In this video Bruce Zawalsky talks about "Survival Skills for a 100 Days" and how to understand the jigsaw of skills needed to live through into the long term. Bruce teaches you about the skills required, the calories required, how long vs. how good you have to be, what can go wrong and if it is possible. The emphasis of this video is Bruce talking about the skills you need to learn if you REALISTICALLY WANT TO SURVIVE INTO THE LONG-TERM, i.e. more than 25-days and beyond to last a 100-days or more stranded in the wilderness. Remember anyone who journeys into the wilderness for the long term has a real story to tell. But if you travel with little or no food into the Canadian Wilderness, you must learn the SKILLS to THRIVE not just SURVIVE.
Video Transcript (with links)
Hello, I'm Bruce Zawalsky author of Canadian Wilderness Survival and Chief Instructor of the Boreal Wilderness Institute and today I want to talk about Survival Skills for 100 days. If you want to learn real survival skills that you need to survive when stranded then please like this video and support my YouTube channel by subscribing so this video is all about understanding the jigsaw of skills needed to live through into the long term so this jigsaw of skills and physical requirements is complex involves understanding really real physiology and Science and is therefore little understood it is also incredibly important if you realistically want to survive into the long term and Beyond to last a hundred days so the who what why does not matter here at all I'm not going to talk about that we're not going to spend any time on that only the when the where but most importantly the how.
So that's what I'm teaching you today so what are we going to learn well the most important thing I'm going to talk about is the skills required I'm also going to talk about the calories required how long versus how good you need to be what can go wrong and is it possible you may notice that I'm only covering five topics even a presentation of over an hour it will still not teach you any skills this means living through the long term to a hundred days is a complex challenge I'm going to point out to you though which skills you should learn develop and improve if you want to survive for 100 days in the Canadian wilderness so this presentation is geared to the northern the Boreal and the montane forests of Canada or other similar tempering environments this essentially means the areas that the WGA or the Wilderness Guides Association classify as Boreal-Nemoral which means which makes sense of course since I am a WGA Level 3 Boreal-Nemoral Guide.
So let's talk a little bit about the types of survival situations just up front before we get started first you have a short term that's one to four days that's 99 of our actual survival situations we then have medium term which is 5 to 25 days and long term which is 26 days plus so this is different from what Mors L. Kochanski taught and what I wrote in Canadian Wilderness Survival in 2017. So things change the differences here are between the medium and the long term and these changes are due to real science so science gets better it improves over time if we actually research and experiment we learn to understand foraging fasting and starvation better so fasting is considered a medium-term solution so what does that mean well for 20-ish days you will suffer less fasting after that you are going to suffer the effects of starvation anyhow so essentially after 25 days you're either starving or thriving so you could of course choose to fast at a later time within that hundred days but only if you could break the fast safely and only if you were thriving up to that point if you're starving you cannot just start fasting it just won't do you any good so the real.
Skills required can easily exceed anyone's individual grasp so let's talk about those skills what skills do you actually need when you're out in the wilderness so we'll start with the skills list so let's talk about the skills you really need to have those you need to build up and those you need to develop better to survive for 100 days so the red are the essential short-term survival skills and they are important to our survival and what are they well they are Wilderness first aid camping and Wilderness living Wilderness survival Wilderness navigation Wildlife awareness and safety and lastly number six Wilderness weather awareness and forecasting something I think that gets a short shift but is really important so those are your top six they're again the red the essential short-term survival skills the Orange is next these are essential long-term survival skills so if you want to survive more than 26 days you're going to need to learn these skills and in this section of the list order becomes a little bit more important so Bushcrafting is first but just as important are the four basic food acquisition skill sets and that is fishing trapping hunting and edible plant ID foraging and preparation now I've put those in an order and what is that order that's the order that they're most likely to have a chance of sufficiently acquiring calories and fat in the northern Boreal or montane Forest so that's the order in terms of where you're most likely to be able to get the calories and fat you need to survive you have to have two of these four skill sets well acquired so preferably all of them so it's perfectly this you're good at all of them but you can only be so good at stuff so two of these you've got to be really good at now note that number 12 is medicinal plant ID forging and usage it's important as well but if you die of dehydration or starvation no medical plant will save you that's just not the way it works.
