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Do you have the skills it takes to survive in the wilderness? Could you survive a SHTF situation on nothing but foraged greens, small game meat, and river water?
Most people live in a state of comfort that leaves them to neglect their basic survival skills. After all, we have grocery stores for food, plumbing for potable water, and cell phones for basic navigation. Still, even the most well-off people would struggle if they became ensnared in a survival situation.
Would you be able to support yourself and your family if the grid went down or you were suddenly stuck in the middle of the wilderness?
We set out to find out just what sort of survival skills we needed to make it out of the woods alive. In our efforts to find top survival resources, we came across Survival Summit, a survival production company based out of East Wareham, Massachusetts.
We took a hard look at Survival Summit's asynchronous (online) survival training courses, films, and premium gear offerings. Below, you'll find our honest and detailed review of their content.
What are Bushcraft Skills?Bushcraft is the art of using primitive expertise to meet your basic needs and survive in the wilderness. Bushcraft experts need little more than crude tools and raw resources to conjure up things that are essential to human life. Some of the most fundamental bushcraft skills include:
- Water sourcing and purification
- Shelter building
- Foraging, hunting, and trapping
- Fire building
How Can Survival Summit Help?
The Survival Summit's “Into the Woods” is a digital PDF that features a list of essential tasks that you must prioritize to pull off a primitive bush expedition.
It features 30 full-color pages of survival requirements, including information on first aid, core temperature control, hydration, calorie consumption, rest, navigation, signaling, and primitive tools. These instructional videos are brought to you by one of the bushcraft and survival industries' greatest thought leaders, Joshua Enyart.
Enyart also talks about bare minimum belts (BMB), which are also called bushcraft belts, in the Survival Summit's film “Into the Ozarks.” Essentially, bushcraft experts always wear a belt with easy-to-deploy tools, such as flint stones, knives, axes, and rifles.
What is the Difference Between Bushcraft and Survival?Survival skills are intended to be used during emergencies. Meanwhile, bushcraft skills are employed during protracted, planned expeditions into uncharted lands.
Naturally, many of these skills are transferable between both disciplines. While bushcraft expeditions are dangerous, they are planned or coordinated. Meanwhile, survival situations are unplanned and inherently perilous. The goal of survival is to reach safety and stay alive.
Survival skills can come in handy during times when you find yourself lost in the middle of the woods or you are fleeing a SHTF situation. Essentially, these talents will help you stay alive indefinitely regardless of the tools you have on hand.
Field and Stream Magazine covers the difference between bushcraft and survival knives in a recently published article. The differences between these two otherwise identical tools point to some of the differences between the mindsets of bushcraft and survival experts.
What Does Survival Summit Offer?Survival Summit's online films offer a wealth of critical survival and bushcraft secrets. The information in these videos is not run-the-mil boy scout manual material. It comes from the mouths of experienced and respected wilderness and tactical experts.
Today, most people would consider their smartphones as their most reliable navigation tools. However, what happens when cell service ceases and the grid goes down? According to the experts, basic land navigation only requires three tools, including:
- A topographic map
- A compass
- A writing utensil
Wilderness explores may attempt to travel between two points on a map with the help of a compass. They may use the terrain markings on a topographic map to find their precise location.
The Cammenga brand US Military compass shown here is a great example of a high quality compass. In a future post, we'll review a number of compasses in different price ranges. If you are completely new to using a compass, this post may help you learn the basics.
Survival Summit offers extensive video course on crude land navigation during times when high tech devices are no longer available. Their 90-minute instructional video, “Survival Land Navigation,” teaches viewers how to navigate land with nothing more than a compass and a map. It includes tips on navigating without a GPS, pace counting, declination, crude compass making, topographic map reading, locating and placing caches, and more. Host Top Albritton takes viewers into the woods to demonstrate what it takes to create and use primitive navigation tools on uncharted territory. Don't worry if you do not have a pencil, Survival Summit's film includes instructions on how to turn a stick into a writing utensil.
How can we communicate without electricity?Are you prepared for the moment when the shit hits the fan and the grid goes down?
Most of us take our smartphones for granted. Our mobile communication devices are such an integral part of our lives that they sometimes feel like extra limbs. In truth, the cellular networks that we rely on are incredibly fragile. Bad weather, terrorist attacks, and natural disasters are just a few of the events that could take what is, at least for most of us, our only communication devices out of order.
Families should have at least one method of backup communication in case of a long-term power outage. Citizens band (CB) radios, GMRS radios, HAM radios, and even satellite phones are some of the most reliable alternatives to traditional phone-based communication.
HAM (amateur) radios work without internet, cell service, or even electricity. Meaning, you can communicate to people miles away and even communicate with the international space station during times when the grid and satellite systems are no longer accessible. While HAM radios are usually used by hobbyists, they also have a rich history as emergency communication devices.
On the other hand, citizens' band radios serve as a means for emergency communication. CB radio signals can travel anywhere from 3 to 20 miles. The signals are typically not disrupted by inclement weather.
