Could you survive in the wilderness for a week with nothing but a knife, a tin cup, steel wool and two batteries? We just might be able to after spending the afternoon with David Arama, survivalist, wilderness expert and TV personality. Arama stopped by the Ford of Canada Back to Basics blogger event to teach us how to stay safe as we get back to nature.
As our lives become increasingly busy we are looking to reconnect with nature, a perfect antidote to our hectic 24/7 lives. Getting back to basics isn’t about rejecting technology, but more about how to use smart technology to get everyday tasks done quickly and conveniently so that there’s time to slow down and enjoy things that matter most, like friends, family and the natural beauty around us.
Something as simple as an invigorating hike in the woods gives our brain time to rest and regenerate. Canada has some amazing trails, like the ones found in Algonquin Park in Ontario, in Quebec’s La Mauricie National Park, or the West Coast Trail in British Columbia. A quick online search will bring up beautiful trails for all skill levels in your area.
“Even if you are headed out for a weekend hike, it’s important to be prepared and be aware of your surroundings,” said Arama. “If you know what to look for, the forest provides countless resources for survival. For example, if you see spruce trees, boil some water and add the needles for a vitamin C-packed tea.”
Items like a knife (multi-purpose) and a tin cup (for collecting and boiling water) are key basic items to have on hand. You may be wondering about the steel wool and batteries – well, if you take the steel wool with a little birch bark wrapped inside, and touch it to the top of two batteries stacked on top of each other, negative end to positive end, the steel wool will immediately spark and catch fire. No matches required.
Staying warm is often vital to survival in the wilderness.
“You have to be patient when building a great camp fire,” said Aaron Strickland, arborist and owner of Sustainable Tree, a professional tree care service company in Muskoka, Ontario.
Start with materials that burn easily, such as birch bark or newspaper. Next comes the kindling either in a teepee or log cabin shape, depending on your personal preference. As you add larger pieces of wood always make sure to leave space between the logs, as this will give your fire room to breathe.
This tip also applies to your wood pile – leave space between your wood when stacked as the air flow will help it stay dry. Keep it up off the ground, and for safety don’t stack too high.