So how about green so green are the skills that will help you out they will make your life easier and your survival longer you need them if you want to thrive so now we're going from survival to Wilderness living to thriving in the wilderness and that includes tracking food preservation and safe food storage long-term shelter building and fireplace stove construction and lastly long-term crafting skills so these are the 16 skills or skill sets as they really are as you'll notice Bushcrafting isn't a skill it's a skill set so all of these have individual skills that we're going to talk about individually and say hey and I'll point out some of the skills that are really important some of these skills are going to be life-saving or far more important at different times and in different locations and situations that's one of the reasons why in when I'm teaching survival I teach something called the SSEL of survival which is science, skill, equipment, and luck. The idea of that we'll talk a little bit later as it comes up again at the end.
So Wilderness first aid number one so why is it number one oh because it doesn't matter how good you are at friction fire lighting if you're bleeding to death and don't know how or did not carry eternity in with you so that's going to be more than basic first aid that's going to move you into Wilderness trauma care notice what's bold there Wilderness hygiene and sanitation that's because it's a skill you need to build up and understand and it's underrated when I bold these on the slide it means I say they're essential individual skills that you need to learn along with Wilderness evacuation skills and tending patience and self with Herbal Remedies no use having herbal remedies if you can't actually give them to a patient or yourself.
So number two is camping and Wilderness living so we'll start with choice and care and cleaning of wilderness clothing basic camping skills and outdoor cooking skills that's the basic stuff learning to cook over a fire learning to cook with a stick burner Safe Water collection and basic water purification that's being able to use a filter boil your water do whatever it happens to be that you can do that's basic skill stuff. Feces, urine, food waste, and garbage disposal, which should all be done differently really especially over the long term. Understanding Forest Area ecology understanding the geography the location you're in safe Wilderness Travel skills along with two very important Canadian winter ones which are just Safe Water Crossings and safe ice Crossing. Now many people will rightly point out that these are necessary hiking and backpacking of Wilderness living skills in the Canadian wilderness. Yep absolutely and nearly every outdoor educator and outdoor education program will and should teach all of these skills those skills. Off course have to be taught correctly and you have to learn them it's just the way it is.
So then we slide into Wilderness survival again these skills have to be taught correctly you start with survival tool selection knife craft whether teaching you to use a knife a baton a multi-tool using your survival tools like a bow saw pruning saw an ax or a hatchet and then the three most important one so fire lighting and management shelter building and improving water purification so those are your top three along with safe wood harvesting basic notching improvised buying crafting signaling for help and the food challenge which in the wilderness survival situation is going to be Scavenging because that's all you're going to do.
How about Wellness navigation what's right at the top natural navigation and that ability to use a compass those skills combined will be the most important Wilderness navigation skills along with topical topographical map Reading air photo reading GPS receiver use cell phone app use what good are they in the wilderness do they work do they not work one that might people not might not think about as you wander around and Hike but is incredibly important in a survival situation and that is blazing Trail marking and Trail making you cannot underestimate how important that can be to reducing calories and stopping you from getting lost and lastly night navigation. It's the Canadian wilderness at five o'clock it's getting dark in the fall you need to understand night navigation.
Wildlife awareness and safety again has to be taught correctly and you're going to start with basic Wildlife awareness along with awareness and behavior because bare behavior is an incredibly important thing that we need to learn food hanging techniques campsites set up and safety how do you make sure you reduce your chance of wild and unwanted Wildlife encounters. Travel safety when you're traveling and of course how to properly use bear spray and bear bangers. There's no use carrying something that you don't know how to use properly. So again these skills have to be taught correctly. I will note that the last four slides are Shameless plugs for the Boreal Wilderness and students programs so if you want to learn Wilderness Survival, Wilderness Navigation, Wildlife Awareness & Safety take your time to learn both online and in person from BWI because we'd love to have you come out and take a program with us.
Next is one of those ones that I said was underrated and Incredibly important and often taken for granted and that's Wilderness weather awareness and forecasting I build that into my programs I'm teaching it all the time but it's something you got to understand so understanding the weather understanding local weather knowledge and learning local weather knowledge when you arrive in an area because things change Wilderness weather forecasting and daylight forecasting an incredibly important skill storm preparation storm survival techniques why is that important well with climate change its exasperating our weather problems and it doesn't matter what its causes are it makes it worse and it will make it worse over the next decade as we travel in the Canadian wilderness along with of course lightning awareness and survival which has always been a big thing but you have to understand the weather. So that is our top six that is the red that's the essential.
