It's the middle of winter in the canyons of Utah, and you're miles from anywhere. All you have is a mountain bike you can't ride, a flint stick, and a multi-tool. You don't have any food or water. You've got seven days. Can you survive?
Les Stroud is a survival expert. In the past, he has traveled across the globe from above the arctic circle to the swamps of southern Georgia. His compliment of equipment for each excursion consists of a multi-tool or swiss army knife, a few random items such as a few cashew peanuts or a third of an old energy bar, a back pack, and the clothes on his back.
Oh yeah, and two hard cases loaded down with 50 pounds of cameras, batteries, and microphones.
Stroud doesn't go into the wild with a camera crew in tow, he does it all by himself. Set into the bush with as few items as possible, he must survive for seven days, and film it too.
Survivorman is a Canadian show that has caught on with viewers of The Discovery Channel, and the Science Channel. So much so that Discovery partnered with Stroud for a one-hour special called "Surviving Urban Disasters", where he finds himself in a large set built exactly like a single story home that gradually floods. With his survival experience combined with a clever never-panic-always-think attitude, he shows the rest of us how we can better our odds when things get bad.
Did you know that Frito corn chips can be used as short lasting candals, wicks, or fire starters in a pinch? Try it yourself, they contain so much oil that they will burn for over a minute.
Ever wondered how to make a paiute deadfall out of rocks and sticks, or rabbit snares out of wiring torn from plane wreckage? Sparks from a battery and a little bit of gas will get a fire going in no time. Don't have either? No problem. Three pieces of shaped wood and a boot lace will do the trick for a friction burn.
There are always priorities when you're trying to survive in the bush. If you were lost, hungry, and thirsty, would your first thought turn towards setting out to find your way home? Wrong move according to the expert. Your first priority should be to find a good place to camp for the coming night. Build your shelter, start a fire, and resign yourself to being stuck until daylight. You could easily freeze to death even in moderate climates if you get wet and have no shelter.
There were only nine episodes of Survivorman produced during its intial run, with Stroud filming, editing, and scoring the series all by himself. Often times he would be dropped off by a helicopter, others he would simulate accidents such as an overturned canoe that gets washed down stream.
Les isn't your average survival type, though. He's not ex-military, nor is he obsessed with living off nature. But make no mistake, the man is a survival expert that you can learn a heck of a lot from.
The new season of Survivorman is set to air sometime in Feb of next year, probably on Discovery. You can catch reruns of season one on the Science Channel on Wednesdays and at random times during the week as well. With Discovery's newly themed Survival Friday (Man vs. Wild, I Shouldn't Be Alive), you can expect Survivorman to pair up soon.
Check out this short interview with the man himself, and ask yourself this: If you managed to catch a rabbit in the Canadian forest in winter, would you only eat the meat, or the whole thing?
According to Les, if you don't eat the whole rabbit, bones, brains, everything but the intestines and stomach I'm sure, you'll die of protein starvation.