Could You Survive The Wild? 8 Essential Wilderness Survival Tips

Tom Hanks Survivor in Cast Away

Would you survive a night on your own in the wild? Most people can’t honestly answer ‘yes’ to that question because they wouldn’t be prepared to handle the unexpected.

Here you’ll learn some basic survival concepts and essential tips in case you ever need to brave the wild.

Tip #1: Always prepare to spend the night outdoors.

Far too many outdoor adventurers make the error of optimism. They prepare for the best case scenario make the mistake of omitting the “what ifs”. Even when embarking on a simple day outing, you should have all the gear you’ll need to survive the night.

Tip #2: The basic needs are warmth, water, sleep and food.

A high-quality sleeping bag will help ensure warmth and sleep. You should also have lighters protected in a waterproof container as well as knowledge of where you can acquire dry wood in the event of wet conditions.

Additionally, know where your fresh water sources are in the area, and have plenty food on hand, such as trail mix and protein bars. We can survive a long time without food, but those energy sources can make survival much easier.

Tip #3: The right equipment can go a long way.

Highly useful gear to have handy on your adventure includes a first aid kit, compass, map of the area and signals, such as a whistle, signal mirror, aerial signals, light sticks and emergency flares.

Other helpful items include waterproof matches with tinder, a flashlight, bandana (to cover your head from scorching sun or even as a bandage if you get injured), thread and needle, lip balm, sunscreen and insect repellant (you don’t want those bugs to eat you alive!).

Tip #4: Practice makes perfect.

Reading about wilderness survival techniques is a good first step, but it is not enough. It is very difficult for a novice to apply theory in an actual emergency.

Practice and familiarity are crucial. Practice starting a fire and using the various safety equipment, and consider taking a wilderness survival course.

Tip #5: Choose your shelter site with care.

Optimally, a shelter site should be flat, dry and well drained. It should be a convenient distance from water and firewood. However, do not choose a site too close to water because of insects, flash flooding and other dangers.

Tip #6: The three stages of fire building are tinder, kindling and fuel.

Good tinder is dry and ignites with only a spark: grass, leaves, paper, bark and even resin. Kindling is highly combustible material that you add to the burning tinder. Dead branches and materials from the underside of trees and bushes work best. Once the kindling burns, add your fuel, which generally consists of large dry pieces of wood.

Tip #7: Know how to navigate.

It is one thing to be able to follow a compass and use a map, but it is also relatively easy to navigate via the sun, moon, North Star, Southern Cross, wind and even moss growth on trees and other foliage. Most courses cover these skills.

Tip #8: Know how to find and prepare water.

If you don’t have water or a limited source, finding more is your priority. Conserve water by avoiding direct sunlight and heat, and then use your map or head downhill following cues, such as moist ground, animal tracks and so forth.

Keep these tips in mind on your next outdoor venture and you’ll be all the more prepared to face whatever unexpected situation that lies ahead.

About the author: Jason Thompson has been publishing articles online for more than a decade, and many of them deal with the great outdoors and tips for passing the hunter safety course California requires. He has had survival training, and is a skilled hunter, angler and boater.

Photo source: Total Film

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  1. how long can you survive eating moss grass bark to survive in the wild

  2. Not sure, man. I haven't tried it... :-)


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