So let's move into the orange which is again essential long-term skills so number seven is Bushcrafting so why is it number seven because it doesn't matter how cool of a Bushcraft you are and how many knots you know if you die of hypothermia on day two. So Bushcraft is the use and practice of skills thereby Acquired and developing knowledge and understanding in order to thrive in the natural environment and for a hundred days you will need to thrive that's what it is so we start with the top Bushcraft tool selection and then the four big ones Forest forging chord making bind crafting and wood crafting so those are the skill sets you need to learn in Bushcrafting, Flint knapping would be good basket making and bark crafting will allow you to do what make containers and knife and Tool Sharpening is going to be important especially if you don't have a sharpener and Fire by friction so those are the skill sets what about the actual skills I would recommend so these are the ones that I'd like to point out there's more but these are the ones I point out number one would be improvised shovel making first improvise shovel about a hundred thousand years old now um learning to make a good strong decent shovel as one of your first tools is an incredibly important thing because then you don't have to carry a shovel with you which saves a lot of weight walking. I know Mors always did when we ran courses. The first thing he'd have us and do is all make walking staffs so we have that staff with us a good six foot tall heavy thick black Spruce staff most of the time and it was really nice to have and we used it for all sorts of things.
How about the Roycraft craft Snowshoe or sometimes called the Roycraft ski shoe. Now Mors L. Kochanski taught it to all his students for decades and strangely enough it had four skills for the price of one. Why because this teaches you Forest forging, cord making, bind crafting and wood crafting. So he was teaching you four essential Bushcrafting skills for the price of one project. Now I will link in a video about by my friend Dale Kiselyk (Nature Alive) which was filmed at Karamat Wilderness Ways Winter Course. If you want to learn more about this incredible piece of wilderness equipment that'll help you get pushed into the right direction. Roycraft pack frame is good and improvised drill what's the weather by the improvised drill ball because with an old nail and your skill in fire by friction in five minutes I can teach you how to do a drill and a drill is actually a useful Wilderness tool right that'll might save your life. So spoon Cutlery and Bowl making again making your life better storage containers of all types and then two things that we underrate as Bushcrafting skills and I see some really crappy things and that is improvised raft building and improvised boat building these are real skills and you must practice them before you go out in the wilderness you can't expect to build a good boat if you haven't built a good boat already you can't expect to build a good raft if you haven't built a raft already tested it understood how they work look at the dynamics of it in the water and paddle it about on a nice summer day, to make sure you know hey this thing's going to function. This is going to float. I'm not just losing all my equipment off it.
All right so from Bushcrafting we go into the basic food acquisition skill sets and again number one is going to be fishing so start with fishing regulations can you fish what can you fish for and then the types of fishing so Lure fishing and fly fishing two different techniques but then we get back into fishing regulations so a couple years ago I spent some time in Labrador and I was very surprised having only used a lure to fish that only fishing I was allowed to legally do there was fly fishing and it was like oh I guess I have to learn to fly fish which I've never done before Gill net fishing if you're going to use a gill net how do you do that along with basic fish trapping and ice fishing and another one we don't normally think of ice fishing Safety Systems why because if you're out for 100 days if you go into the season where it changes you're going to want to ice fish as quickly as possible that means knowing those safety system is going to be important if you're in an ocean well then ocean fishing and also for on an ocean Coast foraging for mollusc and sea creatures. So if you're going to use clams and mussels as part of your food then you better be able to understand how to actually Harvest them.
So what about the skills well fishing identification and lure flies are needed along with your fishing time and location gutting and cleaning a facial skill I learned as a kid but it's still important but harvesting the entire fish I never did that as a kid turning around and removing the heart liver and kidneys of the fish taking the head off taking the skin off boiling the head and skin you're eating the cheeks and using the entire fish essentially for extra calories how about making improvised lures notice that's bold well yeah because if you're going to need to do Lure fishing and you're out in the wilderness you're probably going to have to make lures and then learn how to do that and then learn how to do that with the actual tools you're bringing because there's no use what I can do in my workshop downstairs in my house is far different than what I can do outside using a multi-tool and a couple of pieces of wire making improvised flies making fishing rods making a gill net yeah I figured a good deal in that fishing you better be good at making a gill net and repairing your Gill net even you bring a commercial Gill net you might have to repair that making fish traps and being good at that and of course making an ice ladder if you're ice fishing and that's part of that ice fishing safety system ice ladder is probably the easiest one to do so that's fishing.
So why fishing regulations matter well this is a really nice picture now it's a Paul Kane painting called fishing by Torchlight from 1845 and this worked because the first peoples understood that light attracted fish now here's your problem remember why I said why fishing regulations matter it's also illegal in most forms in any Province or territory in Canada and would result in at least a fine so this is why fishing regulations matter. Because you're out there practicing your skills. You're just doing that and nobody will say hey well you can just break the law.