GMRS and FRS radios (basic two-way radios) rely on yet another type of radiofrequency. These radios are highly effective in down-grid situations. GMRS communications tend to travel far and wide thanks to the use of GMRS repeaters. However, it is important to note that GMRS technicians need an FCC license to legally operate this sort of communication system. FRS radios do not usually require licensing, but they also tend to have shorter ranges.
An analog scanner, which picks police, fire, EMS, NOAA weather, and other signals, can also help you access your surroundings when you are in a down-grid situation. Scanners should be set up ahead of emergencies to ensure that they can pick up and process local signals.
While many of the aforementioned communication devices can be powered by batteries or generators, it's a good idea to invest in a solar-powered generator like any of those you can see offered here at Legacy Food Storage (I had no idea Legacy was offering these, but have a look!)
Survival Summit's Take on Electricity-Free CommunicationSurvival Summit's new film “Survival Communications” stars David Pruett, an ER physician and co-owner of Amp-3, which is another survival company. Pruett goes over the basics of HAM radios and how to make an off-grind communication system. He even explains how viewers can use HAM radios to text their loved ones and friends in emergencies.
Survival Summit also offers a wealth of resources related to SHTF communication. While its hard to imagine a world in which Instagram and Facebook updates aren't automatic, if there is anything that the COVID-19 pandemic has taught us, it is to expert the unexpected.
What are the most important survival skills?There are several critical skills that you need to master to survive disaster situations. Many of these skills are designed to provide the basic things needed for human life, including food, water, and shelter. With that said, many of these skills carry over into bushcraft and primitive outdoor education, both of which are intended to be used during more intentional and protracted wilderness expeditions.
Locating and Disinfecting Water
There's no more valuable survival skill than the ability to find and purify water. According to Harvard Medical School health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/how-much-water-should-you-drink, healthy people should drink four to six cups of water each day. Of course, several factors impact a person's level of hydration, including their health, liquid consumption, and level of strenuous physical activity.
Dehydration kicks in slowly. However, most people can only last a few days without water. Dehydration first appears in the form of thirst, dark-colored urine, and lethargy. As your body uses more water than you are consuming, symptoms worsen and can even become fatal.
The fourth chapter of the Survivor Summit's “Into the Woods,” which is titled “Locating, Sourcing, and Disinfecting Water,” offers viewers a glimpse of what it takes to stay hydrated in the wilderness.
The documentary is lead by Joshua Enyart. It features in-depth instructions on how to find, source, and disinfect water in the wild.
Enyart also shows viewers a revolutionary hydration apparatus know as the Grayl Geopress Water Filter. What's more, he demonstrates how a water vine can be used as a source for purified water. On top of that, he teaches viewers how to use shadows and animals to hone in on nearby water sources.
In addition to their course offerings, Survival Summit has a variety of water purifying gadgets in their online store. Their inventory includes emergency purified water packets, Geopress Water Purifiers, and Geopress replacement cartridges.
There's no contesting the fact that the site is a one-stop-shop for primitive hydration.
Fire BuildingOutdoor experts stress the importance of fire building skills. After all, a fire can help you stay warm, heat food, or even sanitize water. While fire building is a relatively simple task, there are several skills you can use to maximize the efficiency of the supplies you have on hand.
You must learn to gather tinder, kindling, and wood logs in the most unforgiving environments.
In “Into the Woods,” Enyart also shares tips on identifying and harvesting various types of tinder. There are various methods for building fires. Whether you are using the teepee or log cabin method, the goal is to layer your burning materials so that the smallest matter is at the bottom, and there is plenty of room for air.
If you find yourself in a situation where you do not have the tools to start a fire, you may need a bit of ingenuity to get a flame going. Flint and steel, magnifying glasses, fire plows, friction drills, and other primitive fire-starting methods could save your life.
Consumers can also purchase a wide range of fire-starting goods from Survival Summit's online marketplace. These include Firecraft flint necklaces, Survival Summit's proprietary Fatwood Shavings, Live Fire Sport Emergency Fire Starters, Fire Piston Kits, and Tops Knives Fire Starter Emergency Kits.
They also offer interesting fire-starting tips, such as how to build a “fire bug” with nothing more than petroleum jelly, cotton balls, and tinfoil.
Shelter BuildingWhile it may be easy to build a basic shelter in good weather, it takes plenty of know-how and skill to perfect a weather-resistant shelter with rain, wind, snow, and other adverse weather situations dampening your plans.
In “Into the Woods,” Enyart uses the five W's to teach the basics of shelter building. The W's include:
- Weather: You should always take the weather into serious consideration whenever they are setting up camp. Hypothermia, which is caused by exposure, is the number one cause of outdoor fatalities.
- Water: Whenever possible, camps should be set up close to a freshwater aquifer.
