If you have followed Bear Grylls for even a short amount of time, you are likely aware of the vast array of wilderness survival skills and the many tools that Bear utilizes in his demonstrations, specifically the Bear Grylls Survival Kits.
This article will cover some of these tools and a few survival basics. Having some basic survival knowledge and familiarity with tools available should be a priority for anyone, whether you are an outdoor enthusiast or not – you never know when you may find yourself stranded due to some unforeseen circumstances!
Collectively, the tools carried are referred to as kits and consist of the items that an individual believes that they may need for the environment they anticipate being in and are generally a part of any experienced hiker or backpacker’s equipment.
Experience will dictate what you decide to pack; however, in lieu of experience, a trusted expert such as Bear Grylls can guide a novice to the field.
The first two obvious options are the Bear Grylls Ultimate Kit and the Bear Grylls Basic Kit.
Collecting Clean Water
One of the most critical survival skills that should be well understood is the ability to find, collect, and make potable water.
Finding water generally takes some experience and/or education from an experienced individual, as factors such as wildlife movements, terrain, and weather can be indicators of potential nearby water sources.
Collecting water can be done with any item capable of holding it; however, there are some items that make this process more efficient and easier:
- The Bear Grylls 3-in-1 Hydro Lamp combines water collection, a light source, and a solar USB power bank.
- The Bear Grylls Canteen and Cooking Cup.
Once you have found and collected the water, you must make it safe to drink. There are many products available for processing water on the move, such as water purification tablets or a filtration device.
One such filtration device is a personal water filter from LifeStraw, which allows you to quickly take advantage of any available water source while filtering out environmental contaminants like bacteria, parasites, and plastics. LifeStraw also has filtered water bottles for storage.
If you plan on staying in an area long enough to build a fire, boiling water in suitable container – such as the above-mentioned Cooking Cup – is also a useful technique to create potable water.
Speaking of building fires, that brings us to another important skill: fire-starting.
Starting a Fire
Fire-starting is one of those skills that is fairly simple to understand but requires practice to perfect – and perfect you should.
A fire can provide critical heat in cold environments, boil water for safe drinking, and cook food that may be otherwise unpalatable.
How to start a fire
Understanding what a successful fire needs is the first step to creating one, and these requirements are represented in the fire triangle, which consists of 3 parts: fuel, heat, and oxygen. Removing any one of these will ruin your attempts to create a fire.
- Before attempting to create the heat for the fire, you should gather plenty of fuel. Fuel, known as tinder, consists of materials in your environment, generally dry grasses, branches, and larger logs. These items should be arranged so that the smaller items, which ignite more easily, ignite first and spread to the increasingly larger items.
- Heat is the next part of the fire triangle and can be generated from a variety of sources, such as a lighter, matches, etc. An item you should consider to add to your own personal Bear Grylls Survival Kit is the Bear Grylls Fire Starter; this item can be used to generate a spark into a small tinder bundle, which can then be transferred to your prepared fuel source.
- Lastly, oxygen is the final part of the triangle. This is mainly about ensuring that your fire is ventilated enough to grow, while also being out of the elements that may compromise it. Initially, gently blowing on a newly-sparked tinder bundle can coax your flame to life.
In addition to the ability to find safe water and create a fire, finding and/or building shelter is another crucial skill for you to consider.
Building a Shelter
Circumstances may dictate that you must stay in an area for a period of time, whether it be hours, days, etc. Temporary shelter may be something as simple as finding an overhanging rock structure or building a lean-to, while a more permanent shelter may be a small log structure.
It is important that you consider your terrain and any other environmental conditions when seeking to build a shelter, as its purpose is to keep you safe and out of the elements.
There are some tools that you can add to your own Bear Grylls Survival Kit that would be useful in this.
- First, paracord bracelets, such as the Bear Grylls Survival Bracelet, can assist in tying shelter structures together and creating a sleeping hammock to raise you off of the ground.
- Hand saws like the one that is included in the Bear Grylls Ultimate Kit mentioned above can aid in gathering larger pieces for your shelter.
- Additionally, a quality, reliable blade is a must for anyone venturing away from civilization, as they can be useful for building shelters, hunting, creating tools, etc. The Bear Grylls Ultimate Knife is not only a high-quality knife, but it also comes with a fire-starter—you can never have enough options for creating a fire!
Among the critical survival skills is the ability to find food. This can be achieved through hunting, fishing, and gathering.
You will likely spend most of your time gathering known edibles in your environment, such as insects, fruits, plants, etc.
Note: do NOT eat any plant or wildlife that you cannot positively identify as safe.
Depending on your skill level and experience, you may be able to create snares with paracord or other items in the environment.
Fishing equipment can likewise be fashioned out of items in your environment, using other edibles you can afford to potentially lose as bait.
Hunting will require a specialized skill-set, along with equipment appropriate for your intended game.
Anything harvested from hunting and fishing should be thoroughly cooked, unless you have experience otherwise.
A good general source of this information can be found in Bear Grylls book “How to Stay Alive: The Ultimate Survival Guide for Any Situation.”
Familiarity with basic navigation techniques and equipment can be vitally important, especially if you find yourself lost without anyone knowing your whereabouts.
An item everyone should have as part of their kit is a reliable compass, such as Bear Grylls Compact Compass.
If possible, you should have maps of the area and familiarize yourself with the general layout, along with any notable terrain features to aid in navigation.
Having an idea of how to track the sun across the sky to gauge direction, such as the shadow stick method, can be beneficial if stranded without a compass.
At night, in the northern hemisphere, familiarity with the North Star’s location can be a guide if you must risk travel during those hours; those in the southern hemisphere will need to use the Southern Cross to guide them at night.
Depending on your area, there may be other methods, but those should be taught by someone with experience specific to the region you are in.
Being prepared and able to adapt to any situation is a lifelong process.
You should never stop learning and practicing those skills that could potentially save yours or someone’s life.
We very briefly covered a few of the core concepts here, along with some quality tools to create your own Bear Grylls Survival Kit, but entire books could be written on each concept individually, so use this information as a guide to encourage your continued education and seek out opportunities for experience whenever possible.
With the right mindset, preparation, and equipment, you, like Bear Grylls, will be prepared for anything!