After spending the day watching Man vs. Wild hosted by Bear Grylls I would like to make certain observations.
I need to stick a few caveats in here first and foremost I am jealous. There, it’s out in the open, I am jealous professionally and personally. He's younger, better looking, gets paid to travel...
I have taught survival for many years but it has been all open water survival to well-equipped pilots and flight crews. Land survival isn’t my strong suit, which is why I joined a camping and hiking club.
Bear Grylls does know what he is talking about. Nothing he has ever said will kill anyone. I understand certain allowances have to be made for better television. My comments are only meant to show an admiration for his work and not condemn it. As a mater of fact, I follow his blog.
Things I learned from Man vs. Wild.
1- Fires are fun and should be started at every opportunity, and in as many and inventive ways possible. Staying warm and dry is just a perk.
2- How to eat anything.
a. Step #1 Bite the head off.
b. Step #2 Squeeze out the guts because you don’t want to eat the poo-poo. It taste like.... bad... I mean really bad, and all of the nasty stuff is in there!
c. Step #3 Chew on one side of your mouth and close the opposite eye.
d. Step #4 Say “Yuck.” Not with any kind of enthusiasm, but just as a blanket statement.
3- Gravity sucks.
4- A little Spanish gets you a long way.
5- Han solo had the right idea on Hoth.
Now...if Bear Grylls were me… (remembering the above caveat that certain allowances have to be made for better television....)
1- DO NOT DITCH YOUR PARACHUTE!!!!!! The Ram Air parachute assemblies he uses are zero-porosity air foils. They make for wicked shelters and the suspension lines have a tensile strength of over 500 pounds.
2- Rope, while fun to play with, is a finite source.
3- Don’t eat anything unless you have enough water to drink with it. Digestion requires water to break anything down. Even if it is a grub.
4- Beat his Outfitter! Unless it is Mrs. Grylls in which case .... erg... anyway... Dude! Wear Underarmor underwear!!! Do not underestimate what crotch rot will do to your spirits. Underarmor will wick away moisture from your privates and dry much quicker. While on that subject... Tinted Safety Glasses. Not only will they protect you from the sun, but flying rocks, cobra venim, bee's, ice crystals, bats…. You get the point.
5- A big part of what I teach is not only surviving, but getting found also. There are many different signaling methods out there, both things you can carry and things you can make on the fly. It looks dramtic to run across the Icelandic tundra. But I can think of a couple ways to mark the snow so someone would know I was alive! (Not the first thing that popped into your mind...)
In all honesty, thank you Mr. Grylls and the Discovery Channel.