- Widowmakers: Widowmakers are large dead trees and limbs that would likely crush anything if they were to fall. It's important to never build a shelter or generally hang out under widowmakers. The name pretty much says it all. (BTW: If you've ever been in the woods during a huge wind storm and had trees and limbs falling all around you, you know how suddenly realistic this threat is. Don't ask how we know this...)
- Wood: Wood can be used to make everything from roaring fires to primitive tools. Make sure your camp has a nearby supply of this natural resource.
- Wildlife: Never underestimate the threat of wildlife, including everything from large carnivorous animals to pesky insects. Set up camp away from easily recognized wildlife habitats, such as animal holes, nests, and burrows.
Foraging, Trapping, & HuntingForaging, hunting, and trapping are some of the most primitive and essential wilderness skills. This expertise can also be seen as an affordable way that you can feed yourself and your loved ones during ordinary times as well as a means of survival during SHTF (shit hits the fan) scenarios and wilderness adventures gone awry. Wild edibles offer much-needed nutrition to individuals lost in the wilderness. Meanwhile, small game offers survivalists protein-rich meat.
In Survival Summit's “Into the Woods” webinar, Enyart also shows viewers how to identify some commonly found plants and do some primitive trapping. After all, survival is not possible without proper nutrition.
Survival Summit has also published a webinar on urban foraging. Nicole Telkes, an expert herbalist, educator, and activist, shows viewers how to find edible plants in cities.
In the Survival Summit's “Harsh Environments,” Kristen Rechnitz also shows viewers how to procure and cook food in the wild. Her lessons include how to make primitive spears and trap small game animals. She also goes into the details of how to identify and process edible meat. You don't want to miss her tidbit on how to cook rabbit calzones!
Their Film “Sigma III Survival School Backwoods,” which stars the school's founder, teaches some of the nuisances of primitive tools, snare trapping, and meal preparation and preservation.
Meanwhile, “Webinar #5: Survival Trapping – Bruce “Buckshot” Hemming” digs deeper into the subject of survival trapping after an SHTF situation. Bruce comes to Survival Summit from Snare Trap and Survive.
Survival school offers a spectrum of information regarding food acquisition and preparation in survival situations.
Navigation skills are also an integral part of wilderness survival. It's important to have some primitive navigation skills under your belt for times when modern navigation technologies are no longer available.
As we mentioned earlier, Survival Summit's “Survival Land Navigation” is an excellent resource for navigation skills. These primitive techniques may come in handy during bushcraft expeditions, emergencies, and bug-out situations.
First AidThere's no way you are going to make it out of the woods alive if you do not have basic first aid skills under your belt.
Survival Summit's “Wilderness Medical” is a comprehensive outdoor survival course that teaches essential first aid for the outdoors. This course stars Joshua Enyart, who is also known as the Gray Bearded Green Beret.
Your survival often relies on your ability to navigate to safety. According to SASI (Survivalism, Prepping, and Homesteading), the following five first aid skills could potentially save your life:
- The ability to clean and dress wounds
- The ability to make a makeshift splint or sling
- Heimlich maneuver
- The ability to treat shock
One of the most fascinating tips that Enyart shares with his viewers is the method for extracting iodine from black walnut in this video below:
KnotsKnots are an essential part of bushcraft and survival. Your knot-tying knowledge may save your life one day. Even the simplest of knots can help you to anchor ropes in place, lift or move objects, or scale steep surfaces.
Survival Summit covers basic knot techniques in their film “Into the Woods.” Joshua Enyart goes over common survival knots and lashes, including the rapid ridgeline, the bowline knot, a modified trucker's hitch, the fisherman's loop, the Prusik knot, and the shear lash.
Self-reliance isn't something that's born overnight, but with a little awareness and basic training, you can enter the ranks of any decent bushcraft expert or survivalist. Survival Summit's video lectures are chock-full of valuable information, tips, and tricks that are sure to come in handy during bug-out, SHTF, bushcraft, and survival situations.
The training videos are available via USB drive, DVD, and online streaming. In general, you'll want to check Survival Summit's website for new and usual content, many of which are free for reading. However, they also customers the option to purchase an Elite Membership. This monthly subscription service includes access to all of Survival Summit's current and future films, 34 hours of Legacy Survival Discussions, monthly giveaways, deep gear discounts, and monthly deals.
They cover a wide range of subjects, including everything from foraging wild greens to dressing life-threatening injuries. So, by all means, delve into their treasure trove of survival lessons. Your minor investment will be justified the moment you employ your newfound survival skills. Of course, you'd be hard-pressed to find a production company that works with a better line of survival experts!
On top of all this, Survival Summit is also an extraordinary marketplace for premium survival products. With their monthly subscription service, you can save thousands while building expert survival packs and bug out bags. They carry brands such as 5.11 Tactical, SUUNTO, TOPS Knives, and SStealth Gear.
Are you looking for fresh survival or prepper training? If so, you might want to have a look at SurvivalSummit.com for yourself!