Outdoor survival is not about living without food, water, or shelter. It’s about understanding your environment and how to find what you need.
If you’re lost in the wilderness with just a rock knife, how are you going to survive?
With some skills and knowledge of the land around you, you’ll be able to make it out alive – just like Bear Grylls!
It takes more than just enthusiasm and dedication: skills are what will make or break your survival.
Outdoor survival is also about making the right choices for your situation and situation with resources at hand.
Your goal is to keep yourself alive for as long as you can, even if that means staying in a dangerous situation or cutting off all of your natural resources, including food and water.
1. What skills are required to survive?
1.1. First Aid
Outdoor survival is a very physically demanding activity.
Sometimes you may bruise, cut, or break bones from falling trees or climbing over branches.
Whatever the injury, there are steps you can take to treat it and make sure that you can continue living in the wild for a while longer.
The most common injuries in wilderness survival are:
- Blisters (typically on the feet).
- Pulling muscle tendons (especially in the arms and legs).
- Broken bones.
First aid can help prevent these injuries and keep you from getting yourself in more trouble; however, it’s not a cure-all.
There are a lot of other things that can happen if you’re injured or in the wild.
It would help if you were prepared for these mishaps to be able to keep yourself alive.
1.2. Making a shelter
Out in the wild, there’s a good chance that you may not be able to find anything to stay close to (boulders, caves), which leaves you having to make your shelter.
The most basic type of structure you can build is a lean-to or tarp shelter.
A lean-to is simple and requires just two beams and some foliage or branches on the ground (or snow if it’s winter).
To build a tarp shelter, cut two branches from trees (and make sure that the tree is not poisonous).
Then, stretch the branches down to the ground.
1.3. Using the natural environment for clothing
If you’re out in the wilderness, it’s important to keep yourself covered in any way that you can.
You can fashion your clothes out of leaves, bark, and sticks with your knife or hatchet or even just by hand if necessary.
If you’re resourceful enough, you can even make a loincloth out of bark.
1.4. Building a fire
Building a fire is one of the essential skills in wilderness survival.
It will provide heat in the cooler months, the light at night, and protection from wild animals.
Without a fire, you will need to do more work to survive.
How to build a fire:
You can build a fire out of pretty much anything dry and combustible, like fallen trees or pinecones, broken branches, dry leaves, etc.
You’ll want to start with an empty container like a tin can or plastic tub.
Place the material you want to burn into the container and cover it with more material (twigs or grass). Once you’ve got a little fire going, you can start adding larger branches to get the heat level up.
Before long, you should have a rolling fire with flames in no time. Be sure not just to burn anything, though. Some materials will produce toxic fumes when burned.
Fishing is a crucial skill for wilderness survival.
You will need to know how to catch them and store them for later use properly.
1.6. Hunting and trapping
If you’re not able to find any fish, you’ll need to find another food source in the wild.
This is where hunting comes into play.
You’ll need to know what they look like and how they move to catch one and bring it back for food.
A couple of other things to be aware of are that you will need more than just a knife or your hands (if the animal is poisonous or large) because it requires a great deal of energy to kill them.
Also, it’s important to make sure that you’re not injuring yourself while doing so, so be careful not to break bones or hurt yourself in the process.
2. What should you do if you have no food or water?
If you’re stuck somewhere and running out of food and water, staying calm is the most important thing to do. Don’t panic.
2.1. Focus on gathering water
With no food, your body will eventually undergo a starvation state, but you will die much quicker without water.
To survive without food, your body can hold out for around 4 weeks (some people claim it’s shorter than that).
With no water, you will only be able to survive for around three days.
So water is your number one priority.
If you have a canteen or other container, fill it up with any water sources that you can find: puddles, brooks, streams, rainwater, etc.
Once you have a water source, it’s important to treat it to make sure that it’s safe to drink.
The simplest way to purify water is through boiling or distilling.
2.2. Live off of the land
Eat whatever you can find. If you’re in the desert, find cactus, roots, and even seeds. If you’re near a forest, look for berries and other plants that you can use.
