I am a former wildland firefighter and current survival school owner. I've worked with three branches of the US military, celebrities, several law enforcement agencies, Stanford University, and was even on the rescue team for the first civilian space shuttle launch (x-prize)

My Proof: https://www.californiasurvivaltraining.com/about-us

Comments: 1234 • Responses: 104  • Date: 

whinecube755 karma

What's the biggest mistake people commonly make in a survival situation?

survivalofthesickest1277 karma

Failure to make a signal of any kind. There's usually A LOT of people looking for you; helicopters, atv's, crews on foot, etc.

blzy99307 karma

What kind of signals would be good? I understand at some point a guy took out a large power line so they would have to send a crew out but I'm not sure how he did that and I also don't know what kind of signals would be good or how to make them.

survivalofthesickest749 karma

A large triangle, x, or sos on the ground, anything reflective, anything brightly colored, fire, and smoke. Thanks for participating. Symmetry, reflectivity, unnatural coloration, all catch the eye.

nlfo409 karma

Maybe someone got lost out in California.

perkysue31 karma

Local folklore says that even though the hunter started the campfire, it was a USFS helicopter that fanned the flames and made it spread. What eventually happened was that the hunter was held in jail for 364 days, the charges were dropped, and he was let go. The case never went to trial. Makes one wonder how the fire was really started.

survivalofthesickest15 karma

He wasn't charged, I believe, because he was without water for ten hours on a hot day before using his flare.

alarbus550 karma

What are your thoughts on the Primitive Technology guy?

survivalofthesickest895 karma

Awesome. I just hope people realize that the footage is done over time, and those projects are done in half a day or anything lol. He's putting a lot of effort into those projects.

Unexpected_Fart164 karma

I always figured they were 3-5 days

Antazaz262 karma

He puts months into some of his projects.

survivalofthesickest249 karma

that's what I assumed as well.

tsaven412 karma

I do a lot of multi-week motorcycle camping trips in the more remote areas of the western states. I carry a lot of the typical expensive outdoorsy gadgets that you'll find most yuppies have (InReach, jetboil stove, kurydan filter, tent, sleeping bag, etc), but is there anything really simple that you find people often overlook that can make a huge difference to survival or enjoyment of trips?

survivalofthesickest823 karma

Don't do Inreach or Spot, do ACR. Even the Coast Guard uses them and no subscription needed. Also, satellite phone rentals and minutes are more and more affordable.

Making fire from scratch in foul weather is the most difficult survival skill. Not very many people carry a good accelerant. I recommend either esbit cubes, fast fire, or webber grill cubes. Wet fire cubes are also good but they come in smaller portions which mean shorter burn times. They all burn at over 1000F but the first 3 last for over ten minutes, wet fire averages around 5-6. Also, UCO stormproof matches only. Go for the titans if you have room. Once lit they can't be extinguished, they even burn under water. Forget fire steels. Thanks for your question!

truthdoctor214 karma

What is ACR for the uninitiated?

survivalofthesickest329 karma

A company that makes emergency GPS satellite beacons. Love em. Thanks for the question!

blzy99119 karma

Will ACR work anywhere in the world? Is it expensive?

survivalofthesickest202 karma

yes anywhere. very expensive.

tsaven32 karma

Really appreciate the advice! I hadn't thought about fire starting stuff, definitely going to google everything you recommended and get something to carry with me.

I like the InReach not just for the SOS, but so my friends and family can track my progress on maps and for the bi-directional texting.

survivalofthesickest91 karma

they've failed me in the field.

Dunder_Chingis360 karma

What is the most common misconception about wilderness survival that gets people killed?

survivalofthesickest788 karma

It's just a day hike I don't need a survival kit or training.

Blauer_mfg348 karma

Can I send you some of our stretchy tactical pants to get your take on how they hold up? We're a family owned company, been making uniforms for public safety for 81 years. This is not a promo thing.

survivalofthesickest359 karma

wow that would be great! I love new gear, and all of my work pants must have stretch. please DM me here and I'll send a shipping address. If they're great I'll recommend them!

WorkStudyPlay321 karma

What's the best pocket knife for under $20?

survivalofthesickest736 karma

Not quite a pocketknife but the Mora Companion is razor sharp, made in Sweden, and will last you a lifetime. $12-$16 on Amazon

MoreFlyThanYou146 karma

Good to know the morakniv I bought was worth it

survivalofthesickest129 karma

Heck ya it was!

krzkrl260 karma

How many times have you drank your own pee?

survivalofthesickest855 karma

Mine? Twice. My boyfriend's? Countless times.

