Saturday, September 9, 2017

Naked & Afraid Survival Plan

We watch show after show on survival and none of the participants really survive, they just hang on.  Most loose 10 to 40 lbs of weight or typically around 1/2 to 1 pound per day.  Even the show Alone where they get to carry a pack full of gear, they nearly starve to death. This should demonstrate that wilderness survival is impractical as a long term survival plan. We must have livestock and a garden. (<-Click Link)

But for this post, lets focus on surviving for 21 days, naked in the wilderness.  I omit the term afraid, because if you are afraid, you have no business being in the woods.  Suppose you have a cooking pot and two items; one of which you get to pick, however they never seem to bring the same thing.  Ideally, you have a pot, a knife and a fire starter. If you only get to pic one item, you take a large knife.  Also see our post on what 4 things you would select to survive on a deserted island for some good discussion on what to carry.

Immediately upon learning you have been accepted, you must tan, condition your feet to be tough and eat a lot of meat (protein).  Put gravel or dried rice in your boots or shoes and wear them every day.  Practice your Primitive Fire Building skills, using no man made supplies, and wilderness fishing techniques.  You can even fish with your hands (See Noodling). Ideally, you have practiced wilderness survival staying for at least a week in the woods. Measure your success by your weight loss, with a target of loosing less than 1/2 pound per day. 

Day 1 - The race is on!  It is a race of time (21 days) vs net calorie loss.

Remembering the Rule of 3, our first priority is security, then shelter, then water, then food.  Yet finding food should be an on-going process.  As we walk along, we should look for coverings for our feet while finding and consuming edible plants and picking up some fire wood.

While I'm confident the dangers of some of these locations are exaggerated for theatrical purposes, there are some very real hazards when in the woods.  So after reviewing the map and deciding what direction to go, we should head out and along the way, find a a good piece of wood to make a spear.

Our spear should be taller than our height and 1 - 1-1/2 inches diameter (as big around as two or three of our largest fingers); have a fire hardened (later) point on one end and have a Y on the other end.  The Y serves as drag when throwing the spear, and can be used for pinning snakes, primitive fishing and knocking fruit / nuts from trees.

As we arrive at our destination and find a good camp location, we should have our spear finished, or close to it.  We should have also found a few wild edible plants and be testing them with the Universal Edibility Test to be sure they are safe; perhaps consumed a few that we know are safe.

Now it is time to turn our attention to a shelter.  We have two options; the first is a Nomadic Strategy, and the other is to have a stationary base camp.  In our Alone survival show plan, we take the nomadic approach.  So here we will set up a stationary base camp.  Either way, we don't want to burn up too many calories building a castle.  If there is no natural shelter, a simple debris will suffice.  Keep a few pieces of fire wood in your shelter to let it be drying out.

So lets talk about the things that deplete our calorie reserves:
  1. Not eating or eating very little
  2. Being wet, cold and shivering
  3. Physically hard work
 At the end of DAY 1, you should have achieved the following:
  1. Hiked to your camp location, surveying your surroundings for water sources
  2. Along the way, found wood for a spear, fire wood, and gathers/eaten a few edible wild plants
  3. Found or built a crude but warm shelter
  4. Plan what you are going to do tomorrow.
DAY 2, our goal today is:
  1. Find water, food, supplies to build shelter and fire wood until mid day.  The key here is we cannot go several days without eating; we need to eat a little something each day.
  2. Improve our shelter; remember cold and wet burns calories fast. 
  3. Build fire for sterilizing water, warming up & repelling insects. Putting moist or green materials on your fire will create smoke that repels insects.
  4. Plan what you are going to do tomorrow. 
Part of our food search is gathering edible plants using our wilderness survival skills as we travel. But another part should be passive food acquisition with traps.

Search your surrounding camp area using concentric Ring Routes consisting of circles of increasing diameter.  With these, you first deplete all the resources that are close to your camp.  After which you must start going out further and further as nearby food is exhausted. This allows you to learn your immediate area very well and progressively explore out further and further as the rings grow.  This approach might be best for high risk scenarios where you don't want to get too far from home.
DAY 3, our goal today is:
  1. Gather food for the first half of the day.  Food, Firewood, and Water should be your routine for the fist half of each day.  Gather plants, cordage, fishing using wilderness hooks, and trapping.
  2. Then focus on what we were unable to accomplish the prior day.
  3. Rest: Hot and cold weather are exhausting and sleep is hard to come by.  So try to work when the climate is comfortable and nap each day when it is not. 
  4. Plan what you are going to do tomorrow. 
Foraging for food should be a team effort.  Spread out to cover more area, but stay within sight of each other at all times.  When either of you find a plant that is plentiful and not suspected to be poisonous, you should use the Universal Edibility Test to determine if it is suitable for consumption.

We must burn our calories efficiently.  Don't walk anywhere with out bringing back food, firewood, water, shelter materials or foraged supplies like bottles, cans, cordage.  Note that 2 liter bottles have many uses including fish traps and water catchment.  Do not waste calories cutting fire wood in to small pieces; instead, simply burn them in half. 


DAY 4
The ideal shelter is water proof, wind resistant and large enough that we can safely build a fire inside to stay warm.  But building such a shelter is a huge calorie burner and you don't need a mansion for a 21 day stay.  IF you are finding adequate food supplies, building such a shelter is okay.  If not, a small shelter is easier to build, your body heat can keep it warm and you need to gather less fire wood, saving calories in several ways. 
  1. Gather food for the first half of the day, check traps and add more.  Explore different food sources. If we are not finding enough food, continue to work on this.
  2. If we are eating ok and need more shelter, then work on this. 
  3. Food should be prepared in your pot to capture all the nutrition and also provide fluid. 
  4. Plan what you are going to do tomorrow. Doing so keeps our mind focused on the tasks at hand.  This becomes increasingly important as time goes on. Avoid thinking about your discomfort/hunger; instead plan / execute actions to improve conditions.
Our goal is to have a little more food and water than we need.  So save a little when we find it for days when we don't.  Try to build up 1-2 extra days worth.  While this has proven to be impossible for show participants, it can be done, with more focus on plants and traps. If you must go several days with out eating, don't gorge when you finally get food; eat a little and save a little for later.

Each day after this is will be the same until we reach day 20.  A few days prior, try to favor scouting for food in the direction we will be going on day 21to learn the path we will be traveling as well as possible.

DAY 20
  1. Burn the last of your fire wood; you shouldn't have gathered more than you need. 
  2. Boil the remainder of your food in your pot, to consume in the morning and drink along the way.  Having a nutritious drink is ideal. 
  3. Pre-pack the night before hiking out;
  4. Turn in early and try to get a good nights sleep.
DAY 21

Rise early, finish packing, eat a little, and get started after about 2 hours of daylight.

 What would your plan be?  Leave a comment and let us know.
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