform at your best and be your strongest

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Building a fire for warmth and cooking

September 2018

Important skill

S�r�i�e� Build a shelther + Basic wilderness First Aid + Choosing a campsite

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Trip planning Plan ahead


Keep rain, snow and wind off you Survive!.com

October 2018

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6ɍUɎLɎHǹ Keep Calm and Prep on!


54 Features 46 54



Build a shelter built to keep rain, snow and wind off you.

How to cooking on a campfire

Choosing the best cooking site, and keeping your energy up is vital in survival

78 62

Seven ways to light a fire

Making a fire is an important skill to keep your body heated and for cooking


104 02 September 2018


Lost? Don’t Panic! How to find your way back

Survival Skills Getting along with wild animals

Departments 09

Editor’s Note




Readers Speak Out


Trip Planning


Before you go on a trip, planning ahead


Equipment Proper equipment is essential to dealing and handle with emergencies




Clothing You can withstand any weather that hits with an appropriate clothing system


Knives Different knives have diffferent uses and properties


First Aid Basic wilderness First Aid


Preparation of Fish Filleting and skinning



DIY Containers Using natural material to make things

110 Navigation Tools and methods

118 In Camp Choosing a campsite

126 The Best Monthly Gear Different season with a different preparation

118 September 2018 03

How a Survival

Shelter is your top priority in most survival emergencies.

46 October 2018

to Build Shelter

Get a shelter built to keep rain, snow and wind off you By Buck Tilton Photograph by Colin Hayes


eing a “survivor” has captured the imagination of millions of TV watchers. But a survivor is much more than a TV fantasy. A survivor is someone prepared to live—and live as healthfully as possible—when life far from home doesn’t go exactly as planned. Being prepared to survive in the outdoors starts with knowing what to be prepared for. You can live days without water and weeks without food. People who don’t survive in the outdoors most often die from losing their body heat, not necessarily from starvation or dehydration. You need to be able to start a fire. And perhaps most importantly, you need to be able to build a shelter to stave off wind, rain and snow, and to keep your body heat trapped where it belongs: near your body. Your shelter will adjust based on how many people you are camping with, where you are, and if you have any other materials with you. Luckily, there are several different ways you can create covering for yourself.

October 2018 49

Creating a Makeshift Tent


Have the right materials. To build a makeshift tent, you’ll need rope or a line of some kind to string between two trees, a tarp or poncho to hang on the rope, and something to anchor the tarp to the ground. If you don’t already have these materials available, you won’t be able to build the makeshift tent. If you don’t have any rope or string, you can use a strong branch propped between the two trees several feet above the ground. You will need some way to keep the branch firmly attached to your trees, whether it is some string for lashing the branch to the trunk, or a notch in the tree that will support the branch.


Find a good location. A makeshift tent will require two sturdy trees located a few feet apart. The trees should be far enough so you can comfortably lay down between them, but not so far apart that you cannot tie your rope between them without running out.

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Tie a line between the two trees. A clove hitch is a good knot to secure the rope to each tree and prevent slipping. Make sure the rope is taught and low to the ground. You want as little space as possible under the tarp to help keep in warmth. If you are using a stick or branch, make sure you secure it to the tree as low to the ground as possible to trap heat. If you are in snowy winter weather, you can secure the rope a little higher up the tree to create sleeper walls on your tent. The steeper walls will let the snow fall off more easily. Collected snow is heavy, and your tent could collapse if too much accumulates.


Hang your tarp over the line. Your support brace (the rope or branch) should be low enough so that that tarp reaches the ground on both sides. Be careful and make sure to stretch it tight to keep extra air out of your sleeping space. Spread the edges as wide apart as possible to keep the tarp taught as the picture above.




Secure the edges of your tarp. Make sure your tarp is held on to the ground. Heavy objects like large rocks or logs should be enough to hold it in place. If you have additional rope and some stakes (or a few sharpened sticks), you can use these items to secure a tarp with grommets. Run some rope through each grommet to pull the tarp taught, and warp around stakes you have driven into the ground. If you don’t have any rope, you can drive the stakes right through the grommets.


Find sticks to lean against the horizontal brace. These sticks should be somewhat sturdy, as they will form a side of the shelter. Be sure that there is enough room between them, the brace, and the ground for you to crawl inside comfortably. You should have just enough space under your brace for you and anyone else with you to crawl into. The more extra space you have there, the harder it will be to keep yourself warm. If you can, keep the lean-to’s profile low to ground. This will help keep you further out of the line of wind, and won’t attract attention. This is helpful if you are trying to avoid detection, or otherwise stay out of sight.

METHOD TWO Building a Lean-to


Look for a good building site. A lean-to is a simple outdoor construction, and only requires something for branches or a tarp to “lean” against. Long boulders or fallen trees can be ideal for acting as a horizontal brace to lean other sticks or brush against. Any large, immobile object can work. If you have a tarp and some rope, you can make a lean-to between two trees.


Pile small debris over the frame. You can use leaves, grass, and moss to build a wall on the outside of your lean-to. These will provide further insulation and protection from the elements. Nearly any small forest debris will work. Just make sure to pack it tightly on the wall frame so it won't blow away readily. You can pile more of this debris on the floor and interior of your lean-to to provide extra insulation.

