In November, I had the great fortune of working once again with master survival instructor Peter Kummerfeldt at a Wilderness Medicine Society conference in Tucson. In addition to being someone who was clearly born to teach, Peter has some of the most extensive global survival experience of anyone I know of in the field. He is the real deal. When he speaks about the intense heat and varied wildlife in Africa, or building an igloo in northern Alaska when it was -30, or trekking in the jungle for days with only his machete, you know he’s really done it. Peter spent 30 years as an Air-Force Survival instructor and then later as a professional hunting guide in the Rockies. Prior to that, he grew up in Kenya and currently offers his own photo-safari trips to various regions of Africa.
One of my favorite quotes from his lecture on survival was: “Forget that old saying, ‘You will rise to the occasion during a crisis.’ That’s absurd. However, you will settle to the level of your training.” Time and again, Peter has always stressed that having the proper gear is not enough- you have to know how to use it and try it out under non-survival conditions.
|One of Peter’s hands-on survival classes in the Rocky Mountains.
I am always humbled being in Peter’s presence and was honored to co-teach several desert survival workshops with him. If you have a chance, take his one-day survival class which he offers around the country and pick up a copy of his outstanding manual, Surviving a Wilderness Emergency which is one of the best books on the market today. It covers how to prepare for outdoor trips and shows exactly what field-tested gear should go into a quality survival kit. Peter’s website also has volumes of comprehensive articles ranging from lightning safety to the latest research on hypothermia, international travel security, and more. We will be hosting a 2-day non-overnight survival course with Peter on October 3-4 in Flagstaff.