Solo Survival- How to Survive Alone in the Desert

[Music] hey this is Tom McElroy wild survival skills calm in this video I'm going to
head out into the Sonoran Desert for a week and document the crucial steps I take to show you how you would live out
here in full survival alright my first step is to get out of this area right now I'm under full sun exposure
it's early morning so that doesn't matter so much but before it gets to have you know Sun right overhead I need
to get up into these canyons that I can get some shade and potentially find some water
okay here we go I've got my shelter this is my favorite one because it doesn't have any rodent material inside not much
evidence animals are using it a small entry way that I can close off in a fairly small cave that I can heat up
pretty easily also there's a ton of material nearby a bunch of rocks ten feet away in a dry streambed and so it's
not going to take me too much energy to carry those up here and seal off this section it's really windy today and I
bet it's going to be super windy tonight the temperature fluctuates between 95 and 45 at night so you know I've got to
worry about the heat in the day but I can't forget that it's going to get cold tonight for this type of shelter to work
I don't have the insulation inside there really isn't that much to help hold my body heat in so I need a fire luckily
for me deserts are some of the easiest environments to get a fire going alright so like I said there's a dry creek bed
just down below so I've collected a bunch of rocks got them all piled up here so I can put this together really
quickly I just want to seal off the entryway as I was walking up here I already saw snakes I saw a Gila monster
so anything I can do to discourage rodents and animals from coming in here I also want to block the wind so I'm
going to build up the entryway close it off as much as possible just so that I can sneak in and out and it'll even
actually hold in some of the heat so I'm just going to throw a bunch of rocks up here and call it good all right so this
is a rocket science I piled up a bunch of rocks I need to make sure it's really sturdy try to fill in all the gaps maybe
throw a bunch of dirt in there if I had clay I would mostly though this is going to be a wind barrier and it's going to
help hold in a little bit of the heat and reflect the fire light while I'm in that shelter and with a small fire I'm
going to stay really warm in there alright so what I've got here is the skeleton of a saguaro cactus and in
lower areas like this where we don't have very much agave and yucca for making hand drill this is a fantastic
hand drill so I can break off this skeleton one of these little ribs and this becomes a really good handle I can
just spin one against the other and it's going to work and get me a whole Suns going down time to get going
what I'm going to do is just flatten out this bigger piece of Saguaro this rib of a saguaro plant it's going to be my fire
board as I'm carving I'm just kind of feeling it finding a spot that feels like it's
nice and solid not rotten or anything like that whole thing's pretty good and I don't
need this much okay I'm going to square it off so it's just flat on top 90-degree edge on the side flat on
bottom and now I've got my thinner Saguaro rib that I'm going to use for the hand drill the drilling section of
this thing now lower ribs aren't always perfectly round more often not they're kind of like little rectangular and so I
think my hands can handle it but just at the base here it's going to make sure it's as round as possible a lot of times
I'll just take a gritty stone and just sand it just by rubbing on the edges the square edges you round it all out all
right next thing I'm going to do is just point the end of this thing it's solid piece of wood so I just point the end
put a little divot right in there and that's my setup oh all right well it's a tight shelter but that's the idea
there's definitely a lot of really nice overhang out there that hopefully you know I'm going to spend most of the time
in a day in those and just sleep in here at night I've started to collect some leaves and some creosote and all that
and I don't make a nice bed hopefully we'll keep some bugs away maybe a snake and I definitely got to stock up more
and just put in as much as I can and just bear with the smell of the creosote so alright I've got my hand drill
getting a little windy out there so decided to bring it on in here last thing you want is to make a hand drill
and then the wind comes and knocks your your formed coal out from underneath you and so this is the hand drill call
spindle and nice and straight and basically to make frictions the same thing as everything it's pressure and
speed so if I spin it really quickly between a hand while I'm pushing down on it
creating pressure down at the base here that should do it so having the right combination of
pressure and speed the right materials I should give you a fire going so what you can do is spin it between your hands
just get warmed up don't kill yourself in the beginning putting all your strength into it and eventually you're
going to push down real hard and when you do that your hands are probably going to go down it's smoking already
real good so that's a good sign just going to speed up a little bit build up the heat so I don't just kick out all
just just give it a little burst at the end all right so I think I've burned through my rock so hopefully it's
there still smokin just barely hanging on though I'm not even going to touch it
who's going to let it sit for a second just maybe fan some air into it you can see it's just now starting to catch on
it just had a tiny spark in there I got lucky because I burned through the baseboard so I couldn't have gone any
further all right I'm going to make sure all of its on this would ship really let it grow and let it smoke on its own you
don't want to rush this part there's plenty of time better to let that heat and that red cold start to grow before
