Essential skills and tactis to get you
out of anywhere -- alive
Les Stroud
Collins, New York (USA), 2008
373 pages, including index
ISBN: 978-0-06-137351-0

Relevant quotes from the book only.

On panic:

Panic is a common yet debilitating reaction that affects many, particularly in the early stages of survival ordeals. Panic can be especially dangerous in a group setting, since it's contagious and spreads rapidly.

Physiologically, it can be a motivating force in that it speeds up our body processes. But panic can also use up incredible amounts of energy, which is why people invariably feel exhausted after these episodes.

The most common response to panic is to move now and move fast. So you start thrashing through the bush, running in the sand, or paddling feverishly up the river hoping to come across something familiar to you. These are dangerous reactions, however, unless you have to get out of that spot immediately for safety reasons.

Instead of fleeing instantly, stop, calm yourself down, and assess. And then make a plan. Knowledge is power. When you assess your situation, you're giving yourself knowledge and therefore the power to control your fate. Resist panic; it will do nothing to help you.

(Les Stroud: Survive!, pp. 46-47)

On water:

One thing that people get hung up on with water (assuming they're lucky enough to find it) is whether it's clean enough to drink. They aren't sure whether to drink it at all, for fear of getting sick. I go over this in greater detail later in this chapter, but for now, learn this mantra: Drink, drink, drink. You will die a lot faster from dehydration than from the effects of drinking untreated water. In fact, in all but the rarest circumstances, drinking untreated water won't kill you. Even if you do contract parasites, most of them won't hit you for at least a week, if not longer. Should you make it out alive, you can treat most of them (albeit with powerful drugs).

(Les Stroud: Survive!, p. 70)

Almost as important as procuring water to drink is the ability to preserve the water stores in your body. The best way to do this is to minimize your exertion, if at all possible. With this in mind, I have on simple rule from my friend Dave Arama: If you don't have to stand, sit; if you don't have to sit, lie down. You also lose more water when you talk thant when you don't, and when you breath through your mouth, as opposed to your nose.

(Les Stroud: Survive!, p. 72)

If you are traveling through an area that has loads of dry tinder, gather it now, and gather lots. You don't want to end up later in a survival location without tinder sources nearby, regretting that you didn't fill those big pockets in your hiking pants when you had the chance.

(Les Stroud: Survive!, p. 106)

On building the bed as the first step of your shelter construction:

When you are ready to build your shelter, don't make the mistake of starting with the frame. You're better off creating your bed and then building your shelter around it. Why? First, with this approach you'll have lots of room to build the bed, rather than constructing in the cramped confines of your shelter. Second, you'll be able to correctly size your bed and, as a result, your shelter. One of the most common mistakes travelers make in building their first shelter is making it too small. More times than I can remember, people I've known jave made the bed too small, built a terrific shelter around it, then crawled inside, only to look down and see their feet sticking out the door!

(Les Stroud: Survive!, p. 147)

The main effect you'll notice from lack of food is a significant decrease in your energy level. In many survival situations, I'm fine without eating for a week, but I really notice the loss of energy. As my energy fades and I tire quickly, I can work for only an hour or so at a time, and then I have to sit down and rest for 20 or 30 minutes. Then I work a little more, only to have to sit or lie down again. I repeat that pattern throughout the day.

So forget about needing massive quantities of food on which to feast, accept the stomach growling as part of your ordeal, and focus on getting something, anything, into your system that will increase your energy.

Closely manage your activity level so that you require less food than usual. This means sitting down if you don't need to stand, lying down if you don't need to sit, and sleeping if you don't need to be awake. Anything you can do to slow your heart rate and relax will preserve your energy for the things you need to do to stay alive. The major risk you run from lack of energy is that it can lead to listlessnes, apathy, and ultimately, depression.

(Les Stroud: Survive!, p. 182)

If you find your stomach becoming upset because of your new diet, eating charcoal (pieces of burnt wood from your fire) may help cure what ails you. Charcoal will absorb many drugs and toxins from the gastrointestinal tract.

(Les Stroud: Survive!, p. 207)

When crossing moving water such as a river or stream, you should always face the current and lean your body upstream against it. Never turn your back to the current and never lean downstream, or you run the risk of being swept away. Use a stick, branch, or other aid to help you maintain your balance. It only takes 6 inches (15 cm) of moving water to knock down a full-grown man.

(Les Stroud: Survive!, p. 227)

If you're lucky enough to have one, a barometer makes predicting weather a heck of a lot easier. Decreasing air pressure usually indicates the approach of a low-pressure system, which brings clouds and precipitation. Increasing air pressure, on the other hand, means that a high pressure system is approaching, bringing with it fine weather.

(Les Stroud: Survive!, p. 280)

Entertainment: 6/10
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