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Thread: Is it possible to survive w/o modern items?

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    Question Is it possible to survive w/o modern items?

    Would it be possible for someone to go out in to the wild, into a place that had game and a source of water, and not take any modern items with them? By that I mean no Life straws or water purification tablets, no fancy traps or fishing poles, no tents or other "instant" shelters, or any of that stuff. At the bare minimum an ax, possibly a canteen, and some food to keep you alive. What is the bare minimum you would need to bring with you in order to not die? And last, would this be practical, or would you need modern stuff to prevent diseases and starvation/dehydration? (And this is assuming you know how to hunt, fish, what plants are edible, basic agriculture, and basic survival skills) Thank you for any insight you can provide on this matter.


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    It is very possible, and some people do so as a hobby.

    As to your comment about preventing disease, that's one of the kickers: You have to be extra careful with some things, and keep aware of many others.

    Many of the people who practice primitive camping still have modern backups -- especially first aid.

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    Senior Member natertot's Avatar
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    Yes it is possible, but not easily doable. There is a reason why mankind has progressed and continues to do so.

    The first thing you need to do is find a group, club or organization near you that specializes in primitive or a certain time period of reenactment that can teach you the skills and know how you are seeking. As you develop those skills, you will find yourself needing less of the modern stuff.

    As was mentioned, injury and illness is the weak spot in all this. One wrong move with the axe, a twisted ankle, or a fever and you will be down for the count. Not to mention encounters with certain creatures will take you down and out, particularly bears, snakes, and some creepy crawly's.

    I do not know how long of a time period you are looking to do such things. I can tell you that I have yet to meet a person that does them without carrying modern backups. If you go to reenactment camps even, you will see lots of wood boxes hanging around in the tents. Those are modern cooking stoves, heaters, lighters, first aid, and who knows what else. I went to a local reenactment place a few months ago. Got to talking to a guy who happened to be a gun nut like myself. He pulled the flap down so he could show me the Smith and Wesson under his pillow!
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    Senior Member kyratshooter's Avatar
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    At this point in time there is very little surface water in the U.S. that does not require treatment before drinking. That is a primary hindrance to one wishing to enter here and abandon all hope.

    The "primitive" thing is doable, as stated, but difficult. Life expectancy in those "primitive" groups being about 35.

    One must remember that those long-hunters and Mountain-men of the wilderness era died by the hundreds. Only 1 out of five of the western trappers returned to the mountains for a second year, if they survived the first, and of those only 1 out of 5 lived for more then 5 years in the mountains. We are talking dead, not gave up and went home.

    The long-hunters were not folk that intended to "live in the woods". They were farmers who went into the wilderness for a specific time with the intent of returning to civilization with cash money from their hides.

    Even Otzi the iceman had a metal axe, and he was 8,000 years back there when copper was a high tech substance.

    As soon as a primitive culture is introduced to metal tools they see the advantages and abandon the "primitive" as soon as possible.

    As early as the 1620s the Iroquois elders were lamenting the fact that the young men had forgotten how to work stone into tools, had abandoned their bows and spears for guns, and no longer knew how to make fire without flint and steel.
    Last edited by kyratshooter; 10-17-2015 at 02:29 AM.
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    Not only is it possible but I personally know and have lived with some people doing exactly that.

    One chief of the Cyapo tribe in the Xingo national park of Brazil recently said the only thing his people wanted from the outside world was machetes and perhaps some flip-flops for the elderly folks. I know from having been there and spent time hunting, fishing, eating and sitting around the campfire at night listening to stories that they grive just as much as any other human when a young child dies of a simple disease or a older parent/grandparent dies of cancer or a simple tooth infection but they still prefer the primitive lifestyle and want all but a very few outsiders to stay the heck out!

    It was a huge honor and privilege to have grown up in a place where I got to meet and learn from such intelligent and nobel people. Makes me less patient with the foolishness I see when I go camping here in North America with clueless city folk.

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    Administrator Rick's Avatar
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    Nope......Uh, define modern.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rick View Post
    Nope......Uh, define modern.
    Have to agree Rick.....Need a better definition...
    >From OP
    By that I mean no Life straws or water purification tablets, no fancy traps or fishing poles, no tents or other "instant" shelters, or any of that stuff<
    >Next line from OP
    At the bare minimum an ax, possibly a canteen, and some food to keep you alive. What is the bare minimum you would need to bring with you in order to not die? And last, would this be practical, or would you need modern stuff to prevent diseases and starvation/dehydration?
    <
    Just have crossed into the "one more thing, one more thing.

    So the answer has to be to decide what level you wish to attend of "primitive/minimal".
    Along with levels of "not dying...to comfortable...to thrive".
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    [QUOTE=hunter63;472234]Have to agree Rick.....Need a better definition...
    Well, by not modern, I mean basically everything that couldn't be made yourself in the wilderness, or basically anything that was made after 1000 C.E., minus an emergency first aid kit/cell phone in case of emergencies. So metal tools, twine, flint and steel, clothing; however, no plastics, sleeping bags, insulated jackets, toiletries, processed foods, guns, or anything else that would be similar to those things. So just going without all the modern day things we take for granted, and truly learning the struggle of surviving without all the fancy gadgets we have nowadays.