October 2018 49



Method Three


Making a Debris Hut


Find a good location. You’ll need a tree stump, or a tree with a low crook that you can comfortably lodge a branch into. In addition, you’ll need to be in an area with lots of sticks and debris to cover your frame. Make sure you are away from falling branches or other hazards. Your debris hut will trap heat and keep you warm, but won’t protect well against falling objects.

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Prop a branch against the stump. You’ll want a long branch, probably close to 8 feet, that is sturdy enough to support your weight without breaking. The space underneath this branch between where it rests on the tree and sits on the ground should be just large enough for you to fit in.

Set up ribbing sticks. Find long sticks to create the frame, or ribbing, of your hut. These sticks should be long enough to lean against the horizontal branch. As you get further away from the tree stump, they will get shorter. These sticks only need to lean against the branch, but if you have rope or twine you can bind them together for a little more stability. Make sure you leave space between two of the ribs for an entranceway to your hut.The ribbing sticks need to be spread widely enough apart so that you can fit underneath them. Six inches on either side of your body is a good rule to follow. Additionally, they should be steep enough to let water or snow run off.


Dig a pit for a fire. Another way to help keep warm under your lean-to is to build a fire. Dig a small hole for your fire on the open side of your lean-to. Be sure to keep it a safe distance from any underbrush and your shelter. If you do build a fire, keep an eye on it at all times. If you want to go to sleep, make sure someone will be able to stay up to watch it, or just put it out completely.


Fill out the frame. After you have set up this frame, add more sticks perpendicularly on top of this wall frame to create latticework. This will give you something to pile debris on without having it fall on top of you while sleeping.




Pile debris on the frame. This will be any natural material you can find nearby, so leaves, grass, or pine needles. Ideally your debris layer will be 3 feet thick to provide solid insulation. Thicker is always better. Just remember to leave an entranceway for you to get in. After you finish the outer layer, build another insulation layer on the inside walls of your frame. This interior insulation should be about 6 inches thick. You want your debris to be as dry as possible. If you don’t have enough dry material to cover the whole hut, make sure the driest and softest material is inside your hut, closest to your body. If you are in deep winter, or an Arctic-type environment where there is little debris, you can pile thick snow on the frame instead. The snow needs to stay cold so it doesn't melt, potentially soaking your stuff, or collapsing on top of you.

Add more branches to the outside. Once you have packed your debris tightly on the frame, lay a few more branches on top of your hut. This will help keep your insulation material from blowing away in strong winds.

Block the entrance. Once you are snug inside your hut, make sure you close up the entrance to minimize air circulation and trap heat. Additional debris can be harder to gather together behind you, so you may consider something like a shirt stuffed with leaves.

BAD PLACES TO BUILD A SHELTER 1. Anywhere the ground is damp. 2. On mountaintops and open ridges where you are exposed to cold wind. 3. In the bottom of narrow valleys where cold collects at night. 4. Ravines or washes where water runs when it rains.

October 2018 51

Secrets over Learning to cook in the while can and will save your life.

54 August 2018

to cooking a campfire For those who are out in nature for more then one day,cooking is one of the most comon tasks.

By Mark Lohnman Photographs by Nina Malkin


ooking outdoors is something I love doing, but I know it can be intimidating. So I thought it would be helpful (and fun!) to create a three part series on different ways to cook outdoors. I think you’ll really like this mini-series! For the first post, I wanted to talk about campfire cooking because it’s definitely one of my favorite things about summer and being outdoors. Let’s get to it! PREPARATION Preparation, as with most things, is key when it comes to campfire cooking. Secret #1: Plan your meals ahead of time. Depending on how long you’ll be camping, this step is very important because it affects how you will store the food. You don’t have to plan elaborate menus — In fact, sometimes simple foods taste the best. I think that’s especially true with camp food. Everything seems to taste great when you’re camping! Plan a little extra food or an extra meal just in case. Also, if you are hoping to rely on foraging in the woods for wild food or catching fish to fry up

August 2018 55

for dinner, bring a back-up meal for if/when your plans go awry. For us, this an extra loaf of bread, a jar of peanut butter, hot dogs and buns. When camping, I plan on hot cooked breakfasts and dinners. Lunch is a no-cook meal or snacks to get by until a bigger, hot meal at dinner. A cooler is a must. You want one that’s a good size and easy to transport. The ones with wheels are great if you have to walk a bit from the car to the campsite. There are a few tricks to packing a cooler to help keep the food at its freshest and coldest for as long as possible. I recently learned a good tip from a friend who is a frequent camper. Secret #2: Line the cooler with cardboard to help it stay cold for longer. The cardboard acts as insulation and allows air to circulate. Secret #3: You’ll also want to pack it as full as possible — a full cooler is a cold cooler.

