Ghost Prime, in the last few years, I have done most of my bushcraft study in my backyard or in the forestlands minutes from my home. (I live on the edge of a city of 90,000.) Many, if not most of the bush skills can be practiced in your backyard as long as your neighbors aren’t too nosy. (I’m thinking about starting and making small fires which people might smell.) I “camp-out” for 7 months of the year in my backyard. (None of my neighbors know I do it. That’s also why I have developed an interest in stealth housing.)
74, you can really improve your tolerance to cold. I particularly had a problem with tolerance to cold because I have a long history of pituitary-thyroid-adrenal axis problems resulting in a low, normal body temperature. I have greatly improved my physical tolerance limits by sleeping outside for 7 months of the year.
Also, I have done cold-themogenesis training. I first started with immersing myself in room temperature water for 20-30 minutes until I would start shivering. When I got used to that, I added ice frozen in buckets to the room temperature water. I got to test myself on a canoe trip to the Broken Island Group when I spent 30 minutes in Pacific Ocean water while maintaining dexterity. (The test I use for dexterity is the ability to easily touch my thumb to my pinky finger on both hands.)
Further, I have experimented in how little I can eat and operate effectively. Though experimenting, I have learned I can do use ketogenic diets to become a fat-burner and easily go without meals. I can maintain my weight and physical function on one evening meal followed by two meals the next day. I never eat breakfast when I’m in ketosis. I can repeat this process for weeks without losing weight. If I go down to one evening meal each day I will start losing body fat fast. If I was in a survival situation I would get myself into a ketogenic state as quickly as possible so I could access to my fat stores. (Actually, I go seasonal into deep ketosis during the winter and spring.) In this state even fasting is very comfortable. This means I know I can cut my rations in half while maintaining my function and increase food stores for others. (That’s why I found Mors Kochanski’s comments on fasting for survival a really good idea, though I would disagree that people could eat anything close to 150g of carbohydrates a day and get into a ketogenic state. For many very active people the number is between 50-100g and under 20-30g for people with metabolic disorders like diabetes.)
A person in a survival situation would be better off not eating anything or eating a very high fat meal such as salted pork bellies which has about 90% fat and 10% protein. Never eat your meal for breakfast! Therefore, a high-carbohydrate “survival bar” will kill you faster then not eating at all. Here’s my favorite bush food recipe. Remember to keep the lard and use it for frying-up wildcrafted greens or lean meats.
PS: I couldn’t believe how Ray Mears processed his fish. He cut off the head and the fins and tail where all the nutrition is… And what happened to the organs? If you want to get the most from a fish, eat the organs first, raw if possible, or lightly cooked. If there is any roe, eat it fresh or lightly salt for later. Follow with the fish head and the fatty fins and tail. Eat all the skin with a bit of the muscle meat. Smoke, salt and/or dry the rest of the muscle meat. Use the fish bones and any waste for making bone broth.