Les Stroud, the award-winning host and producer of the Canadian TV show “Survivorman,” knows how to pack for any outdoor adventure. “I’m very specific about what I bring so that it caters exactly to the particular trip,” he says.
Be prepared, not pessimistic
He recommends that all campers and hikers be just as prepared as he is. “You just never know when things are going to go wrong,” he says. “I’m not suggesting we all be fatalistic about how we adventure or even go downtown. However, most of us are completely unprepared for even the slightest bit of difficulty. Make sure you have plan B and C worked out.”
He also warns outdoor adventurers to be aware of the biggest risks they face. “Exhaustion and sleep deprivation creep up on you, and you start making very bad decisions without even realizing it. Another is what I call the ‘I’ve got this’ syndrome. If you’re not careful, your arrogance will cause you to make choices that put you in an incredibly precarious position — one that could end up being fatal.
Leave your ego at home
Even Stroud hasn’t been immune to hubris. “The most dangerous situations were when I nearly succumbed to heat stroke in the Kalahari and the time I nearly gave myself hypothermia in Norway. Both happened because I got cocky and thought ‘I got this!’”
So what skill should everyone have before heading out? “Know how to get a fire going anytime, anywhere, in any kind of weather or circumstance.”
Stroud believes, even if it takes some work to be outdoor-ready, it’s worth it. “Nature is the elixir of life. A connection to it is, or should be, our baseline.”
Liane Bonin Starr, [email protected]