Early life[ edit ] The Kochanski family immigrated to Canada from Poland in Mors, the fifth of six children, was born in His mother named him "Morris" but, because of a misunderstanding due to her Polish accent, the midwife wrote "Mors" on the birth certificate. Kochanski was brought up on a farm in Saskatchewan , where he worked and assisted his father, who had been a windmill carpenter in Poland and who fought for the Polish military during World War I. In his early school years, he travelled seven miles to and from school on a bush road. In his family moved to Prince Albert , where he frequented the local library and took particular interest in two books: an old Boy Scout manual, and The Ashley Book of Knots.
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Mors Kochanski is a legend in the outdoor survival world. He has spent a lifetime testing and refining survival techniques in the northern wilderness, as well as advanced bushcraft skills that can allow one to live comfortably in the wilderness with the materials they find in the woods around them.
He taught these survival skills to the Canadian Air Force, at the University of Alberta, as well as running his own private course Karamat Wilderness Ways.
His knowledge of the boreal forest region—the terrain, the plant life, and the animals—is highly advanced. Spending the Winter nights sleeping in a lean-to in front of a long log fire and learning from Mors in the frozen deep northwoods was fantastic! Paul Council of the Boy Scouts as a fundraiser for Eagle Scout college scholarships, and later in the year, hung out with him again at the Winter Camping Symposium this event has become upper Midwest top bushcraft meet-up!
His knowledge and passion for the outdoors and wilderness skills has made him one of my favorite mentors. Mors repeatedly stressed a couple of key fundamental points: Inform someone who is responsible about your trip route and your expected return. This trip plan should trigger rescue in the event of an emergency and will give reassurance that help is on the way! Learn how to prevent dying of "exposure," which is typically a combination of fatigue, dehydration, and hypothermia.
With those concepts in mind, here are the top 10 survival techniques I learned from Mors Kochanski. Top 10 Survival Concepts 1. He is an expert in his environment, the boreal forest, and he provides highly detailed instruction and specifc advice, so you can actually survive there. Super Shelter A Mors Kochanski original, the "Super Shelter" is a dramatic upgrade to the classic pine bough lean-to you see in nearly every survival manual.
Super Shelters feature a raised bench covered with conifer boughs that double as a bed, a back wall lined with a reflective Mylar space blanket, and a clear plastic sheet that hangs down the front. Additional covering material, such as a tarp, and a saw will help create a first rate home.
To chow or not to chow, that is the question. Fast and conserve energy? Spend energy hunting and gathering? Mors introduced this trade-off to me. The idea of not eating had never crossed my mind. Mors has a different view. He contends that you have to consume more energy than you expend in hunting and gathering, and hit a daily baseline of 1, calories with of those calories coming from carbohydrates. I will admit I still struggle with the fasting concept. Mors does suggest carrying prunes or OXO soup cubes for short-term energy in your survival kit.
He also has advice on trapping and primitive fishing techniques, but he considers those advanced skills, not likely to be necessary in most survival situations. The knowledge that you can potentially live 40 days without food is somewhat comforting, although I have no desire to give it a try! Your pack should contain a decent-sized pot so you can boil water. One of the most difficult items to fabricate in the wilderness is a pot to boil water.
Yes, you can potentially make a folded bark container, or put hot rocks in a hollowed out log, but it is difficult and time consuming. Mors puts great emphasis on the importance of getting sleep in order to survive. He cites studies that show sleepless nights can slow your brain function to the same degree as alcohol bingeing. Your ability to think through challenging situations becomes murky, and your mental attitude and the all-important will to live crumble.
In the cold northwoods, sleep will be very difficult to obtain without understanding other survival skills and principles. A well-constructed Super Shelter becomes a wilderness resort and allows for great sleep.
A quinzhee snow mound shelter can maintain an inside temperature just below freezing which may be 40 degrees warmer than the outside air! Clothing is shelter that you wear and your first line of defense! Fire Lighting I thought I had solid fire-lighting skills. However, after doing a Winter survival course with Mors, I realized my fire-lighting skills had actually been pretty basic. He snaps off an armload of full-length dead spruce boughs, folds them over once, and quickly binds them with a flexible twig into something resembling a large twig football Photos below.
He lights the bundle while holding it at waist level, and the bundle quickly burns into a hot torch that is easily controlled and manipulated by hand, up off the cold, wet ground. The bundle can be lit while sheltered from wind and rain, and it can easily be waived for oxygen, as opposed to kneeling and blowing.
The Kochanski-style tinder bundle is a true life saver! Mors taught flint and steel fire lighting, use of the bow drill, hand drill, and how to source and locate numerous natural tinders and fire materials. He teaches special fire lays for all night fires and for burning on top of deep snow. His work in this area—especially for the northern coniferous forest—is exceptional and should be studied by everyone who walks these woods!
In fact, he stresses not relying on wire saws and razor blades when trying to survive in a northern Winter. The cold is not forgiving, and you are working against time to secure your survival situation. Be Prepared! These compact components will help you combat dehydration, stay warm, and build shelter. Knots can be tricky, but knowing the right one to use, and how to use it can make a world of difference in the wild.
This knot uses little cord, cinches up powerfully tight with paracord, and has a million uses. In a survival situation, it is particularly useful for binding two shelter poles together while using far less cord than standard lashings.
HIs affable personality and approachable teaching style make his courses even more enjoyable. And, if have the chance to learn from him in person, do it!
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