you throw it in your tinder bundle so I've got on a little wood chip you'd see it's glowing oil night I'm going to put
it right into the best part of my tinder bundle the part that's really fluffed up and dry hopefully the whole thing is but
there's always one little section that's awesome I wrap it up like a bag in a bird's nest kind of let it sit for just
a second let that heat gather and then I'm going to blow on it I've got my fire made behind me so I'm gonna have to do
some quick switcheroo but for the camera's sake I'll try to hold out as long as I can this smokes more and
Grille glows more I can blow harder hello hey starting to burn my fingers all right so like I said my fire pit
back here I'm just going to put it in there just before it explodes into flame all right taking the time hunter why
please yeah I never had this happiness that all right stop struggling
oh there we go huh man use my tinder wasn't good enough early in the desert things light up so quick and you never
know when you turn a camera on things tend to go wrong but I thought worked out going to be nice and cozy in here
it's really starting to take off now I want to build it small in the beginning make sure it's well ventilated does seem
like the draft is pulling it out that way and just going to slowly build it bigger try to get a hot base of coals
and eventually make a little rock wall so that it really does vent out and doesn't smoke up the entire shelter but
it's really having panic there for a second it wasn't going to go here we go a nice little fire may be able to kick
back on my bed here lay down and they really want throughout the night is a nice cozy warm shelter ventilating super
well and it's toasty in there I really don't have to have a very big fire going all right so it's definitely pretty cold
last night just now waking up and the Sun is just getting over the horizon and this is the time to find water I need to
make sure I don't get dehydrated water is number one priorities that I pretty much have to find water today or this is
over to check yourself you can pinch this the skin on the back your hand if it snaps back into place really well
this is not if it snaps right back to where it was that means you're not dehydrated but if it slowly goes back
then you're probably pretty dehydrated so check yourself checking urine make sure it's clear but I mean you get out
there and find some sort of water and last night went pretty good I stayed warm ish the problem is I fall asleep
fired kind of dimmed down and then I get some sleep wake up have to restock it and then just do it over and over and so
I only got a couple you know three or four hours of sleep or something but the ways it as it is there just isn't much
or any insulative plants out here that don't have thorns in them so it's really just going to be stock in a fire and
trying to sleep in between I did put hot rocks on the fire little flat hot rocks and I pulled them underneath me in the
middle of the night to kind of radiate some heat up at me problem is that only lasts like an hour hour and a half with
these rocks so I just have to switch mouths but yeah I'll find water before the Sun really starts coming down
all right so my best strategy at this point to find water is to get us out of the Lancer take your milk and find areas
where in these erroneous there's really green areas over here we're just super condensed green there's a lot of Palo
Verde trees or willow trees in areas like this and that might be my best area for getting water obviously straight
down in the middle of the desert where it's not very green everything's kind of pale I know that's not a good spot so
you need to head up into some of these rodeos and try to find a really good sort all right I scored here I've got
some clay and I can just tell by looking at the texture of the soil and then I kind of take it and spit on it and mash
it around and it's got good elasticity definitely not the greatest so it might need to be purified but from this I can
make a clay pot I can boil water possibly even I could make a canteen so that when I'm walking out of here I can
take water with me this cactus here is the subject probably the biggest survival myth on a planet
this is a barrel cactus and you've probably been told before that if you cut a barrel cactus open you can just
drink the water out of it it's a huge myth it does not work one I have no idea how in the world I'm gonna chop this in
half without an axe or a machete and two it's full of oxalic acid when you do finally start chewing it up and makes
your mouth pucker and it's really bad for your system so you're not going to get water out of the barrel cactus like
you've seen in the movies the good thing that I can get out of this are these fruit at this time of year this is the
one cactus that's really fruiting and so this is going to be a staple food for me out here but what I can do is just take
these fruits and these guys they're just slightly early but they still taste pretty good they have a very um kind of
sour taste to them but the yellow part is very edible green part might just be a little ripe right now and that's a
super good edible it doesn't have thorns on it or glaucous or anything that you need to worry about
so barrel cactus is one of my favorite foods out here right now another thing to note that when you look inside
there's a ton of seeds those actually chew up fairly well and so you can just eat those seeds there's proteins and
little bits of oil in there so really good stuff for you barrel cactus is going to be my staple and there's a ton
of it out here all right so I've been digging holes everywhere trying to unearth water in
these dry creek beds and I'm not really coming up with much I just found this puddle here it's just as one little
puddle and the bees and flies are all over it right now which tells me it's probably not the
greatest it might be just really stagnant and contaminated and so last resort I can use this and purify it what
I'm going to go do is go down the dry creek bed just slightly and start digging a really big hole until I hit
