These 10 Survival Tips From Les Stroud Might Save Your Life One Day

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Vote up the advice from Les Stroud you're committing to memory. Right. Now.

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!


  • 1
    14 VOTES

    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.

    14 votes
  • 2
    14 VOTES

    Trust Your Instincts And Stay Proactive

    Les Stroud is far more knowledgeable than the average person when it comes to survival. That said, his advice to those who don't spend their lives learning how to survive alone in nature is to trust the instincts every human has built into their DNA. Humans innately want to live, it's part of our programming. Trusting those instincts is key, as is being proactive. Survival is often the difference between laying down in defeat and forging ahead. 

    Stroud has spent plenty of time alone in the woods with just his instincts. He says that following good instincts and trusting them are the best thing that someone can do in a survival situation. 

    14 votes
  • 3
    21 VOTES

    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. 

    21 votes
  • 4
    25 VOTES

    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.

    25 votes
  • 5
    18 VOTES

    Immediately Take Inventory And Assess The Situation

    Les Stroud advocates for what he calls proactive survival. Rather than staying in one place, Stroud says it is best to move in order to make it out of tricky situations alive. He has a process he uses to assess the situation at hand and make a game plan for surviving. This process involves taking basic stock of any injuries a person has sustained, assessing the surrounding environment, looking for immediate shelter, and trying to get one's bearings. A person should also consider what items they have on them and of course work on getting that most basic survival element: water.

    18 votes
  • 6
    21 VOTES

    You Sweat, You Die

    Stroud consistently mentions on his show that sweat is the enemy of anyone trying to survive an extreme situation. In addition to it being the quickest way to lose much-needed body fluids, it also has the unfortunate side-effect of making a person unnecessarily wet. In heat this can lead to chafing and other discomfort (outside of dehydration), in cold weather sweating can bring on a chill that leads to hypothermia and possible death. 

    If you can, always wear layers and avoid wearing wet clothing. 

    21 votes