HOW TO!: UnScene’s Weekly Column About How to Do a Thing


HOW TO! #6: How to survive in the wilderness!

by Rich Karski

Welcome back to another edition of Rich Karski’s HOW TO!: The weekly online column that serves as a suitable replacement for any baby training manual on the market.



Have you ever been listening to the BeeGees’ classic hit “Stayin’ Alive” and thought to yourself: “Hmm… not only is this song a FUCKING JAM, but it also speaks to me in a deeper way as a person who would ultimately like to stay alive?” Well then this HOW TO! is for you my friend, because this week is all about staying alive. Now, to clarify, I’m not talking about staying alive in a “quit smoking and eat right” or “use the buddy system during auto-erotic asphyxiation” sense. We’re talking about staying alive in more extreme conditions. This is about staying alive when you find yourself face to face with man’s greatest enemy: nature. What, you thought it was bees? Sharks? Rattlesnakes? Guess what my friend. ALL OF THOSE THINGS ARE NATURE! Did I just blow your mind? No? Well consider this then… If left out in the wilderness to his or her own devices, with no cell phone or GPS, an adult human will survive an average of 18 minutes. Babies won’t even last that long because they’re more likely to be stepped on. Well that’s not gonna be you my friend, because today you’re going to learn yourself




STEP ONE: Figuring Out What Kind of Outside You Are In

Okay, so there’s four basic types of outside: always hot with sand, always cold with ice, mostly hot with plants, mostly cold with plants. Is the place you’re in mostly hot? Are there no plants? Then you’re in the first type of outside. Pretty cold? Are there plants basically everywhere? You’re in outside type number four. This is the outside type that we’re going to be focusing on today, since statistically this is the one you are most likely to be trapped in if you speak English and read this column.

A bear. Follow it.

A bear. Follow it.

First I’ll give you the basics on surviving the other kinds of outside. In outside kind number one, where it’s hot and there are no plants, you’re going to want to dig a hole. Then you basically just live in the hole because it’s cooler in the hole and maybe there will be some water in it. That’s what snakes do and snakes survive in this type of outside just fine. Plus if you don’t survive, free grave! Think of the savings! Outside type number two is a little trickier, but Star Wars has taught us that you can cut open a fat animal and live in it. So find yourself a fat animal and get up in its guts. Maybe if you wear the fat animal’s corpse convincingly enough, you can become part of its herd. Maybe get yourself a nice fat animal wife. Settle down and have a fat animal family, with a couple of ingrate fat animal kids that try to push you out on an ice floe to die when you get too old. Bastards.

Outside type number three is pretty simple to survive in. What you’re going to want to do is find a vine, then use that vine to swing to another vine. Repeat this process until you swing yourself to safety. You will want to be sure that none of the vines you swing on are accidentally snakes, because they will wait until the very end of your swing to open their mouths and show you their fangs, at which point you will get scared and fall out of the tree, potentially injuring your spine. Now that we have all of those taken care of, I will teach you how to survive outside type number four. The most unforgiving kind of outside.


STEP TWO: Building a Fire

Fire is the most important thing that man has ever discovered because it has given them the ability to obstruct justice and file false insurance claims. Without these things civilization could not be possible. Being stuck in a wilderness that is mostly cold with plants everywhere, fire will become your best friend. But oh no! Everything is wet! How do you make a fire when everything is wet?! Easy, just burn your clothes and hair. “But Rich, won’t I need my clothes and hair to stay warm?” That’s what the fire is for you stupid asshole. Plus your hair will grow back and you can make clothes from the pelts of the animals you kill. What’s that? You’re vegan and you can’t kill any animals? Well you would have died anyway when someone accidentally put real milk in your Soy Latte.

The important thing to remember when building a fire in the wild is to make it as large as possible, because then planes will see it and the pilots will be like “That fire is badass” and give you a thumbs up from their plane, which will boost your self-esteem and give you the confidence to continue your journey. Also, a very large wildfire will decrease the amount of dangerous wilderness, preventing future explorers from getting stuck in the same situation you have gotten yourself into. Think of the children.


