To the mods: this link now contains a pic of me holding an AMA sign with my reddit username. I hope this is sufficient. Proof https://www.californiasurvivaltraining.com/awards

Instagram: @ survival_expert

There is a lot going on in the world right now, especially in the survival and preparedness communities. I've been teaching survival and preparedness professionals for over 10 years, and was a firefighter before that. Ask me anything you want to know. I'm easy.

About me: *6 Years of Fire/Rescue Experience   *Former Firefighting Helicopter Crew Member (HELITACK)  *EMT *Helicopter Rescue  *Helicopter Rappeller   *Search & Rescue Technician   *Fire Crew Squad Leader   *Confined Space Rescue   *Technical Ropes Rescue   *Swift Water Rescue Technician   *HAZMAT Operations   *Dunker trained (emergency aircraft underwater egress)   *Member of the helicopter rescue team for the first civilian space shuttle launches (X Prize Launches, 2003)   *Trained in the ICS & NIMS Disaster Management Systems   *Has provided training to; US Marine Corps Mountain Warfare Center Instructors, US Navy Helicopter Search & Rescue & Special Warfare, US Air Force Special Operations, The US Dept. of Defense, The California Department of Justice, and many more

Comments: 219 • Responses: 69  • Date: 

groggboy93 karma

If the world falls apart right now can I join your rag tag gang of survivors? I bring nothing but a good heart to th table.

survivalofthesickest148 karma

If? lol Sure. Hearts are good eating ;)

worldsfastest43 karma

Looking back on your rescue missions -is there a common mistake the people/victim made that could have been avoided? What is your general advise for maintaining moral during a lockdown/quarantine?

survivalofthesickest103 karma

Thanks for the question. Preparedness and complacency are two common overlying issues. They have no training and no gear, but want hike in rugged terrain on 90 degree+ days, to try to climb a cliffside, or try to swim across a mountain river after a few beers.

Quarantine advice. It is hard to be alone with yourself if you are not happy with yourself. My biggest tip is to fill your time with something that is "self improvement" related. The small successes you get during the day will help boost your morale and make you happier with yourself. I have a book that teaches you to draw, where you do a new basic exercise everyday for a month. I'm also big on the Pimsluer language app, it offers 30 days to conversational proficiency and it seems to be working. Of course, EXERCISE, EXERCISE, EXERCISE.

sidekickbananaduck32 karma

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survivalofthesickest30 karma

What's funny is that scene is all too common in popular desert hiking areas. My favorite are the shirtless guys and the girls in spaghetti strap shirts, hiking back to the parking lot looking like lobsters. And thanks! It is!

sidekickbananaduck21 karma

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survivalofthesickest8 karma

Dang! A symphony of pain lol. And I hope you do!

BlackSuN425 karma

for me it's on canoe trips.

The people with all their gear in one garbage bag and not secured. Some friends and I rescued two guys who had dumped in some rapids. Their gear was all in one massive garbage bag that started floating down the river away from their canoe. They had no way to get their canoe to shore to empty it out and the garbage bag had obviously gotten holes in it and was half sunk. Two boats went to rescue them, one boat got the guys and the overturned canoe, and my boat went and collected all their stuff.

I don't know what they would have done had we not been there.

pro tip: you CAN waterproof on the cheap with garbage bags really well so long as the garbage bag is inside a different kind of bag to protect it. Sleeping bag stuff sacks work really well for this, just don't use twist ties to close the bags.

survivalofthesickest3 karma

Rookies!

Yay_Rabies12 karma

The first time my husband and I hiked Lost Dutchman we really wanted to go up but it was our first time in the desert and remember looking at him and saying “the guys in the helicopter will make fun of us when they have to pick our asses up”. We went back a year later on our honeymoon and hiked to the top successfully but we were more prepared (I trained more, more water etc).

survivalofthesickest3 karma

Great instant. It's just a recreational hike, know when to turn around. Hope your marriage is going awesome!

AgonyInTheIrony5 karma

I had a pretty awful experience in Arizona on a hiking trip. It wasn’t that bad of a hike but several people didn’t bring enough water or food. Luckily I saw the hiking crew, knowing half of them made poor executive decisions, and hiked in with a gallon and a half of water, tons of dry Gatorade powder, and snacks. We still ended up having to fireman carry a girl out of the trail because she didn’t listen to us and refused to turn back when she became winded walking up to the trail entrance. This was particularly worrisome of an outcome given that the majority of the hikers were military and had sat through countless safety lectures about local hiking. I do not envy your job of having to repeat these basics ad nauseum to people that think they will be fine.

survivalofthesickest8 karma

Every hike I went on with friends from when I was ages 15-25 involved me bringing extra water for everyone. People love going hiking in California mountains on 90+ days with an 8oz bottle of spring water lol.

