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Best places to test your survival skills
April 17, 2016, 10:59 am
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If you are one of those who cannot sit still on a holiday, then this is your chance to swap the ‘fly and flop’ scenario for something more extreme – possibly a cross-country race or desert island experience, an Australian outback survival course, or perhaps even a North Pole expedition. Embark on one of these wild adventures and test how far your survival skills take you.

Expedition Alaska, USA:

Any kind of trip to Alaska is an adventure. But every June, the organizers of Expedition Alaska put on the most challenging adventure race in the world. This seven-day event on the Kenai Peninsula covers roughly 500km and includes monster stretches of trekking, ocean crossings, white-water kayaking, pack rafting, mountain biking, canyoneering, coasteering, and abseiling. Needless to say, it is the ultimate test of fitness, outdoor survival skills and wits, in one of the world’s most unforgiving wildernesses.

Survival run, Nicaragua:

With a tagline ‘adapt or die’, this 80km race – sometimes held in the USA, sometimes in Nicaragua – sees competitors climb, swim, dig and run over brutal wilderness terrain. This is no co-worker team-building outing so do not sign up unless you have some endurance race experience. Unlike other hardcore adventure races, it places a premium on intelligent problem-solving, and the permitted-gear list looks more like something you would find on a survival course than an ultramarathon.

Amazon river annual International ra race, Peru:

This three-day event deep in the Peruvian jungle is almost as fun to watch as it is to participate. Covering 180km, more than 40 teams of four build their own raft out of local balsawood logs and then paddle downstream, stopping only to rest along the way. But it is not as simple as it sounds – only one foreign team has won in 17 years.

Speight’s coast to coast, New Zealand:

This event, which takes place every February, is a 243km multi-sport adventure race on New Zealand’s rugged South Island that takes two full days to complete. From the start at Kumara Beach, you and about a thousand others will run, bike, and kayak across stunning Lord of the Rings landscapes until you end up at Brighton Beach near Christchurch. What makes this special is that it is achievable for anyone who is determined.

Docastaway desert island experience, worldwide:

Docastaway hand-picks an ever-changing list of islands around the world that allows you to experience desert island isolation, with as little or as much in the way of resources as you want. It offers two styles of trips, ‘Comfort’ and ‘Adventure’. While both are aimed at those seeking total seclusion, the ‘Adventure’ trips are genuine survival experiences that take place on remote deserted islands in places with imaginary names, so as not to divulge their actual location. And if you choose the ‘Extreme’ option, there is a good chance you will be making your own shelter. However, many islands have spartan bungalows or lean-tos and Docastaway will provide whatever other basics you need to look after yourself.

Polar explorers’ North Pole expedition:

The only ‘summit’ that really rivals Everest in terms of bucket-list cred is the North Pole. Sure, all the climbing is measured in lines of latitude, but the cold, bleak journey has been capturing the imagination of explorers for far longer than any mountain. Illinois-based Rick Sweitzer was the first person ever to lead a guided dogsled-ski expedition for amateurs to the North Pole in 1993 and has since, through his company Polar Explorers, been putting together everything from five-day in-and-out ski tours to full 60-day expeditions. 

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