As a seasoned wilderness explorer and survivalist, I’ve seen how skills learned from a combat survival course can significantly benefit the environment, especially when utilized by wilderness backpackers.

This fusion of survival training and environmental conservation can help us enjoy nature’s splendor while minimizing our footprint, and keeping the wild as it should be: wild.

Fire Safety: A Crucial Part of Combat Survival Training

In many wilderness parks, lighting fires is strictly regulated. Understandably, these rules arose from the negligent actions of a few individuals, compromising the natural beauty of these areas. However, here’s where combat survival training enters the picture.

In a combat survival situation, staying invisible is paramount, making fire creation a risk. Hence, fire is only used sparingly for critical needs like cooking, water purification, or warmth. The fire made is tiny, controlled, and almost smokeless – all of which maximize safety.

Afterward, the area is meticulously restored to its original state, leaving no trace of human presence or fire. This cautious approach is something every wilderness backpacker can adopt, ensuring that our adventures don’t mar the wilderness’s natural aesthetic.

Environmentally Conscious Shelter Construction

Many parks frown upon building shelters, and rightly so. Irresponsible shelter construction often involves damaging trees and other vegetation. But with proper training, a functional shelter can be assembled using only what nature has discarded—no tools necessary.

Combat survival training emphasizes the construction of windfall shelters to maintain stealth and avoid leaving any signs of presence. The principle behind this type of shelter is simple: use only what the environment has discarded naturally.

It’s a technique born from necessity and stealth, but it’s equally applicable to the environmentally-conscious backpacker, allowing for comfortable and sustainable sheltering in the wild.

Mitigating Terrain Damage

While damage underfoot might not seem like a significant issue in vast wilderness expanses, a careful approach can benefit both the environment and the backpacker.

A person trained in combat survival is acutely aware of their traces, taking care not to leave prints or break twigs, maintaining their invisibility. Learning to move stealthily across various terrains can help backpackers minimize their environmental impact and conserve energy, making their journeys more sustainable and efficient.

Summing Up: Combat Survival Training and Wilderness Backpacking

While it’s not a prerequisite for responsible wilderness backpacking, combat survival training does highlight the small, avoidable damages that can occur during a simple walk in the woods. It underlines how, with some care and knowledge, we can significantly reduce our environmental impact.

Now, this might seem like an arduous process – visions of slathering oneself in mud and sneaking through underbrush might come to mind. In reality, these precautionary measures are subtle, unnoticed by most, and become second nature with practice.

The result? Skilled individuals who can venture freely and responsibly, leaving the wilderness untouched.

The Fine Line Between Rules and Education

In no way am I suggesting that we disregard rules and regulations. Rather, I believe that education should complement these rules, especially for those who venture beyond the trial’s end.

Consider the “No Fires” rule in many parks. While it mitigates the risk of wildfires, it’s not entirely foolproof. The real issue here is education and enforcement. We can make rules, but implementing them is a different story. It’s up to us, the wilderness enthusiasts, to respect and conserve the wilderness.

My proposal? Keep the rules for those who venture a few feet from their cars. For the rest – those who journey into the heart of the wilderness – let education, respect for the environment, and the right survival skills guide them.

Just as the shelter demonstrated in the pictures, built with natural materials already on the ground and trimmed with an axe for demonstration, it’s possible to respect nature and enjoy it simultaneously, using the wisdom combat survival training imparts.

As we learn to fuse survival skills with environmental conservation, we ensure that the wilderness remains pristine and vibrant for generations to come. It’s not just about exploring the wilderness—it’s about preserving it.