Secret #4: Pack in layers. Start with the last day first and pack the first day last. For example if you’re camping for the weekend, pack Sunday first, Saturday next, and finish with Friday. Place more cardboard or paper bags between each layer and line with ice packs. Besides keeping things nice and cold, packing in layers this way will eliminate the need to open the cooler too often. Secret #5: If you need to, bring several small coolers. It’s a good idea to have a separate one for things like ketchup or butter, or other items you’ll need more frequently and won’t spoil if the cooler is opened more often. Fresh fruits and veggies can be stored in a separate cooler that doesn’t need to be kept quite as cold. Secret #6: It’s also a good idea to freeze everything you can the day before you pack the cooler. This in cludes any meat, cheese, dairy, water, fruit, veggies, 56 August 2018

cludes any meat, cheese, dairy, water, fruit, veggies, etc that will be used in cooking. You can even freeze ketchup or other condiments you’ll be using that require refrigeration. They act as their own ice packs! Bonus: if you are bringing meat or chicken, add marinade and it will marinate as it thaws.

Other camping food prep tips: Cut, chop, and marinade food ahead of time. Put things in plastic resealable bags. If you bring pancake mix, measure it ahead of time in the bag and label it — just add water, mix, and cut off the corner and it’s ready to use. Precook stews and chili at home, freeze in plastic bags and it will be super easy to let them thaw and heat up in a pan over the fire. This step will save you loads of time and extra cooking utensils you don’t really need, not to mention clean up! You’ve got your menu planned. You’ve packed your cooler. Secret #7: Next, think about think about pots and pans and other cooking utensils. For sure

bring a few sharp knives — a chefs knife and paring knife will cover most of your cooking needs at camp. Bring a few cutting boards, sanitizing wipes, or spray. I like to mix liquid dish detergent with water and put it in a spray bottle to keep handy for a quick hand wash or to spray on cooking utensils and surfaces before I rinse and wipe them down. Cast iron skillets and Dutch ovens are great to bring along, but are heavy to carry! Secret #8: Don’t bring your good cookware with you. Purchase some less expensive pots and pans (Goodwill and Salvation Army are great sources for these!) and be prepared that they might get a little beat up. We also bring a percolator to heat water in for hot beverages and washing dishes. Bring a few big bowls for mixing or serving and to use as wash bins. Don’t forget tongs! They are invaluable when cooking outdoors. Bring the longest ones you can find. Be sure they are flame-resistant and don’t have silicone or plastic tips, which can/will melt. Now that we’ve covered the planning part, it’s time to get cooking!

Secret #9: You don’t need a lot of special equipment — firewood, matches or lighter, kindling, a shovel, loose-fitting high-heat resistant gloves, and last but not least, you’ll probably want some water just in case things get out of hand. If you don’t bring firewood with you, then plan on bringing a hatchet to chop wood.

To begin building the fire, you want to use dry hardwood. Secret #10: If you’re planning on finding wood at camp, be sure to stay away from fresh or green wood. It will just smoke and not burn. Look for smaller pieces of dried branches or use paper or cardboard for kindling to help get a small fire going at the beginning. Add larger logs as you go and eventually you’ll have a great fire going. Secret #11: Don’t add all the logs at once. Save some to add slowly and keep keep the fire going for longer. It’s tempting to throw everything on at once, but if you do, you’ll probably find yourself hunting for more firewood before you’ve finished cooking.

BUILDING THE FIRE Of course, building a fire is a crucial step. Before you camp, read up on fire safety. Make sure it’s safe to build a fire where you are camping. We tend to use campgrounds with dedicated cooking areas that are close to water and other conveniences. If you’re really roughing it and there isn’t a dedicated fire ring, build one using large rocks. Make sure to clear away any loose debris that could catch fire from sparks or ash. Also be sure to build it away from tents and trees. An open space is best. Also, pay attention to weather conditions such as wind or rain. August 2018 57

As the logs burn, they will break up and become black with white or gray ash on the surface. This is good. This is what you want! The logs have turned into coals. More on that next!

COOKING Secret #12: Contrary to what you might think, you don’t really want to cook over an open flame. The heat is not consistent and there’s a higher chance of burning the outside of your food before the inside is cooked thoroughly. The marshmallows above were cooked over an open flame. They promptly caught fire, turned black and the inside remained cold. This also happens with hot dogs and other foods you cook on long sticks over a fire. You want the glowing embers, not the flames.

The goal then is to get the firewood to burn down into white hot coals. The coals provide a heat as hot or even hotter than the fire, but one that is muchmore even and consistent. To isolate the coals, 58 August 2018

move the larger pieces of wood aside and use a long handled spoon or shovel to rake the coals where you want them. You can keep adding more kindling to the main fire as it dies down. The logs will keep turning into fabulous, super-hot coals. You can break up the logs with a shovel to create smaller coals if you need to. Secret #13: We like to create the fire on one side and leave room for the coals on the other. The reason for this is that it’s nice to have a dedicated area just for cooking, and the other side is for creating hot coals and provides warmth.

