No one ever starts the day thinking, “I’ll go for a drive, flip my vintage, top-heavy Isuzu Trooper into a canyon and spend the next three days trying not to drink my own urine to survive.” But, sometimes, that’s what happens. Here’s a little Rooster pseudo-education that may or may not decrease your odds of becoming a sad headline.

No one ever starts the day thinking, “I’ll go for a drive, flip my vintage, top-heavy Isuzu Trooper into a canyon and spend the next three days trying not to drink my own urine to survive.” But, sometimes, that’s what happens. Here’s a little Rooster pseudo-education that may or may not decrease your odds of becoming a sad headline.


It’s one of the leading killers of folks who find themselves mysteriously wandering through the woods at night, naked and tattooed with strange symbols. It begins when a person’s core temperature drops below 96 degrees Fahrenheit. It’s not hard to do. Even prolonged exposure to 60-degree weather without proper clothing can lead to hypothermia, causing symptoms including apathy, confusion, incognizance and impaired problem-solving ability, which is just great in these situations. Layering clothing definitely helps, but only to a certain degree. Cotton, a hydrophilic fiber, loves moisture and becomes wet merely from exposure to humidity. Wet, it loses 90 percent of its insulative properties, so your best bet is to always have a few super-compact, lightweight space blankets packed in the back of your vehicle, or wallet. The inexpensive, polymer/ aluminum composite fabric reduces body heat lost through evaporation and convection, and it reflects up to 97 percent of all radiated infrared body heat. Plus you can look safely at solar eclipses through it while waiting to die.


It’s known as heat stroke, and it’s really not so bad unless you have something against brain damage. Technically, this occurs when your core temperature climbs to 101 degrees Fahrenheit, signaling a communication breakdown in the body’s thermoregulatory capabilities. Heat exhaustion begins to set in, followed by heat stroke and some pretty wild hallucinations. This is no bueno. By now, your brain is stewing inside su cabeza at about 103 to 106 degrees, causing you to speak poor Español intermittently, despite studying German in esquela. Assuming your deadly heat source is el sol, you can use the same space blanket that kept you warm the night before as a shelter to reflect any superfluous gamma radiation and death. Adding a tarp to the underside of the mylar will help redirect even more of Apollo’s glory back into the heavens. In the process, not only have you saved yourself from becoming a human California raisin, but you’ve also countered a little global warming.

Animal Attack

All animals look cute on the television — lions, bears, dung beetles — but in real life, some of them would rather eat your face than let you pet them. Without military-grade weaponry or the proper tools, your best chance for fighting off predatory animals in the wild depends on the animal. With mountain lions, making yourself as large as possible and standing your ground is supposed to ward off the killer beasts. Similarly, with certain bears, making oneself appear larger while slowly backing away, is supposed to work. However, no survival guide has any advice on how to ward off vultures picking out the eyes of your mauled corpse once these tactics prove ineffective. Thus, having an angry supply of bear mace will not only give you a fighting chance against most predatory wildlife, but it’s also really great on tacos when you’re out of Frank’s Red Hot.


Adequately hydrated, human beings can survive for as long as an extraordinary 35 to 40 days without food before severe starvation symptoms begin. In fact, you’ll likely die of dehydration 10 times over long before lack of nutrition kills you. Foods that are high in protein require more water to process and flush out of the body than carbohydrate-specific nutrition, thus dehydrating you more quickly. Packing high-carb snack bars even for a day-long journey is far more beneficial than carrying pepperoni and protein bars. In the most severe cases of wilderness starvation, people have been known to try and eat their clothing to survive. While synthetic polymers and the cellulose nature of cotton fibers make them indigestible, leather is edible, to some extent. So, if you’re truly in a bind and have eaten everyone else around you, you may be able to consume your boots, wallet or purse, but the chemicals in the curing and dying process will likely shut down some essential, major organ. Either way, you’ll come out of this tragedy with a killer movie deal and an incredible new diet plan.


Aside from being a great tool for roasting the squirrels you caught on day 22 of your misadventure, fire remains an efficient means of signaling help as well as fending off frostbite. With adequate sunlight and a little playground technology, you can raise tinder to its kindling point in moments with a small magnifying glass or a compact fresnel lens. “Strike anywhere” matches dipped in candle wax for waterproofing, a nine-volt battery scrubbed against steel wool or a crack lighter are all acceptable ignition sources for fire. Having a properly designed tinderbox is key for starting fires in harsh environments or igniting stubborn materials like your hiking buddy’s corpse. Preparing a kit at home is simple and efficacious. In a compact, watertight container, collect and tightly bundle copious amounts of cotton lint from the dryer (polymer fibers retreat from a flame before reaching the kindling point). Add some packaged cotton balls swabbed in Vaseline, a magnesium bar and striking blade, charcloth, a fresnel lensnand hydrocodone (for the second-degree burns), and you’re set to start a devastating wildfire.


It begins when your body’s intake of water is lower than the amount it loses through evaporation, perspiration and heavy mouth breathing. Most of us have encountered mild dehydration after substituting vodka and bourbon for water over a killer weekend. In the wild, replenishing your vital liquids is tricky. You don’t want to drink just any old water, but then you don’t want to die of acute dehydration just because your water source was brown. Carrying personal water filtration systems or iodine pills for water decontamination is intelligent, even on short excursions. Given the opportunity, one of the best ways to rehydrate in extreme situations is to consume carbonated water, as the gas pressure from the carbonation shoots the liquid past the stomach into the large intestine where it is readily absorbed. Adding non-aspirin-fortified Alka Seltzer tablets to a survival kit will turn ordinary water into something that rehydrates while killing the indigestion from the foul mess you just mixed it with.


Taking responsibility for one’s own survival in wilderness rescue situations is what distinguishes victims from survivors. Being able to communicate your distress and location will expedite your rescue, and depending on the method, may make you look like a badass instead of an idiot. Any type of obvious organization in a chaotic or natural environment, like palms on a beach or crop circles in Kansas, is a great way to signal for help when rescuers are searching overhead. Often wilderness accidents happen in densely foliated areas, so getting a signal “out there” is crucial. Fires in the wilderness may trigger a look by authorities, but to show distress, you may need a means of communicating a message, no matter how primitive. A rearview from a car or a mirror from a makeup case is perfect. Remove the backing from it if possible, and etch a bit of paint away from the center of the glass. Because the reflected sunlight has to hit your target, this will allow you to sight the persons or aircraft you want to signal. Using a distinct pattern of motion, you’ll either facilitate your own rescue or blind an innocent aviator right into the side of a mountain.