Why Learn Skills

John Elden Gibbons

Disclaimer: No one can guarantee you anything in life.

An ancient hunter is walking along a frozen pond. He falls in through the ice and loses his gear. Luckily, he pulls himself out and roles in the snow. He is miles from home and the temperature is 20 below zero. His reindeer hide clothing are soaking wet. They will help insulate him from the cold, even wet. But, he has spent to much time in the cold water. He needs fire to warm him. Soon, he will fall into unconscious and die. He has lost his bow drill to make a fire and must make one or find fire stones. Now he is trembling and his mind is starting to shut down. He needs shelter and then fire. He is battling against the time it will take to find materials, build a shelter and craft a bow drill.

Seem far fetched? This example has played itself out many times in the history of man, even today with modern tools. We are born naked into the world. We are clothed and fed by our parents or other adults. As we grow up we are trained in the ways of the world. For ancient man this is also true. He or she was trained to use the natural world to survive. Ancient people lived close to the land. They made equipment and carried that equipment with them. If torn from that equipment they found themselves in a survival situation. Our ancient ancestors would have to make new tools and were still at the mercy of required needs.

Breathing, Shelter (fire), Water, Food. These are the needs that all people must provide for to live. The urgency of need for each item can vary depending on the environment and our general health. The U.S. military even came up with a way to remember these needs. They are called, “The Rule of Threes“.

The Rule of Threes says

you can live

3 minutes without air,

3 hours without shelter,

3 days with out water and

3 weeks without food.

You can not last without air or may need first aid in the fist 3 minutes in an emergency. Shelter needs will depend upon the temperature and the environment. With wind chill and cold, you could die in under three hours from hypothermia (loss of heat). Fire is part of the shelter process and will help change the environment and shelter temperature.

Most experts agree that we can not live much more then three days without water. It is possible to live without food for several weeks. Eventually you will starve to death. The problem is that within a week or so you will become too week to provide for yourself or worse in some cases. This is one reason you need to learn to gather wild food and game.

The Order of priority is (What you do in order)

1) Positive mental attitude

2) First Aid

3) Shelter

4) Fire

5) Signaling

6) Water

7) Food

8) Wrap these steps in Navigation and preparation *

  • Good navigation and being prepared with the right clothing, gear and knowledge will give you the edge.

At each step you like ancient man must have the skills to craft shelter, gather and find water, gather food and / or navigate out of the situation. We come into this world with nothing. Along the way we gain skills. The only way to learn these skills is to be taught them. You can learn them by reading a book, taking a class or learning from a video and then practice. You must practice to make sure that you truly have the skills you need, when you need them.

When will you need these skills? That is the Million dollar question. If a Million is what your life is worth. I think its probably worth more. If you are traveling in a plane and it goes down you may need these skills, If you are in a car miles from people or hiking and find yourself stranded due to an accident or becoming lost you may need these skills. Many a simple hike has turned into tragedy.

The reality is that you can learn the skills you need. It is also, necessary to practice. Practice can be done in a controlled and safe way. The skills build quickly. However, the most important thing is to learn how to avoid situations that will put you in harms way. If you are placed in harms way by circumstances, knowing the process and having these skills could save your life or a family members life.

The ancient man from the story will live another day. He finds material to make a shelter. This brings his temperature up enough for him to work on a hand drill. He finds a polypore (tree fungi) for tinder and will get a fire started. It could have gone the other way had he not built shelters and tools many times before. How would you do?