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    Senior Member hunter63's Avatar
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    Then you need to make a list of gear......and their uses.

    Then try them out before heading out into the bush.
    Actually the "cell phone" strikes me as funny...not at all primitive...
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    Quote Originally Posted by hunter63 View Post
    Actually the "cell phone" strikes me as funny...not at all primitive...
    Well, it would be nice to have some sort of a back up in case something goes terribly wrong...hence the reason I put "cell phone for emergencies".

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    Re-enacting "primitive" and literally surviving long term as a primitive are two very different things.
    I'm of the opinion that any man or woman with a significant prior skillset and the knowledge that it is "do or die" can quite possibly last quite some time, or at least go down swinging.
    But like others pointed out, the life expectancy in primitive societies was maybe 30-35. It wasn't much better in the 1700s and 1800s.

    It's kinda funny that your first post sounded like a long term situation, then added a few caveats, then your later post added still more, including that cell phone to get you out of the maze when you get lost. I'm assuming you aren't going naked as well?
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    Quote Originally Posted by PhilTheGhost View Post
    Well, it would be nice to have some sort of a back up in case something goes terribly wrong...hence the reason I put "cell phone for emergencies".
    Of course it is......but to get the Quote,.....So just going without all the modern day things we take for granted, and truly learning the struggle of surviving without all the fancy gadgets we have nowadays.<quote

    Looks like you want to go primitive camping....so pick a period of technology you are comfortable with and experience it as best as you can.

    DW and I have done Mountain Man re-enactments form 30 plus years...and had a great time.
    Remember old gear is much heavier that modern stuff.
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    Quote Originally Posted by PhilTheGhost View Post
    Well, it would be nice to have some sort of a back up in case something goes terribly wrong...hence the reason I put "cell phone for emergencies".
    I understand having the cell phone and a first aid kit. I believe those items would be prudent to bring. But in the situation that you are proposing I would believe that you would most likely not be in a cell coverage area. Then that begs the question......sat phone?....even more tech than the cell.
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    Senior Member randyt's Avatar
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    it takes a tribe to successfully live primitively for any length of time. For example I give you Otzi and Ishi
    so the definition of a criminal is someone who breaks the law and you want me to believe that somehow more laws make less criminals?

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    Senior Member hunter63's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by randyt View Post
    it takes a tribe to successfully live primitively for any length of time. For example I give you Otzi and Ishi
    I was gonna say Otzi the Ice man.....

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    Not a lot is known about Otzi but both Ishi and Otzi were lost from their tribe and couldn't make it. Back in those days banishment from the tribe was a death sentence. In Ishi's case his tribe died off, maybe Otzi was banished, IDK.
    so the definition of a criminal is someone who breaks the law and you want me to believe that somehow more laws make less criminals?

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    Otzi left with an arrow in his back that would have caused him to bleed out in minutes. They've also found indications of a fight or fall that caused a hand wound and a cerebral hemorage. He didn't "make it back" because someone murdered him.
    Last edited by LowKey; 10-17-2015 at 07:15 PM.
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    Senior Member randyt's Avatar
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    could have been banished too, we don't know, there are many theories. The puzzler to me is if Otzi bled out in minutes, I would have thought his possessions would have been taken. I wonder why not. Being shot by a arrow would have put the perp fairly close.

    He may have been murdered or maybe he bashed someone in the head with a rock and that someone's buddy gave chase. I don't think we'll ever know.
    Last edited by randyt; 10-17-2015 at 07:39 PM.
    so the definition of a criminal is someone who breaks the law and you want me to believe that somehow more laws make less criminals?

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    Senior Member kyratshooter's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by randyt View Post
    could have been banished too, we don't know, there are many theories. The puzzler to me is if Otzi bled out in minutes, I would have thought his possessions would have been taken. I wonder why not. Being shot by a arrow would have put the perp fairly close.

    He may have been murdered or maybe he bashed someone in the head with a rock and that someone's buddy gave chase. I don't think we'll ever know.
    Guarantee there was a woman involved.

    Otzi was hunted down and killed in revenge. No possessions were taken because bringing back loot would have shown you were the killer. That copper axe was one of the most valuable things a person could imagine at the dawn of the copper age.

    Even primitive groups have rules.

    I bet there was a trinket or some such that was taken off Otzi's body and carried back to show someone special that the deed had been done. It was just not something that would be known to everyone.
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    You guys have it all wrong. Otzi said....I'm sick and tired of this tribal living. This society sucks. I'm leaving to live out in the wilderness and do what I want, when I want. No more rules for me. Anybody know of some land that I can squat on where there is plenty of wild game to club?
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