10 Tips for Wilderness Survival

Communication is KeySome­times we for­get how easy we have it. Amid our crazy life sched­ules we tend to take for grant­ed that puri­fied bot­tle of water when thirsty, or the push of a but­ton to light a fire. But it’s impor­tant to remem­ber that in the blink of an eye, it can all be gone. The unex­pect­ed hap­pens, you get in an acci­dent or lose your way; now, it’s just you and the wilder­ness with no ties to civ­i­liza­tion. Here are ten basic sur­vival tips to get you pre­pared- just in case.

Com­mu­ni­ca­tion is Key
Please please please tell some­one where you are going before you set off for a trip. No mat­ter where you go, even if you end up strand­ed unex­pect­ed­ly, you start­ed from some­where in civ­i­liza­tion. Tell close friends and fam­i­ly where you are going and if you have a spe­cif­ic route or amount of time you will be gone.

Keep Your Head On
Now is the time to be calm and think pos­i­tive. It doesn’t sound like much, but opti­mism goes a long way, and in a sur­vival sit­u­a­tion, it starts with you, your atti­tude and your will no mat­ter how scared and alone you may feel. First, keep a real­is­tic out­look and dili­gent­ly plan to keep your­self in the best pos­si­ble phys­i­cal and men­tal state. If some­thing isn’t work­ing out, like build­ing a fire or shel­ter, don’t rush, because that can lead to pan­ic. Stop, breathe and think about what you need, observe your sur­round­ings and orga­nize a new plan.

Take Inven­to­ry
Keep every­thing you’ve got, because the sec­ond plans go south, these items will become your most prized pos­ses­sions and could save your life. Don’t under­es­ti­mate the wor­thi­ness of even the small­est knick knack-inn Gary Paulson’s clas­sic, The Hatch­et, Bri­an Robe­son used his shoe lace to make a nifty bow and arrow for survival!

Build a ShelterBuild a Shel­ter
It’s time to get cre­ative. Famil­iar­ize your­self with how to build a lean-to; there are var­i­ous types of shel­ters you can build and each has dif­fer­ent pros and cons. Obvi­ous­ly you want over­head cov­er­ing for warmth at night and pro­tec­tion from the ele­ments. If you are in rocky, moun­tain­ous ter­rain, look for over­hangs. Oth­er­wise, use limbs and leaves or any­thing that can pro­vide insu­la­tion. Pine nee­dles usu­al­ly blan­ket the ground in thick batch­es, excel­lent for bedding.

Agua Por Favor
Your body will not last more than three days with­out water. If you are lucky enough to be near a body of fresh­wa­ter — good for you, just make sure to boil before quench­ing your thirst. No water in sight? Con­tin­ue your search and con­struct a rain catch­er or water still.

Keep that Bel­ly Hap­py
Things can get frus­trat­ing when it comes to find­ing ade­quate sources of food when you are in sur­vival mode, espe­cial­ly since mal­nu­tri­tion will work you men­tal­ly and phys­i­cal­ly, mak­ing you feel weak, cranky and deliri­ous. It’s a good idea to get famil­iar with edi­ble wild berries and plants for future ref­er­ence when out in the wild. Also, it’s time to grow up and ban­ish the word  “picky” from your vocab­u­lary. When it comes to sur­vival, embrace any­thing and every­thing (care­ful­ly) includ­ing bugs, eggs, fruit, leaves. Learn to build some sim­ple traps to catch small ani­mals and don’t rely on just one sin­gle food source. Pro­tein is impor­tant for strength; know what var­i­ous nutri­ents your body needs for prime sustainability.

Light that Fire
Those glow­ing red flames pro­vide light, cooked food, warmth and pro­tec­tion from preda­tors and pesky bugs. Here are a few tried and true tech­niques for con­jur­ing that mighty blaze:

One Word: Tool
Keep a pock­et knife, or mul­ti-tool with you at all times, because you nev­er know when you will need it- and when you do need it, you will rejoice that you have some­thing to cut, pro­tect and pre­pare food- even if all you have is a crap­py, lit­tle knife. Now just learn how to sharp­en it like MacGuyver.

Sur­vival is your first pri­or­i­ty, but don’t for­get- you need to get res­cued as well. Come up with an action plan in case a plane flies over­head or there are are search par­ties near­by. You’ve seen it in the movies — pre­pare a giant, eas­i­ly vis­i­ble fire pit out in the open or lay out stones in the pat­tern of HELP or S.O.S. You can also use any shiny, metal­lic object for reflec­tion purposes.

It’s a good idea to have a com­pass with you at all times, but if not then what? Get old school and use the stars- it’s a lot eas­i­er than you think. Also, keep note of rivers, paths or moun­tains- fol­low­ing these can lead to roads and civilization.