You might have sat around with your friends one Friday evening, drinking beers and talking about women or sports or some other topic that piques men’s interest the most, and perhaps the topic about what you might do if you ever faced the daunting challenge of facing the ultimate survival test comes up. Bravado will always rule the roost during these times of testosterone and beer muscles, but take a moment and think about it in a greater context.
What if you and your friends put together the ultimate survival challenge? You could organize it for bragging rights, or put money into a pot and the winner heads home with the entire bundle. You could even look into doing for a worthy charitable cause. There are countless individuals in just about every community from coast to coast who are facing true tests of survival and this could be a wonderful way to bring much needed attention to their plight; not to mention some financial resources.
The ultimate survival challenge with an asterisk
When talking about survival challenges, these aren’t simple games to be taken lightly. These are serious endeavors into the wide open wilderness, equipped with the bare essentials. A canteen of water, perhaps, a knife, and a few other provisions. Survival is about making it through the great outdoors, into the wild, with very little at your disposal and while it’s fun to talk about, it’s not necessarily easy to do if you’ve never done it.
The best advice one could offer if you choose to put together an ultimate survival challenge is to enlist the guidance and leadership of professional survivalists. These are men and women who take outdoor survival seriously and know the hazards, common pitfalls, and important elements of survival.
Choose a weekend, or a week
You might not have much faith in your friends to make it through a weekend, let alone a single night, but you might also be completely surprised. Decide on how much time you want to test your friends, or to set out for the survival challenge. Summertime is generally the best time, and the safest since the nighttime temperatures won’t generally dip too low to be of any real danger to one’s health.
It’s also the best time that people have to take vacation or get away from work and the family to take part in this.
Find the right location
A professional survivalist will know the most ideal locations within your area to take part in this challenge. They will know the geography, and should keep the terrain to a minimal –you don’t want anyone of your participants to become injured trying to navigate rough terrain. They will also know the vegetation and animal life that is most common within these areas.
Have a ‘base’ camp
The best situation that you can create is a safe and enjoyable one. If no one within your group has much more than the most basic survival skills, then it’s best to hire a professional to accompany your group as they head out to see who has the biggest … ahem … chance for survival. This individual will most likely set up what is known as a ‘base camp.’ This will be their location, generally in the center of the region. They will know where each individual participant will be heading and can check on them in the evening and again in the morning, just to make sure that everything is okay.
You’ll find that often the most outrageous member of your group, the one that talks to toughest and brags about what he has done in the past in the woods will also be the first one to fold his cards and head on in. Talking about survival is one thing; actually doing it is something completely different.
Nothing like home
We often get too attached to the amenities of home and forget the most basic art of survival. This doesn’t mean that if you’ve never spent a night in the woods that you won’t have any chance to survive a challenge like this, but you have to go in with the mindset that peeing in the woods is a lot different than having to do number two, especially when there is no toilet paper handy. One common mistake –and one that can be very costly for days and days- is grabbing the wrong type of leaf for this purpose. Poison ivy and poison oak have a distinct appearance!
Okay, so your ultimate survival challenge can be the talk of your group of friends for the rest of your lives. If it works out the way it should, then it will be something you all do every year and you’ll find that everyone takes it much more seriously the second time. Survival in this light can be a game, but in the real world, it will save your life.