I take your question seriously as I have also thought about the same thing for the same reasons. The problem is, there is a lot to think about and a
lot to prepare for and even then, your survival expectations are not particularly good, because your basically talking about going back to the
The starting premise that you must consider, is that whatever you take with you 90% of it will be useless within 12 months. Period.
This is your first consideration when you decide on your location to settle, assuming of course that settling is your best option. Settling in terms
of shelter is ideal because you can, over time, build a permanent shelter to withstand the elements or indeed make a cave more habitable for yourself.
But by settling, you are putting yourself in the position of having to endure all of the seasons and whilst spring, summer and even autumn will likely
provide bountiful foraging oppertunities, winter will bite you in the ass if you are not 100% ready for it. On way of course to deal with this is to
migrate to warmer climes when it comes or indeed settle in a more temperate area. You mentioned Alaska as a possible destination, but consider how
ridiculously bad the winter gets up there, its not to be taken lightly. I would reccomend that you take a tent which will act as a temporary shelter
until such time as you can arrange something more permanent, but equally, use it as little as you can and keep it servicable, because it would be
better to have it on hand in case of emergency, should you need it. In terms of building shelters etc, best to get a book (one of many I will suggest)
that will give you info and knowledge on methods and types of shelters you can make, along with what materials you need and can scavenge from your
environment. Take this book with you, undoubtedly you will need it until such time as you have mastered any and all techniques.
Food & Water
Your second consideration, but equally as important as the first. Locate yourself as near as you can to a source of fresh water, ideally a free
flowing river or similar; not too far away that it takes you hours to travel to and from it, but not so close that in the event of it bursting its
banks, that you dont get washed away. When taking water from the river, before use, you want to filter it as best you can to get and debris from it,
but also before you even consider drinking it, I would suggest that you boil it first; this removes the vast majority of microbes and nasties in the
water that could make you sick, but of course, is not 100%. Rivers are also a good source for food, fish being the most obvious; learn how to dam and
make fish traps (books again) as these will give better longevity and results for catching (and indeed keeping fish) than say fish hooks and line.
Also, spear fishing is for Crocodile Dundee, so you can discount that as well. I would reccomend taking some form or rudimentry fishing equipment with
you initially before you perfect other methods, not only will it do in a stop gap but will be useful for times when the other methods are hampered
(like winter). Learning to how and where to set snares and traps is another skill in order to trap smaller animals; to enable you to do this you will
need to learn how to track and spot signs of animals (such as rabbits) as well as how to skin, gut and cook them; again you can undoubtedly find books
to help you on this. Foraging is another essential skill you will need to learn; there are plenty of edible plants and berries out there but you need
to identify those that are going to do you good as opposed to those that will poison you, another book will help you identify said plants and teach
the best places to look for them. Bear in mind of course, that winter will bring much slimmer pickings. My advice would be to take a certain amount of
food with you; canned goods are fine but are bulky so I would reccomend things like rice, oats etc that are dried and will keep for quite a while if
not used. Start your foraging, trapping and fishing activites as a matter of urgency because I guarentee until you master all of the methods, your
going to be spending a lot of time doing it and a lot of that time will be unsuccessful. One other very valuable thing to do will be to learn how to
smoke meats and dry out fruits and berries; this increases their longevity allowing for storage which might mean the difference between life and death
come the harsher climes. Book. Insects are also a good source of nourishment (especially larva) and actually pound for pound, contain more protein
than beef and can help you out in a pinch, just got to overcome your sqeemish side and learn what is ok and what is not ok to eat. One final
consideration is planting vegetables, potatoes, tomatoes and so on; but in order to do this you must take initial seeds with you and also know how,
where and when to plant in order for it to work and that does not preculde the chances of natural things destryong your crops, wether it be birds,
animals, insects or just plain old 'blight' and of course, you wont grow much during the winter anyway.