Trapping, so again this is number two of our basic food acquisition skill set. So we'll start with trapping regulations what animals can I trap. Finding and trapping small game which is different than finding and trapping big game. Setting a proper trap line so did you set a kilometer trap line with 20 snares because you want to catch rabbits or did you put down two which will probably never work checking and resetting your traps how do you make that schedule when do you have to go back and then building simple snares and squirrel poles which are two most likely basic trapping designs along with improvised snares which don't work as well improvised traps metal traps if you happen to be using those and then of course gutting and cleaning the animal and harvesting the entire animal like figuring out where and all that extra stuff you can get to get the extra calories out of it that you're going to need and the extra fats so that goes from trapping.
So number three of our basic food acquisition skills which is hunting so we start with weapon regulations and then hunting regulations. So why is that different well a good example is I live in the province of Alberta where spear hunting is illegal right at least against boar and I'm not sure what else but you can't use a spear anymore you used to be able to do that so that weapon regulation stops me from even worrying about the hunting regulations right then you get into hunting regulations and then when you figure out what you're using then you're going to go finding a stocking small game which is different than finding and stalking big game bow hunting that's going to be our normal hunting technique out for 100 days and so one of the things we should think about is there's targets in other words where do you point your boat if I'm always like this I'm firing my bow and that's to the ground and that's your standard target but in reality there's water ground tree aerial so there's four target areas that you need to understand where your arrows go how they fly and how you'll recover them because that's a recovery and use of arrows spear hunting which would be stabbing Club hunting which would be clubbing Throne weapon hunting which is going to be bolos or rocks along with of course gutting and cleaning the animal and harvesting and using the entire animal because that's going to come up right that's number 10.
Number 11 is our fourth of our basic food acquisition skills and that's edible plant ID forging and preparation so we'll start with plant forging regulations it's pretty simple either you can or you can't but then I break it down into five areas edible plant and root ID Berry ID lichen fungus and mushroom ID seaweed ID and bark and Tree ID if you happen to be you know stripping part in inner cadmium bark off and boiling it or something then you have seasonal posing of edible plants so in other words what plants can I forage when preparation of edible plants storage of edible plants but I think really important is understanding the vitamins and minerals needed and the calories expected from plants and a lot of people have this idea that you're going to live off the land on Plants no vegetarian can survive in the Boreal forest. It's just not going to happen, there's not enough calories there and then dealing with poisonous and inedible plants so a lot of plants are inedible. So if your are eating leaves or other stuff like that it's costing you calories and we're not getting anything from it.
So the last orange one is medicinal plant ID forging and usage again plant regulation is pretty easy either you can or you can't right medicinal plant ID forging medicinal plants usage of medicinal plants and preparation of Municipal plants so those two are very important how you use it and how you prepare it storage and medicinal plants and then medicinal non-medical plant-based natural cure so I'll give you a couple of examples so how about a plant example well plantain well the leaves are edible okay so you can eat them so it's an edible plant fairly common um you can Brew tea from the leaves which is used to treat coughs and also traditionally for diarrhea but you could turn it into a poultice and use that for sores blisters swelling and insects insect stinks what's the problem with that you need to know how to prepare that poultice and What proportion of ingredients you put in that poultice if you don't it might not work how about a non-plant-based example this is a really classic one which is charcoal activated charcoal is used in an emergency treatment of certain kinds of poisoning but you would need to know in advance how to make and activate it safely if you do not have enough knowledge what happens you could be a danger to yourself or others so you could be poisoning yourself trying to treat yourself and doing no good at all. So that's orange.
So now we get into those long-term skills the greens and number one is tracking. So self-rescue when lost. So here's the deal if you cannot track yourself you cannot track. I will say that a second time, if you cannot track yourself you cannot track. You gain an understanding of game Trails for navigation and that'll lead to asking questions like well why are the game using these trails and that'll lead to what better Camp selection better trapping better hunting and better forging. So tracking is an excellent skill to improve and Thrive better in the wilderness.
How about safe uh uh food preservation and safe food storage well proper location-based seasonal based food preservation is critical and the two normal things we talk about is air drying and smoking both of which you have to have good both of you have to understand so for smoking for example you know that you never use Evergreen when you smoke because it's going to put carcinogens into from the smoke and it's going to just taste horrible right so you're going to use Alder or Willow or Birch or something else but you need to learn those two skills. There is more though there's more techniques most people don't learn these other techniques but then on the season and location they may come up so that includes curing, using salt so if you had the ocean well then you can use curing, burial, purification which is rotting of the food, which actually works surprisingly well, wrapping and freezing. So that's seven different techniques. Not just the two that normally people think about. Okay, so safe storage to protect food from insects animal and weather that will include making food containers and food caching and food hanging.