Unexpected_Fart53 karma

With a Sawyer squeeze, probably all the time.

survivalofthesickest88 karma

Sadly, they don't desalinate. I do recommend them for hiking though.

Unexpected_Fart44 karma

right. imagine if they did? you'd survive for months at sea in a dinghy.

survivalofthesickest123 karma

they make hand held desal filters but they're like $700.

Unexpected_Fart170 karma

I've never seen an AMA host answer this deep into a comment chain. Well done for venturing this far into the Reddit wilderness.

survivalofthesickest149 karma

Ha thanks!

serginge245 karma

What are some general survival tips that everyone should know?

survivalofthesickest588 karma

Always have a small, easy to carry kit that will get you through the night when going to the outdoors.

Always form an emergency signal as soon as possible in an emergency.

Get a wilderness first aid card.

Hydrate well before hitting the outdoors, it's better for every climate/altitude.

Take a class with me.

CallieCatsup211 karma

What is the most useful survival tip for beginners to know?

survivalofthesickest505 karma

Always have a small kit on you whenever heading to the outdoors. Have the minimal you need to spend the night. If you're not in an extreme environment (frozen or desert) that can be kept to 1lbs or less. The #1 killer is exposure so prep for it.

Fire: UCO stormproof matches & Wet Fire/Fast Fire/Webber Grill Lighter Cubes (all the sam material which burns at over 1000F for several minutes, the last two brands over ten min)

Water: Aqua Tabs and/or a Sawyer Squeeze

Shelter: Heat Sheet and nylon twine

There's more but it can depend on your climate, activity, and circumstances.

cozyhygge203 karma


survivalofthesickest341 karma

We teach individuals and organizations how to respond to outdoor emergencies, especially in remote environments, as well as wilderness medical certification programs, and technical outdoor skills. I developed the curriculum myself based on my experience as a professional outdoor rescuer and wildland firefighter. I am a Search and Rescue Technician, Ropes Rescue trained, Swift Water Rescue Technician, helicopter host rescue trained, confined space rescue trained, former EMT, and I am working on the first national certification program for basic outdoor safety and survival. Here is my catalog https://www.californiasurvivaltraining.com/our-courses

afakefox95 karma

Confined space rescue. That's gotta be the scariest position to be stuck in. Literally. Do you have any story's from people getting caught in caves or rocks or anything that either made it or did not? I hope most of your rescues have been successful but you must have seen some bad stuff. Not sure how much you're willing to talk about but I and others are interested in failures or body retrievals.

survivalofthesickest166 karma

The worst I've seen was a wrecked cattle carrier full of sheep. Detached from the truck and slammed into a hillside at 50mph. It was 90F+ out too. The extrication was some straight PTSD shit lmao. Sheep carnage.

cozyhygge38 karma


cozyhygge78 karma


survivalofthesickest135 karma

dang it! thanks I'm on it. fixed it. the last thing i want on my site is the internets most hated grammatical error!

survivalofthesickest63 karma

I've done long distances survival "expeditions" in the various terrains I teach in, have worked in them extensively in terms of firefighting, guiding in parks, and natural resource rehab. I've been trained in environmental biology and high performance in extreme climates. The curriculum is based on what is most useful when you are out there with little to no gear, weak, and tired. Of course, the curriculum develops as my skill set does.

Yes, I am a bit of a trailblazer. We know of know other school with our diverse offerings and I can lead nearly all of the courses personally (with the exception of the counter custody/tactical stuff). There are many many many schools, like 20 in California alone- many of which simply copy me- the website, prices, all that stuff. I also no of no other civilian instructor/school that has worked this extensively with the military.

cozyhygge38 karma


survivalofthesickest81 karma

I need to up my jungle and arctic survival games.

cozyhygge31 karma


survivalofthesickest58 karma

If it is affordable, there is a lot of great technology out there that may come it handy. Like the doorbells that are also cameras that show the person at your door on your phone. To be honest, this question is out of my league. Thanks and best wishes!