33333_others3 karma

Even with only a few bears I wouldn't never try to swin a mountains river, single bears are scary now a tiny pack of bears are an unstoppably killing machi... oh, beers? NVM

survivalofthesickest3 karma

People fear drop bears, but swim bears are known to be 3x's as deadly.

TheRobbuddha27 karma

What is one less obvious piece of gear that is absolutely essential to have with you in an emergency?

survivalofthesickest94 karma

Stormproof matches and a "fuel cube"/accelerant. A proper set, like those made by UCO, will burn underwater or in the mud. They can't be put out once lit. When you need fire the most: in the cold, the wet, and the dark, it is at its hardest to make. All the natural tinder can be wet and useless within an hour of rain. Having an accelerant- a highly flammable, hot burning substance, is critical in these time. The fuel cubes made by popular bbq grill makers such as webber and duraflame are excellent. They burn at over 1,000F for over ten minutes with a high flame length. Fire is the most difficult survival skill to perfect, and perhaps the most essential. Having this combination can make it simple for the casual hiker.

Edit: spelling

TheRobbuddha14 karma

Awesome, I’m gonna add some of those fuel cubes to my camping kit. Thanks for the reply!

survivalofthesickest10 karma

Anytime!

BlackSuN423 karma

Ok fair warning I am an internet expert.

I take issue with waterproof matches. I hate them. I always carry two bic lighters. They work far better than matches and are basically waterproof. When I was a canoe guide I would keep one in my life jacket. If I needed a fire I would just blow out the top to clear it and away I went.

edit I can't spell

survivalofthesickest5 karma

Bic lighters are nowhere near as good as a storm match. The primary reason is they are not waterproof, and it takes only a small mechanical failure or break to cause them to fail. A proper storm match, not the cheap coghlans ones, should always be in your emergency fire kit. I worked in the coastal rain forests for a year in California, Oregon, I'm very familiar with wet conditions.

BlackSuN422 karma

I suppose. I have always had a few bic lights and even after swimming through a river I have never had them fail. They don't like being cold though so sometimes they sit in my armpit for a second or 2. But I never carry one, I always have a few, just in case the flint has issues.

The little metal shield at the top can hold water in it from time to time but I just blow it out.

Maybe I should find some "real matches" perhaps I will see the...light!

survivalofthesickest4 karma

As long as you're the only one that dies from your advice then no harm no foul!

phaedrus773 karma

Stormproof and waterproof are 2 different things. Sure, a bic lighter can be submerged underwater then still function. But you won't be able to light it in the middle of a storm because of the wind. A bic lighter is easy to blow out, a stormproof match is not.

survivalofthesickest4 karma

Exactly. And water smokes bic lighters as well. If it is an actual bic though, you can remove the metal cover and spin the wheel vigorously to remove the wet flint/ferocerrium. Once it sparks again you're good to go. The gas is protected by a one way valve.

Gernia2 karma

Are magnesium rods acceptable? Have had one and a piece of steel hanging around my neck for ages. Never know when you need to start a fire.

survivalofthesickest7 karma

NO. NEVER. This is a thing survival LARPERS love. They want to look cool, like "hey, I can make a fire without a match", but they are an extremely poor option. They are waterproof and basically indestructible, but you need a flame, not sparks in an emergency. When you are hypothermic, shivering and numb hands are a real issue. Trying to angle these just right, use two hands, and prep the fuel beforehand counts them out as an emergency system. They only light fuels that are bone dry and have been well prepped also. You have to grind up your fuel into bits and shreds to catch a spark, and they suck on anything with moisture. They also require a learning curve that matches do not. Not to mention the time consuming nature of the process.

With emergency gear, you want no unnecessary steps, and you want ease of use. It is easy to panic in an emergency, and every extra step is room for error. If you're cold, wet, alone, and need fire to live, ferro rods are not the answer. With storm matches, just strike a match and place it on your fuel cube, in the wrapper or not, and you're good to go.

Side note, these have nothing to do with "flint and steel". They were invited in the 1950's from the rare earth mineral cerium. They are great campfire starters, but that is all. For an emergency kit; "UCO" or "EXOTAC" matches only.

Retireegeorge23 karma

If as a result of a sinking boat you found yourself in cold ocean water what would you do to maximise your survival time?

survivalofthesickest10 karma

Tread water and try to focus on staying alive. Focus your breath. There's nothing much you can do here but try to use your will. There's been stories of people treading water over 12 hours in the ocean after going overboard. Just don't give up.

