Sunday, October 08, 2006

Extreme Survival (Continued)

Extreme Survival

Ray Mears is, along with Michael Palin, who I’ve already mentioned on this blog, someone who has travelled to many extreme places in the world.

He has also developed the skills required to survive in them. I dug out my copy of Ray Mears’ Bushcraft, which is an excellent read. Ray has published a number of books on extreme survival, which make interesting reading. I doubt I will ever be in a position to put some of the advice to the test – although you never know !


Surviving in the Arctic means dressing for dry cold and protection from moisture.

In very low temperatures, some modern fabrics will stiffen and lose their performance.

Footwear must match the activity you are taking part in.

Ray reckons that wool underwear is best, particularly Ullfrote fabrics.

Watch out for frostbite.

Some questions that you might like to try to find the answers for

  • How do you find drinking water when all the moisture is frozen ? Should you eat snow to get water ?
  • What is a quinze ?
  • What letter shape should a snow hole be dug as ?
  • Why is a koodlik useful when you have an igloo ?

Ray also mentions an interesting (and rather alarming) rule of thumb: if you travel for 15 minutes on a snowmobile, it will take you 24 hours to walk the same distance without snowshoes.


The priority here is water and avoiding dehydration and the effects of heat.

It’s also important to get shelter from the ceaseless sun.

Some questions that you might like to try to find the answers for:

  • Why might a kghoa keep you alive ?
  • What is a wikkiup ?

Watch out for repeats of Ray Mears programmes on UKTV channels. They are on fairly frequently, and make great resources to use in the classroom as students relate to Ray’s style, and appreciate the landscapes that he travels through.

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