WolfDoc171 karma

I am a biologist working with anthrax ecology in the Namibian deserts. Sometimes I have American students, and they tend to bring just too. much. stuff. Like the safari tourists who all come in full khaki clothing to sit in their buses. We have to occasionally burn our clothes when they get too contaminated, so expensive "outdoors clothing" would be an intolerable waste of money on a researcher's budget. It is just working outside, and even the lions are almost never a problem as long as we work in pairs. How can we teach kids to freak out a bit less, and not see every contact with nature as a case of extreme survival needing expensive gadgets?

survivalofthesickest162 karma

I would say put them through a basic field course first. Once they are i the field with nothing, they learn to appreciate how little they actually need. Thanks for participating!

WolfDoc58 karma

Good point. Do you have any good suggestions as to where I could refer prospective US students to go get some experience before coming over?

My problem is, I don't have the opportunity to teach basic field to American students, me being a Norwegian working in Namibia in this case. As we in Norway have conscription, and I spent some time deployed after that and work with some other ex-military colleagues from the Namibian and South African armed forces, I expect 25-year old grownups to have a decent amount of field experience before they come to work on my projects, but this is often not the case. So having somewhere for them to get a bit comfy before they come, so they don't burn themselves out unnecessarily just living in a comfy camp would be excellent.

WolfDoc40 karma

That sounds like great fun! I'd love to participate in one of those.

And first aid and map navigation are crucial basics! Very useful!

But apart from that I was more thinking of simple everyday things like:

How to remember to fill the extra jerrycans of fuel and water before going out, but FFS don't tighten the lid in the cold morning so it bursts in the heat of the day. Calculate fuel for gravel roads correctly.

How to drive on gravel roads without fucking up your tires or tipping your car, and without shaking your kidneys loose, and watch out for those overloaded trucks.

How to maintain an old car so it doesn't break down on you. The closest triple A equivalent might be days away if at all.

It will break down sometimes nevertheless. How to make it still go to where you need. Or use a fucking VHF for when you absolutely can't.

Some spiders and snakes are venomous. Some are not. Don't freak out over the ones that aren't, you're not getting them out of the shower anyway.

There are snakes and scorpions. Bring your flashlight when you go out at night, and keep an eye on the ground for the darn puffadders, but otherwise learn that they aren't out to get you so relax.

There are occasional leopards. So have your kid make noise when he needs to go out at night, but remember they don't attack adults.

How to talk to people that don't think your own country is the best of the world. Most are still nice. Including the poor and black ones. Learn to recognize the exceptions to this rule without being scared to go out to the pub at night when we have some days in town!

When to shut up and GTFO. When to stand up and pick a fight. How to not get on the wrong side of the local police or other powers that be.

Learn how much food you need, and what will spoil before you can eat it, so you don't have to trek to the shop every week!

How to maintain your boots and other kit. How to not have your shit stolen.

Learn that jackals may have rabies, so don't feed them from your fucking table! And avoid feral dog packs. But don't kill the neighborhood stray -some kids love that dog and their mom may be manning the local Police checkpoint tomorrow morning...

Etc. etc.

survivalofthesickest38 karma

It would be simple for us to customize a course based on these needs. It's basic field stuff in austere conditions. One of our team is a certified snake handler (out of Australia no less) and we both have experience in Africa and other remote locations.

JustABitOfCraic162 karma

Other than you under cooking roots..... What's the downright stupidest thing you've seen someone do after or during one of your training camps?

survivalofthesickest415 karma

  1. During a crew hike we found two teen boys trying to catch a bear cub, they had it cornered. Talked them into stopping.

  2. A woman with a folding knife that didn't lock tried to carve a stick with it, backwards, aggressively. 8 stitches. She was a champ though and came right back and finished the course. I've actually done it too.

firefly6345149 karma

How many pushups can you do?

survivalofthesickest202 karma

About 70.

firefly6345247 karma

I can do 12.

survivalofthesickest333 karma

I love you.

jsbarrios147 karma

What Survival TV shows are the most informative? And which are full of it?

survivalofthesickest402 karma

Sadly to say they are basically all full of it. All are staged, some claim for safety but it's more for skill, and they often portray methods that just don't work in real life. With one exception, Ray Mears and his stuff. I love that guy, he's a real legend. His episodes are real tutorials.

mhardigan9861 karma

Ray Mears is amazing. I've got all his books. I love how unpretentious and informative he is.l

survivalofthesickest77 karma

100%. He's my favorite. I hope I can work with him someday.