Ziggyda1st6 karma

I’m from Florida so I’m often in the ocean. Ive heard stories of people floating on their back rather than treading water when lost at sea to conserve energy. Would you agree with this strategy? Why or why not?

survivalofthesickest7 karma

Not everyone will float, body fat plays a role. I sink like a rock.

ginkat1233 karma

I float quite well.

survivalofthesickest3 karma

lol!

Yay_Rabies13 karma

I was listening to a podcast on people who go missing in National Parks and the author/survival expert they were interviewing suggested that people who have a firearm and a PLB don’t go missing because they or their bodies are found. How true is this?
I have a PLB and own a handgun (conceal carry, comfortable with it, go to a gun club) but I find it harder to take the gun with me. Sometimes it’s comfort with the area or because of state laws.
What are good alternatives? I like to take little hikes by myself but I don’t want to lose wild spaces due to lack of safety.

survivalofthesickest7 karma

Great thing about federal lands is it is legal to carry a firearm in a "nonthreatening" manner. Many of these national parks, Yosemite is famous for disappearances and meets this description, has areas of remote, and very steep mountain trails, where on trip can send you tumbling hundreds, if not thousands of feet down a mountain side. A body crumpled up in the brush, 1500' below a remote trail, on terrain impossible to stand on, is really hard to find. I would chalk a lot of disappearance up to this. Bodies have actually been found like this after a fire runs through the area and exposes the skeletal remains.

PLB's are amazing. If you are hitting any trail alone I highly recommend them. I like the ACR brand myself.

I always carry camping now. Too many weirdos in the bush. If there is someone like the actual Yosemite killer around, they will likely not mess with the guy that has a .45 in his chest rig.

Edit: I also guide courses in Alaska, it is standard for wilderness guides to carry a .44 mangum with 300gr loads or higher. Never needed it but it makes me feel really comfortable. Animal attacks are beyond rare, but they do occur.

BarnabyWoods3 karma

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BlackSuN423 karma

Ok as for the maps thing I can't emphasize how bad an idea a paper map is for a backup. You can always go from paper to a GPS app but you can almost never go the other way. I'll try to explain, apologies for the rant.

For any meaningful navigation where a map is needed you have to track your location constantly on the map. Now, most trips people go on in my area (Canadian Rockies) people know where they are without a map, you are either on a river...so follow it, or you are in a valley, the car is downhill. The situation where you get lost is when you lose your landmarks, heavy fog, snowstorm, loss of daylight. If you have been navigating with a GPS and your GPS dies/runs out of batteries, you either A) know where you are anyway so the backup was not needed or B) have not been tracking your location and without major landmarks to take bearings off of you will have very little chance of picking up your location.

Also, manual cartography is not a particularly useful skill anymore in an age where everyone carries a GPS with them everywhere you go. For the record, I AM a cartographer and all I do all day is make maps.

So, bring a back up for sure, have one person on your trip have the designated backup cell phone or handheld GPS, keep it off and safe. Start with the paper map if you want to use one, but don't for a moment think its a backup.

This is not to say paper maps don't have a use. It FAR simpler to gather around a paper map to plan the day, also you can make a hat out of them.

survivalofthesickest2 karma

I just finished posting about this before reading your comment. You are very right. I tell my students that if you need a GPS to navigate, then you need a backup map and compass as well. Electronics fail with warning sometimes. You don't want to be hopelessly los in the backcountry because you slipped and broke you iPhone.

BarnabyWoods2 karma

For any meaningful navigation where a map is needed you have to track your location constantly on the map.

This just isn't true. In the decades before GPS became common, I used topo maps, and I would check them occasionally as I hiked, matching them up with the terrain to confirm my location. It wasn't some sort of constant burden. I haven't had a GPS device fail on me yet, but it's always a possibility with any electronic device. If it fails, I'll definitely be glad to have the paper map as a backup. It weighs almost nothing. I usually hike solo, so the idea of having someone else carry a backup cell phone isn't an option.

And the notion that map reading skills aren't relevant any more is wrong. Even when you're using a GPS, making sense of contour lines is still important.

survivalofthesickest3 karma

I disagree. It sounds like you were hiking on well marked wide open trails then. When off trial, in complex terrain, or in an area with many intersecting trails, you must keep orienting your map to your position. In steep terrain and thick brush, triangulating and back tracking sucks. It is easier to just keep the map folded to your zone and mark it reguarly. It is far to easy you just put your head down and go, and under or over estimate distance traveled, and mis a turn or nav route. This is why pace counting is taught in land nav. You actually bout your paces, sometimes for many miles.

