Tomorrow I’m going for a 48 hour solo hike carrying a 20kg pack.  The weather forecast is for overcast conditions and high humidity 31ºC (88ºF) — so I’ll prepare accordingly.

But what if I didn’t know that muggy hot weather is perfect for dehydration and heatstroke, or that in cold weather the thing that will kill me quickest is moisture?

Where would I turn to for advice?  I could always read a book turn to the ultimate source of relable information known to man.  If nothing else, it will tell me what NOT to do.

The series ‘Man, Woman, Wild ‘ suggests appropriate clothing for the south coast of Tasmania begins with a plunge-bra, a versatile item also featured in their Chihuahuan Desert episode, where they might have used it to sling rocks at vultures circling overhead as she lay under a saltbush dying of heatstroke.  

I’m sure the survival-bra found a different use in every episode, but I couldn’t keep watching.


I’d also avoid Bear Gryll’s ‘Survival Island‘.

If you find yourself stranded with a group of whiny assholes, my advice is to steal a machete and a pot and strike out on your own. Because while you’re building a fire, collecting water, and constructing a shelter, the others will be swimming, braiding each other’s hair, and laying around groaning because they haven’t had a burger in 24 hours.  When you ask for some help with fire+water+shelter the whole group shouts “Who died and made you the boss??”

Leave them to their own fate.  They’ll be drinking each other’s pee within hours.  They learned that from Bear as well.


Totally avoid all of the ‘Celebrity Survivor‘ shows. I only ever watched in hope that somebody I disliked would die or lose a finger or something.

If you can put up with the sheer vapidity, you’re bound to see bewbs, because every stranded celebrity female remembers to pack a bikini and/or ubiquitous survival-bra.  You may also see celebrity penis.

My advice for the participants:  strike out on your own the first chance you get — and while you’re at it, steal everybody’s shoes.  My advice for everybody else, keep channel-surfing.


Do not put your faith in ‘Survivorman‘ or anything associated with Les Stroud. 

While he’s the man Bear Grylls could have been if the latter grew another four inches, Les sounds like someone who’s been gelded.  I want confidence-inspiring vocals.  Les knows his shit though, but that voice make me want to garrotte him in the night.  Maybe using a survival-bra.  In the morning it would be “See!” pointing at an imprint in poor Les’ neck “28F!! Krystal is the murderer!


While the premise of ‘Dual Survival‘ is interesting, their duality is flawed.  Joe Teti’s macho ex-military, hard-talking, alpha-male schtick is not the yin to Cody Lundin’s earth-mother, shoeless-hippy, nature-communing yang.

Both have undeniable survival skills. Working together, they are full of valuable information, but too much of the show is about them NOT working together.  That’s the false premise:  Watch two assholes argue when they should be digging a fire-pit, sort of thing.

I know they were both replaced in later series, but all I could think when watching Joe chasing a bunny through the snow was “You burned 5,000 calories to catch 1,000 kilojoules of meat…”


Out of the Wild: The Alaska Experiment” held my attention for a bit.  I like seeing big guys curl into whimpering balls because they can’t subsist on three berries and a one-fifth portion of muskrat every two days or so.

Instead, the wiry, older people survive and look on with clear frustration while the token bikini-model tosses her hair and blubs for the camera.

Of course the oldies will be going back to pumping gas in Buttf*ck, Idaho after the show, whereas survivor-bra girl is going straight onto the cover of GQ whether she wins or not. Dude, she may be stoo-pid but she’s not stupid.

That’s why she be smilin’.


While it’s not relevant to my hike tomorrow, the premise behind ‘The Colony‘ — that when the world ends, you’ll be shacked up with suspiciously useful people who can macgyver a generator out of a defunct tractor, or turn rotting pig carcasses into a bio-fuel generator — is a bit far-fetched.

Instead of an sexy electrical engineer in a singlet-top who can turn an empty coffee-can into a radio transmitter, or a bodacious ER nurse in a crop-top who can manufacture penicillin from fermented toenail clippings, aren’t you more likely to get stuck with assholes who steal your machete and shoes, and leave you in the lurch?

I hate people like that.

Alone in the Wild” is hilarious, but a sober reminder to be especially careful of advice received from any guy called Ed.

If you miss the last name, go back and check, because it could end in tears.  Ed Wardell’s slow psychological breakdown is triggered by the relentless hypothetical threat of bears.  It deranges his mind. But he does teach one useful wilderness lesson:  Cry less, stay hydrated.

In any case (for me), what a relief it was that he pulled the pin.

Value = zero.

The other Ed (Ed Stafford’s ‘Into the Unknown‘ series) is full of potential.  I say ‘potential’ despite the guy’s pinched head.  He has a proper deep voice.  But that head!  Luckily for the show, he’s aware of his flaws and employs the age-old technique of distraction by making us look at his buff physique.

But that head!

Finally, what I consider to the the quintessential survival show, and certainly the one with the most realistic premise. Take two totally average people and shove them into the godforsaken wilderness.  Let them grab one useful thing apiece, but other than that, nothing.  And when I say nothing, I mean NOTHING.

Voila, we have ‘Naked and Afraid‘ — no hiding from the mosquitos, the mud squelching between your toes, the thorns and sharp stones, the burning heat or the freezing cold.  This show messes folk up.  Adapt, overcome, survive — or don’t.

If I had one second to grab one thing, would it be a machete, a fire steel, or a pot?  Makes you really think, because these poor bastards have to deal with the consequences.

If that sounds awful, let me assure you it’s not all bad.  Given my failed attempts to lure my wife into the wilderness, the only mud I’ll be smearing is the protective layer I apply to myself before the mozzies come out.  Or I’ll just reach for the DEET.

Mind you, if she did come with me, I might just have to leave the insect repellent at home …

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