Staying alive

stroudSurvivorman host Les Stroud offers some tips on how to survive in the harshest of conditions.

People in Dubai love to go camping. If someone should find themselves stranded in the desert out here (and there’s a lot of it) what would your advice be?
Remain calm, that’s the first step. Travel during the early morning and late day hours only to avoid dehydrating. Ration water. Keep a shirt on as the sun and wind will dehydrate you quickly otherwise. Set up a signal device or fire as soon as possible. Remain with your vehicle or camp site if that seems the right thing to do as traveling is risky unless you’re absolutely sure of where you’re going.

The temperature here got up to 51 degrees last summer. What effect does such a high heat have?
In a word – dehydration. And it will kill you faster than just about anything. Surprisingly though, the wind is more dehydrating than the heat.

At what point does the human body vitally require water and food?
After 24 hours without water the headaches start, after 48 hours the nausea and dizziness. After 72 hours you’re courting death – you may make it all the way to ten days without state of little function. Food is only a problem in that you become listless, weak and lacking in energy, but your body can handle the lack of food for at least two weeks without stopping you from effecting your own survival.

What’s the worst environment in terms of effect on the body?
I would have to say the heat and dryness of the desert. But the cold is harder to survive because there is just no forgiveness when it is 20 below zero.

What are the emotional effects of the isolation you have experienced?
Loneliness, depression, apathy, complacency and all of these can strip you of your will to live – the main thing you need to survive.

You and your wife once lived for an entire year in far Northern Ontario as if it were five hundred years ago. What did you learn?
What I learned was that life is bigger than me, that life is short and that you must live your life moving towards what makes you happy.

What few basic survival skills should every man have?
1 The ability to get a fire going in any situation.
2 The ability to signal for help.
3 The understanding of weather and how to protect yourself from the elements.
4 The understanding of how to get food in the particular area where you will be, either by hunting, foraging or fishing.

For Men’s Fitness magazine – for original PDF click here – 021_MENS

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