British adventurer and survival expert Bear Grylls is no stranger to adventure. He’s hosted a wealth of television programmes and became the youngest Briton to climb Mount Everest at the age of 23.
For his latest project he has teamed up with outdoor gear specialists Gerber, to create a series of survival products designed for intrepid explorers, adventurers and thrill seekers.
To celebrate the new product range, Bear Grylls visited WideWorld HQ to share some of his top survival tips.
He’s divided his top tips into four key aspects:
Make sure you have the appropriate clothing
Clothing is your first line of defense against harsh climates and environments whether they are hot or cold. Ensuring you have the right clothes can help to keep your body at the right temperature depending on the climate you are located in and protect it from the extremities of your immediate surroundings.
What to do in cold climate?
Bear says: “In cold climates it’s important to act before you get too cold. So ensure that you keep your body’s core warm. It’s important to avoid sweating, to ensure that you keep your clothing dry. Wet clothing can lose up to 90% of its insulating properties. Layers of clothing trapping air are warmer than just one thick garment and will provide strong protection.
What to do in a hot climate?
Bear says: “It’s important to keep your skin covered to prevent burning so clothing and headwear may be your main protection from the sun. An improvised hat or headscarf can provide shade and keep the body cool if made wet. (Think urine or any fluids you can find -remember: survival is rarely pretty!”
Make sure you secure adequate shelter
Finding adequate shelter and protection from the hostile nature of environment is imperative to your overall survival and should always be one of your top priorities.
Bear says: “Location is everything. You need to make sure that your shelter is stable and away from natural hazards like wind, rain, flooding, rock falls, animals and insect swarms. So study the terrain before choosing your shelter location.
“Don’t waste time constructing a shelter if nature has already provided one. Take advantage of caves, overhangs, hollows and trees. In many situations, a man-made shelter may exist: such as a life raft, safe wreckage or an abandoned structure.
Start a fire
Fire will provide you with heat, light, comfort and protection and can also be used as signaling device should need to summon help.
Bear says: “Choose the location for your fire wisely and consider the relative proximity of it to your shelter and the direction of the wind.
A fire requires three ingredients: Oxygen, Fuel and Heat. You should gather your fuel before attempting to start a fire. Make sure you gather enough to keep it going once you have it lit.
You will need tinder to get your spark going, so look for wood that is off the ground to ensure your best chance of it being dry. Fluffy fibrous materials like dry moss or grasses make good tinder, as do cotton balls, tampons or petrol soaked rags.”
You should always think about your rescuers. It is important to consider how they will find you, where they will be coming from and how they will find you.
How to prepare
Bear says: “If it is safe to do so, STAY PUT. If you have a vehicle, stay nearby. Be smart and make yourself safe and visible.
How to signal for help
Bear says: “Lay out stones and objects to create an SOS near your location. If you have a light have it close by. Shiny surfaces can reflect sunlight for many miles to rescuers, so you should use this to signal them direct, or sweep the horizon if none is in sight. Smoky signal fires can also alert rescuers.
Knowing cardinal directions is an invaluable tool if you decide to move. There are two different tools to be aware of:
Bear says: “Shadow Stick – Place a stick in the ground. Mark where the tip of the shadow falls, then wait 15 minutes and mark again. The line between those two marks denotes a general east-west axis.”
Bear says: “Wrist Watch – In the northern hemisphere to use your watch as a compass, point the hour hand at the sun. The imaginary line bisecting the hour hand and 12 o’clock is your north-south line. In the southern hemisphere point 12 o’clock at the sun and then bisect that and the hour hand.”
Regardless of where you are, water remains an important and key tool to staying alive, fit and healthy.
Where to find it
Bear says: “Follow game trails, animals or insects to surface water sources like rivers and streams. Look for lush vegetation as a sign that underground water may be present. Melt snow or ice. Plants and vegetation can provide fluids -even animals in extreme situations. Sucking liquid out of a fish eye may not seem appetizing, but it could just save you.”
Have an ample supply
Bear says: “Never wait until you are without water to begin to collect it. Act whilst you are still fresh and have some supplies. Use any materials you have to aid in the collection of water. Large leaves can be used to trap rain or dew.
Ensure it is safe to drink
Bear says: “Drinking water that makes you sick can be worse than no water at all, as it can make you weak and dehydrated. Boil water for 5 minutes if you are at higher elevations, (at sea level it is sufficient to boil the water for just a minute, and you then avoid wasting limited fuel through excessive boiling).
Basic filtration can be achieved through a shirt, bandana or a sock. (I have even used my underpants before…now that made you smile didn’t it? Good, we are learning to survive!)”
Hunt for foods
Bear says: Hunting wild animals should not be your first thought when looking for food¬ – snares and traps will use up less energy. Most animals can be snared with a wire noose in the right position, such as near a den or above a game trail. (But don’t set it too close to a den, as animals are wary when they first emerge from hiding.) Also remember: funnel the animal towards your trap, camouflage the snare, mask your scent, and then bait it. If there are rivers or other bodies of water nearby, these should be your first port of call for food.”
Don’t be afraid to be a scavenger
“The good survivor is a scavenger. Try to eat anything you can get your hands on that is safe – you can’t afford to be choosy – you don’t know where/what your next meal is. Generally if it walks, crawls, swims or flies -it can be eaten. When storing food, be sure that it is out of reach of any animals or insects it may attract (especially bears).”
Bear says: The key to survival is to “Be inventive. Improvise. Adapt Overcome”