So a very essential skill to learn and a very bushcraft skill but an important one and long-term shelter building and fireplace stove construction so what I'm going to do is I'm going to give you a list of what I believe is the top three shelters that you can build out in the wilderness so number one is the A-frame I believe that the A-frame is the best of the bunch number two would be a teepee. I don't like the TP as much it works all right I think it has some waste space in it and I don't like way space but it works almost as well and lastly is the simple Dugout that's number three. Notice there is no log cabin on this list. So building it will simply kill you you are committing suicide by excess calorie consumption by building one now keep your shelter size down make sure understand shelter location and safety so where you're building the shelter is incredibly important and then building a proper raised bed and a 4-finger evergreen bowbed. Right that's going to be incredibly important to your survival building a 6-finger evergreen bowbed would even be better.
But you have to build a comfortable decent shelter. That's not too big. That is out of the weather that is protected and safe and that will keep you warm or cold days because that's what's going to happen with that fireplace and stove using the ingredients you have in the Boreal forest which is going to be Stone clay sand improvised mortar and wood and of course you need to find Clay and other materials and make mortars so that means you'll need to learn to forge and find clay and make that mortar building a fireplace and uh usable in cold weather is going to be a big thing building a proper cooking surface finding a proper um uh building a proper Flume and chimney building a proper spark arrestor and much more importantly I guess of all of them fire hazard fire suppression of fire prevention so in other words what can you do to reduce the chance of any shelter fire because that's going to be a big thing.
So what's left number 16 is what's left, long-term crafting skills included but not limited to probably the most important one sewing along with Weaving, Pottery, Pasket Making, Blacksmithing and Metalsmithing. You say well I'm not going to have any metal but all over Canada you may find litter and those tins can be used if you have blacksmithing and metalsmithing skills. Tanning, Leather Crafting, Shoemaking, Bow Making and Fletching. That'd be an incredible skill to be good at if you're going to actually use a Bow & Arrow because you can make your own arrows and soap making. All right so there's your skills.
So you need to consume more calories than you use. All right that's not a big problem. So calories required. Strangely enough the Moose on the left has more calories than the Grouse on the right and that's just the way it is.
So let's talk about the calories you need to survive so your BMR or basal metabolic rate is the calories you use every day simply existing and the simplest way to work out your BMR in weight is your pounds times a hundred meaning if I'm a 91 kilogram or 200 pound person I would use 2,000 kilocalories a day. So that would be my standard calorie burn just existing BMR plus is what you actually are using when you're stranded out in the wilderness or traveling out in the wilderness and BMR plus is your basal metabolic rate plus the calories burned for exercise calories burnt for temperature maintenance which can increase your calorie burn by 40 up to 40 percent and altitude so if you happen to be at a higher altitude you're burning more calories so BMR plus is generally about 4,000 kilocalories Plus in a cold tough survival situation or on a Wilderness Expedition simple way to get a rough idea of calorie usage in cold tough conditions is to use those simple formula 57 kilocalories per kilogram so a 91 kilogram or 200 pound person would be 5187 kilocalories that's roughly 2.5 times the calories used while sitting around at your home so you're going.
Oh wow that's burning a lot more calories remember that you need to consume more calories than you use each day of a survival situation gaining large amount of weight or fat will not help you that much why because if you gain large amounts of weight it makes walking, Bushcrafting, fishing, trapping, hunting and forging far harder a little bit extra weight. Yeah made handy but only a little bit extra that's it more muscle will also help you so that's how it works fasting is a medium-term solution. 20 to 25 days shortfall in calories is starvation. So for a little while I can fast and then there'll be a drop and essentially after that it's starvation and starvation will lead to medium term and long-term damage to your body and eventual death. If you want to learn a little bit more about that take my survival course seminar online in the physiology section we'll go into that in detail. That's part of what we cover in that course.
So other elements needed for survival so you need to find and identify the mineral vitamins and the minerals you're going to need and you'll need to find those sources so that's number one and two so these are the elements we just need this for survival plants will supply you a few calories but are still maybe important because they may give you vitamins and minerals as well organs from fish small game and large game, i.e the heart, liver and kidneys can be a central source of vitamins and minerals.
Interestingly enough take a look at that example that's a moose liver nutritional example for a mere 100 grams of moose liver 155 calories five grams of fat four percent of your sodium 38% of your iron, 43% of your phosphorus 43% of your zinc 310% of your copper 70% of your vitamin B6 315% of a daily requirement of your vitamin B2 and then it gets kind of weird and scary. 2958% of your vitamin B12 and 3,200% of your vitamin A. Plus of course many other vitamins and minerals in lesser quality quantities.