I would love to know what survival school you taught at.

Edit: spelling/grammar

BlackSuN421 karma

I should have clarified, you still need to be able to read the GPS map, but I stand by navigating using paper maps is an unnecessary skill. Super fun though, and I still do it for that reason.

For me, backup needs to work every time or it's not a real backup. The situations where I really need to know where I am I would not be able to switch.

The labour involved in tracking your location is related to the difficulty in navigation. I crossed a glacier in a whiteout, keeping your position by dead reckoning and a bearing was very difficult.

Everyone uses the tools they know how to use. But I often see an emphasis from the old guard on using paper maps, and I would continue to argue, bring a second GPS and develop other skills first. If you want to do it for fun the go-ahead, I do.

survivalofthesickest3 karma

I tell my students that if you need a GPS to navigate, then you need a backup map and compass as well. Electronics fail with warning sometimes. You don't want to be hopelessly lost in the backcountry because you slipped and broke you iPhone. Not feeling the logic here, but to each their own. Your safety is in your won hands.

If you're not able to switch from seeing your location on a gps to finding it on a map, this is just a training issue. You can learn thread a top in less time than it takes to familiarize yourself with most modern GPS nav devices.

Yay_Rabies2 karma

It wasn't something I thought about either. The only wildlife I really worry about currently is White Sharks but obviously only when I'm kayaking and the best way to deal with them is by avoiding active seal colonies and other places where they like to hang out (I also use the AWSC tracking app) The podcast got me thinking about it but didn't look at it from the angle or protecting yourself from wildlife but protecting yourself from other people. I hate to be that woman but I'm a woman hiking alone. I probably look like an easy target even though I take a lot of precautions not to. A lot of my local places are safe but at least one lake I like to fish at will have drug deals in the parking lot and police don't always hang out there.
In some ways it really isn't feasible. Like if I wanted to hike the Appalachian trail I would have to pass through a bunch of states that don't recognize my license.

Thanks for the app recommendation! I always try to pick up a paper map (thank you GSUS) but was a little nervous in RMNP when we had 0 phone service though google maps still seemed to be able to show us where we were.

survivalofthesickest7 karma

On any federal lands you can carry a firearm. In some states your tent is recognized as a "domicile" and it's legal to have a firearm inside. Most states will allow some form of carry on wildlands, and many of the states the Appalachian goes through are very very gun friendly.

In remote areas your safety is your own responsibility. Help can be hours or days away. This is why I encourage survival and medical training. Do authorities carry firearms in wild lands? Park Rangers certainly do. If they find it necessary you may want to think about it as well.

Awesome to hear you carry a paper map. I tell my students that if you need a GPS to navigate, then you need a backup map and compass as well. Electronics fail with warning sometimes. You don't want to be hopelessly los in the backcountry because you slipped and broke you iPhone.

And your post makes me miss my sit on top and living near Pismo!

CH1CK3NW1N9512 karma

Oh boy do I have all kinds of questions, but I'll start with a basic one. What sort of hands on experience would you recomend to someone who wants to move beyond books and occasional day trips in the woods, and get some stronger experience? I know the best way to learn this kind of thing is to go and do it, so how would you recomend someone go and do it?

survivalofthesickest28 karma

Of course, I suggest taking a class on wilderness survival and first aid. A wilderness first aid course is invaluable training for hiking or any activity in remote areas. A proper WFA will be two days long and teach you a lot of injuries and exposure, and how to prepare. I'm not one of those guys who says never hike alone, people do so safely all the time. Just get a little professional training before you do so. Taking a class in person will also help you absorb more from videos in the future.

Survival and bushcraft skills can be practiced very safely. There are plenty of easily accessible natural areas, even with phone reception. Hit a good area that you like and train in the skillset you're after. The better you get, the farther you can venture into more remote areas safely. Enjoy your time in the woods!

HikeTheSky11 karma

Have you thought of volunteering with Team Rubicon?

survivalofthesickest19 karma

Yes! I actually just signed on last week. Hell of an organization. I recommend them to anyone.

HikeTheSky7 karma

Welcome greyshirt.

survivalofthesickest7 karma

Thanks!

