wilderness survival

10 Wilderness Survival Tips Everyone Should Know

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There’s nothing like exploring the Great Outdoors. But what if you find yourself in a wilderness survival situation? Knowing some essential survival tips can keep you safe until you make your way back to civilization.

It’s easier than you may think to get lost in a wilderness area. Many people get lost or stranded during camping trips and hikes every year.

Even if you’re not an avid outdoor person, it’s best to know how to avoid danger and keep yourself safe should the circumstance arise. Read on for 10 essential wilderness survival tips everyone should know.

1. Tell Someone Your Plans

This is an excellent preventative measure that will ensure that someone will be aware and send for help if you’re missing.

Tell friends, family, or coworkers if you’re making plans to go on an outdoor adventure or hike. Be sure to give them a good idea of where you’ll be and how long you intend to be gone.

2. Check Your Attitude

This may not be immediately obvious, but in a survival situation, your outlook influences your actions. While it’s tempting to panic or fall into despair, understand that these emotions will not keep you safe.

A positive attitude, even after failure, helps you keep a clear head so that your mental energies can be used for thinking creatively and adapting to unexpected challenges.

A positive outlook influences more than just your thought processes. Those with a positive, determined attitude tend to recover from illness and injury faster than those who see situations in a negative light.

3. Take Inventory of What You Have

In a wilderness survival situation, everything you have on you has the potential to become a tool, shelter, first aid material, or some other survival essential.

Everything from clothing to shoelaces may help you to fashion something that could keep you fed, filter your water, keep you sheltered, or save your life.

4. Know How to Get Safe Water

Water is essential for survival. We can go much longer without food than we can without fluids.

The length of time you can survive without water depends on the environment you’re in and the type of activity you’re doing. A person can survive from two days to a week without water in a fairly stable environment. The average is from three to four days.

This is in an ideal situation. If you’re in an extremely hot area or are moving a lot, you can dehydrate much more quickly. It’s essential to know how and where to find water.

If you’re fortunate enough to be near a body of water, it’s important to remember that boiling water for a minute kills pathogens that could make you sick. If you have a filter or treatment chemicals, you can use these.

There are other ways to find or obtain water. These include:

  • Building a rain collector
  • Filtering water from mud with clothing
  • Collecting condensation and dew
  • Eating plants with high water volume, such as succulents
  • Following converging animals tracks to see if they lead to a water source

Water is top priority in a survival situation. Make sure you have some sort of source as soon as possible.

5. Know How to Find Food Sources

While you’ll be able to survive on your body’s stores for quite a while, you still need to find acceptable food sources in case you need them later.

Take the time to learn about the native plants and fruits growing in the area you know you’ll be visiting. Having prior knowledge will make it less likely that you’ll eat something poisonous.

Also, you’ll need to make peace with eating strange foods you otherwise wouldn’t. This includes various insects, seeds, vegetation, and eggs. Trapping small animals may be necessary in some cases when there’s nothing else.

6. Know How to Find or Make Shelter

You’ve got to have protection from the elements in a wilderness survival situation. Whether there’s rain, snow, or blazing sun, your ability to stay alive will depend on how well you’re sheltered.

Pay attention to your surroundings and take advantage of areas or materials that will offer protection, such as caves and rock overhangs. If there’s no place already, you can gather limbs, twigs, and leaves to make a simple structure that can offer shade and wind protection.

7. Be Able to Start a Fire Without Matches

You won’t always have access to matches or a lighter. Even if you do, the weather sometimes makes it impossible to use them. It’s helpful to know how to start a fire without these items.

There are several methods you can become familiar with, including:

  • The hand drill method
  • The bow drill method
  • The fire plow method
  • Using a flint and steel set
  • Lens-based methods, with a lens you have on hand or one carved from ice

Most of these methods are somewhat difficult to master, but worth the effort when you’re in a rough spot.

8. Always Keep a Good Tool On Hand

This is another preventative step that can make a huge difference in your survival chances. The right tool can help you find food, make a shelter, protect yourself, and even make more tools.

The most basic tool would be a pocket knife. A multi-tool, which usually includes a knife, a screwdriver, a file, a mini saw, and other accessories, is also an excellent pick. Hatchets and handheld spears are great as well.

9. Know How to Signal For Help

Being able to put out a signal could make or break your rescue. In many wilderness situations, visibility is low and a good signal is the only way you’ll be found.

There are tools made specifically for signal use such as a signal mirror or flares, but if you don’t have these, you can use fire, smoke, or spell out “HELP” or “SOS” with rocks or large, heavy sticks.

10. Navigate Using Your Surroundings

You may not have a map or a compass on hand if you become lost. You can look to your surroundings to guide you along.

Be mindful of your surroundings, noting any recognizable landmarks, mountains, rivers, or streams. This way you’ll know if you’re going in circles and you’ll have a better chance of finding roads and pathways.

With a little knowledge and observation, the stars can serve as a directional guide as well.

Wilderness Survival Skills Keep You Alive

You never know when you’ll find yourself lost or stranded in the wilderness. Keep these essential tips in mind on your next excursion.

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