American Survival Guide - - TABLE OF CONTENTS - By Michael D’angona

Part two of ASG’S three-part chat with sur­vival in­struc­tor and au­thor Creek Ste­wart

Creek Ste­wart is a highly re­spected and well-known sur­vival in­struc­tor, au­thor, tele­vi­sion host and gear de­signer. For decades, he’s amassed thou­sands of hours of out­door ex­pe­ri­ence and fol­lowed his pri­mal quest for learn­ing the se­crets of deal­ing with Mother Na­ture in good times and bad.

In our first in­stall­ment, Creek shared what got him hooked on sur­vival skills and his early ex­pe­ri­ences. He also shared some lessons learned from mis­takes he made along the way. (If you missed it, you can get a copy of the Oc­to­ber is­sue of Amer­i­can Sur­vival Guide at https://en­gaged­me­dia­­door/ mag­a­zine-spe­cials/amer­i­can-sur­vival-guide.)

There is a great con­tra­dic­tion in the sur­vival world. In the ma­jor­ity of tele­vi­sion pro­grams, videos and ar­ti­cles out in the com­mu­nity, sur­vival tech­niques are taught in the deep­est forests, hottest deserts and most snow-cov­ered land­scapes across the lands. How­ever, the truth is that in the United States, nearly 81 per­cent of Amer­i­cans live in ur­ban and sub­ur­ban en­vi­ron­ments. This is a stag­ger­ing num­ber, when one con­sid­ers that if a ma­jor emer­gency oc­curs, peo­ple won’t be ini­tially scram­bling in the back­woods to sur­vive, they will ac­tu­ally be fight­ing for their lives in the con­crete jun­gle.

So, which form of sur­vival should take pri­or­ity?

Knowl­edge about both ru­ral and ur­ban sur­vival is an ab­so­lute ne­ces­sity. A per­son can’t pre­dict ex­actly where a cri­sis will oc­cur or take them, so it is very im­por­tant to un­der­stand not only the dif­fer­ences one would need to know, but also what is in­cred­i­bly sim­i­lar in both cir­cum­stances.

In this sec­ond of ASG’S three-part in­ter­view with sur­vival ex­pert Creek Ste­wart, he tack­les that very sub­ject. From his years as a hy­brid sur­vival­ist, he dis­sects both ar­eas of sur­vival—what meth­ods and tech­niques work for both; what ab­so­lutely needs to be adapted to your im­me­di­ate set­ting; and, most im­por­tantly, what you need to know to stay alive, no mat­ter where you are!


Amer­i­can Sur­vival Guide: Do you feel that when the “av­er­age Joe” thinks about sur­vival, the pic­ture of a camp­site with a tent and a fire nearby comes to mind? If so, how im­por­tant is it for some­one to re­al­ize that sur­vival in a city set­ting is a very real pos­si­bil­ity?

Creek Ste­wart: It is true that the words, “camp­ing” and “sur­vival,” are of­ten used in­ter­change­ably. They are, how­ever, very dif­fer­ent. There are three main dif­fer­ences. First, one sce­nario is planned, and the other is not. Camp­ing trips are sched­uled; sur­vival sce­nar­ios are al­most al­ways sud­den and un­ex­pected. Se­condly, in “sur­vival,” one rarely has im­me­di­ate ac­cess to ev­ery­thing he or she needs to meet ba­sic hu­man sur­vival needs. There is an el­e­ment of im­pro­vi­sa­tion and skill in ac­quir­ing ba­sic needs for a “sur­vival sit­u­a­tion” ver­sus a “camp­ing sit­u­a­tion.” Lastly, camp­ing trips have an end point. The end to a sur­vival sce­nario is un­cer­tain and, most of­ten, not un­der any­one’s con­trol. While a camp­ing trip can some­times re­sult in a sur­vival sce­nario (and has, for

many), a sur­vival sce­nario will never feel like, or morph into, a camp­ing trip.

