Survival Generalizations, and What They Mean to You


In the Survival community, it is pretty common to see a bunch of Generalizations thrown around. This is no discredit really to the folks doing it, as it is hard to be specific when trying to teach or show things to the World. We all know there are certainly different bio-regions that all have uniquely different resources available for use. So what’s my point?

My point is that it is very difficult for the “end user”, you, to fully understand anything that is shown in a youtube video, written in a blog or a book, or certainly what you have seen on TV. Sure the “general idea” can be understood, but there is more to it than that in most cases.

Let’s take for instance the shelter pictured above. It is a pretty common shelter that is depicted in many survival books, youtube videos, television shows etc. Having built probably dozens of these over the years (this one by students of mine), I understand, at least in my geographic location, what it can and can’t do for me. I have built them with various different materials and spent nights and/or days living in them in different seasons. This is where you make your money, and get to fully understand this type of shelter, by “doing”.

I have made many debris type shelters over the years as well. One of them was the “spider shelter” that I made videos on. Though at first glance it appears to be a great shelter (and im not saying it is a bad one), there are things about it that you just can’t comprehend by watching a video or reading about it. The videos or books don’t show how that over time, they hold moisture, on the inside of them. Yes they are water proof if built correctly, and they are extremely warm. But over time, they are Wet on the inside! That is not a good thing.

On another note, I have read over the years, and heard folks say what you need to do when it comes to hydration. I have heard and seen a lot of generalizations when it comes to this topic as well. Anywhere from a quart a day to a gallon. So which is it? Well, that is all relative of course, but how do you know what works for you? Right, you must find out for yourself by “doing”. No different than any other topic when it comes to survival.

I have a good friend that said something really interesting. He said, “it is easy to build something that looks like a shelter, but does it keep you dry, warm, and offer you a good nights sleep? It is easy to build what looks like snowshoes, but do they allow you to walk on top of the snow, and do they hold up over time?”

These points are what I am talking about in this thread. So again, no fault of anyone who is teaching or sharing knowledge and skills, but you have to keep in mind that there is usually a lot more behind any given topic or skill. You Must “Do It” for yourself to understand what you need specifically, and what works for you.

So the biggest take away from this should be, what do you need to get a good nights sleep? To stay hydrated? To keep warm? To carry with you depending on skill level? etc… The only way to know is “by doing”.

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