nsgiad12 karma

Gonna catch hell for shitting Les without explanation around these parts.

bootski-8 karma

Man, are you honestly calling Les Stroud a phony. I am in shock. Only downvotes for you.

survivalofthesickest9 karma

I don't believe I've ever said that. I believe I alluded that bigfoot isn't real actually. Feel free to extrapolate. https://www.reddit.com/r/Survival/comments/2ddu5d/remember_the_survivorman_canyonlands_episode_les/

EpixAndroid140 karma

Can you please tell me a funny story of something that happened to you? Would love to see everyone's reaction here. :-)

survivalofthesickest477 karma

I took the US Marine Corps lead survival instructor, and a Master Sergeant on a 3 day 40 mile backcountry hike, with no food or water and almost no gear (a knife/bottle/piece of string/filter, that's it- not even a med kit). The hike was mostly above 7000' and up to 10,000 at time. I was showing them how I do my expeditions after the 10 day course I taught at their base, as they wanted to learn more. Day 2 we cooked soap roots I harvested for breakfast. I under cooked them. I also ate the center. They felt a little queezy for a few minutes, but I puked bad, real bad, for about 5 hours off and on. I refused to end it or quit. I was so embarrassed. It happened at 9000'+. Step step puke step, step step puke step. Cleared up just fine though. In the end they were almost more impressed. Type 3 fun.

friendlydave131 karma

What is the longest distance you've walked in a day?

survivalofthesickest202 karma

Roughly 30 miles.

IsortaLikeCocoPuffs121 karma

Can you professionally instruct me on how to survive for a week with nothing but a bag of lays sour cream chips??

survivalofthesickest359 karma

Step 1: Eat Chips, except 1.

Step 2: Use chip for fire tinder

Step 3: Boil water with a hot stone inside the bag to quench thirst from salty chips: https://www.instagram.com/survival_expert/

Step 3: turn the bag inside out to use reflective surface as signal to get rescued

IsortaLikeCocoPuffs136 karma

Step 4: jerk off a bunch

survivalofthesickest455 karma

that's just a given with those greasy fingers.

Deathstroke31782 karma

If you were in the movie Cast Away, how differently would you have handled it?

survivalofthesickest283 karma

I would have poked a hole in wilson and filled it with coconut guts... for snacking.

WolfiesFineHoney104 karma

This guy Reddits. Thanks for your time on this AMA!

survivalofthesickest59 karma

Thank you!

FollyBeachSC77 karma

Are you able to accurately predict who's going to fare best in a survival situation when you meet the people ahead of time?

survivalofthesickest193 karma

I always say you can never predict how someone will act in an emergency. When we're operating field courses, sometimes the most unsuspecting people will dominate. Sometimes office social dynamics change after our corporate events, because of what it brings out in people. People always surprise me, I love people, I want them to survive.

muthertrucker70 karma

Everything helps in a survival situation. Being well prepared having basic survival knowledge is key but what i have noticed about survival training and information is that it's always based on having these survival items with you. My first question is how do you train to survive with absolutely nothing. Example ; you're hiking in the mountains of northern California in January. You fall into a fast moving river and lose everything now what? Question 2 is a person can be prepared with tangible items but is mental preparation just as important? The ability to handle violence or severe circumstances?

survivalofthesickest186 karma

That's one thing about my school that makes it fairly unique; we have minimalist training in actual wilderness environments (namely Alaska). We teach people how to survive with little to no gear. Understand, not everything is survivable. If you fall into a fast river in January, you'll likely drown from the soaked heavy clothing, or rapidly succumb to hypothermia once you self rescue. You have minutes to strip down and make a fire in freezing conditions before your brain switches off. You have to be lucky, in great shape, have close to dry weather, and lots of good accelerant and UCO matches immediately at your disposal, and be in an area with dry wood.