If some­one lives in a large city and a large-scale nat­u­ral or man-made disas­ter strikes that city, a well-known and well-doc­u­mented phe­nom­e­non called “mass ex­o­dus” oc­curs. This is when many peo­ple try to evac­u­ate the city at the same time. It clogs all ma­jor ar­ter­ies lead­ing in and out of the city, some­times, for many days. The bot­tom line is this: If you live in a large city and a disas­ter strikes, you will very likely be sur­viv­ing in an ur­ban en­vi­ron­ment, at least for a few days. Even if you’re able to evac­u­ate, you’re still com­pet­ing with po­ten­tially tens of thou­sands of other evac­uees who are all headed in the same di­rec­tion and seek­ing the ex­act same lim­ited num­ber of sur­vival re­sources.

I have per­sonal friends who evac­u­ated from large-scale hur­ri­canes in Florida who could not find lodg­ing un­til north­ern Ge­or­gia. That’s over 10 hours of travel by ve­hi­cle with­out con­gested traf­fic.

ASG: What four items should be in ev­ery bug-out bag (BOB), no mat­ter where some­one lives?

CS: This boils down to what I call the “Core Four Sur­vival Pri­or­i­ties,” which are based on the very pop­u­lar no­tion that peo­ple can sur­vive for three hours with­out shel­ter, three days with­out wa­ter and three weeks with­out food. These four pri­or­i­ties are shel­ter, wa­ter, fire and food. With this in mind, if I had to pick the top four most im­por­tant BOB items, they would be:

1. Tent or other pack­able shel­ter sys­tem. Be­ing able to shel­ter from the el­e­ments while on the move is crit­i­cal if other lodg­ing is un­avail­able. A tent (or sim­i­lar shel­ter) al­lows you to do this in a very ef­fec­tive way.

2. Sawyer Mini Wa­ter Fil­ter. For the size, price and weight, there is no bet­ter fil­ter on the mar­ket for sourc­ing and fil­ter­ing wild wa­ter to use for hy­dra­tion and hy­giene.

3. Ferro rod fire-start­ing tool. A ferro rod al­lows a sur­vivor to start a fire in nearly any con­di­tion imag­in­able. With a flick of the wrist, it show­ers sparks of burn­ing metal that can be used to ig­nite vir­tu­ally any kind of flammable tin­der. Fire is es­sen­tial in al­most ev­ery sur­vival sce­nario.

4. Pro­tein/calo­rie bars (or sim­i­lar). The gro­cery mar­ket is flooded with an in­cred­i­ble as­sort­ment of calo­rie-dense en­ergy and pro­tein bars. While hu­mans can sur­vive for three weeks with­out food, get­ting it be­comes a driv­ing force for many after 24 hours. Hav­ing some “open and eat meals” on hand is a re­ally smart idea.

ASG: What as­pects of sur­vival are uni­ver­sal and not rel­e­vant to a per­son’s im­me­di­ate sur­round­ings?

CS: Again, this ques­tion cir­cles back to the

Core Four Sur­vival Pri­or­i­ties. At our core, all hu­mans need shel­ter, wa­ter and food. Fire is added to the mix be­cause it is so closely con­nected


Creek rec­om­mends read­ing Build the Per­fect Bug Out Bag— and why not? He wrote it to help pre­pare for what­ever the un­pre­dictable world hap­pens to throw at you. Above: Creek Ste­wart is fully equipped to tackle both ru­ral and ur­ban sur­vival sit­u­a­tions.

Bot­tom: Even a burned-out auto can pro­vide some use­ful ma­te­ri­als. Roof, hood and trunk pan­els can be used to build a shel­ter, for ex­am­ple. Be­low: There are no guar­an­tees out in the wild that you’ll be able to suc­cess­fully hunt, fish or, in this case, make a fire. Those who say they will “live off the land” might have made a big mis­take. Left: Panic might set in after the ini­tial de­struc­tion of a nat­u­ral or man­made disas­ter. It’s best to set­tle down, think through your next move, and then im­ple­ment your plan.

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