water I the biggest thing to remember is that in the desert you're not always going to find water especially in the
dry season this is post wet season so I'm doing pretty good right now but there's times where your only play is to
travel in the mornings and evenings and get yourself out of the situation because you're not going to find water
and without water in the desert you're not going to live this for me is going to allow me to stay here hopefully I can
find a pure source though so I'm down the creek bed a bit and taking up with my digging stick making a hole and I'm
starting to hit damp soil which is a great sign that that water actually is just traveling underground a little bit
and I can dig it out this is a really good sign even if it doesn't work out here because the rocks I'm sure it'll
work out in a different area so I'm going to keep digging the problem is once you get deeper than about 12 inches
you dig and all the sand just fills your whole back in and so I'm just going to 5 to find a really good area where the
waters really at the surface so I'm going to look around try to find a low-lying area maybe with some without
as many rocks in it and do got that water now this water doesn't just kind of 6 12 inches underground doesn't mean
it's purified that doesn't mean it's coming out of a spring that water can still be contaminated and I'm going to
have to purify that I'm doing really good set and hit water further down here so I'm just going to dig this out it's
pretty murky but hopefully if that settles after I've dug then this is going to be a really
good source of water what I need to do now to purify this water is to boil it so what I'm going to
do is Rock boil it and some clay I don't have time to burn out a wooden bowl there's not much going on here I think
that didn't have the clay I might try to go for a century plant and make a container out of that really quick and
see if I can boil but this works really good in a pinch and at least in the beginning it's going to be great over
time I could see this in a pain but I've got some of the less pure clay that I'd dug out of the ground and super gritty
but that doesn't matter so it's great for this type of project what I'm going to do is just mash it up as much as I
can and I'm just going to make a dish out of it now it hasn't been fired if not pottery but clay still isn't very
porous and so it's going to hold water the only thing I need to do is support it so what I can do is dig out addition
to the ground the sides of the large silver bowl you can see this soil is damp too so I'm going to dig this out
put the water in here but now the structure of this hole that I've formed here is going to support the clay and
then the clay is going to hold the water for long enough to boil I've had them hold the water for a solid hour or two
before it all kind of went through so it gives you plenty of time to make a fire throw hot rocks in there and boil it up
so that's my plan so what I need to do now is just make a really nice round disc really pounded clay together and
while this stuff isn't the greatest it's pretty good so I'm definitely going to be attempting
some pottery later with the better stuff and see what I can do so once I have this disc shape I'm gonna
thin it out get it as big as possible line this hole and then just smooth out the inside of the clay as much as
possible so there's no cracks early all right so what I did here was to make a clay impression the ground I fired up a
bunch of hot rocks in the fire and I could just take two sticks lift them out and chuck them into this bowl I need to
raise the temperature of the water up high enough to kill all the bacteria that could potentially be in that water
on the safe side if you bring that water to boiling you know you're good while boiling it and the clay impression
was definitely worth it it was a pain all right after digging out this hole I looked around and found a much better
spot where there was less rocks interfering and I was able to dig out a nice well that I could come back to
every day so having a canteen would be absolutely amazing out here in order to do that I
can't just use this raw egg to make a pot probably won't work for something super fancy and I don't want to take any
chances so I'm going to grind up this clay and purify it and then I can make something really nice out of it
my routine every day was to go out into the desert collect and gather as many things as I needed during the hottest
part of the day expended hiding out in this overhang the first few days this mint purifying its color cut alright so
most people will tell you to grind up pottery and either purified by letting in water settle which takes another
bucket and a lot of time or to grind it up put it on a big cloth and then let the wind kind of winnow away the finest
particles because they blow a little further than the heavier thing that's all those other things take way too long
I just don't have time for either one so what I'm doing is just grinding it up as much as possible picking out the
obviously really big pieces but then I can put it on my shirt kind of bounce it around and when I do that you can see
already how many of the big pieces and the whole fiber pieces come to the top from here I can scrape away all the
bigger stones just do it again and again now you don't need to get everything but you do want to have a consistent size of
particle in there to make a clay pot you don't need 100% pure clay you just need all the material to be about the same
size with no materials that are going to blow up or crack or anything like that so getting rid of some of the bigger
pieces and that's really going to help so I don't have any big rocks in there that are definitely going to make it
break before putting all the work in to purifying I wanted to test the clay so I pinched together a couple tiny little
pots and threw them into the fire well most of them did crack a little bit it shows that the clay is great potential