UwUOwOGD7 karma

How hard would you say the training is? I'm pretty sure it varies from who you're training, but how intense can it be? How many people have quit because of the intense training? And also thanks for keeping the SoCal community safe in the times of fires!

survivalofthesickest13 karma

Thanks for the question. I have everything from mild to wild, depending on the course and the target audience. Some is for all ages, but still hands on. Some field training will wash out a lot of people however. I've lost 75% of students on a desert field training exercise before. "Fatigue makes coward of us all"

Edit: Here is a link to my training courses. I run over 15 on a regular basis: https://www.californiasurvivaltraining.com/our-courses

thebluedoglion5 karma

Hi! Super interesting ama. How did you get to this point in your life? What led up to the start of this journey? How was life before you done all of this?

survivalofthesickest22 karma

It would be hard for me to connect the dots that got me here. I've always wanted to work for myself, and I've always loved working with nature. After taking a spinal injury on the "Indians Complex" fire, and going home to an empty apartment on leave, receiving less than sub standard government medical care, I kind of snapped a little and said fuck it. I'm doing my own thing.

Smyley123455 karma

What is the most common mistake that gets people lost in the wilderness killed?

survivalofthesickest20 karma

Not brining any type of emergency gear at all, then never forming a signal once they are lost. Whenever you hit the trail, always have a basic overnight kit. In good weather and temperate areas, this can often be fit into a pocket. The number 1 killer of lost hikers is exposure. Always have what you need to spend the night without the conditions overwhelming you.

NukulerNicky3 karma

What type of person do you find has the most trouble living out in the wild?

survivalofthesickest12 karma

People who have a demonstrable sense of entitlement. Nothing comes easy in field training. Even foraging wild foods can be exhausting. Some people just quit trying right away. As soon as something gets hard or awkward, they are afraid to look bad and just stop. They often count on the go getters in their group to do the hardest work for them.

remainhappy3 karma

I like fish, is it safe to eat most fishes raw?

survivalofthesickest10 karma

It really depends. Some will say not to eat any freshwater fish raw. I've eaten plenty of fresh caught salmon in Alaska, and it is delicious. Whenever you consume fish raw however you do run the risk of parasites. In a survival situation, it is better not to risk it if you don't have to.

remainhappy5 karma

Thank you, this makes sense. I sail in Gulf of Mexico a bit and the fish from that body of water are delicious either way. Many a time I simply splash some vinegar on them and let them sun cook a bit. Keep doing what you enjoy.

liarandahorsethief3 karma

As I understand it, ocean dwelling fish have a drastically lower chance of having parasites than freshwater fish.

survivalofthesickest2 karma

exactly.

WhiffPSN3 karma

Have you ever used anything you were taught before?

survivalofthesickest8 karma

All the time. I've helped hikers with hyperthermia, gotten "unlost" using the escape azimuth technique several times, and had to drink stream water when I got really lost in the mountains at 15. I can be a bit of a risk taker so to speak.

SnarfRepublicCA3 karma

Looks like you are a very intense person based on your description. Congrats on all your success! I admire self made people. What kind of advice would you give the average people in society regarding preparedness? Meaning, those that are not extreme but are capable. Those that may not have the time to train, but may go for a run once or a few times a week. What are the best things we can do to prepare ourselves for the unknown emergency (fires, quarantine, flood, anything we wouldn’t anticipate ahead of time)?

survivalofthesickest10 karma

Thanks so much for the kind words. Think of what the grid provides you that you can't live without: clean water, climate control, hygiene, and food especially. Try to have enough gear/supplies to take care of these needs for a short time. A generator or water filter require no real specialized skills to use, anyone can do it. There are "micro" versions of everything. You can store water in 5 gallon jugs for very little cost. There are everything from roll up bags for showering to handiwipes for your hygiene. Small catalytic heaters run on camping propane bottles and will heat a small room in your house very well. I have a great gear tips page here: https://www.californiasurvivaltraining.com/gear

As you get what you need, arrange it into portable kits that are easy to deploy. Also, take a wilderness first aid or first responder course. These courses teach you what to do when help is hours or days away, and is useful in natural disasters as well. Over 2-5 days you will learn to perform a head to toe trauma exam, take a set of vitals, splint a broken limb, recognize a medical emergency, and much more.

xxslaying2 karma

Would you compare yourself as better or worse at survival in general than bear grylls?

survivalofthesickest3 karma

Bear Grylls is an actor. He needs teams of guys like me off camera to make things work.

StoreBoughtButter2 karma

What do you recommend the average person have on hand and know how to do in cases like this? Thank you for your AMA!

survivalofthesickest5 karma

Learn to put together and use something like this: https://www.californiasurvivaltraining.com/new-page

I train people to put them together on my urban disaster courses. Anyone can learn to put together a basic solar generator at home.