The idea is to secure food and water while you’re trying to figure out a way to get out of your situation.
2.3. Stay calm and don’t rush
Panicking will only waste time that you could be used to plan a way out of your situation or to get yourself enough food and water to live on for a few days.
Stay focused, calm, and do everything slowly and methodically, so fewer mistakes can cause you harm.
3. What should you do if you cannot build a shelter?
3.1 build a bed
If you cannot build a shelter, then you’ll be forced to make a bed or anything that provides you with a layered defense against the cold.
If you need to sleep in the cold, use a few clothing layers, a regular sleeping bag, and a blanket.
3.2 Find a cave and make it comfortable
Find caves in the hills or mountains, and take advantage of them as much as possible.
Make a bed out of leaves or other vegetation, and then cover yourself with that.
4. What should you do if there is a risk of predators?
4.1 Find cover
Since predators hunt prey, they are more inclined to pursue where another target is likely to be.
This means that they are more likely to be on the ground or in areas where you can easily be seen.
4.2 Stay Alert to the Area
If you can’t find cover, you should see a way to stay alert to the area and search for any danger.
To stay alert, try to move around, but don’t wobble or walk too fast so as not to draw too much attention from the predators.
Another thing that will help is having bushes or trees near you that can serve as a hiding spot or defense.
4.3 Climb a tree when you need to escape
If an animal is dangerous (such as a bear), climb a tree and get out there.
Remember that trees can fall, so it’s important to be careful when you’re trying to climb up or down from the ground.
4.4 Never try to fight a predator
Even if you have a big knife, it’s important to remember that animals will attack you with their claws and teeth.
If you’re going to use your weapon, then make sure that it’s not close enough for the animal to reach and use against you.
If an animal attacks you, back away slowly while keeping your eyes on it.
Don’t look at it directly in the eye unless you want it to see that there is fear in your face.
If it charges, you’ll have to jump or run away.
Make sure that your legs are protected and that the back of your legs is always covered from the animal’s view.
If you’re at a disadvantage where there’s a dangerous animal, then move slowly, quietly, and in a way that the animal won’t be able to see through (like behind vegetation or inside rocks).
5. What should you do if you cannot signal for help?
5.1 Look for boats or aircraft
If you are in a situation where you cannot signal for help, then one of your best options is finding a boat or aircraft.
The best way to do this is by getting above the forest and then looking around. If you’re lucky enough to get a glimpse of one, don’t try to swim after it because you may be seen and attacked by a predator.
Instead, make as much noise as possible so that they know where you are.
5.2 Place a smoke signal
If you cannot find a boat, then you may be able to make your signal.
You can do this by making some fire, which will send out a pillar of smoke.
A pitcher full of water can also be used for a similar purpose.
If there is no water nearby, you can use dirt or sand instead, but only if there are no animals nearby, which may take advantage of the dust trail that this will create.
5.3 If you can’t signal for help, then find a way to survive
If you cannot signal for help, then the best thing to do is stay until help arrives.
The best thing that you can do is always be prepared in case of any emergency.
Remember that you should always have a survival kit on hand in case of an emergency, but never forget that there are other people out there in the world who will be doing the same thing as you are.
6. What should you do if you are injured?
6.1 Group together
If you are injured, then the best thing you can do is stay together with other survivors.
It may not be easy to do this if there are people who are only trying to survive independently for reasons.
Try approaching them and ask if they have any medical supplies or shelter.
6.2 Treat injuries
If you have a medical book or if you’re able to do some research on the internet, then look up how to treat your injuries.
If there is no way of getting help, use materials nearby like leaves and plant fibers to make a bandage or sling that will keep the injured person from moving too much.
Otherwise, you can cut the bandage off as soon as the treatment is finished and then apply a second one when the older one has been removed.
As long as you’re prepared for emergencies, then you’ll have a better chance of surviving.
Prepare yourself as much as possible ahead of time so that you can respond to any emergency.
It’s important to remember that people in the wild do not care about your well-being, so when something happens that threatens your safety, it’s up to you to keep yourself safe.