Last week was tough, I’m not gonna lie…
I spent the entire week off the grid. I didn’t have a cell phone with me. I didn’t have a tent or a sleeping bag either.
I slept about 2-3 hours every night, hiked as much as 24 miles a day, and ate very little throughout the week. When I stepped on the scale when I got home, I’d lost 8 pounds even though I was sure I’d lost a heck of a lot more.
In a moment, I’ll tell you why I went off the grid, but first, here are some lessons learned that you can hopefully use without having to torture yourself like I did:
- Going to the bathroom (#2) is never fun out in the wild. I spent the entire week using leaves to wipe my behind. Every morning when I needed to use the bathroom I dreaded it, but you do what you got to do. So, I highly recommend keeping a roll of toilet paper in every car you own in case you ever get stranded. Also, have some extra toilet paper stored in your house that is for emergencies only.
- I was about 10,000 feet up in the mountains of southern Utah. At night, it was freezing. Many nights, I would have to get up every 30 minutes and do jumping jacks and run in place just to keep warm. Like pooping in the woods, being cold is rather miserable. Make sure you have sleeping bags at home for every member of your family in case the grid goes down in the winter. Also, have some warm clothes in your vehicle. I’d also buy a propane camping heater for your home for emergencies (I own 4 of them.)
- A good survival knife is the most valuable item you can have with you. Since I went off the grid with almost no supplies, I didn’t have matches or a lighter with me. But, I was able to make a bow drill and have fire thanks to my knife. I also used my knife for a dozen other tasks (including making a spoon) and it never failed me once.
- Since I hiked more miles that I’d like to count, I found myself in different environments at night. And, some nights I had more materials to build a shelter than others. Wherever I found myself, one of the critical things I did before I went to bed was to put a layer of duff underneath me. Duff is anything you can find such as pine needles, leaves, bark – anything to put between you and the ground to help keep you warmer. One of the best nights of sleep I had was when I had about two feet of duff on the ground.
- The only way I knew where I was going was thanks to a paper map of the area, I didn’t have a GPS or any electronics with me. I encourage you to have a paper map of your area in your home and car in case you ever have to evacuate and you need to know alternate routes. The sad truth is, if I handed most 20-year-olds a paper map they’d have no idea how to use it.
- I lived off of mostly trail mix and oats. Like I mentioned earlier, I lost 8 pounds in a week. Remember, most people can survive 30 days without food so the human body is resilient. However, starving is never fun so make sure you’ve got plenty of food storage for your family so they can eat rather well in an emergency.
- The #1 most important aspect of survival is mental toughness. I have never been the fastest guy, the smartest, or the strongest, but I am one mentally tough son-of-a-gun. Of course, there were times that I wanted to quit last week but I knew I never would. It’s like when I was with the CIA going through training and there were big football player guys who threw in the towel but not me. So, you can have the best gear in the world and plenty of food, but if you’re not mentally tough you won’t last long.
When I got home Saturday night, I was grateful to take a shower and have a bed that didn’t consist of rocks or red ants. I also slept for 13 hours that night and ate an entire pizza.
If you asked me if I had fun last week, the answer would be a resounding no. However, life isn’t always supposed to be fun. I went off grid because I’m continually preparing and learning to better keep my family (and yours) safer.
Some work I do is more enjoyable (like testing a new gun) but unless I constantly push myself and do things I know 95% of people won’t, then I won’t be fully prepared for a true survival situation that is very likely to occur one day in the crazy times we live in.