To utilize the heat from the coals efficiently, you can cook directly on the coals or use a campfire grill. The grill goes over the hot coals and works the same as a backyard BBQ grill. (More on backyard BBQs later in this series!) Secret #14: Campfire grills are inexpensive and lightweight. They are worth the investment. It really comes in handy when you don’t want to cook directly on the coals, or if you don’t want to buy or carry a camping stove along. The flat surface is great for pots, pans and percolators or as a direct cooking surface for food. Secret #15: There are times when you’ll want to cook directly on the hot coals. We mostly use this method for cooking things like vegetables, particularly root vegetables, or when we use a Dutch oven, or for foil dinner packets. (More on Dutch ovens to come too!) The coals are very, very hot, so you will need to protect the food a bit more by giving it a double wrap in heavy-duty aluminum foil. Or if it’s something like corn, cook it in the husk and it will be protected from the high heat. Secret #16: With foil dinners, it’s a good idea to

layer the food in such a way as to prevent it from burning. I’ve seen campers say they line the bottom of the packet with cabbage leaves or thick slices of onion, then layer root vegetables, protein (meat, chicken, fish, etc.) with aromatics (herbs, leeks, garlic, etc.) on top and a bit of liquid (stock, wine, water) to keep it from drying out. Cut the vegetables in smaller pieces because they will cook more quickly and the meat in larger pieces so they take a bit longer and will be done at the same time as the vegetables.

You can leave potatoes whole or cut them in half. Whole potatoes and other vegetables take a bit longer to cook than those that have been cut in half, sliced, or diced. For whole potatoes, rub them with a little bit of oil and prick a few times with a knife or fork. Then wrap them up! When you wrap the food in foil, place it in the center and seal it tightly by bringing the edges together in the center and rolling or folding tightly.

Secret #17: Don’t forget to create some handles on the sides. The food will be very hot and it’s much easier to grab the handles and there’s less of a chance of tearing open the foil packet and getting ash on the food inside.

Place the food directly on the coals and use a long-handled metal spoon or shovel to bring some of the coals up and around the foil packets. I’ve come up with a fun menu that takes camp food up a notch without being too complicated. It relies on fresh food made flavorful by the fire. If you aren’t a fan of fish, you could easily substitute boneless, skinless chicken breast or thighs for the trout. I’m not usually a fan of trout, but cooked this way it’s amazing! For dessert, I included the ubiquitous s’mores. So many variations, so little time! Check below for some suggestions on making your s’mores extra fancy and delicious. Now, it's time to enjoy your meal!

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62 June 2018

SEVEN WAYS LIGHT A FIRE Building a fire is actually quite simple, whether it's a campfire or a cozy one in your living room. By Keith Mccafferty Photograph by Sam Lomikin


n any emergency situation, you may be stuck without the necessities. This includes not having water, food or shelter. One thing that is also always important to have is a fire lit to keep you from suffering from hypothermia or frostbite. Will you have matches? Most people won't. Read some of these other ways how to make a fire. FRICTION-BASED FIRE MAKING Rubbing two sticks together is likely the oldest of all fire-starting techniques, and also the most difficult. Besides proper technique, you have to choose the right wood for the fireboard and spindle. Sets made from dry softwoods, including aspen, willow, cottonwood, and juniper, are preferred, although a spindle made from a slightly harder wood, combined with a softer fireboard, can also work. The friction of the spindle against an indentation in the fireboard grinds particles from both surfaces, which must heat to 800 degrees F before a glowing coal forms. This must then be transferred to tinder and gently blown to life.

Shelter is your top priority in most survival emergencies. June 2018 63

With one person applying downward pressure on the notch, and another person rotating the spindle with a shoelace, an ember can be formed faster than a hand-drill alone. 2 Two-Man Friction Drill Two people can do a better job of maintaining the speed and pressure needed to create an ember using this string variation of a friction drill. Step One: Have one person apply downward pressure to the drill while the other uses a thong or shoelace to rapidly rotate the spindle. Using a circular motion, a glowing ember will form on the bark beneath the notch of the fireboard by friction alone.

62 June 2018

By pushing at a quick and steady rate, the dust particles generated from the fire plough will make a very hot ember nest. 3 Fire Plough This produces its own tinder by pushing out particles of wood ahead of the friction. Step One: Cut a groove in the softwood fireboard, then plough or rub the tip of a slightly harder shaft up and down the groove. The friction will push out dusty particles of the fireboard, which will ignite as the temperature increases.


1 Hand Drill Using a hand drill is one of the simplest friction methods, but high speed can be difficult to maintain because only the hands are used to rotate the spindle. It works best in dry climates. Step One: Cut a V-shaped notch in the fireboard, then start a small depression adjacent to it with a rock or knife tip. Set a piece of bark underneath the notch to catch the ember. Step Two: Place the spindle, which should be 2 feet long, in the depression and, maintaining pressure, roll it between the palms of your hands, running them quickly down the spindle in a burst of speed. Repeat until the spindle tip glows red and an ember is formed. Step Three: Tap the fireboard to deposit the ember onto the bark, then transfer it to a tinder bundle, and blow it to flame.