So what's going to happen one of the problems we have is look at that thirty two hundred percent of vitamin A that's by that can lead to vitamin A poisoning it's simply too much of a good thing now um that's 100 grams of moose liver 32,000% of your daily vitamin A. Now remember that the average moose liver is between 4,500 grams or 10 pounds and 6,800 grams or 15 pounds. So it would not be necessary to eat more than 50 grams of moose lever daily and it would give you a hundred days of essentially vitamin pills if you could be successfully in keeping it from rotting. So a little teeny bit of that moose liver every single day would be a big thing.
So what else well number three is salt and a source beyond sea water is something that you'll need to find if you're strand. If you're not stranded in the ocean. If you're stranded the ocean then you have sea water and you're fine right. How about fat the best most common fast sources you can find now what are the most common for us in the Northern boreal or montane Forest. Moose, black bear and if we're on the coast seal. But there's other things around and you need to find those and we'll talk a little bit about some of the stuff where you might be able to do that and lastly is protein so you need to identify easy to fish trap and Hunt protein sources in the area quickly and if you can try to find them with at least five percent plus fat. So the more fat in that protein the better off you are to be hunting, fishing or trapping.
It so I'll give you a few examples. Not a lot of examples but a few examples. So we will start with the Grouse. Now Grouse males about 500 calories females about 400 calories and a mere one gram of fat. Now of course that will change by season so sometimes you might get a little bit more fat in that animal and a few more calories squirrel one 433 calories and 10 grams of fat so as such squirrel hunting might be better than grouse hunting a mouse a mere 30 to 35 calories and less than a gram of fat not much moose meat now that's an interesting thing so 500 grams or a pound of moose meat will give you 463 calories and only 7 grams of fat but Moose is actually really good why because along with moose meat you also have moose fat to 500 grams or a pound of it will give you 4,200 calories and 500 grams of fat so moose fat is incredibly useful moose meat is not bad and if you have a moose of course you still eat the meat. But the Moose fat is the most important part of it.
How about trout well there's a 10 inch trout right a 10 inch trout how about a half a pound 282 calories and 14 grams of fat. So you go yeah that's pretty good enough I eat everything in it. I could get it again a little bit more of that in terms of calories and minerals muscles 500 grams or a pound of mussels more calories 390 calories but only 10 grams of fat. Crickets you want to eat 12 crickets, that'll give you a 100 grams or a cup of crickets 384 calories but only 5.5 grams of fat. So they're diminishing down when you talk about fats.
How about bullied mushrooms why the bull eat mushroom why did I point it out as a specific mushroom because it's the class of mushrooms that are the easiest for people to identify correctly and the least likely to poison you so as mushrooms goes that's the one I pick right so a hundred grams or one cup of mushrooms only 32 calories and .001 grams of fat so mushrooms and butter are a great source of calories butter is also a great source of calories right seaweed 100 grams or one cup of seaweed which is a fair amount of seaweed only 45 kilocalories and only one gram of fat so they're a pretty low calorie snack blueberries so I had two handfuls or a couple blueberries you go wow that's fantastic to eat but it only gives you 82 calories and less than a gram of fat lingonberry same thing two big handful or a cup of lingonberries a little bit better 124 calories and 0.7 grams of fat so what's the problem with the berries they're nutritious they don't have a lot of calories and more importantly they don't have a lot of fat so they're nice to collect when they don't take out many calories to collect.
So total calories so a 2,000 kilocalories per day times 100 days you're going to require 20,000 calories which is equivalent to 22.5 kilograms or 50 pounds of fat if you're going to carry it in with you for 4,000 which is much more likely for us four thousand kilocalories a day for 100 days 400,000 kilocalories or 45 kilograms or 100 pounds of fat. Now if I took Lard with me which is rendered pig fat I could get a 4,073 calories for 453 grams or a pound if I took ghee which is clarified butter it's a little better at 4,170 kilocalories flour though drops really significantly 1651 calories and again 100% carbs if I go for Rice I only get 590 calories. So it's a low-calorie snack right. For a pound of that or 453 grams same amount of sugar more calories 1,755 but it's a hundred percent carbs. It's all simple sugars and way less than the fats.
So if I'm going to take something obviously Ghee or clarified butter would be my choice. Now if I was burning 6,000 calories a day well I need 600,000 calories so during a hundred days on the land you this is important you will need to either carry in fish trap hunt or forage 100 or 400,000 plus kilocalories to thrive successfully notice I put that in red to thrive successfully I want to thrive I'm going to look at 4,000 calories a day and that's a lot.
