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Active Shooter Preparation

Active Shooter Preparation

Yesterday’s mass shooting in San Bernardino, California, at a center for people with disabilities which left 14 dead and 21 others injured, is a shocking tragedy which words cannot fully express.  Adding to my disbelief, though, was my surprise when reading this morning in The Washington Post about the details of the shooting. That is, it reports that, not only was this mass shooting in the California only the second one yesterday (there was an another in Georgia), but it is the 355th for the year. Honestly, I find this difficult to comprehend, and, frankly, I have no meaningful commentary to offer.  But since at True North our mission is to help prepare you for emergencies, I can at least confidently write that the key to best dealing with the unexpected — anywhere, anytime — is preparation. So, here are two resources that I have shared several times already this year, but think that it […]

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One Key to Survival: Always Keep an Open Mind

One Key to Survival: Always Keep an Open Mind

Last week, I came across the article, How the Navy SEALs Prepare for Extreme Cold Weather Survival, and How You Can Too.  Since then, I have read it three more times.  It not only taught me several important pieces of information, but it reminded me of a tremendously valuable lesson: Always keep an open mind. That’s because, to be completely honest, after reading the title, I almost passed it by, let alone even consider recommending it in the True North blog.  While I have the utmost respect for those serving in the U.S. military special operations community, and am particularly proud of several uncles who served as Green Berets in Vietnam, I am uncomfortable with how “Navy SEAL” and other special forces terms are too often used to market gear, services, and articles of questionable need and quality. In this case, though this article is intended to market equipment and clothing from Sitka Gear, it still […]

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Survival Skills: Knots

Survival Skills: Knots

At True North, our instructors teach our clients that when dealing with an emergency, a response that is simple and quick is usually best.  That’s because in an emergency, a survivor is almost always handicapped in some way by limited resources, in particular gear, energy, and time. This requires that a survivor make the most of these limited resources by making good decisions as quickly as possible, and taking action as automatically, almost robotically, as possible.  One survival skill, then, that should reflect these elements is tying knots. Why is knowing such a skill so well so important?  Because this ability can help you to hit all seven of your survival priorities.  So with the right knot, or set of knots, the survivor can more effectively and efficiently build a shelter for the night; create a bow to make a fire by friction; or make a litter to haul an injured hiker out of […]

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Wilderness Survival isn’t just about the Wilderness

Wilderness Survival isn't just about the Wilderness

Would you like to know a little more about True North’s wilderness survival philosophy directly from the source?  Now you can! Last week, Erik sat down with Aaron Watson, host of the podcast Going Deep.  Amongst various topics, the two discussed the attraction of Nature, outdoors education, and Erik’s philosophy of wilderness survival.  In particular, that wilderness survival doesn’t just apply to some remote location … It’s about Life too! To listen to their conversation, check out Episode #29.

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Signaling Equipment – Smoke Flare

Signaling Equipment - Smoke Flare

At True North we regularly explain to our clients that when it comes to being rescued, it is the responsibility of the survivor to the best of one’s ability to assist in being found.  No matter how well equipped rescuers may be, you still remain the proverbial needle in the haystack.  Even if they have helicopters with the latest in technological equipment, they could easily continue to fly above you and never even notice that you’re there.  After all, you are so very small while the world is so very big.  As a survivor, therefore, your ability is vastly improved when you are prepared with the appropriate gear, skills, and knowledge.  So, you may want to consider adding a flare to your survival kit. In particular, during our recent Advanced Wilderness Survival course, I wanted to experiment with a good visual signal, the smoke-flare.  Such a signaling device is intended for […]

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Summer Reading Suggestion

Summer Reading Suggestion

As I sat on the beach last week during my vacation, I managed to relax and have fun.  One of the many highlights of my days, then, was listening to the waves crash as I read with great interest my newest book.  Of course, being a wilderness survival instructor, I tend to read non-fiction accounts of survival.  After all, reading offers a great way to help learn from others about what it it takes to deal with adversity, often when you may most feel like giving up. This book was unique, however, in that it’s main focus is on the only official canine POW of World War II.  No Better Friend: One Man, One Dog, and Their Extraordinary Story of Courage and Survival in WWII, written by Robert Weintraub, describes almost incredible accounts of heroism, fortitude, and devotion between dog and human alike. Born in Shanghai, China in 1936, Judy, an English Pointer, was […]

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Signaling for Help – Using a Laser Flare

Signaling for Help - Using a Laser Flare

In any wilderness emergency — be it in the woods, on the ocean, or in an urban disaster — one of your survival priorities always needs to be your ability to signal for help when necessary.  After all, it is not the responsibility of rescuers to find you, rather it is your responsibility to find them.  That is, you need to get their attention to let them know where you are located.  After all, in remote locales or austere environments, you are quite likely the proverbial needle-in-the-haystack and, despite what the general public generally seems to believe, no amount of high-tech gear and aircraft used by rescuers makes their hunt for you that much easier.  Therefore, it is your duty to the best of your ability and circumstance to assist in your own recovery. How can I attract attention?  That will depend on your environment, but as s a general rule, the […]

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Men’s Health Interviews True North

Men's Health Interviews True North

Earlier this month, Gregg Stebben, co-host of Men’s Health Live, a weekly syndicated radio show from Men’s Health magazine and Entertainment Radio Network, recently interviewed Erik Kulick for it’s “Better Man Project.” This interview is now available online.  You’ll find links below to the full episode as well as the interview segments: July 18, 2015 | FULL SHOW | #134 From Pluto to your kitchen table, we explore it all this week on Men’s Health Live (@MensHealthRadio). Click to find out how to cook like a pro-chef, survive a dinosaur attack, and truly connect with Mother Nature. Segment 9: Wilderness Survival There is no safety net in the great outdoors, warns survival expert Erik Kulick (@SteelCityEK). Before you become stranded or injured, start prepping! Click now.  Segment 10: Wild Man at Work Squaring off against Mother Nature will make you a better man…if you survive! Find out from survival expert Erik Kulick […]

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Outdoor Gear … Consider Renting

Outdoor Gear ... Consider Renting

I have long been a bit conflicted about the huge array of gear and clothing that retail stores — nowadays almost exclusively dominated by “big box” stores — sell to all skills levels of outdoors people at fairly astonishing prices.  I suppose that what most bothers me is the disconnect between the gear that we need  (perhaps better defined as the gear that we are told, or believe, that we “need”) just to enter the Great Outdoors.  To me, the Great Outdoors should be the great equalizer where everyone, regardless of skill level and wallet or purse size, can experience and share the beauty and wonder of our natural world. Still, I accept that having proper gear and clothing can make this experience not just more safe, but more comfortable.  Heck, let’s face it, not having a tent, or a cheap one at that, or an inappropriate sleeping bag, on a […]

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Blisters – Prevention & Treatment

Blisters - Prevention & Treatment

As part of our everyday lives in our front-country worlds, blisters on our feet are not that big of a deal.  That’s because you probably rarely get them, and, if you do, they are usually easy to remedy and protect.  In fact, they are likely little more than an inconvenience. However, in a backcountry setting, you will definitely view blisters from a completely different perspective.  To write that they are “painful,” as many of you would likely agree, is more than an understatement.  Not only can they can easily ruin an otherwise wonderful day of hiking, but at worst, they can be truly debilitating. So, rather than risk letting the time, effort, and money that you spent preparing for your much anticipated hike go to waste, I thought that I would share with you two related articles from Wilderness Medicine magazine which is published by the Wilderness Medical Society.  After all, I believe […]

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