A tried-and-true method of starting an ember, the bow-drill fire starter uses a loosely-strung length of cord to deliver a steady rate of friction. 4 Bow Drill Of all the friction fire-starting methods, the bow drill is the most efficient at maintaining the speed and pressure needed to produce a coal, and the easiest to master. The combination of the right fireboard and spindle is the key to success, so experiment with different dry softwoods until you find a set that produces. Remember that the drill must be as hard or slightly harder than the fireboard. Step One: Cut a notch at the edge of a round impression bored into the fireboard, as you would for a hand drill. Loosely affix the string to a stick bow, which can be any stout wood. Step Two: Place the end of a wood drill the diameter of your thumb into the round impression, bear down on it with a socket (a wood block or stone with a hollow ground into it), catch the drill in a loop of the bowstring, then vigorously saw back and forth until the friction of the spinning drill produces a coal. Step Three: Drop the glowing coal into a bird’s nest of fine tinder, lift the nest in your cupped hands, and lightly blow until it catches fire. Lighting a nest of tinder with the flint and steel method takes practice, but is one of the most reliable ways to make a fire.

5 Flint and Steel Striking the softer steel against the harder flint will produce sparks to flame your fire. The curved steel striker provided with flint and steel kits is easiest to use, although with some practice you can produce sparks by using the back of a carbon-steel knife blade. (Stainless-steel knives are usually much too hard to shave sparks from.) An old bastard file or an axe head will also work. Step One: Grasp a shard of hard rock, such as flint or quartzite, between your thumb and forefinger with a sharp edge protruding an inch or two. Step Two: Tightly clamp a piece of your homemade char cloth or a lump of birch tinder fungus under the thumb holding the piece of flint. Grasping the back of the striker, knife blade, or file in your other hand, strike a glancing blow against the edge of flint, using a quick wrist motion. If you’re using an axe, hold the head still and sharply strike the flint near the blade, where the steel is harder. Molten sparks from the steel will fly off and eventually be caught by an edge of the char cloth, causing it to glow. Step Three: Carefully fold the cloth into a tinder nest and gently blow on it until it catches flame. RAW MATERIALS FOR FIRE-STARTING: • The birds nest tinder bundle • Char cloth • Rock Striker

June 2018 65

Lost? Don How to find your way back

By Mark Jenkins Photographs by David Lomikin


he recent discovery of the body of Geraldine Largay, a 66-year-old backpacker who got lost on the Appalachian Trail in Maine and survived 26 days before succumbing to exposure and starvation, marks the beginning of another summer season of hikers losing their way and sometimes paying for it with their lives. I once spent a week with a survivalist for a story. He showed me how to build a bow-and-drill – an ancient Native American device – to light a fire. Really? What’s wrong with a lighter? On another assignment, a survivalist taught me what plants were edible and how to skin a rabbit. C’mon. What hiker doesn’t have a handful of energy bars in their backpack? People who get lost and die in the wilderness often have all they need in their backpack to survive. These items are commonly called the “10 essentials”: pocketknife, matches/lighter, map and compass, headlamp, sunglasses/sunscreen, raincoat, extra clothes, food, water (and purification), first aid kit (with whistle). To this list, you can also add new tech essentials: a GPS tracking device, a GPS app for your cellphone, a personal locator beacon or a satellite phone. Most of these require considerable field time practice before taking them into the woods. Two years ago, 78 March 2018

You won't always have luxury of a phone signal. Maps are essential.

't Panic!

March 2018 79

I hiked up the highest mountain in Utah, Kings Peak, and was astonished to find a pack of Boy Scouts scrambling to the summit. They were in basketball shorts, T-shirts and sneakers. The scout master was an overwhelmed Mormon dad who offered that every fourth or fifth kid had a pack with water and food. So much for the scout’s motto: be prepared. Not getting lost starts long before getting to the trailhead. You should not only have the 10 essentials with you, but know how to use them. Being able to “read” contours on a map – what is a mountain, what is a valley; contour lines point upstream crossing creeks and point downhill crossing ridges – and recognize these features in the landscape around you is perhaps the most valuable skill, and not surprisingly, the biggest deficit among novice hikers.

Before heading out, leave a detailed description of where you’re going and when you expect to be back with a close friend or relative. This will require you to take a close look at your map and actually have a plan.

Everything is easier and safer with more time and more sunlight. Besides, in the mountains, afternoon thunderheads are common and dangerous – think lightning and hypothermia. On the trail, you should be regularly matching landmarks on the map – peaks, river crossings, signs – with their three-dimensional counterparts in the real world. And keep track of time. Mark on your map how long ittakes to climb up to a saddle or through a ravine. Note conditions and incline. On one mini-expedition to New Zealand, I climbed six peaks in seven days. On every peak I documented how long it took to go how far, vertical gain, aspect, snow conditions, wind and precipitation. These details gave me information to solo the final peak, Mt Cook, in four hours.

“Leaving a photocopy of the map with your actual route drawn on it could be invaluable if something untoward happens.” Identify landmarks, potential hazards and distances. Go ahead and bring your cellphone, fully charged, with emergency contacts already on it – but don’t for a minute thinkyour phone will save you if you screw up. Check the point weather forecast for exactly where you’re going. If it’s expected to be raining, snowing or blowing, think twice. Get an alpine start. All things being equal, you should be hiking at daybreak.

Plan a route, and look for landmarks.