STEP THREE: Following a Bear

Chances are, if you’re stuck in the fourth kind of outside, you will eventually encounter a bear. Conventional wisdom says if this happens you should make a lot of noise to scare the bear away but conventional wisdom is why millions of Americans are being systematically murdered by bears. They don’t want a bunch of jerkoffs running around their woods being loud. That’s their home; don’t be fucking rude. What you really want to do is follow that motherfucker. Why? Because bears live in the wilderness and are obviously much better at it than you so did you ever consider that your ignorant ass could learn something from them? Bears having been living out in the woods for decades ever since they drove their tiny cars over the Beringia land bridge from their native habitat of Russian circuses. So what do bears do when they’re not punching through tree trunks to eat the delicious honey contained within? That’s what you’re going to find out. Learn where the bear sleeps, learn what the bear eats, and learn what the bear does for fun when the wife is out of town. Eventually the bear may get tired of being followed around and try to charge you. If this happens, just turn around and act like you’re charging something too, because then the bear might think there’s an even more annoying person that’s been following YOU around, and maybe he will try to kill that person instead and just get tired of looking for him after a while.


STEP FOUR:  Foraging for Food

Okay, so you followed the bear, and you found fishing with your hands and tackling full grown deer to be a little difficult. That’s okay, because did you know that you can eat a bunch of stuff that’s just OUTSIDE ON THE GROUND?! It’s true! That’s basically what a salad is: just a bunch of stuff that people found on the ground outside. Amazing. The tricky part here is figuring out which of these ground items will not make you get sick and die. The easiest way to do this is when you first find something that looks like maybe you could eat it, just eat a little bit of it. A little bit of something can’t poison you TOO bad. Moderation is always the key. If you eat a little bit of something and you don’t feel like you’re dying, you will want to immediately eat a lot of it, because you need the calories if you plan on spending the rest of the day playing air guitar or making airplane noises which is probably what you were in the forest to do in the first place. A lot of people will tell you that in this situation you can also eat bugs but don’t listen to them because that’s gross and it already took you until high school to live that reputation down once and do you really want to go through that again? I didn’t think so.


STEP FIVE: Getting Rescued

So you’ve identified your surroundings, made a bitching fire to get back at the forest for trapping you, learned the secrets of the bear, and sampled the finest foods the ground had to offer. Now it is time to be rescued. “But Rich,” you might ask because I keep forgetting how annoying you are “why didn’t you just put the part about getting rescued first, since that’s the ultimate goal?” Well Captain Fuckface of the 38th Shithead Battalion, maybe it’s because I wanted you to learn some fucking skills first in case you were such an idiot that you couldn’t follow the instructions on how to get rescued and instead were just stuck in the wilderness with your dick in your hands wondering what you should do if a bear approached (reminder: follow it.)

Getting rescued isn’t exactly easy. The fire will help, but a lot of times rescuers will just ignoring a fire assuming that it is some bears having a party because their tired of rescue parties being brutally mauled due to misunderstandings over what bears do with their days off. You need other ways to draw attention to yourself, and there are a few simple tricks that will have the choppers landing in no time. The two things rescue choppers will notice first are reflecting light, and bright colors. Do you have a mirror on you? Good! Your senseless vanity has finally paid off. Okay, break the mirror. Don’t worry, the small pieces will still be able to reflect light. What we need is a way to make some bright colors. What is the brightest color? Red! What do you have that’s plenty red? Blood! Use the pieces of mirror to make deep cuts all over your body. Really get that blood flowing. If need be, keep the shards of mirror stuck in your skin to double the effect. Now run around wildly. If done properly, you will become a human rescue beacon, and the search parties will find you with plenty of time to dress your wounds before you bleed out.


And there you have it! Five simple steps on how to survive in the wilderness.

Now go out and explore mother nature! Fuck a compass. You got this.


Rich Karski

Rich is a contributor for

  • Hilarious from beginning to end. But I think if the planes saw my fire, and simply gave me a thumbs up instead of rescuing me my self-esteem would be deflated. LOL