Have a basic kit that will supply clean water, emergency medical care, contain food that requires little to no preparation, provide some form of climate control (even a sleeping bag) and hygiene maintenance supplies.

I always recommend a wilderness first aid course or higher. They teach you to care for someone for extended periods of time, in austere conditions, and to improvise when traditional gear is not available.

It only takes a little training and research, that just about anyone can perform. The topic can seem overwhelming, but it is al really quite simple.

Barnowl794 karma

I have a pretty important question. Your survival kits cost $1700-3200 dollars. I assume the generator is what is making up most of that cost? Either way, at that price, it seems like only the wealthy will survive a serious event. Even when put in terms of my family's survival, $1700 is vastly out of my price range. We are already trying to survive on much less. Do you have any thoughts on that?

survivalofthesickest4 karma

It is the generator and labor that makes it so pricey. They are actually very well priced considering the capabilities of the generator.

I teach how to build these yourself for much less on my urban disaster courses. You can build one solo for $200-$1500 depending on what you want. For keeping multiple household appliances running, like a fridge and a tv, the $1500 is more realistic.

Step 1, get some training so you don't "what if" yourself to death, and undertook, overstock, or stock the wrong things.

Piece together your kit overtime. Look for sales and deals. Name brands aren't always necessary, but high quality is.

Water: Get yourself a sawyer s3, grail, or first need. You need chemical and virus removal for the city. If you live in the country near a clear stream/creek, and backpacker filter will do.

Storable food is cheep. They have canned foods at every discount market.

There are cheap solar chargers for phones if you aren't worries about power.

Is climate control necessary for life in your area? I know winters in the midwest can be excruciating. Catalytic heaters can be had for sub $50, and run on camping propane bottle, like the 1 liter size. They will keep a small room very very warm and can be used indoors.

Get a quality med kit. Have any extra medication that you are prescribed, a 30 day supply. Be sure you have everything you need for trauma, non stick dressings, hemostatic gauze, a tourniquet, and lots of disinfectant. Infections run rampant in disaster zones.

That's just a start. Check out my site for tons of free info and training. I have a video page as well. https://www.californiasurvivaltraining.com/gear

Thanks for the questions!

Barnowl793 karma

Thank you so much for taking the time to answer this. You're a standup guy for real.

survivalofthesickest2 karma

Thanks!

SoggyFuckBiscuit2 karma

I’m sure you’re a pretty busy dude, but if you get bored or have some free time, would you mind chiming in on posts in r/survival every once in a while?

survivalofthesickest3 karma

Would love to, but there are a lot of "survival experts" online, especially those with schools, and they love to troll my posts. They usually have like 20,000 posts in their history because they live online and not in the field.There's a group of fat old guys in So Cal that like "spending time dirty" that live to troll me online, and shit talk me at gatherings. They each have like a dozen different profiles on sites like that and barricade guys like me.

kasmee2 karma

What is something practical but uncommon that every single household should do to prepare themselves for 'survival'?

survivalofthesickest3 karma

Train with an expert. Everyone thinks they can watch a few YouTube videos and be just fine, but that's not how you prepare for disaster. If you train with your entire family, you will then react together. They are not just your family, but your "team" when shit hits the fan. Everyone has a role and is proud to fill it.

DuodenoLugubre2 karma

Thanks for the ama.

Any advice on how to deal with wild animals on the bigger size? Like, you are walking and you notice a boar looking at you.

survivalofthesickest3 karma

The best advice is usually to ignore the animal. If it encroaches however, generally putting on a "territorial display" will be enough. Stand tall, get loud, kick up dust. If you start hiking in the Sierra's you will get used to yelling at bears and chasing them away. Most animals are quite afraid of us.

If that doesn't work bear mace and firearms do.

joomla001 karma

is that survivman guy legit?

survivalofthesickest1 karma

The most legit of the TV guys. He got caught faking shit and getting car rides as well, but he is pretty real.

Mynameisthisorisit1 karma

What is the worst/hardest thing you have ever had to do?

survivalofthesickest1 karma

Cutting fire line on a burning mountainside for 16 hours. It's brutal. My flight weight was 70lbs above my shower weight. That didn't count my 27lbs chainsaw when I was a sawyer.