all right so I'm going to set up my figure-four trap is a deadfall I've jammed some wolf berries into the bait
stick I've got my rock here and there's a bunch of rodents Scott around here so I'm thinking this is a good spot to trap
lots of tracks right there we go it's all set up looks like a little figure four once the animal comes in and
touches this bait stick hopefully doesn't take much but I really have to set it in between a point where all this
wind isn't going to blow it over and set it versus it needs to be sensitive enough of the animal so hopefully that's
the middle ground that I'm compromising on I'm going to disguise my trail camera in right about here and hopefully that
will do it you all right so come up this morning and I
looked at the trap and it looks like they're women taking in it maybe it just sprung but then I thought little Hales
digging outside so let's check this guy buddy he's gotten some scraps of the gears are all cut up
order to clean this animal really the big thing is you want to remove the skin and you want to remove the guts
everything else is just bones and meat if your knife just underneath the skin and pull up without ever cutting into
the abdominal cavity you're going to cut straight up the belly up the inside of each leg and then you can peel the skin
back surprisingly this game comes off pretty easily and just pull the arms through and pull it all the way off the
head all right admittedly I'm doing a little bit of a sloppy job gutting this animal
but I had a few open cuts on my hands and the last thing I wanted was to become blood brothers with a packrat
all right I got this animal what I'm going to do is pinch the abdominal muscle I'm going to cut just the
abdominal muscle and slide by knife under it without puncturing the guts it's hugely important that you never
puncture the intestines because I could easily spoiling your meat and make you stick from here I continue cutting up
through the rib cage all the way up to the neck I can cut the head off at this point my knife the other way down around
the groin and around the anus and pull the guts out and then in one package now I'm left with just meat and bones and I
can stick that right over the fire I like in any survival situation you end up collecting so much stuff that you
can't possibly just carry it all around in your arms so I'm going to make a basket out of this so tall plant the
great plant to know not only does it make a great basket but the stock on it is fantastic for making friction fires
all right so I've collected a bunch of Soto leaves I removed all the thorns from the outside you know went pretty
quickly and I probably could've done it with my fingernails if I didn't have a knife and what I'm going to do right now
is make a plated basket where it's something you probably did it a kid with popsicle sticks to lock them together in
a square and I'm just going to fold up the ends and keep going under over under over and it should make a really strong
basket of these leaves are almost unbreakable alright to make this kind of basket again it's super simple all I
need to do is start off with a few and then build out from there but right now I'm just building the base this is going
to be a square basket and so if I take start three by three and I'll match one up in the middle so that goes over under
over the next one I'm going to go under over under okay just like that and then the next one's going to go back
to over under over and just by doing that we all know lock these things together now as I build out I can either
kind of make it you know rectangular or perfectly square totally up to you and so again next one here it's going to go
the opposite of the last one they're going to get a little mess up you just pull them back together makes a real
nice strong base for this basket you all right as I said that's super super
simple just a bunch of under overs you can make it rectangular or perfectly square that part's entirely up to you
all I'm going to do now is fold up these ends at a 90 degree angle and I'm going to weave around with other soda leaves
so that it goes under over under over all around the basket all right so by oxygen I thought I'd crossed record and
it didn't so I missed a little segment there but you'll get the idea basically you know here's the base that I started
with from there I turned up at a 90 degree angle with all these spokes the ones that were originally six count and
I wove in sideways going around one layer per leaf that go all the way around and then the next one up if it
was started where it was weaving under over under over throughout the spokes the next layer up is going to start
litter over under over so they vary every time I go up a layer and that's what locks it in place and keeps the
basket together kind of you know common sense right now what I'm doing is just tucking in the rim and you know this is
a pretty good sized basket I definitely got a lot of other things to do so I'm not going to keep going and make it much
bigger clock's ticking I got things to do so I'm going to call it here it was a great bath it feels really sturdy and
it's going to be a huge help then I'll have to carry everything in my arms anymore
all right so this is the Choya plant and right now there's a ton of buds coming off of these things for the Native
Americans of the Sonoran Desert this is one of the staples to their diet and even though it looks really scary it's
got tons of thorns on it it's not that hard to process and you get a lot of food out of it so and it actually tastes
really good so what I need to do is pull these buds off of here collect a bunch of them and then I just kind of roast
them over the fire and they're good to go before I do that I need to make a pair of tongs because up until this
point I've just been using two sticks and fumbling around with it kind of a pain so it's going to quickly show you
how I'm going to make a pair of tongs and then go around and just fill up on these Choya bug there we have it nice
pair of tongs this is going to help a lot instead of trying to fumble with two sticks like it happened I just walk