Mental fortitude is key. Anyone can build a shelter on a nice day with a lunch in their pack. It takes fortitude to do it with a fractured ankle while you're going hypothermic. The "I can, I will, I must" attitude and the ability to think critically and use your training in extreme circumstances.

cpburke9169 karma

What are your thoughts on the show, Naked and Afraid?

survivalofthesickest179 karma

Fun to watch, I understand that it's entertainment more than anything. I've worked with three of the women; Ky Furneaux (tough as nails), Anastasia Ashley (great and creative girl), and Manu Toigo (can probably kick your ass). Also one of the guys trolled me on instagram and challenged me to a jiujitsu match to decide who the best survival expert is. I like the women better.

the_village_bicycle39 karma

Do you find the show somewhat accurate?

survivalofthesickest67 karma

I would say somewhat.

rocketparrotlet65 karma

Do you have any tips on dealing with feet/hands getting too cold? I find myself losing feeling in my extremities anytime I ice climb or even ski now.

survivalofthesickest112 karma

Get hand warmers. They are a game changer. I use them inside jackets and sleeping bags all the time too.

Also if you have yet to try smart wool socks, the heaviest weight and highest percentage wool. expensive but will last for years and years. They also insulate very well when wet, as sweat may be the issue there.

mountainman198960 karma

What would be in your terms, the easiest region/area to survive in? I live in eastern ky, spent many nights camping and many days hunting. I would assume a region such as mine would be very productive for survival. Abundance of easily made shelters with rock out cropping, caves, dense forests, and plenty of food sources with a relatively mild climate.

Also the hardest?

survivalofthesickest123 karma

Really if California was in the original shape we found it in, like say Alaska, it would be easiest. A Mediterranean climate that also has extensive aquifers filled by nearby mountains, with plenty of coast to fish and game to hunt is awesome. Really any place remote and wild is good. It still has life. Hardest... I'll say anywhere arctic.

dubyawinfrey51 karma

Do you have any knowledge of the Military's SERE school? How do you feel about it?

survivalofthesickest80 karma

I taught a 10 day course at the USMC Mountain Warfare Training Center and have worked with SERE instructors from more than one branch. It's excellent training, wish I could get in on a course. We have retired instructors running a civilian version at our school. Thanks for the question!

Navyjoe2243 karma

Which celebrities have you trained? Been on television? Written any Survival Books? Ima big fan of Baer Grills and Less Stroud. Do you agree or disagree with their skills/training?

survivalofthesickest99 karma

Rob Riggle, Stephanie Beatriz, Mike Rowe, and The Golden God off the top of my head. I love Bear and he's very talented- but his stuff is all staged with a lot of help with outside experts. Les isn't too bad but I don't know about his bigfoot stuff lol. I've been on tv a lot, CNN with Mike Rowe's old show Somebody's Gotta Do It, CBS News, ABC News, KTLA, a bunch of news stuff mostly. A lot of publications as well, and some YouTube stuff like with the Try Guys. Book coming early 2018, DVD on wild plants available on Amazon "Off The Land"

I_Am_The_Poop_Mqn59 karma

By Golden God, do you mean Dennis Reynolds? Or...

survivalofthesickest91 karma

You know exactly who I mean. Is this not reddit?

I_Am_The_Poop_Mqn30 karma

Oh shit! How was it?

Are you his source for the dangers (implications) of sea travel?

survivalofthesickest64 karma

Hardcore dude. Highly motivated and intelligent. Very skilled. Insists on personal success. Great conversation.

No sorry lol!

talldata42 karma

How do you ensure that water isnt contaminated (wont give you bad case of the runs), since chlorine and iodine tablets aren't enough usually?

survivalofthesickest57 karma

According to the CDC guidelines for backpackers pre treatment with chem tabs then >2 micron absolute filtration and you're good to go. This is why I love the sawyer squeeze and life straw gravity filters (they have pre treatment reservoirs). https://www.cdc.gov/healthywater/drinking/travel/backcountry_water_treatment.html

Officerbad39 karma

Greetings from Down Under Sir,

Have you had any strange / freaky experiences you can talk about in any searches or your time in the field?

Thankyou in advance.

survivalofthesickest81 karma

One night two people woke up on a desert field exercise screaming from nightmares at the same time, on opposite sides of camp. Freaked everyone out.

Three5nMthaFka38 karma

I was a firefighter (Hotshot/Helitack), Wilderness Ranger, Guide, EMT, Hunter/Angler, amateur mountaineer, Backcountry skier, all around woodsman. I've also done some stupid stuff in the backcountry to get myself into survival situations once or twice. I think I could teach this stuff, how would a guy like me get into that?

Also, I respectfully disagree with some of your bear encounter advise.

survivalofthesickest36 karma

Feel free to correct me. This is the standard briefing used by National Parks as well, would love other where we're going wrong. Also, what is a "wilderness ranger"? One of my instructors is a former Yosemite Parks Ranger.