Deekla1 karma

What survival show is the closest to reallity?

survivalofthesickest2 karma

Arghhhh. Maybe alone? They are just all so contrived though. Even the producers know that, I always get calls from networks looking for something "more real". I've had to fake a bunch of stuff (perform the task for them) for "contestants" on these shows, because so many show up and can't do a thing in the field when they get there.

puglover55551 karma

Whats your favorite part of survival?

survivalofthesickest3 karma

Sleeping on a brush bed under the stars in the middle of nowhere next to a fire I made with sticks. It's legit therapy.

shrey15661 karma

What are the self defence tips you would give to an untrained/not so fit person?

survivalofthesickest3 karma

Train. Get all of the secret techniques and magic techniques out of your head. If anyone says "just rip their ear off" or groin strike, or attack the pressure point, go somewhere else. I have a combatives program at my school. It is run by a former Marine Corps MCMAP (Marine Corps Martial Arts Program) instructor, who now owns an MMA fight gym (he was a fighter and still runs fight camps". The first thing we tell you is this is a great start, but not enough.

You would be surprised by what as little of three months of training will do. It can out you leaps and bounds above the average person. Go to a legit MMA gym, one where there are fighters. Learn to throw a punch with proper technique (this will greatly elevate your natural punching power), learn footwork and distancing. Learn how to defend a take down, and some basic bjj.

Put in three months and you will see a drastic rise in your fitness and capabilities. Hard to get ready in less time than that.

Kinowolf_1 karma

Any particular reason you decided to do your ama at midnight?

survivalofthesickest5 karma

Started 9pm PCT. Probably not the best idea.

iReallyLikeCats691 karma

Have you ever helped train people for naked and afraid? Would you ever be interested in doing that show?

survivalofthesickest3 karma

Yes. Anastasia Ashley. And no, never. Thanks for the question.

dg4vdo1 karma

Favourite condiment? Thank you

survivalofthesickest2 karma

A nice stone ground.

Recyclops30001 karma

What are the harshest places on earth you have rescued/explored? Also what are your favorite outdoor places?

survivalofthesickest1 karma

The Danakil Desert in Ethiopia. When I went you needed an armed military escort due to kidnapping threats. It has the hottest year round average temp on earth. It is literally in the middle of nowhere. I spent 7 days as an advisor there. Stunning landscape. I hope I can return someday.

Notadentalhygenist1 karma

So happy to have found this! I am a recent transplant to LA from the northeast. Took some wilderness courses there but desert is a whole new beast to me. Will definitely be signing up for some classes once we can return outside :). My question is what is an item that should be in my earthquake go bag that I probably have not thought of yet?

survivalofthesickest1 karma

Hemostatic gauze like combat gauze or cello. Avoid the use of tourniquets whenever safely possible in disaster zones, due to potential limb loss. And don't forget to have a silcock key for getting water from tall buildings.

youlikeyoungboys1 karma

Have you ever visited Lake Tahoe? If so, did you rent a boat and lose your Oakley sunglasses?

survivalofthesickest2 karma

Yes I have, many times. And no, I have not. Actually never been out on the lake itself.

BlackSuN421 karma

How many triangle bandages do you carry with you normally?

survivalofthesickest2 karma

None. Too easy to improves a sling.

blevvvv1 karma

Advice for someone beginning to look into survival methods? Ive been trying for a while, and i know sole basics, but I’m trying to expand my horizons in this field and become better! Anything i should research or do?

survivalofthesickest2 karma

Train with me :) If you cannot, practice methods on your own in nearby sections of woods. The most important things just being in the outdoors and getting comfortable with the process operating in austere environments.

blevvvv1 karma

Thanks for the advice! Due to me being in high school, i don’t think i can train with you, but any advice on where to go/what to read or research or practice would be great! Im really trying to become great in this field, so i can do some more extreme camping/hiking.

survivalofthesickest2 karma

We have plenty of 1 and 2 day courses you could come to, but also try REI. They have tons of free to low cos courses on packing a heavy pack, setting up camp, wilderness first aid, map and compass, all that.

There are tons of books and YouTube vids available. "Freedom of The Hills" is an excellent start in general outdoor skills. It's been around since the 70's and has been updated and revised ever since. Stay awesome!

Vibration5481 karma

Have you watched The Decline on Netflix?

survivalofthesickest1 karma

Not yet, will have to look it up, thanks!

wasuwq1 karma

What's the craziest thing you've done?

survivalofthesickest2 karma

Cross Death Valley in the summer living off of the land with just a tarp, a pice of string, a knife, and a water bottle.

SoggyFuckBiscuit1 karma

Two chicks at the same time.

survivalofthesickest2 karma

When I was 17 I layed in a king size bed with three chicks all painting each other's naked bodies with blacklight paint. It was awesome.

jdlech1 karma

Working with people who live in all parts of the world makes certain aspects of survival difficult to teach. How much do you teach about local edibles? Do you have any online resources or books to recommend for those who wish to learn about local edibles in any given region in the world?

