Les Stroud, better known as Survivorman from his TV shows and books, has made it out of some seriously wild environments and lived to tell the tale. Although his survival situations are part of a TV program, survivalist Les Stroud is the real deal. Part of what makes his shows - and thus his survival advice - so authentic is that Les puts himself into these harrowing situations and often films everything himself. While that might make Stroud a bit of a crazy risk-taker, it certainly adds sincerity and authenticity to his survival advice.
The best tips from Les Stroud around survival aren't about stockpiling on survival tools or equipment. Instead, if you want to know how to survive like Les Stroud the key is to think like Les Stroud. Here's the best survival know-how Les Stroud has shared with the world. Start memorizing!
When Cooking, Err On The Side Of Caution
Food is a big deal in survival. Without it, people in desperate scenarios will get weak, make bad decisions, and eventually starve to death after 7-10 days. So finding food is a topic Les Stroud covers in depth. Those who watch Stroud's television shows have seen him eat every manner of food, from bugs to plants to raw meat. Stroud believes that the land provides and eating whatever one can find is better than starvation.
That said, Stroud actually recommends cooking when possible to prevent parasites from making a bad situation worse. Overcooking is better than undercooking, so if you can get a fire going and you've got your hands on some "organic" meat, cook it up as much as you can. No fire? No problem. Stroud also stresses that meat that is fresh is safe to eat raw. Stay hydrated at the very least. Water is much more important than food.
Staying Calm Is Key
Being in a survival situation can be stressful. Anyone suddenly alone in the wildnerness will be in high stress mode, focused on how to get to safety, find their bearings, and eventually find the items necessary to survive if rescue doesn't seem imminent. Not to mention the immediate adrenaline rush a person gets in survival mode will eventually wear off and leave a person quite exhausted. People make bad decisions when stressed. Les Stroud says to stay calm if you find yourself in a survival situation. Focus on the things you can do and focus on the basic tasks at hand, such as preparing for any potential danger lurking ahead - like the cold of night or a lack of water.
Trust A Guide, But Don't Rely On Others
An obvious aside to Stroud's advice to generally be mindful of one's surroundings and trust one's instincts is to never depend entirely on another person. Even when a designated guide is leading a trip, Stroud advises to always be proactive and educate yourself about the details of a trip. Ask to study the map of where you are going. Be aware of local towns and the nearest places of shelter and safety. Check the weather whenever traveling and know your destination route and what places you'll be traveling through or over if say traveling by airplane. There's no guarantee that a guide or leader will be there when the going gets tough.
Securing Water Is First Priority
A person can go three weeks without food - though they'd be too weak to do much by even a week into such a scenario - but they can only go three days without water. Finding safe drinking water is crucial to surviving in the wilderness. Obviously, best case scenario is having water with you to begin with, or being near a water source with iodine pills to ensure the water is healthy to drink. Stroud advises boiling water if fire is an option (not to mention something that holds water to boiling point). A self-made solar still to distill dirty water is also a great idea for when everything else is a no-go. For this a piece of plastic and some sort of receptacle come in handy for capturing moisture pulled from the dirty water via the heat of the sun.
Contrary to pop-culture myth, drinking one's own urine should be last case scenario.