“I probably am a little crazy,” admits Britt Ahart with a laugh.
Born and raised in Virginia just outside of Washington, D.C., some people might agree with Ahart’s description of his sanity. That’s because Ahart has unexpected side to him: a passion for primitive living and outdoor skills.
When it comes to wilderness survival, Ahart has few equals. Bush craft is just what it sounds like: crafting tools and equipment in the bush. “It’s things like taking a branch and fabricating it into a snare of sorts,” explains Ahart. “It’s taking what nature provides and using it for your needs.”
Primarily self-taught, Ahart came to the attention of the History Channel’s reality TV show “Alone” and found himself braving the wilderness of Mongolia and Patagonia for months at a time, living off his wits and survival skills. The former FedEx accounting employee now spends his days as a school bus driver, opting not to return to the corporate world after his stay in Mongolia.
“Having shelter, creating fire, staying fed and hydrated are the obvious ‘musts’ when it comes to any sort of sustained survival,” says Ahart of his wilderness excursions. “Being short of any one of those can mean disaster. Aside from that, what really works for me are my frame of mind, my resourcefulness and my creativity. When things were down, I was able to stay positive and find a way to overcome.”
Surprisingly, a profession as seemingly unrelated as accounting proved useful for wilderness survival, specifically organizational skills and attention to detail. “I have a focused brain,” says Ahart. “I’m able to categorize and keep things in a concise, orderly fashion. That absolutely carried into my journey on the show as well as my everyday home life.”
Ahart always felt a strong affinity for the wilderness. “I’m a solitary person by nature,” he admits. “I enjoy being by myself and outside doing things on my own. I’ve always been that way. I didn’t fit in with most of the groups I grew up with.”
His early skills were honed in the Boy Scouts, but his fascination with bush craft far surpassed anything he could be taught – so he taught himself. His interest in the History Channel’s “Alone” series was the ultimate challenge of his abilities. “It was something I thought was real and would actually pit you against yourself outdoors,” he notes. “I thought it would be an excellent way to see what I could do on my own.”
Ahart has advice for those interested in a more prepared lifestyle. “It’s hard to prepare for everything,” he explains. “For those who are trying to prepare, I recommend learning basic skills for outdoor survival. Can you make a fire? Can you find water? Can you build a shelter? Do you know how to find food? To me, these are the some of the most important aspects of being prepared. These are the things I’m teaching my son.”
Lehman’s is an excellent source for low-tech living, and Ahart is coming to share some insight on his experience with minimalist survival. Come see Britt Ahart in person, listen to his experiences, and participate in a question-and-answer session on Saturday, June 1 at Lehman’s store in Kidron, Ohio, 1 pm – 3 pm.
We hope to see you there!