Free USA Shipping On Orders Over $150

Surviving the Little Things

by Kevin Estela April 30, 2017

Surviving the Little Things

How many people do you know who claim to be “survivalists” or “bushcrafters?” Maybe they don’t go by these titles but prefer to say they are “woodsmen” or “outdoorsmen.” If these titles don’t suffice, perhaps they don’t want to be labeled at all but will tell you they “live” survival or “live” bushcraft each day. What always never ceases to amaze me are those outdoor enthusiasts (I’ll use this as my catch-all term for all of the above listed) who may have a rock-solid wilderness survival strategy and set of skills but a neglected sense of self-preservation once they leave the woodline. Of these people I asked you to consider, how many engage in risky behavior that could threaten their existence? Bushcraft knowledge and experiences are most appreciated outdoors and not from a hospital bed or prison cell. Sometimes, what threatens our survival the most is not the inability to make a fire or build a shelter but the little things we don’t consider on a daily basis.

Driving

You are more likely to die in a car accident than a plane crash. You’re more likely to get injured in a car accident than an encounter with a wild animal. We tend to focus on the most dramatic ways of getting killed or hurt and look over the most likely. Car accidents are pretty dramatic, violent and often are the result of other’s actions than our own. As a society, we have become comfortable with knowing accidents happen and most people will not do what they need to in order to improve their survivability after an accident. If you have a well-stocked first aid kit in your pack and not in your car, you are part of this group that should re-evaluate your preparedness. Is it in reach or in the trunk of the car? Furthermore, when was the last time you took a formal driving course? There are some fantastic driving schools out there to teach you how to handle vehicles in all conditions and speeds. Defensive driving is a skill and recognizing the threats found on the road is just as important as understanding those in the woods.

 

Health

Edible and medicinal plants are both incredibly important to the outdoorsman. There are plenty of articles on what to eat in the wild and I know of many outdoorsmen who are advocates of foraging. However, just as there are many who will preach the virtues of eating from nature’s garden, many of the same will eat to excess at home. How many outdoorsmen do you know who are at risk of one of the greatest killers, cardiac arrest? How many outdoorsmen do you know who have or will have diabetes? How many do you know who claim to have a well-stocked bug-out bag but can’t run a mile without stopping? Nature provides us with a playground to enjoy but we can’t enjoy it if our health isn’t a priority. Unfortunately, it is easier to buy a new blade or piece of gear than it is a healthy lifestyle. That requires a balanced diet with wise food decisions and an active lifestyle off of the couch, recliner or bed.

 

Friendships/Associations

How many friends do you have and what quality are they? Many people will cite their social network reach with Facebook “friends” or followers on Instagram. Admittedly, I have many “friends” on both but unless we see each other frequently, have shared experiences together, know details about each other’s lives and have plans together in the future, I can say most of my “friends” are just acquaintances. When was the last time a friend of your’s helped you out or did something to improve your life? When was the last time a friend brought extra drama to your life you could otherwise do without? We often worry about the actions of strangers when we plan our daily carry. We tend to think about the stranger or the “bad guys” out there who want to do us harm. While these unknowns pose a threat to us, the reality is we are likely to be wronged or harmed by someone close to us. It’s said, “blood makes you related, loyalty makes you family.” What does disloyalty, betrayal and taking advantage of someone mean then?

 

Self-Defense/Firearms

 We train to protect against nature’s threats. We buy the right clothing to keep us warm, fire starters for the worst weather, knives to perform in harsh conditions and other gear to prevent harm in the great outdoors. While I have not done any scientific study I can speak from experience as a Survival Instructor, many students and participants in my courses and seminars do not also train in martial arts. By the way, getting a junior black belt as a kid means little to me in terms of validation if you haven’t kept up with your training. What surprises me is the desire some people have to be ready for the great outdoors but the lack of interest in knowing how to throw a punch, apply a choke, understand range, space, timing and force or how to fire a handgun, rifle or shotgun. Unless our occupations take us into the great outdoors 7 days a week, we will most likely spend the majority of our time in a populated area surrounded by more 2-legged threats than 4. When I teach a seminar and make reference to training in Sayoc Kali, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and run-and-gun shooting/marksmanship, I’m often met with weird looks. My exterior response doesn’t match my inner monologue crushing the lack of logic other’s training fails to exhibit. Survival is more than a hobby, it is a way of life.

Remember, you want to survive the little things in order to better enjoy the greater things in life. Buckle your seatbelt, eat a salad at lunch with quality friends and know how to defend yourself if someone decides to attack you. Start to evaluate those you follow online and notice where the little things have worked their way into their life in a detrimental way. You don’t have to wait for one day to be the day when you first experience something. You can prepare for the little things in life and mitigate their effects on you each and every day.




Kevin Estela
Kevin Estela

Author

Kevin Estela is a Survival Instructor at Estela Wilderness Education. Kevin is a frequent contributing writer for publications such as RECOIL, Athlon Outdoors, and Beckett Media. He is a Sayoc Kali Associate Instructor Level 5, as well as a BJJ Purple Belt.



Leave a comment


Also in Articles

5 Defensive Shotgun Habits You Should Adopt
5 Defensive Shotgun Habits You Should Adopt

by Kevin Estela September 18, 2019

Foreword: Many Fiddleback Forge fans are gun guys as well as knife guys. I’ve spoken to more than a few over the years on the forums and at the Fiddleback Forge User Weekend about shooting sports and defensive use of firearms. Rumor has it, Andy himself is a bit of a gun guy. To change it up a little here, I wanted to present a handful of tips I’ve picked up over the years related to one of the most common firearms used to protect your home, the pump shotgun. Recently, I attended the SIG Sauer Advanced Defensive Shotgun Course and it reinforced some great habits everyone should adopt if they decide to rely on a scattergun to protect their life and the lives of those they love.

Read More

Ins And Outs of Urban Down
Ins And Outs of Urban Down

by Brian Griffin September 04, 2019

The city I live near, and work in, is a lot more calm and peaceful than the larger ones I lived in as a teenager and young adult. Chattanooga Tennessee is quieter, and in my opinion a good bit less dangerous, than cities like; Miami, Dallas, St. Louis, Mobile, and Atlanta were when I was roaming them years ago. I was born in Chattanooga, and it has always been a smaller city than the others.  Yet like any other well-developed and functioning city, it still has its sketchy areas and its bad days as well. So even here, having devoted a lot of my life to the study of various levels of urban survival, I still always leave home at least attempting to be prepared to cope with a number of possible contingencies, some of which we all hope never occur.      

Read More

Flossing Sockeyes
Flossing Sockeyes

by Kevin Estela August 14, 2019 3 Comments

“You’re going to catch fish with no bait on your hook. They’re just going to swim up river and you’ll catch them right when they open their mouth.” I’m paraphrasing what our guide, Jeremy “JAHA” Anderson told us as we set up in the early morning along the Kenai River. This instruction was given to us after cruising upriver in the dark in an aluminum-hulled boat setup for drift fishing and hunting salmon along the turquoise blue waters in Alaska. The idea seemed crazy but flossing for salmon is very common when the runs are thick. The technique really does allow you to catch fish, monster fish, with a combination of luck, technique, and timing. As we would find out, this method would prove exhaustive but rewarding and by the end of the day, we would have fresh sockeye salmon from river to grill in a matter of hours.

Read More

Knives & News

Sign up with your favorite email.