So let's take an example because we always say hey we're going to we're going to um big game because this is what's going to do the trick for us right well 136 gram a kilogram or a 300 pound male black bear 33 is normally usable which would give you a 44.9 kilograms or 99 pounds that will achieve 69 595 kilocalories of which 12 will be fat so it does meet that criteria of over five percent fat so it's going to be good eating but it's not more than it's only 70,000 calories. Now if you learn to harvest and use the entire animal you will get a brighter percentage of the black bear maybe up to about 50 hopefully close to a 100,000 kilocalories. Now bigger black bear because this is like a 136 kilogram black bear it's a fairly small black bear bigger black bear killed just before or early in hibernation which usually is illegal would lead to more weight and a greater percentage of fat so you could gain more if you had a bigger Black Bear right but it's going to be a big challenge.
So with a land mass of 9.1 million square kilometers Canada is the second largest country in the world. So with that we ask how long versus how good. Well it's totally environment dependent and take a look at those two pictures of the Boreal forest. They're very vastly different for us even though they're the same Eco region in Canada or Ecozone.
So take a look at this map this shows you the northern Boreal or montane forests of Canada is the big swath in the middle that is the areas where we have a chance of surviving for 100 days now remember the less biomass in our area the less plants the less fish in the last game and as we travel farther north or farther upper in elevation we get less biomass so as you get into the mountains in the taiga cordillera and the Northern end of the Yukon and the Northwest Territories you are going to get an area where the biomass is going to be incredibly thin when you get onto the fringes of the Boreal forest you will also have that same problem last biomass means less chance of surviving over 25 day days and even getting into the long term so how long versus how good we need to be well what does it depend on number one is your location along with available biomass and available fish small game large game and edible plants. If you're going to use those four areas to acquire your food what's available that's going to make a difference along with the season.
Season is going to be heavily dependent and then the last thing I said I talk about it again for a moment which is the cell of survival so the cell of survival is going to make a difference and that is going to be the science equipment skill and luck so luck is sadly going to have a little bit to do with how well you're going to survive and if you took in your equipment a hundred pounds of fat as one of your excellently chosen pieces of equipment you'd be better off but that's not always an option if you want to learn a little bit more of that you can see my video of the SSEL of Fire Lighting on YouTube. You can again take my two-day Online Survival Core Seminar for more information on this subject we'll talk a little bit more about the SSEL of survival and explain it a little bit better. So you need to be smart and Innovative and as you starve you get Dumber. So this is going to be a challenge you need to travel and explore the area you're living in to find the resources so that if there's a location what's really there not what you happen to be in the one spot where you're stranded but what when you walk out a kilometer when you walk out two kilometers. What do you find? What do you see? What's better? What's worse?
So the environment is truly neutral to our survival. So What can go wrong if you get stranded out there what's the big things that we can think about well number one would be you die in the short term yeah so that's one thing that can go wrong along with you take a silly chance later and die so those are the two top big ones you learn the wrong skills for the environment so you decided you could fish and there's no fish right you underestimated the skills needed or how tough survival is in the environment. In other words it's great to be able to do something in my workshop can I replicate that at 40 below when you do not consume enough calories each day. Yeah that's called starvation.
You do not get food from multiple food sources so you rely on one food source you know be able often we hear about this from Rapid poisoning right which would be protein poisoning in reality but any one food source is going to be a problem you do you eat too much protein so more than 25 of your daily diet is protein your body is just going to inject that and it's going to be and it's and it's going to burn calories good calories consuming that food because about 20 percent of the calories goes into digestion. So you're going to lose that and it's going to be good calories you lose and then getting rid of that extra protein.
You waste effort on overbuilding your shelter right we talked about that earlier death by Log Cabin building. You practice poor hygiene and sanitation. So in other words you don't keep yourself. You don't wash up you don't change your underwear. You don't wash your underwear and go back and forth and wash your clothing and all the stuff that makes a big difference. You know brush your teeth and you just end up getting sick and you do not think long term when it comes to Tool and clothing selection or you destroy items that you should have had or need for later.
So learn, train, innovate and try to avoid. So I try to avoid 100 days in the wilderness but I have to learn and train and innovate if I have any chance of doing this. So that asks us then the question is it possible.
Well I've often said in the world of survival you cannot cheat by carrying it nor is losing an option. So if losing isn't on an option then it's got to be possible and then it comes to the fact that a well-fed brain is an incredible tool to help your survival and a starving brain is an anvil you're caring about while trying to survive. So I mean I need the calories to feed the brain.
