I'll never forget the look of disappointment in Bear Grylls' eyes.

Retching, the explorer threw up the contents of his stomach, as he called in a helicopter to rescue him from this undignified position.

And it was all my fault.

Bear Grylls: You vs. Wild is Netflix's latest foray into "chose your own adventure" style videos.

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But it was a complete surprise when the veteran survivalist stopped for on advice on outdoor forging.

Evidently, I chose poorly.

Felled by a wry omelet: Shaquille O'Neal and Bear Grylls, right, prepare bush tucker. Photo / Ben Simms, Getty Images
Felled by a wry omelet: Shaquille O'Neal and Bear Grylls, right, prepare bush tucker. Photo / Ben Simms, Getty Images

There he was, head first in a gorse bush – the man who made his name surviving for days on a combination of Yak blood and his own urine – felled by a wry omelette.

It just goes to show how misguided we have been through the sensationalist portrayal of outdoor survival.

I'm a fair weather hiker. When I do go outside, I stick to the tracks, follow the signs and try not to get lost.

But faced with a proper emergency or a lack of clear ways out of the bush, I'm not sure what I'd do.

My lake of survival instincts clearly failed Bear.

Fortunately a group of researchers in the Smokey Mountains recently analysed a database of 100 survival stories to see if there are lessons to be learned from these remarkable tales of survival.

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By going though news reports of tales of survival the researchers were able to determine the most common causes for people getting lost, and the steps taken to get them back to safety.

Among them was the remarkable story of Marco Lavoie who survived a record 90 in Quebec before rescue, fighting bears and eating his loyal dog.

Here are the cumulative learnings from 501 days in the wild.

Never leave the trail

The most dangerous thing you can do is step off the track.

The most common cause for people getting lost in the first place is leaving a marked trail.
In 41 per cent of incidents going off the beaten track was what got them lost, with a further 16 per cent falling off of difficult trails by accident.

Back country: The most dangerous thing you can do is step off the track. Photo / Getty Images
Back country: The most dangerous thing you can do is step off the track. Photo / Getty Images

However, other important factors include weather and visibility. 17 per cent of hikers got lost as a result of bad weather, and 6 per cent due to loss of light. Planning for these conditions and knowing when to head back can be the difference between getting home or not.

Remarkably the fourth most common cause for getting lost is getting separated from a group.

Pick your hiking buddies wisely and look after each other out there, okay?

Keep warm, take shelter

Warmth overnight and shelter from the elements is vital to surviving outdoors, but where do you find either of these in the great outdoors?

It pays to be prepared. Extra layers of clothing and camping gear have been the difference in 22 per cent of these incidents. The ability to light a fire also helped 10 per cent of our survivors.

However, another valuable source of heat is the shared body warmth of fellow walkers, or even a dog.

One story tells of how Annette Poitras, 56, was injured and stuck for two nights in the Coquitlam mountains, British Colombia. Her faithful dogs, Chloe the collie and Bubba the pug were able to keep her warm during torrential rain. Finally she was rescued by her third dog Roxy, a boxer, whose barking alerted search parties to her location.

Another reason to pick your hiking buddies carefully.

Find water, keep moving, keep your clothes on

"Find water. Follow it to open ground. And don't get naked," are the three memorable pieces of advice from Taika Waititi's Hunt for the Wilderpeople.

You won't survive long without water. But fresh water can also be the best route out of the woods.

Drinking Urine: Bear Grylls has made a career out of sensationalist adventures with celebrities like Barack Obama. Photo / Delbert Shoopman, Getty Images
Drinking Urine: Bear Grylls has made a career out of sensationalist adventures with celebrities like Barack Obama. Photo / Delbert Shoopman, Getty Images

4 per cent of our survivors were able to find a body of fresh water.

65 per cent of people kept moving, where they could. Following running water downstream is your best chance of finding other people.

But for some of these survivors it wasn't as simple as that. Without any fresh source of water, it turns out 2 per cent of people resort to licking leaves and moss for moisture, whereas three times as many will drink their own urine.

6 per cent of these reports involved survivors 'recycling' their water supplies.
Bear Grylls has a lot to answer for.

Help! Know when to admit you're lost

The final take away, is that only 23 per cent of survivors were able to find their own way to safety.

The remaining 77 per cent had to rely on being rescued.

Know when to admit you're lost: The longer spent in the bush, the less you chance of survival. Photo / Getty Images
Know when to admit you're lost: The longer spent in the bush, the less you chance of survival. Photo / Getty Images

There is no shame in admitting you are lost and calling for help. The longer you spend in the wild, the worse your chances of survival are.

Another interesting insight into profile of the wilderness survivor is that the average age was 40, and men are three times more likely to get lost in the wild.

The middle age men are probably the group least likely to call for help early on, and be in the more remote locations.

The New Zealand bush is a wild and unforgiving place. The remoteness and lack of population means the tales of survival are fewer but no less remarkable.

In 2015 a young mother was rescued Rimutaka Forest having survived the night by digging a hole, and drinking her own breast milk.

Your turn Mr Grylls.