Since an early age, I’ve been obsessed with the great outdoors.
The idea that I could learn the skills I needed to survive in the wild for weeks, months, or even years at a time, with nothing more than a bag on my back and the equipment I was carrying, has always intrigued me.
Sounds like bliss, right?
Out in the wilderness.
Living off the land.
I was so enthusiastic about learning how to survive in the wild that I joined the only organization that I could think of at the time, that would allow me to learn the skills I longed for – the cadets.
Safe to say, my time in the cadets didn’t really live up to my 14-year-old expectations. However, it did set me on my path to a career in the military.
A career that did meet all of my expectations, and more!
When I look back now, at my 16-year-old self, stood at the train station, suited and booted, with nothing more than a bag on my back and £40 in my pocket, ready to depart for the Commando Training Centre Royal Marines, I get the same feelings of wonder and anticipation.
The same feelings that ran through the body of my younger self when I imagined setting off into the wild, looking for a challenge and opportunity. Looking for adventure.
From the high obstacle courses of the Commando Training Centre to the cold, wet live firing ranges of Scotland’s Barry Budden; the scorching deserts of Afghanistan to the flight deck of HMS Ocean, sailing on high readiness, through the Strait of Gibraltar…
Adventure was what I sought, and adventure was what I found.
After almost 8 years in Her Majesty’s Royal Marines, and after having served in numerous roles from a general duties Royal Marines Commando to a Door Gunner on the Wildcat helicopter, it’s fair to say that I’ve had my fair share of ups and downs.
Whenever I look back at my time in the military, my fondest memories are those of times when I was closest to nature.
Survival was in my DNA, and I loved every minute.
From survival exercises on the gorse bush-filled Woodbury Common training area to the freezing planes of Norway, learning not just to survive in all of the elements and across every climate, but to thrive in them.
If you can learn to fight in an environment. You can learn to survive and flourish in them, too.
My thirst for survival knowledge and a situation in which I could be really tested was never more quenched than during my time in the Commando Helicopter Force Royal Marines.
Due to the higher risk of enemy capture, all aircrew must undergo and successfully complete Survival, Evasion, Resistance, and Escape (SERE) training.
I kid you not…
This is the closest thing you’ll get to a real-life survival (and enemy capture) situation, without actually surviving behind enemy lines whilst being hunted, being captured and interrogated, and eventually, escaping.
This is full-on survival mode. No food. No water. And a genuine hunter force trying to track your every move.
It taught me a lot.
It taught me that the second greatest asset you can have in any survival situation – trumped only by an unwavering mindset and an attitude of ‘just carrying on’ – is knowledge.
Hunting. Growing. Gathering. Fishing. Fire. Shelter…
The list goes on.
Knowledge is power, and out in the wilderness, behind enemy lines, power is survival.
The third greatest asset you can have is preparedness. Ensuring you have the right equipment, for the right job. What you need, when you need it.
Unfortunately, the mindset part I can’t teach you. Certainly not sat behind a computer screen.
But knowledge and equipment…
Now, that I can teach.
I created this site to bring you guys the very best kit and equipment, and to impart my knowledge and experience so that one day, should you need it, you’re prepared and able to not only survive, but to thrive.
Founder, Survival Front.