A compass is a useful tool 80 March 2018

Don't let the tension of being lost get to you. Take pictures, lots of them. You’ll be pleased you did when you get back home, and, if you do get lost, they provide essential information for finding your way back. Peer behind you regularly to know what the landscape looks like going the other way. If you’re on a faint trail, you might leave tiny reminders of your passing, like a small limb in an unlikely place. Every putative expert, graphic survival book and lame TV program will tell you that you should not panic. Yeah, right. Unless you get lost and find your way out frequently, being lost will not feel comfortable. You might well begin to panic. The trick is to let your panic pass.

“Belive in yourself that you can make it, and keep yourself calm all the time.”

There is a useful acronym for what to do when you’re lost: STOP. S is to simply stop. Frantically moving faster will only get you more lost. Sit, and breathe from your belly (short quick breaths only increase the symptoms of anxiety – lightheadedness, trembling, confusion). Drink and eat. With any luck, your amygdala (the almond-size flight-or-fight controller in your head) will calm down and your cerebral cortex (responsible for rational thinking) will take over again. T stands for think. Ask yourself some basic questions. Which direction were you going? What was the last landmark you recognized? How long ago was that? How far have you come since? Hiking on a trail with a pack, most people travel only about two miles per hour. Where was the last time you knew where you were? O is for observe. Look around you: can you see any landmarks? Can you recognize a craggy mountain top or arcing valley? Try to find what you see around

you on the map. Get out your camera, go back through the pictures and do the same thing. Think about time. How long have you been hiking? How do you feel? How long before sunset? What is the weather doing? What is the weather predicted to do? Is there natural shelter nearby? Is there dry fuel for a fire? P means plan. Don’t move until you have a plan. (If and when you do move, do so methodically and observantly.) If you whistle, might someone hear you? Do you have enough daylight to try to retrace your route? Should you consider building a fire because it is almost dark? And finally – can you make a call? Can you text? If you do get through, can you tell anyone where you are? Geraldine Largay sent multiple text messages, none of which went through. Having a cellphone doesn’t, and shouldn’t, mean you’ll be saved. You should first try to save yourself. One of the oft-stated reasons for going

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Don't be afraid when you are lost. 82 March 2018

into the wilderness is to have the opportunity to be more self-reliant. Getting lost is one of those opportunities. Except in canyon country, walking downhill, especially in forests and mountains, will often get you out. It won’t be easy, and it will involve considerable bushwhacking, but eventually you’ll hit a trail or old logging road. This is particularly true in the eastern US, where it is essentially impossible to ever be more than 10 miles from a road. Even if you’re only moving at a crawl, keep going downhill and after, say, 10-20 hours, you’ll reach some form of civilization.

food left, don’t worry about it: the human body can go weeks without food. Food is the least of your concerns. Water, on the other hand, is critical: depending on conditions, humans can live only three to six days without water. But don’t go searching for water in the dark. Sit there, stay warm, and suffer through the night. One very difficult condition is cold rain. A fire won’t be possible and hypothermia is a life-threatening possibility. If this is the case, zip up your raincoat, attempt to get inside a cave or a makeshift shelter, and jog steadily in place. In the morning, reassess. If you think you might be able to retrace your steps back to a known location, try it, leaving breadcrumbs along the way. If this is not possible, whistle your ass off, hang all your bright clothes on tree limbs, build an SOS of rocks or branches in a clearing, use a mirror to bounce the sunlight in multiple directions, move to the top of a hill to get cellphone service. If you do all these things, chances aren’t bad that you’ll be found. But after several days of waiting, don’t let your energy get so low that you can’t make a real effort to get out on your own.

“And into the forest I go, to lose my mind and find my soul. Half the fun of travel is the esthetic of Lostness. ” — Ray Bradbury

So let’s say your cellphone has no coverage and you don’t know how to use a map and compass and you didn’t take any pictures and you’re a little panicky – your average lost person. If it’s nearing night, stay. First, get warm. Put on your extra layers. If you’re wearing a cotton T-shirt, you’ll be warmer taking it off and having a synthetic fleece against your skin. Try to find a natural shelter that might afford some protection from wind and rain. Collect fuel and start a small fire, enough to keep you warm but unlikely to get out of hand. Eat your granola bar. If you don’t have any

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Survival Ski Safety Tips

104 May 2018

lls: 5 Bear Yellowstone bear scientist Kerry Gunther has spent more time in grizzly country than most hikers ever will. He shares his tips for staying safe on the trail. By Ryan Wichelns Photographs by Nina Malkin


ne basic rule of thumb for bear biologists and park rangers: If you have a tip to keep people safe in the backcountry, don’t keep it a secret. When it comes to bears, the National Parks Service puts out a suite of information—both at the national level, and within individual parks— to help keep visitor/bear interactions innocuous. But in 35 years as the bear biologist in Yellowstone National Park (home to 150 grizzlies), Kerry Gunther has learned more than most flyers.

Grizzlies are considered more aggressive compared to black bears when defending themselves and their offspring.