Because it seems to me that foraging for food should be an intrinsic part of almost any survival situation.

survivalofthesickest3 karma

I teach what I call "pangea plants". Easy to recognize useful plants that occur across the globe at their latitude. Things like stinging nettles can be found from Chicago to China, and are highly nutritious.

--Sko--1 karma

I read through quite a few questions and replies ... sorry if this question was already asked and I missed it.

What important (and potentially life-saving) information or lessons did you learn only from your personal experiences and thought "Well, fuck -- I wish I'd have learned that in training!"

If it's ok, I guess I have one more question. Some people have a tendency to "lock up" or "freeze" when something happens and it's like they can't process anything in that moment. For example, say they witness an accident or some other situation where help may be needed. Why does this happen and can they learn to overcome it?

The reason I'm asking is because I've noticed this happens with my son (age 20 now) even in less stressful or less serious scenarios. The opposite is true with me -- for whatever reason, my brain kicks into overdrive and 50 things go through my thoughts all at once yet I can keep track of all of them. "They need help - go help - call 911 - where are we? - we're on the corner of This Ave and That St - stay calm - etc., etc. etc." In the same type of scenario, my son would have a blank stare on his face and just stand there. That sentence likely sounds much more judgmental than intended...

It seems like "freezing" in certain moments could potentially lead to an even worse situation - particularly if something happened (or is happening) to you or someone with you.

Thanks in advance for reading and replying if you have time.

Stay healthy! The world needs heroes like you!

survivalofthesickest1 karma

Thanks for the question and the compliment. There are three reactions to these types of incidents, fight, flight, or freeze. It can take lots of training and exposure to extreme environments/circumstances to get this out of a person, since they have nothing in their life history to fall back on. If you've had nothing to prepare for responding to a major accident right in front of you, the mind has no "playbook" to pull from. For some reason, some people are just "wired" differently, it could be genetic. Hueristic decision making can be learned however.

I learned all bout staying warm in freezing conditions without gear on my own. I learned the hard way. Each new night my reflector fire wall got taller and longer, my firewood pile got larger, and my techniques for using both grew. Pain is a teacher.

PM_me_MAGA_titties1 karma

Mountain House or Backpacker's Pantry?

survivalofthesickest2 karma

Mountain House by faaaaarrrrrrr. They have really upped the game. Large chunks of good looking vegetables and meat.

matterj111 karma

What's your best advice for taking out a pack of five coyotes?

survivalofthesickest3 karma

Don't anticipate the recoil and remember to breath in between shots.

AudeSomniare1 karma

What’s the craziest mistake you’ve seen a trainee make?

survivalofthesickest2 karma

Several have caught their shelters on fire before.

Muh-So-Gin-Knee1 karma

Who drinks more of thier own pee, you or Bear Grylls?

survivalofthesickest6 karma

Bear Grylls drinks my pee... and vice versa.

machine_gun_murphy1 karma

What is your big out plan when society collapses?

survivalofthesickest3 karma

Seize the Yosemite Valley with a small group of armed men and women and hunt deer with baseball bats until I grow old.

BigZombieKing1 karma

Very specific scenario opinion request;

For a medium sized fixed wing aircraft, like a king air or pc-12, would it be better to crash in pine forest or water near shore? Heli rescue would be 4-8 hrs.

There are some obviously differing opinions.

survivalofthesickest1 karma

The beach may ofter a water landing or nice stretch of beach. Better than slamming into the forest canopy. You are easier to spot near the ocean as well. But ya, it would suck to have to extricate yourself from a sinking aircraft while injured, even if you are dunker trained.

BristolShambler1 karma

What's the worst piece of advice that you've seen/heard given on a survival tv show?

survivalofthesickest4 karma

That you can piss in a bag and use it as a magnifying glass to start a fire, even when the sun is going down.

rybe3901 karma

In your opinion, how important are comms in a short term scenario, ie uhf/vhf radios. What channels should people be using in an emergency? Tips for a newbie there would be appreciated.

What 5 things would you carry every day(call it a work backpack) to help in scenarios you most often encounter?

Thanks for the time!

survivalofthesickest2 karma

Very important. Exposue and injury can kill in a day. It is important to get rescue started quickly. I tell people that as soon as their medical and exposure needs are met, signal right away. Even after rescuers get the report, it can be hours to overnight before they reach you. Initiate rescue early.

Storm matches with an accelerant.

A small water purifier

Medical kit

An emergency signal

A heatsheet style emergency blanket

Of course, I would recommend a knife/multitool, cordage, and a light as well.