There aren’t many people we’d depend on to take us out in the wilderness and keep us alive. But if we could choose one person to do it, it would probably be Bear Grylls. Even big A-lister celebs like Channing Tatum, Kate Hudson, and Barack Obama have put their lives in this survival man’s hands. That’s because he knows what he’s doing and he the background experience to prove it.
Bear spent three years as a Special Forces Soldier, conquered Mount Everest at 23, and achieved the longest indoor freefall Guinness World Record. This guy is no couch potato, that’s for sure. No wonder he’s now one of the most recognized faces of outdoor adventure and survival. People continue to be dazzled by this born survivor. The question is, what exactly have we learned from him in terms of survival tactics?
Most of us, admittedly, would never find ourselves stranded in the middle of the Arctic. Still, it’s good to have a few survival tactics up our sleeves just in case we find ourselves in a pickle. These tips aren’t just useful for adventurers; they’re useful for our daily lives too. See, it’s not always about action…sometimes it’s about the mind too.
20 Use a wet t-shirt in sweaty situations
Hydration is key when we’re lumbered in extreme heats. If we don’t stay hydrated, we’ll pass out quickly. However, hydration doesn’t always come from water. Of course, if we are able to find clean water somewhere, it’s better to drink plenty of that. On the other hand, if we can’t find clean water, there is an alternative way to prevent dehydration: a wet t-shirt wrapped around our head. We just need to find any liquid to dampen our t-shirt and then wrap it around our head. It will make us feel instantly cooler and increase our energy levels. Most importantly, it could save our lives.
19 A first aid kit can boost a signal fire
If we are ever lost, injured or trapped somewhere and in need of help, Bear recommends using a signal fire to get attention.
But what happens if we have no experience in starting fires, let alone the apparatus to do it? Bear says we should turn to our first aid kit. It should contain everything we need to start a signal fire. Try to get a small fire going first. This is possible by rubbing sticks together to create friction, but it will take a while. Then grab a bandage from the kit and cover it in Vaseline. Throw it into the fire along with mosquito repellent and then we’ll have a big fire going in no time.
18 The foolproof way of telling if a plant is safe to eat
In the wild, we’re going to encounter a ton of different plants and other unfamiliar things that could feed us, but also poison us. But how does anyone know how to tell which is safe from which is unsafe?
Someone like Bear who has years of experience doing this kind of thing is going to find it easier. For those who rarely or never do it, there is a little foolproof way we can see if a plant is edible:
Find a plant that looks healthy, rub a little of its juice on your upper underarm. If there is no rash, place a little on your lips and then in the corner of your mouth. If there is still no irritation, chew and swallow a small piece. If there’s no irritation or problem after 5 hours, the plant is safe to eat.
17 Use a backpack liner to cross strong rivers
If anyone has ever watched one of Bear Grylls’ programs, they will know that every now and then a huge, daunting river crops up. Luckily, Bear doesn’t spiral into a fit of panic.
Like everything else he does, he finds a way to deal with it because that’s what we have to do when we’re in the wild. Anyway, if anyone does find themselves needing to cross a big, fast river, Bear advises us to first anticipate where we’ll be spat out on the other side and to give ourselves an additional 25%. Then use a backpack liner as a flotation device to help get us to the other side. Try to trap as much air in the liner as possible.
16 Stay calm in stressful situations
It’s only natural for us to get stressed out in a survival situation, especially if it’s our first time and we have little experience. The trouble is, we tend to make bad decisions when we panic.
That’s why Bear suggests taking a breather before jumping into our next disastrous situation. Our chances of survival will be much higher if we take a moment to think things through and calm ourselves down. We know it sounds easier said than done, but it really can help. We must stay composed at all times in a survival situation or we’ll be destined for disastrous consequences.
15 Please Remember What’s First
We must never forget the order of our priorities when stuck in the wild. That’s why Bear tells us to Please Remember What’s First: Protection > Rescue > Water > Food. We can also just remember it as PRWF.
First of all, think about the immediate surroundings and how we can protect ourselves from them: rain, heat, winds, and of course hungry animals. We need to assess the immediate threats and find a way to protect ourselves from them. After that, we need to think how we’re going to get rescued. And of course, water and food are always important for survival.
14 Palm nuts are a go-to food
In the wild, we can’t eat any old thing we find. In fact, doing so could lead to some potentially devastating consequences. The best rule Bear Grylls likes to stick to is if one is not 100% sure that it’s edible, don’t eat it.
Keep that in mind the next time you find yourself stuck in the woods, hungry. If anyone intends on embarking on a wilderness journey, it’s better to do plenty of research on food sources in the area beforehand. According to Bear, every jungle has palm nuts which are an excellent source of calories and vitamins. If all else fails, stick to palm nuts.
13 There’s no time to be picky (eating eyeballs)
Bear Grylls is famous for eating all those gross things most of us wouldn’t dare put in our mouths. But when we’re in the wild, starving, it’s really no time to be picky.
There’s no doubt about it, Bear has eaten some pretty unappetizing things over the years. The worst? Probably the eyes of a yak. But he did have backup to prove he wasn’t ludicrous. Each eyeball contains more protein than a steak. We know it’s no gourmet dish, but if we’re in the wild, hungry and desperate for as much protein as possible, Yak eyes are a smart choice.
12 Our armpits can bring our phone battery back to life
Our phones can be total lifesavers when we’re stranded or lost somewhere. But they’re not so useful if they have no battery. The good news is that Bear has a little trick for bringing our phones back to life.