1. Don’t drop your pack. Bears aren’t actually interested in you, they just want whatever smelly stuff you’re carrying on your back...right? Wrong. “In almost every case, when a bear attacks, it’s a defensive reaction,” he said. “It doesn’t want your lunch.” According to Gunther, the old school of thought—ditch your pack and get moving—isn’t your best bet (which is why the Park Service stopped advising it between 15 and 20 years ago). Instead, Gunther advises keeping your pack on. The bulk will make you look bigger, which could dissuade the bear from messing with you, but it’s also good armor if the intimidation strategy doesn’t work. “Your pack protects a lot of your

May 2018 105

back. So you might get swatted at and bit, but you’re not going to have a single mark on you if the pack takes the brunt of that,” Gunther said.

3. Know when he’s bluffing. If a bear’s standing still, you should back away slowly. But there's no need to panic right away if it starts to charge; most of the time, it’s just a show of bravado. The bear’s hoping you’ll get scared and take off, and it has little intention of following through on the attack. If a bear comes bounding toward you on its front paws, with its head and ears up, and making a heavy huffing noise, it’s likely a bluff. Stay calm and instead of backing away, stand your ground and look tough. Talk firmly in low tones. Let him know you’re not easy pickings. If he stops, continue backing up. On the other hand, if the bear charges without making any noise, and has his ears tucked (and you don't have bear spray), hit the deck. According to Gunther, it happens fast, so your best bet is to stand your ground either way. Whatever you do, don’t run; you’re likely to activate the bear’s predatory instincts, and that’s a race you definitely won’t win. 4. Play the numbers game. Studies show that simply heading into the


2. Know the difference between black and grizzly bears. It pays to know who you’re dealing with if you bump into a bear on the trail. Black and grizzly bears have different demeanors, and you’ll want to interact with them in different ways. According to Gunther, you can be more confrontational with black bears, which are relatively docile. Grizzlies aren’t so easy. “They have an aggressive nature, and if you use the same behavior back at them, you could make the situation worse,” he said. In either case, make noise and back away while the bear is standing still or moving away from you. If it decides to come closer, stay put, stand your ground and seem big (now's the time to use your bear spray if you have it). If that doesn’t work, that’s when knowing what species you’re dealing with is important. In a grizzly attack, lay prone with your pack between you and the bear and play dead. With black bears, you need to fight: Go for the nose. When it comes to ID, don’t focus on color: That can vary widely in both species. Instead, look for a grizzly’s dished face and distinctive hump over the shoulders.While both black and brown bears are on record exhibiting adverse reactions to direct eye contact, this is especially dangerous if you find yourself in close quarters with a

grizzly. Should that grizz be protecting a kill or cubs, you could be in especially big trouble. Loud, aggressive noises can be perceived the same way for grizzlies, but you should yell and shout at a black bear to scare it off. But if you make plenty of non-threatening human noises ahead of time, you probably won't surprise me in the first place, and we can avoid a nasty staring contest.

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Grizzlies have no problem wading into rivers and lakes for food, being skillful at catching fish with their claws and mouth. backcountry with three or more people drastically decreases your odds of having a major bear encounter. Hiking in a group means more noise and more eyeballs watching for movement in the trees, which could stop an encounter before it even starts. “Bears respect things that are bigger than them and that outnumber them,” said Gunther. That means if the bear does see you, he’ll likely decide to leave you and your crew alone. 5. Do your research. Bears are one of the most studied animals on the continent, Gunther said, which means there’s a wealth of information to help you avoid encounters before you even get on the road. Gunther recommends getting familiar with bears’ food of choice around the time of your trip (in Yellowstone, it’s ungulates in the spring and whitebark pine nuts in the fall), then figuring out where that food is and steer clear of it. When in doubt, ask a ranger upon arrival and adjust your itinerary to suit. The best defense is not even getting close. May 2018 107

Stay Safe In Bear Country Don’t hike alone. Bears are less likely to attack groups than individuals. Make Noise. For real. Bells are a nice thought, but loud conversation or singing will better alert bears to your presence. Given the opportunity, most bears will avoid a human encounter. Carry pepper spray. Keep it handy (Mike now hikes with his in hand, but a holster works), and know how to use it. Wait until a charging bear is within 60 feet, then sweep the spray to create a cloud at ground level. (Check out our primer at backpacker. com/bearspray.) Be scent smart. Store food in bear canisters or hang it properly (see page 42). Avoid fragrance-heavy shampoos and hygiene products; they smell just like food. Never, ever preemptively fire pepper spray around your tent; it’s like marinating your campsite. Stay vigilant. Paying attention to terrain features can give you an advantage; if you come to a section of trail with recent evidence of bears (such as scat or overturned stumps), make extra noise. Give bears a chance to hear you and flee before their protective instincts kick in.

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If Attacked by a Grizzly Play dead. Lie face down with your pack on, spread your legs (so it can’t roll you), and protect your neck and head with your hands. Climb a tree. Grizzlies are poor climbers, but they can ascend trees if the limbs are arranged like ladder rungs. Make sure you can climb higher than 15 feet on slender branches. Fight. If a grizzly starts to feed or you’re attacked by a black bear, you have to fight. Go for the nose, eyes, and ears. Give it your all.

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Letter from the editor Dear readers:


certainly first came to love wild lands and wanted to fight to preserve them because of something deeper than my Strava time or backpacking trips with solar panels and wifi. I came for healing, for solace, for something outside technology and politics. The old Thoreau maxim “In wildness is the preservation of the world” has been my driving precept. We don’t save wild places to lock them away, we save them because we need them to remain sane in an anthropomorphic world that keeps getting louder and less able to see beyond itself. With so much rage out there, we all need the free and open preservation that wilderness can give us.