Three5nMthaFka34 karma

Wilderness ranger in the Mission mountains wilderness, Flathead National Forest, Northwest MT just Southwest of Glacier National Park, Grizzly Country. I believe it is recommended to not make eye contact while backing away and speaking to the bear in a low, non threatening voice. Do not turn and run as it could trigger a chase instinct. A Grizzly will attack if it feels threatened. Making loud noise and waiving sticks/throwing rocks might be better used with black bears without cubs present and mountain lions. If the bear charges, spray it in the face with bear spray. If it is on you then curl into a ball protecting your neck. I have encountered Grizzly bears in the backcountry on many occasions and black bears even more. Usually they see me and run away. I have been mock charged by a sow Griz with cubs came very close to discharging bear spray but I was too busy shitting my pants.

I'm still interested in how you got into instructing.

survivalofthesickest54 karma

Thanks. Don't really see how this contradicts what we said. Of course there are a lot of variables, it you have a big gun shoot it etc.

Really you can just go for it. There is no certifying body and most "survival instructors" don't have half of your credentials. Some don't even have as much as a wilderness first aid card. Most schools do not have courses where you live off of the land with little gear (field courses), and consist largely of reciting safety facts and demonstrating gear.

We have a successful instructor program with franchise/licensing opportunities.

Just know to build real experience and be a qualified instructor the ranger experience and such will help, but it is a different skill set. Survival is about being able to improvise your needs from the landscape around you, in ANY weather (i've run field courses with 70mph winds, sub 20F temps, snow, hail, and rain), whether your hungry, dehydrated, tired, injured, or not.

Start slow by heading to your favorite campsite with natural resources available. Have gear in your car but try to spent the night with just a few items (the goal is water bottle, knife, and a piece of string) Increase time spent, and distance from your vehicle/buildings from there. If you are not comfortable entering wilderness areas with little to no gear, you shouldn't try to teach others how to. You must know what it's like to be dehydrated, starving, and exhausted and still have to gather firewood, build a shelter, make a friction fire, etc.

Also, get the wilderness upgrade to your EMT, then get the instructor upgrade. Then at least you're nationally certified to teach a part of wilderness survival. Survival is not complete without wilderness medicine, and wilderness medicine is not compete without survival.

From there get your SARTECH III (someone like you can challenge the course online easily). I also recommend swift water rescue ops or above. I also like having ropes rescue. This make you comfortable teaching about and responding to the most common injuries in the outdoors.

Of course you can be, and most are, successful with the first approach, but more and more our influence is changing that. We'll have an online program soon.

Three5nMthaFka17 karma

I think the main thing with bears is to be non aggressive.

Thanks for the info. More people should have this kind of basic knowledge. You never know when you'll need it. Stay safe!

survivalofthesickest13 karma

Thanks for the questions! And your service!

Unexpected_Fart13 karma

Til string is.one of the minimal survival tools

survivalofthesickest13 karma

Or you can use your boot lace, but traditionally it's allowed.

GoingBackToKPax37 karma

What is the worst situation you have been stuck in where your survival skills saved the day?

survivalofthesickest43 karma

Gosh I can't really say I was stuck but this hurt really bad: https://www.mensfitness.com/life/outdoor/miles-to-nowhere-hiking-death-valley

wheeldonkey18 karma

Oh wow. I've never been to death valley and even lived in California for about a year... I always wanted to go on a brutal march there.

survivalofthesickest27 karma

Train and acclimate first. It can easily kill in the time of year I went. https://www.mmamania.com/2008/09/08/evan-tanner-dies-in-the-desert-seriously

Wearin_Backpacks9 karma

Honestly, Death Valley is a must see

survivalofthesickest14 karma

Agreed, it is beautiful. Darwin Falls runs year long and fresh celery and watercress grows along the banks. Most people don't know there's a beautiful oasis there.

rgurjar35 karma

As a structural FF, what drove you to the insanity it takes to be a smoke jumper?

survivalofthesickest56 karma

Ha thanks. Helitack Rappeller actually, I slid down a rope. Grew up in abject poverty. For me it was just such an honor to have that title, to be able to make such a difference, and I've been into extreme physical challenges since I saw Jack La Lane on tv when I was 12. The opportunity presented itself, so I lept on it.

