Surviving the Wilderness

Surviving in the wilderness can seem like an overwhelming and daunting task. People become used to having everyday necessities, such as water, fire and food, readily available at a moment’s notice. In fact, these items are taken for granted without a second thought. When these daily necessities are ripped from human life, especially in a survival situation, people are forced to rethink their realities and rely on the following types of skills.

  • Communication – Before embarking into the wilderness, always tell friends or family member’s whereabouts, specific routes and time schedules. If someone gets lost, this makes it considerably easier for authorities to map out a starting point for searches.
  • Staying Calm – Always stay calm in a survival situation. Optimism and positive thinking helps keep people in a positive mental and physical state. If building a fire or shelter is not working out, do not panic, simply observe the surroundings and come up with an alternate plan.
  • Inventory – Take inventory of all supplies. The smallest items can be of great value when surviving in the wilderness.
  • Building a Shelter – Before embarking on any type of wilderness excursion, people should familiarize themselves with different types of shelters native to the area. For example, if someone is in mountainous, rocky terrain, overhangs provide natural cover, provided they are not home to mountain lions or bears. Pine needles provide thick bedding and limbs and leaves can provide insulation for lean-to style shelters. Additionally, never go into the wilderness with a survival knife, as this helps in nearly every aspect of building a shelter – from cutting tree limbs, making bedding, etc.
  • Water – The body requires water within three days. If someone is stranded near fresh water, this means they need to find a way to heat it to remove any bacteria. Otherwise, another way to capture water is to construct a water still or rain catcher. 
  • Food – Survival does not require being particular about food sources. Embrace a variety of natural foods, including bugs, fruit, eggs and leaves. It is important that wilderness hikers know what types of fruit and leaves are edible, as some are poisonous and can cause death. Building small traps to capture small rodents is also a necessary source of protein. 
  • Fire – When going into the wilderness, never forget to bring a permanent match lighter. Always keep a pocket knife within reach, as this helps cut kindling to start a fire and can even help prepare food, as mentioned in the above paragraph.
  • Help – The main goal is to always be rescued in the wilderness. People should come up with a plan if search parties are nearby. For example if a plane flies overhead, lay out open stones that clearly spell H-E-L-P or S-O-S, use shiny objects to catch the planes attention or have a large fire and add fresh sappy branches to create additional smoke.
  • Navigation – Try keeping a compass at all times, taking note of mountains, paths, bodies of water and navigating the stars. These natural markers can help lead to roads and ultimately civilization.