Ok, so your gonna need knives and I mean more than one as well as a decent sharpening stone. Some knives you will use for food preparation others for
labour tasks and so on. A decent quality knife, if well looked after will last a very long time, but there is always the chance of losing / breakage
etc so best to have backups or its going to be time to make flint tools like our ancestors. Cooking utensils are a must, pots, kettle, pans etc; again
if looked after properly they can last a lifetime too, so make sure you get the best quality available to you. Eating utensils are not too bad,
stainless steel sporks for example, will also last if looked after but failing that, you still have your fingers. A pickaxe, a shovel and an axe
(possibly even a htchet too) are essential and the heads if looked after will last forever (handles can always be replaced by you if needed, but you
will want to learn how book book book) a spade is also not a bad idea, but no essential as a pickaxe will break up the earth well enough for you to be
able to shovel it, so you might save some weight without it. Again, buy the best quality you can. Take a reasonable supply of matches as well as a
number of flintsteels if you can, because you will NEED fire 365 days of the year, regardless. Naturally, the matches will run out and the flintsteels
will wear out eventually so as soon as you are able, learn how to make fire just using the natural materials to hand, guess what? get a book and
practise practise practise; try and save what you can from your consumeables. Plastic containers and bags are also a good thing to take with you,
plastic being non-bio degradable (assuming it is looked after) can last a very long time assuming it doesnt get damaged and become useless.
Now this is going to be a tough one, regardless of how well you look after the clothes you take with you, they will become ripped, wear out or even
rot, leading them to be utterly useless. I doubt it is reasonable to grow cotton for example or shear sheep and learn to weave etc so what I imagine
to be your best option will likely be to craft clothing from animal hides. This means not only learning to track, hunt and kill larger animals that
will provide you with suitable hide (which is arguably the biggest threat to your wellbeing as winter if not bigger) but also how to cure those hides
and make clothing from them (sewing using animal gut for thread as an example) you will definitely need a book for this too and also to start trying
to do it before you end up running around buck nekked. Shoes and suchlike will be also craftable from animal hides too, so learn how to do that as
This is important because it lends to your overall wellbeing; wash yourself every day, most likely in the river but do it downstream of where you
intend to fish etc. Also wash your clothes too, it will increase their longevity. Soap will be a luxury once its gone, although I believe it is
possible to make soap using animal fat, but you would have to look into that as I am unsure of how or what is required (or indeed if it is even
possible at all). As for performing your 'toilet' activites, make sure you do it plenty far away from where you are camped, but also bury it. The
risk of disease and illness from your own waste is quite high but also, if unburied it can attract unwanted attention, not only from insects but also
from animals too. Keeping your teeth clean is going to be important, start out with a toothbrush etc but learn what natural alternatives there are as
soon as you can.
This is the tough one. Leaving civilisation means leaving pharmacies and docotors behind, so you will need to not only take very good care of yourself
and mitigate risks of injury / illness by preparing food / water properly and not doing daft things that might lead to injury. Eating a nutricious
diet will be a must and is also possible to do; it is worth finding out what your intakes of fibre, protein, vitamins etc needs to be in order to
remain as healthy as possible; if your body starts to lack certain elements or indeed if your food intake is not high enough, it will lead not only
malnutrician, possible scurvy / rickets but also will reduce your natural resistance to germs leading you to be at risk from illness. It is worth
getting a book on natural remedies (ie herbalsim) as some of the fauna and flora can be used to make remedies for a number of common ailments which
will prove invaluable. Also, when you get cuts and scrapes, make sure they are kept clean and free from infection; afore mentioned herbalism poltices
can help with this sort of thing. The bottom line though, you will get sick GUARENTEED! how serious or how often will not only depend on how well your
body can fight it, how well you can create and provide natural remedies but also how lucky and careful you are. Be vigilant. Naturally, take as much
as you can in terms of medicene and bandages etc with you, but again, they will run out once you use them. Also take plenty of toilet paper, but find
out what plants are good to wipe with and get your rear accustomed to lack of comfort, because those rolls will dissapear quick!
This is something you need to know all about when deciding on your destination and also the area you are going to settle in. Whats the rainfall like?
what are the risks fo flash flooding? How bad does it get in winter and how long for? What natural enemies, will I have; bears? snakes? insects?
mointain lions? wolves? learn how to mitigate the risk of bumping into these nasties or have them wander up on you as much as you can. But also
prepare yourself incase you find yourself staring down a timberwolf, the wilderness is nothing like it appears in Grizzley Adams, plently of stuff
would much sooner kill and eat you than let you live in peace and harmony, so get yourself as prepared and tooled up as you possibly can.
The fact is, the above does not cover everything you should be considering, but I hope it is enough to at least make you think about what you want to
do. Because even if you are amazingly lucky and extremely prepared, there are still a million and one ways that it can all go wrong and being in the
wilderness when that happens, means its life or death. Just be REALLY sure its something you want to do,