right up grab them I got a big bud right there all right the middle of the day I'm avoiding the Sun is also a huge
rainstorm out there so it seems like a perfect kind of the processes join a bug so what I'm doing is taking them from my
basket here I got about a little more than half full from about 10 or 15 minutes of collecting and you look at
these things and you think there's no way you would ever want to touch them or eat them but they're actually fantastic
and what you can do take a couple thrown on a flat rock like this so you just roll them around and a
lot of the thorns are going to pop off if not you're going to get rid of the sharp tips on the thorn so they just
don't hurt as bad okay you know there is a certain point where it doesn't do as much but do little
circles and then from there once the storms are kind of taking off it's not that bad you can actually touch it and
it really doesn't get you you need to remember any time you eat anything kakasii is that they don't just have big
thorns that have these microscopic little thorns and clusters that we galapiat so I need to make sure to get
in there and get all those clauses out but I'm just going to come in here and slowly kind of just have a nice relaxed
couple hours in here and pick off a bunch of these thorns each one of these may take 45 seconds to
a minute so for this side you know imagine in one hour you have 60 to 80 of these things and it'd be a really good
meal so the energy that you put into this you gain ten times as much back by eating them so absolutely love these
things and you should definitely learn them and process them when you're out in the desert here's another great edible
plant that's out here again covered in thorns and this is the prickly pear it's got really big thorns coming off of it
doesn't look very inviting and it also has all those little glocken my experience with blockage don't cook out
very well in a fire and so I like to make sure to scrape them all out cut them out remove them and it just takes a
lot of time but it is a good survival food it's good to know it's very easily identifiable and you're not going to
mess up so what I'll do is just get my tongs and I'll start scraping all these thorns away I need to remember not to
ever walk here again in my bare feet but if I just scratch along the surface a lot of these bigger storms are going to
start breaking off alright get the edge like thorn 400 by now anyway you can see how all those big thorns broke off and
at the base of each one of those thorns are a bunch of tiny little irritating little like kind of you call them thorns
but they're no good you need to cut those out or scrape the heck out of them with your knife or on a rock but those
need to be totally gone and then I'm going to cut around to the edge then ice pry this up on a fire and I can eat it
again not my favorite edible plant but a really good survival food to know alright so here we go I got the joy of
buds clicking on sigh right here they're just kind of sitting right on a not super hot bed of
coals and I'm just kind of keeping them from burning turning them over but making sure those Glock is get really
cooked these things are delicious I love them prickly pear kind of the opposite I'm
making sure it's over some really hot coals under the care of it burns a little bit as long as all of those
blockages are singed little rat guy is on the stick that I you know put a couple sticks through his abdomen area
just so he doesn't flip over I just slowly turn them with something like this you want to make sure that you
don't just have it on fire you don't want to just singe and burn me just have it on over a hot bed of coals and this
is going to be great occasionally I turn it and the big thing with this guy is that I want to make sure it's extremely
well done you know I know medium rare rare meats much better but if you're in a survival
situation cook everything really thoroughly don't take a chance that you're going to get some sort of food
poisoning all right it's the moment of truth everything's cooked and I let it cool off a little bit and it's just
ready to go for the taste test I'm excited tons of food my energy has been great
for this entire trip so far and I'm no doubt with all these edible plants that it's going to be fairly easy to get
enough calories during this trip so let's start off with the soya stick a quick look make sure that I don't see
Glock is or any things that's going to stab me I eat these all the time I've never had a problem but every time I'm
just a little bit paranoid about it and just make sure last thing I want is a mouthful of splinters but this is one of
my favorite foods this is something you would eat at home it's fantastic tastes like asparagus heads so really good
stuff alright we've got the thumbs up go to pound those eat as many of those as I can possibly process the rest of the
time here so those are already good to go prickly pear now it's not good Oh her color here
is your survival food it's going to keep you going cooked over campfire just doesn't taste
that good but it's good I'm it's fine if you're in survival you're starving to death you unit and then last but not
least there we go the one I'm real excited about the bust off is back leg is really well cooked
just want to make sure no uncooked portions in there the last thing you want and just pull off sections of meat
from his leg looks real good there you go oh it's fantastic you know once you get over the fact of what you're eating
meat to me it all tastes the same so it's going to be a great meal really excited Suns going down right now the
winds starting to pick up it's starting to get cold so I'm going to down a bunch of this food along with the barrel
cactus fruits that I've been eating and transfer some of these coals into my shelter and go to bed
but great day great food got some big projects to work on in the morning so I'm excited for that alright this is the

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