True North Blog

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 remains a meaningful one, since even if unintended, it reminds us of two important skills that are key to surviving an emergency in a wilderness location:

  1. Train like it’s for real.
  2. Challenge the accepted wisdom.

The focus of this article explains one unique approach to dealing with wet clothing in an extreme cold environment within the following context:

Maybe you fall in a river, or a rain storm catches you without your Gore-Tex, or you push too hard with the wrong layers and you sweat out – however it happens, you get soaked to the bone. The deal is, if you spend enough time out there, you’re going to get wet on a brutally cold day. And how are you going to keep warm? How are you going to get everything dry and keep going?

In my view, the answers to these questions are unique because they run counter to how many of us might respond — including myself — in such a circumstance.

So, thanks to this little reminder, I am going to keep training like it’s for real, keep challenging the conventional wisdom, and, above all, will keep an open mind!

Erik Kulick leaning aginst wall with True North badge on blue shirt

About the Author

Erik is the founder of True North Wilderness Survival School. He is a police officer, EMS provider, a Wilderness EMT, and a Fellow of the Academy of Wilderness Medicine. He has been featured in national and international media, including CNN, the Associated Press, and Backpacker. To learn more about Erik, visit him on LinkedIn and be sure to follow him on Facebook.

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