Thursday, October 01, 2015


[Nyerges is the author of “How to Survive Anywhere” and has led wilderness trips since 1974.  He can be reached at Box 41834, Eagle Rock, CA 90041, or]

            A friend and I were talking, and he said, “I’d really like to see a book that tells you how to survive with next to nothing, as if you had just survived a hurricane or a tsunami.” 
            “Really?” I responded. “Well, I wrote that book, and it’s called ‘How to Survive Anywhere’.”
            “Oh, that’s right,” my friend responded. “I forgot that it tells you how to start again if you’ve lost just about everything.  And I’d also like to see a book that just tells you how to live more reliantly, and be more self-sufficient.”
            “Really?”  I said. “Well, I wrote that book too. It’s ‘How to Survive Anywhere’.”  My friend laughed, and told me that he had my book on his shelf for 6 months but hadn’t actually read it.
            “Yeah, George,” I told him, “the book is worthless if you don’t read it. You want the information in your head, not in the pages.”
            So the reason that “How to Survive Anywhere” can be useful in the city when you’re trying to be more self-reliant, and in the wilderness where you have nothing, and in a rural environment, is because I grouped the book by major categories,  not specific scenarios.
            I address the major concerns with water and how to store it and purify it. I address wild food in nature, how to grow food and what to grow, and how to store food. I deal with shelters, clothing, electricity, fire, weapons, tools, and more, always focusing both on high-tech as well as primitive.
            I began to quiz my friend with some of the material in my book. Here are some of the questions I asked him:
Q: What is the Water Purification “Rule of Three”?
Q: What is the universal method of water purification?
Q: What is the most widely ignored “water source” for urban dwellers?
Q: If your car breaks down in a remote area, what are four EASY ways to make a fire?
Q: Aside from a butane lighter, what is the best single device you can carry for making fire?
Q: How do you make a fire from reading glasses?
Q: How can you sterilize water in the sun?
Q: If you have no water and no soap, what is the best way to “stay clean”?
Q: What are the two items everyone should ALWAYS carry?
Q: What is the single worst item of “men’s clothing”?
Q: What is the single worst item of “women’s clothing?”
Q: What is a simple ways to make a pack for carrying things?
Q: What are the 3 common kitchen foods that are fantastic first aid medicines?
            We had a great discussion with these and several more questions, and it’s really the same material that I teach in my college course.
            Yes, I hope you get the book and read the answers, but here they are in a nutshell:
Filter, settle, and boil.  Boil. Rain. Use the battery with jumper cables, the cigarette lighter, the flare, and the reflector around the headlamp.  A magnesium fire starter. Use them like a magnifying glass. Put a quart of water in a glass jar for four hours in the sun.  Do a dry wash with a soft brush.  Knife and fire-starter.  The tie. High heels. Tie up a pair of long pants so that the legs become the straps. Lemon, garlic, and vinegar.  OK?

            If you have questions or comments, please write.

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