MrSatan233 karma

Quite an impressive biography. How can you make a simple fire with stuff you find in the woods ? I know its difficult but what would be the best way?

survivalofthesickest48 karma

Thanks! Bow and drill friction fire method. That's really the only viable way that's useful anywhere. https://www.instagram.com/p/Bb-OZvbjE9S/?taken-by=survival_expert

ShadowHandler30 karma

Growing up in Idaho I used to take flint and steel with me everywhere in the backcountry. It worked well for most situations outside of when it was wet and I didn't have anything dry on me... but best of all the thing seemed to last forever.

What's your preferred/recommended fire starting tool/method?

survivalofthesickest36 karma

There's plenty of great ways to start a camp fire, but for emergencies I only recommend:

UCO Stormproof matches combined with either esbit/fast fire/or webber fuel cubes.

RoosterSamurai29 karma

Are you qualified for survival in all climates? Arctic, jungle, desert, etc? What would be (or is in) your home bug out bag?

survivalofthesickest60 karma

I do not feel qualified to lead a jungle or arctic course at this time but i have staff that can and I'm working on it. I do feel comfortable operating in those environments however.

I have a whole survival school's worth of gear to choose from lol.

gimmick24329 karma

Thanks for doing this, I have two questions:

  1. What do you take with you every day (not necessarily for outdoor survival)

  2. What is one thing you think everyone should keep with them for survival/safety reasons?

survivalofthesickest58 karma

Thank you for participating! I'm not a big EDC guy, it depends on the circumstances. For instance; if I am traveling someplace that could be dangerous and weapons can't be acquired, I always wear this leather belt I have with a heavy metal buckle for use as a self defense tool.

Always have a way to make fire (UCO matches and esbit/fast fire/webber fuel cubes). Fire will signal your rescuer, boil your water, warm your shelter, and give you psychological comfort.

VVastedSpace27 karma

Have you ever worked with the USAF’s SERE? If you have, what is your impression with their overall skill?

survivalofthesickest30 karma

That's the only one I haven't yet. I have worked with 2 or 3 of their EOD teams though, which are outstanding.

happymouse7726 karma

What is your opinion of preppers and those that think a SHTF scenario will happen in America in our lifetime?

survivalofthesickest84 karma

It gets more and more likely everyday sadly. Really, it's not only harmless, but a fun and interesting hobby. A nuclear war may not occur anytime soon, but hurricanes, floods, fires, chemical spills, earthquakes, and civil disturbances do. I think the trend is growing as more and more people do not trust their government to come and save them in an emergency.

wheeldonkey17 karma

I suspect that in a natural disaster scenario a lot of the necessary survival skills would be different... I think escaping the initial danger would be a huge factor. Maybe how to evacuate under tough situations... generally lots of these types of things can be planned for ahead of time to really help increase the odds of success... in a prolonged situation, avoiding hypothermia and cholera... what I really worry about is how other people will react. The monster kinda comes out when people lose everything, are hungry, and no longer feel safe.

Makes me wonder about your plan for when the zombers attack.

survivalofthesickest21 karma

Here's a video I made with the World War Z crew on the matter. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e0YOUT-baGA

Don't expect to be able to evacuate a large city in a disaster unless you're a ninja.

If you're prepped for long term (prepper) then you're prepped for short term. Also prepares tend to maintain a portable kit and defensive measures.

yankeeinexile1 karma

survivalofthesickest10 karma

Ha ha I forgot I met that guy. Those were obviously not his guns and it seems like he has little to zero experience with firearms in this vid. Also, this is just general dipshittery, not a prepping injury lmao!

DeviantShark11 karma

I've heared that they are not comparable, but noone could explain why exactly, so can you explain why swiss army knives and leathermans are so different, while both are considered multitools?

survivalofthesickest17 karma

Leatherman implies pliers while swiss knives don't. Usually multi-tool is reserved for models with pliers.

Tomly11 karma

Hello, thanks a lot for doing this! I've always loved to go on long hikes and do outdoor activities, but never really looked into learning any sort of survival skills. Living in the UK, do you know if there are any courses that are similar to what you have to offer? I am sceptical of the few that I have found and not sure if they will actually teach anything that can be applied in real life scenarios or they are just there to make money.

survivalofthesickest17 karma

I would recommend ray mears. I think his schoo is called Woodlore. He is a legend. Thanks for participating!