So the question comes up is it really possible yes any hundred day challenge will be tough so just get over that you need to be smart resourceful and innovative you need to understand the science of survival really well you need to learn a lot of skills very well so there's a large skill set we talked about it 16 slides of it saying hey here is the skill set you need to start to learn and then you have to figure out which ones you're going to prioritize you cannot rely on just one food acquisition skill set of fishing, trapping, hunting, and forging. It doesn't matter how good at hunting you are, what's your second skill set it doesn't matter how good a Fisher you are.
What's your second skill set you need to bring proper equipment enough supplies to build multiple projects and replace gear along the way so you need to be able to do repair work and you'll need to learn sewing and all the rest of that goes with that and Bushcrafting skills teaches you a lot of that so good Bushcrafting becomes important you should bring rations my recommendation is I'm going to bring rations in the wilderness for survival I want fat infused with vitamins minerals and salts and I use most of it to get through the first 25 days while exploring the area building your shelter setting up your trap lines hunting blinds and fishing systems so I would use that energy up building my infrastructure so I can live the rest of the time if you are smart you would bring more than yourself the more people you have the greater the skill set and the more person power your group has and the better safety backup because now there's someone to do first aid for you.
So what would I take well number one I would take my 15 critical items you can see my book Canadian Wilderness Survival, my article on boreal.net and on this YouTube channel for more information about the 15 critical items but that's what I take I would take that's why I have that list number two a hundred pounds of vitamin and minerals salt and Foods D which is clarified butter this would allow me 4 000 plus kilocalories per day in addition to my fishing trapping small game in a hunting small game to supply my protein needs so there means there is no chance of protein poisoning No Lack of calories No Lack of fat no lack of salt and no vitamin or mineral deficiencies in my diet at all I would also supplement it with what well with edible plants mushrooms and berries if and when available absolutely I would not be doing that I would certainly be doing that and lastly number three another skilled survival practitioner even if this reduced my 4,000 calories to 2,000 calories to share our food a second person would be worth it because I would have a second set of hands another set of well-developed wilderness skills and someone else to do first aid on my me, which should be handy.
So judging a successful Wilderness Journey so over the years movies documentaries newscasts and TV series have often highlighted the drama suffering and incidents seen during one's personal long-term Journey Into the Wilderness do you ever hear about survival situations Wilderness Expeditions or Journeys that have little or no problems many consider a successful Expedition simple or the journeyers lucky if they had few problems drama arguments if you understand how hard it is to keep a long-term Wilderness Journey successful get along with your companions while your body and brain are under stress and often slowly starving an example of this can be seen by searching the world wide web for Explorations Odyssey Life of a River Expedition with a bit of looking you'll find this article.
I wrote about my 90-day canoe Odyssey on the Rivers and Lakes of Canada in 1989 as part of a six-person team from the University of Alberta's outdoor education program. Now we crossed half of North America in three small canoes with no Shore support and before satellite safety nets even existed. Canoeing from Rocky Mountain House Alberta on the edge of the Rocky Mountains to Lake Superior Shores on the U.S Canada border. We worked hard together as a team to make long-term Wilderness Journeys successful and safe. We were burning more calories than we consumed for at least the last 30 days and it simply meant we were starving on three meals a day. This Expedition got little attention uh during our journey or afterwards on our successful return home from the shores of Lake Superior.
It was played down by many some who should have known better, but instead said it must have been easy or it could not have been a challenge because it involved five women and one man. Since we were successful ending up together as a group of lifelong friends in a small circle of smiles and hugs on the shore of Lake Superior. It meant that our story was not as dramatic as other stories this Expedition ended up being ignored by other less successful drama-filled Wilderness Expeditions or Journeys. These have become a larger part of our Collective idea of a Wilderness Journey.
So remember anyone who Journeys in the wilderness for the long term has a real story to tell if you travel with little or no food into the Canadian wilderness you need the skills to thrive not just survive so understand it's thriving we want to learn to do in the Canadian wilderness so if you like this life-saving knowledge you find on this channel then please support me by liking this channel sharing this video buying a copy of Canadian Wilderness Survival and following me on Twitter and at the Boreal Wilderness on Facebook. So thank you stay safe and if you're stranded in the wilderness then remember just STOP & SURVIVE.
- Survival Core Seminar [2-Day Online Course]
- Complete Wilderness Survival [5-Day Field Course]
- Spring Mountain Survival Course [5-Day Field Course]
- Length of Survival Situations