CREEK STEWART ON URBAN AND RURAL SURVIVAL
PART 2 OF AMERICAN SURVIVAL GUIDE’S EXCLUSIVE THREE-PART INTERVIEW WITH SURVIVAL INSTRUCTOR AND AUTHOR CREEK STEWART
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://engagedmediamags.com/outdoor/ 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!
“WE NEVER KNOW WHAT HAND WE’LL BE DEALT AND SHOULD BE PREPARED TO CONFRONT ALL POSSIBILITIES.”
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.