Often it’s more a case of our batteries struggling to work in extreme colds and heats. According to Bear, we can use our underarms to bring the battery back to life – but only if there is a charge left. If our phone is waterproof, in a casing or in a bag, all we have to do is place the mobile in our armpit and, thanks to the warmth; it will come back to life.
11 Duct tape can save us from a hippo attack
Duct tape is just an ordinary domestic staple for most of us. When out in the wilderness, duct tape can be invaluable. This little thing can help us in so many ways and in so many unfavorable situations. It can stop us from burning our mouths on a hot metal mug, if we stick it onto the lip of a dry mug. It works as a great alternative to superglue and staple guns. Duct tape can even save us from a hippo attack that’s left us with a punctured lung. It’s the most useful and versatile item we carry in our rucksack.
10 Always tell someone where we’re going
“This kinda goes without saying, but always, always tell someone where you’re going and when you’re due back,’’ advises Bear. This might sound obvious, but it’s surprising just how many people go out for an adventure without telling anyone where they’re going. It’s always important to plan beforehand.
We’re not saying we should expect for something bad to happen, but we also have to be smart and plan for what could happen if the worst did happen. If we tell someone where we’re going before we go, at least they’ll start searching when they don’t hear from us. It always pays to make others aware.
9 Never give up
Bear has accomplished some incredible things in his life and we think a big reason for that could be down to his highly positive and strong-willed mindset. “Survival can be summed up in three words – never give up. That’s the heart of it really. Just keep trying.”
The fact is, even Bear didn’t start out knowing all these things about survival. He too found himself in situations he struggled to get out of, but he persisted. He never gave up and if we’re in the wild, struggling, we can’t afford to get all down in the dumps. We must keep going if we want to survive.
8 Bamboo is the best wood to build a shelter
Bear has this incredible gift of being able to build shelters with extremely limited resources. In order to sleep, stay warm, and away from predators, it is important that we know how to build a pretty durable form of shelter in the wild.
Bear suggests using bamboo if it’s available because it’s the best kind of wood for strength and flexibility. Try to build the shelter on a higher ground, but close enough to a source of water. Nobody should ever be far away from water. Bamboo can also be used to build rafts if we wind up encountering a big, lively river.
7 Face all fears
When faced with a daunting situation, it is normal to feel fear. Fear can actually be a survival mechanism to prevent us from placing ourselves in even more danger. Fear can also be damaging in a survival situation.
Bear likes to make an acronym out of FEAR: False Expectations Appearing Real. It basically means that what we are afraid of appears real, but it is actually not happening now and might not happen in the future either. The best way to answer back to our fears is by shutting down our negative thought process. This way, we can concentrate on overcoming the challenge instead – way more productive in a survival situation.
6 There is no perfect way of doing something –adapt to the surroundings
There are no rules, according to Bear Grylls. This is no game of football. Survival is a matter of staying alive at all costs and often it can be dirty, cruel and nasty. Each of us is our own trophy and it is up to us to keep ourselves alive. Even the most pessimistic of people have the strength and the willpower deep inside to stay alive.
It’s all very well and good reading survival manuals, but not everything works out the way we plan when we’re in nature. We just need to study our surroundings and our resources and work from there.
5 If it’s cold, stay dry
If we find ourselves in a cold climate in which we’re struggling to stay warm, it can be potentially life-threatening. So we need to know what to do to stay warm. It’s not like we can stick on the AC or something. We are in the wilderness and we need to improvise.
Bear recommends staying in the shade if we’re in a hot climate and staying dry when we’re in a cold climate. When we get wet, our body loses heat 20 times faster than if it were dry. In other words, don’t jump into a cold river if you don’t have to.
4 Surviving a sandstorm starts with a cotton t-shirt
Surviving a sandstorm starts with remaining calm. How, after all, is a panic attack going to benefit us in a sandstorm?
The next step is to cover our nose and mouth with a cotton t-shirt as this will prevent us from suffocating. After that, stay low to the ground. This is because most of the dust particles responsible for stopping you from breathing are higher up in the air. By staying low to the ground, it will prevent those dust particles from getting into our lungs. It is also vital that we stay put during a sandstorm because getting around in one is virtually impossible.
3 Rock climbing is more about legs than arms
We generally think of rock climbing as something based on arm strength. We are, after all, climbing up a rockface and to do that, we need our arms. Actually, our legs are the ones we should be focusing on even more.
While arm strength is indeed essential, Bear urges us not to hang on our arms too much because they’ll tire fast. He suggests letting our legs do more of the work.
For the best results, keep the hips close to the rockface and our feet more than hip-distance apart – this will give us steady footing. This is the foolproof way of rock climbing.
2 Always find water
Water is the source of life and we need it to stay alive. In fact, we can’t go any longer than three or four days without water. That’s because the body is 60% water. We can actually last a bit longer without food – 3 weeks is the maximum. So if we ever get stranded in the wilderness, the first thing we should do is search for water. It’s not the kind of thing we want to start looking for on day 3. We need it as soon as possible. It’s not always easy finding water in the wild, so that should be our first step.
1 And always start a fire
A fire isn’t just there for decoration. A fire can serve multiple uses from boiling up water to cooking food to keeping us warm. If we want to last longer than a few days, starting a fire is crucial. It’s something we see Bear do all the time on his show.
But actually starting a fire is the tricky part and Bear has a few different methods for doing it. Waterproof matches or steel and flint are the best ways to get kindling alight. But if all else fails, we could try rubbing two sticks together – just be patient, this isn’t a quick job.
References: mpora.com, telegraph.co.uk, radiotimes.com, advance-performance.co.uk, survivallife.com, puretravel.com