Salmonelongo8 karma

Hi! How do you survive your wife asking if that dress makes her look fat?

survivalofthesickest29 karma

Krav Maga and a large retainer.

alisdair4088 karma

What is the best route to start a career in search and rescue? I'm currently a pre nursing student and would love to get into that field as well. Thanks for sharing!

survivalofthesickest12 karma

Most SAR teams are volunteer and through your local sheriff's departments. You simply attend meetings and fill out the ap. It's tons of great free training and rewarding. Also, join NASAR (National Assoc for Search & Rescue). Something similar that would be paid though is a flight nurse.

alisdair4081 karma

Thanks so much! I'm very interested in flight nursing and hope I can land a job in that department. If you have any knowledge on the best way to get into and any extra certs I may need it would be greatly appreciated. I checked out your website and I'm interested in doing your wilderness first aid class in April. I hope to see you there! Thanks for responding it means a lot.

survivalofthesickest2 karma

Glad I could be of assistance and thanks for participating in the AMA. Don't forget all courses are currently 25% off for our holiday sale. Take care.

S-271 Helicopter Crewmember may be available at junior colleges near you for cheap and is only like a week long usually.

memateur8 karma

What's your most useful tip that the general public should know?

survivalofthesickest12 karma

Always have a small kit on you whenever heading to the outdoors. Have the minimal you need to spend the night. If you're not in an extreme environment (frozen or desert) that can be kept to 1lbs or less. The #1 killer is exposure so prep for it. Always signal as soon as your exposure needs are met.

Fire: UCO stormproof matches & Wet Fire/Fast Fire/Webber Grill Lighter Cubes (all the sam material which burns at over 1000F for several minutes, the last two brands over ten min) Water: Aqua Tabs and/or a Sawyer Squeeze Shelter: Heat Sheet and nylon twine There's more but it can depend on your climate, activity, and circumstances.

onogur2 karma

What Survival TV shows are the most informative?

survivalofthesickest3 karma

Anything with Ray Mears, followed by Survivor man.

outdoorprince1 karma

Do you ever go into the wild and Bushcraft for a few weeks just to get away?

survivalofthesickest4 karma


After woking in extreme outdoor jobs for the past 15 years more and more my get aways are some place climate controlled lmao!

LeoLaDawg1 karma

When does your show on Discovery start?

survivalofthesickest6 karma

I wouldn't work with that network.

LeoLaDawg3 karma

Oh, I was just randomly asking to make the point they went survival crazy. Didn't realize there was a bad relationship. Apologies.

I hope you survived.

survivalofthesickest5 karma

Ha no worries! Thanks for the question. I think I just take myself more seriously than they do.

weneedmoreferns1 karma

Have you seen the Alone series out of Canada? If you have what did you think of it? I found it to be really interesting TV and fairly real. The survival aspect isn't that strong because ultimately at the end stages everyone left is barely surviving. Plenty of participants tap out due to mental fatigue and others to essentially starvation

survivalofthesickest2 karma

Seems pretty neat but I'm skeptical of any show being 100% "real" with no acting/actors or contrived situation. I can enjoy these shows without thinking they're real.

OiM8Forkyew1 karma

Do you only wear cargo pants?

survivalofthesickest5 karma

I wear high stretch skinny jeans and keep it on the dl. Proof: https://www.instagram.com/p/BQKHS9gD8bN/?taken-by=survival_expert

jmskiller1 karma

In your opinion, does the Rule of 3 still stand as a good guide of priorities in a survival situation?

survivalofthesickest2 karma

Your priorities are always:

  1. stabilize serious injury
  2. Obtain exposure needs 3.signal

However all of the things in the rule of 3's depend on circumstances. If you start behind the hydration curve and are highly active in hight heat you can die in a day from dehydration, but if you're sedentary in a cool environment and pre hydrated 5 or more. That's just one example.

Electrovaper1 karma

What would be the best style of sleeping hut for someone wanting to live in the bush for a couple of week be?

survivalofthesickest2 karma

Lean to with slight raised bed and large stone reflector wall. Thanks for the question!

marinasyellow0 karma

Bear grill or les stroud. Who is the real tv survival expert?

survivalofthesickest2 karma


[deleted]-1 karma


survivalofthesickest3 karma

Hello, the website now says we are doing an AMA. https://www.californiasurvivaltraining.com/about-us