That’s a difficult task. Some would say it’s impossible. But I believe it is attainable. The cost of losing is too high. So we need to have more conversations, and we must speak up with grace and certainty and compassion. I know I will try. Grylls Bear

September 2018 09

Readers Speak Out Check out what our readers are thinking

This is not just a magazine or a guide book. This is a bible. Read it and you won't regret it! Austin Wilson Castle Hayne, NC

I can't say that its very awe inspiring, but it was an enjoyable magazine to read. Its up on my shelf and I can see myself picking it up again in the future to read a bit.

I love this book! It is written in simple language that anyone can understand, but the points it makes are very important. Bailey Beers Eustis, ME

My husband loved Survive! Simple, common sense advice for people throughout the world ! Krysten Poulin New York, NY

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I really enjoyed it. Survive! was like cliff notes to approaching life. Short and digestible but still impactful. Alex Quealy Jersey City, NJ

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This magazine is an excellent read. It shows all the training, risk, hardships, and triumph that come with reaching the top of the world.

I could not put this magazine down. This is one of the best magazines I've read. Zack Grayton Peabody,MA

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I have always been into mountain climbing and pushing myself to the limit and farther and this magazine is just a reminder to never give up until you have made it home. Kevin Phinney New York, NY

How to reach us E-mail the editors at or write to Survive! 268 Harbor Avenue New York, NY 10003

September 2018 19


Quick and easy to read, I enjoyed the content and the format. This is a magazine that you can keep around to reference often.

How to Pack a Backpack Learn how to load your pack for your next outing By Paul Hagen


hile many backpackers just throw their gear into their packs with no organization the day before their trip, there is a method in packing it properly to improve their overall backpacking experience. Learning to organize your gear properly before loading your backpack will eliminate forgotten items and help you remove unnecessary luxuries. In addition, efficiently packing your backpack will give you more comfort, convenience and stability.

Internal backpacks have recently become the standard backpacking frame type. While trail hiking with an internal-frame pack, items with the most weight wants to be centered high between the shoulder blades and close to your back. By doing this, the weight is placed on the hips which should hold most of our backpacking pack’s weight. When off the trail, items should be placed a bit lower on the back, lowering your center of gravity and stabilizing you better on rough terrain. External backpacks are still used, although less common than internal frames. They are recommended for trail hiking only. The heaviest items should be packed on top and closes to the back to center the pack’s weight over the hips and help you stay in a more upright stance. Either frame type you choose, medium weight gear (water filter, first-aid kit, stove) should be placed in the middle and furthest from the back. Lightweight items (sleeping bag, clothing, odds and ends) should be placed lowest in the backpack. Be careful to not overload your pack or body. A loaded backpack shouldn’t exceed 25% – 30% of your ideal body weight. Although this is a general guideline, some experienced backpackers may be able to carry more weight. Beginner backpackers and less-fit persons should start with less weight.

13 September 2018


Backpack Weight Distribution By distributing weight in a specific manner, you can achieve better comfort, convenience and stability. Instead of simply stuffing your backpacking gear inside your bag, follow these guidelines.

Best Gear of the Month: ORTOVOX Ascent 30 AVABAG Practice makes perfect with this full-featured avalanche pack. By Buck Tilton

Inside construction

Construction of the back 126 September 2018


How to reach us E-mail the editors at bestgearsurvive! or write to Survive!, 268 Harbor Avenue New York NY 10003


Full-featured avalanche pack

2014 study published in The Avalanche Review shows that one in eight people wearing an avalanche airbag pack will fail to deploy it when caught in a slide. That’s a sobering truth for winter warriors: No matter how expensive your gear, it can’t help your chances in an emergency if you don’t use it correctly. ORTOVOX seeks to eliminate that problem with its new line of AVABAG packs, which lets users disconnect the cartridge to practice as much as they need to get the drill down pat. With the same pressure and release, the cartridge-free pull feels just like the real thing. In practice scenarios in the Monarch Mountain sidecountry, we found the oversized grip was easy to locate and pull, even when we were skiing fast. Nice touch: The trigger’s rounded grip makes it grabbable from any angle. It also has two length positions. The airbag unit itself is a scant 1.5 pounds, thanks to a first-of-its-kind seamless construction. The whole unit fits into a sleeping pad-size compartment at the top of the packbag, and is removable so you can use the pack without the airbag. Organization is decent: A wraparound zipper flays the pack open like a book so you can stuff gear beneath the airbag, while a separate compartment fits avy tools. The Ascent has a helmet carry, a key holder, and all the standard features of a mountaineering pack, which, when combined with the foam backpanel and wide shoulder straps, make it a go-to choice for day missions, with or without the airbag.


Survive! magazine is all about outdoor adventure. Discover America’s greatest lakes, hiking trails, and national parks, plus destinations th...


Survive! magazine is all about outdoor adventure. Discover America’s greatest lakes, hiking trails, and national parks, plus destinations th...