With all the uncertainty of today’s world, the need to know survival skills may become more and more necessary. We at American Grit are pleased to say that for those of you intrepid campers, survival enthusiasts or doomsday preppers, we have an excellent source via Dr. Wesley Adams who teaches a class on survival and has even appeared on the survival television show “Naked and Afraid.” He offered these top survival tips that may actually save your life!
According to Dr. Adams, time is of the essence and in the first 3 hours, you need to have a shelter, fire and potable (drinkable) water. The shelter is the most important though, as it will help keep your fire alive and dry (not to mention as keeping you alive and dry). Shelters can be anything that gets you out of the wind and rain. Whether it’s pre-made or you find a suitable place in your environment, you need to get a shelter and get it fast.
Next on the list is fire/water. Dr. Adams states that it could go either way as far as priorities go and so they flip-flop between the number 2 and 3 spots on our list. If you’re able to procure a water source that’s safe to drink relatively quickly because of iodine tablets or other water purification sources, then finding a water source should be your next goal. However, if you don’t have any tablets or gear to purify the water, you need a fire and fast. The human body can only withstand about 3 days without water. When trying to gauge your water intake, remember the effect food can have either positively or negatively on your hydration level. An example would be high protein foods. They require a lot of water to metabolize, so keep that in mind before you pack tons of jerky in your survival kit.
Fire is life. If you don’t have any other way to purify your water long term, you’re going to need fire before you procure a water source. The easiest way to purify water is to boil it. Not only will the fire help you in the water aspect of your survival, but in your overall survivability. Predators tend to not like fire and having a solid roaring fire will usually keep them at bay. Fire will also obviously keep you warm. It seems obvious until you realize how quickly hypothermia can set in when you’re left to the elements. Even in weather, that is between 50-70 degrees, without proper clothing hypothermia can set in between 1-7 hours. That may not seem like much until you go to sleep for 8 hours.
The next priority on your list ought to be food. The average American can make it about 3 weeks or 21 days with no food. Survival shows like “Naked and Afraid” usually only go to that 21-day limit. Despite the short duration, the effects of being placed in a survival situation can have long-lasting effects. Dr. Adams said that “I have trouble putting on muscle and my metabolism has never been the same since the show.” He was only in a survival situation for 13 days and it took this type of toll on his body.
Your food consumption has to match what you’re putting out. Adams, who is an above average size athletic, active male, warns of the dangers of not resting enough. Even a normal effort can exhaust the most in shape person. People need to take equal amounts work and rest in order to preserve not only the physical side but the mental side as well.
The last tip we’re going to leave you with is to be aware of the mental aspects of the endeavor. You can’t-do it alone. If you can, you need to share the load. There is a principle called the diffusion of responsibility that psychologists study. It describes the phenomenon of people who don’t help another person in need because they think the person ahead of them already took care of it. In a survival situation, the opposite is true. Many take charge people will exhaust themselves trying to do everything rather than share the load. It’s about economics. Doing the most you can while preserving yourself the best you can. This is what ultimately led Dr. Adams to not last the entire 21 days as he worked himself to exhaustion and for safety reasons had to be evacuated.
If you’d like to hear more of what Dr. Adams learned from his experience check out his video here.