First things firsts. Can we acknowledge that the Primitive Survival Rating on Discovery’s Naked and Afraid is pretty much a joke? Not only is there no info on how the producers actually gauge someone’s survival prospects, the PSRs given to many contestants on the show fly in the face of what real survival experts know.
The Truth About Naked and Afraid PSRs
There are reports by former contestants that they’re never actually in any real danger. The show is often filmed close to civilization, and contestants have even received medical treatment and stolen food from producers while “surviving.” Want to measure your actual PSR to see how you’d do in an extreme survival situation? Here are four areas to evaluate:
1. Real Experience
Let’s face it, past experience gives you an edge in the wilderness. Reading about survival isn’t the same thing as experiencing it yourself. If you backpacked across Thailand, spent a week in the wild at Yellowstone or survived icy mountain conditions, you’re going to obviously have a higher PSR than someone who has spent their whole life in the big city. The same thing goes for people with actual hunting experience.How can you increase your PSR for experience? Go beyond tourist traps when you travel. See the real conditions people survive in around the world, eat the foods locals do and practice primitive survival techniques. Forget about day trips into the rain forest and sleeping in a four-star hotel at night.
2. Ongoing Survival Training
If you really want to be ready for SHTF, you need to continually hone your skills. It’s true that some survival skills are like riding a bike, but you also need the muscles, stamina and strength to pull them off. To maximize your chances of surviving an extreme disaster, practicing the essentials regularly is a big factor.Want to boost your PSR score for training? Test yourself by spending a week or two away from civilization. Each time, take along fewer outside tools.
3. Useful Skills
Riding a bike may up your physical resistance, but does it really prepare you for living naked in the wild for weeks? To make sure you’re ready for anything, it’s important to focus on specific skills. Here are several techniques every serious survivor should learn:
- Locating water and purifying it
- Making fire from scratch
- Creating traps
- Building a survival shelter
- Navigating without a map or compass
- Treating medical emergencies
- Making tools/weapons
- Finding safe plants
In reality, getting food in survival situations often relies more on trapping than on using things such as a bow and arrow. To increase your PSR, learn how to craft multiple types of traps for fish, fowl and game.
4. Mental Fortitude
The final factors that determine true survivors are mental and emotional. How you react to chaos is just as important as what you know about starting a fire. Staying calm and focused can literally save your life, whether you’re in the middle of a government uprising or stranded after a plane crash. To improve your PSR in this area, identify your biggest fears ahead of time and learn to face them head on.As you check your PSR, you may have as great a score as you thought. This is actually kind of the point: to find areas where you can improve and get started.