6 Keys to Wilderness Survival

6 Keys to Wilderness Survival

If you're planning on spending any time in the wilderness, it's important to have some basic survival skills. With the right knowledge and abilities, you can make sure you have the essentials for sustaining life, such as water, food, and shelter. Additionally, knowing how to interact with animals and plants can be crucial for long-term survival. While survival skills are often associated with disaster situations, they can be useful in any wilderness setting.

1. First aid

Wilderness first aid is a life-saving skill that can help you survive and function with injuries or illnesses. These common, dangerous situations include:

  • Bites from snakes, spiders, and other wild animals
  • Bone fractures
  • Burns
  • Drowsiness
  • Headache
  • Heart attack
  • Hemorrhage
  • Hypothermia and hyperthermia
  • Infection through food, animal contact, or drinking non-potable water
  • Poisoning from consumption of, or contact with, poisonous plants or poisonous fungi
  • Sprains, particularly of the ankle
  • Vomiting

In these circumstances, you may need to use the contents of a first aid kit or naturally occurring medicinal plants. You may also need to immobilize an injured limb or transport an incapacitated buddy. With the proper knowledge, wilderness first aid can be the difference between life and death.

An Individual First Aid Kit is the foundational piece to your medical readiness. Get yours here.

The Ultimate Trauma Kit is specifically designed to be carried in the field. 

2. Shelter

One of the most important things you can do is find shelter. Exposure to the elements is one of the leading causes of death in survival situations, so protecting yourself from the weather is crucial. A shelter can be anything from a natural feature like a cave or overhanging rock to a man-made structure like a tarp or debris hut. The important thing is that it provides some protection from the environment and animals. Things to look for when choosing shelter are:

  • Location (away from hazards, such as cliffs; and nearby materials, like food sources)
  • Insulation (from ground, rain, wind, air, or sun)
  • Heat Source (either body heat or fire-heated)
  • Personal or Group Shelter (having multiple individuals)

The Get Home Bag comes already equipped with emergency shelter... and just about everything else you might need.

3. Fire

The heat from a fire can help prevent or delay hypothermia. It's important to practice making fire before going into the wilderness since it can be difficult to do so without matches or a lighter. However, there are now many tools available that make it much easier to produce fire under adverse conditions.

There are two main ways to start a fire: with a concentration of heat, or with a spark. A fire can be put out if there's too much wind or if the fuel or environment is too wet.

When it comes to survival, fire is one of the most essential tools. It provides a way to disinfect water and cook food, and it also offers a psychological boost by creating a sense of safety and protection.

4. Navigation

If you're planning a trip or hike, it is advisable that you notify a trusted contact of your planned return time. That way, if you don't return by the specified time frame, they can contact the police for search and rescue. Make sure to agree on a specific time frame with your contact before you set out.

In a survival situation, it is often possible to find a way to safety or a more suitable location to wait for rescue. This can be done by using various methods of navigation, such as celestial navigation, dead reckoning, or terrain association.

Celestial navigation uses the sun and the night sky to locate the cardinal directions and to maintain course of travel. This method can be used even if there is no map available.

Dead reckoning is another method that can be used when there is no map. This involves estimating one's current position based on previous movement and using other cues like the environment or surrounding objects.

Terrain association is a method of navigation that can be used by comparing the terrain you can see in the real world to the terrain on a map. To do this, you must have a topographic map, which shows the actual elevation and contours of the land. By studying the topographic map, you can get a good idea of what the actual terrain looks like, even if you have never been to that area before.

All of these methods can be useful in finding one's way to safety. Choose the method that best suits your particular situation and environment.

Be sure to have your basic tools for fire and navigation in a compact and modular kit. Compact Survival Kit.

5. Water

A human being can only survive an average of three to five days without water. It is therefore important to avoid unnecessary water loss through perspiration. The need for water also increases with exercise. Since the human body is composed of up to 89% water, it is essential to drink approximately a gallon of water per day. Dehydration and water-borne pathogens can have debilitating effects and many lost people perish as a result. It is crucial to have access to clean water in order to survive.

A person will lose at least two liters of water per day under normal conditions, but this amount can increase significantly in hot, dry, or cold weather. It's important to drink fluids regularly throughout the day to avoid dehydration and keep the body functioning properly. Some experts recommend rationing water to make it last longer. Others suggest drinking water at regular intervals even when you're not thirsty. Ultimately, it's important to find what works best for you to stay hydrated.

A lack of water can quickly lead to dehydration, which can cause a whole host of problems including lethargy, headaches, dizziness, and confusion. In a survival situation, it is essential to be able to think clearly, so dehydration can be extremely dangerous. If you notice that your urine is dark yellow or brown, this is a sign that you are dehydrated and need to find a source of drinking water immediately. Boiling water or using a commercial filter is the best way to make sure the water is safe to drink, but if you don't have either of these options available, chlorine dioxide is the next best thing.

The Nucleus Emergency Kit Core System is one of the best kits to have on hand and also provides you with an emergency water supply. 

6. Food

If you find yourself in a survival scenario, one of the best ways to get food is to gather plants. Root tubers, fruit, mushrooms, nuts, beans, and leaves are all good options. If you can't find anything else to eat, cacti and algae are also edible. Be sure to boil them first.

Plants are a great source of food because they're easy to find and don't require much effort to collect. However, if you want to eat meat, you'll need to trap or hunt animals. This will require some skills and equipment, like bows, snares, and nets. Fishing is also an option if there's water nearby.

With that said, foraging for wild foods in a survival situation is usually discouraged because it can be very challenging to procure and accurately identify safe and edible plants. The focus should be on surviving until rescued, and the risks associated with foraging (including using up valuable energy) outweigh the benefits. It is a much better idea for those who may find themselves in the wild for extended periods of time to always make sure they head out with 24 hours of extra food at a minimum. 

Always have additional food on hand. 7 Day Food Bundle.

Always Be Ready

Survival skills are essential for anyone who wants to be prepared for emergency situations. Whether you're an experienced outdoorsman or just getting started, it's important to know how to properly take care of yourself in the wilderness. With the right skills, knowledge, and equipment, you can survive in any environment. 

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