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Top 15 Wilderness Survival Tips

Check out my top 15 wilderness survival tips

Top 15 Wilderness Survival Tips

During the past century or so, life has become increasingly comfortable and easy. Or at least, in today's world.

Our dependence on technology has become unsettling as humans. Think of something in your home that you could actually make from scratch. Chances are you can't! We live in a society where we purchase everything we need. We're so spoiled that a simple inconvenience like a power outage sends us into a frenzy.

It's all fine and dandy for the good times, don't get me wrong.

But what if the tide turns? When you are challenged, away from your friends, gadgets, and other things, how do you handle it? How do you cope if you can't just buy your way out? And what if you can't escape? Can you handle a situation like that? Do you believe you have the skills, the knowledge, and the presence of mind to do so?

This question is likely to result in a resounding NO for most people! Ironically, we know more about how the universe was created than how to light a fire without a single gadget!

The Need for Outdoor Wilderness Survival Skills

Many people don't even consider basic and primitive survival skills to be something they need to acquire. A majority of people believe that they won't ever have to deal with a survival situation. But here’s the bitter truth—you don't ‘plan’ to find yourself in a situation like that, right? That just happens. And, if such a situation does arise, you need to be prepared.

Now, I am not saying that everyone needs to go through a military-style survival training program (although you can definitely do so if you wish!). You just need to know some survival tips and tricks. Knowing these survival tips and tricks can mean the difference between life and death. Also, they are more important to you than deciphering what is going to happen on your favorite show next!

Tips on How to Survive in the Wilderness

Most of us have never been in the wild, or we have been in the wilderness with all the gadgets to help us out. What would you do if you were lost in the wilderness with no one to help you? Well, there are ways to get out of this situation safely and survive. In this section, we'll talk about how to survive in the wilderness if you find yourself stranded by following our wilderness survival guide. You can come out of this situation in one piece if you follow these simple tips and tricks!

1: Stay Calm!

It can be extremely unsettling to find yourself in a survival situation. You don't practice getting into such situations all the time, right? It's normal to feel stressed and anxious in a situation like this. But this one outdoor survival skill can often save your life.

Don't get me wrong: it's totally understandable to feel scared! But it is important to rely on sound judgment if you intend to leave the situation. Your brain will not function properly if you are agitated, overly anxious, or panicking.

Taking a deep breath is the first thing that you need to do in trying to control your anxiety and panic. Most likely, your situation is far less dangerous than you may think at the moment. It won't take long for you to see ways out of this mess if you keep a cool head.

In order to get out of a tricky situation, a sound and rational strategy is needed. Unless you are thinking right, you will not be able to put any of the following tips into practice. As a result, you'll need to take a step back and assess your emotions before you can begin to plan.

2: The Rule of Threes

Although there is no way to precisely judge things like how long you can go without water or how long you can survive the cold, there are some good estimates. One of my personal favorites is the “rule of the threes.” It gives you a very broad idea of some calculations that can help you in a survival situation. The rule goes as follows:

  • If it is cold outside, you can survive for about three hours before your body shows significant effects of hypothermia.
  • ​ In case you don’t find any water, you can probably survive for three days. You will start feeling the effects of dehydration in a day, but you can still survive without water for three days.
  • ​Similarly, you can survive for about three weeks without food. Again, that does not mean that you will be up and about throughout the three weeks. It just means that you can ‘survive’ and not die if you don’t eat food for three weeks.

Another rule that I would suggest to all of you is that you can live without thinking for three seconds! It means it takes about three seconds to do something dumb that is horrible enough to get you killed if you aren’t thinking right! So, stay calm and don’t do anything without putting some thought into it.

3: Choose Your Priorities Wisely

Getting your priorities straight when you are stranded is the key to survival. There is a lot on your plate, and if you don't prioritize, you're going to have trouble.

At the time you might think that food is your top priority, but that is not the case. The rule of three states that you will not die if you do not have food for three days. If it is cold outside, you should prioritize staying warm.

Avoid getting wet if you can. Moisture causes the skin to lose three times more energy than dry skin. In case your pants get wet, be sure to get rid of them and dry them as soon as possible.

Here’s a tip: if you are in warm and dry weather, then water is your first priority. Be assured to have water accessible to you before you decide on doing anything else.

4: Keep Warm in the Woods

Winter can be a challenging time to stay warm out in the wilderness. To make it easier, there are a few tips you can try. If you are experiencing a cold temperature that is making you feel miserable, you should remember these tips.

It's always best to layer: avoid letting cold air escape your body as much as possible. Make sure that you wear as many layers as possible.

  • Keep warm by emptying your bladder: You may think it's crazy, but it works. When you store urine in your body, you need some extra heat to keep the liquid warm. By emptying your bladder, you can keep your other body parts warm with that energy.
  • ​ Cozy up with your partner: If you're in the wild with someone else, you might want to cuddle up while sleeping. Make sure your head is covered: The majority of your body heat escapes through your head.
  • ​Make sure it is adequately insulated. Wear a hat or something similar.

5: Make your own water filter

Even though there may be water all around you in the wilderness, it is not advisable to drink water from a stagnant puddle or lake. You should always drink water from a flowing stream rather than from a stagnant pool. If you are in a situation where you don't have an option, then you may have no choice. For such a situation, you can build a portable water filter. Let us see how:

  • You will need an empty bottle or container; you can use any empty container. In case you cannot find one, you can always make one from birch bark.
  • ​ Make small holes in the bottom of the container: use a pencil or a stick to make small holes.
  • ​ Fill the bottle up to a half-inch or two with the following materials: gravel, charcoal, coarse sand, and fine sand. Once the charcoal is crushed, pour it into the bottle.
  • ​ Pour water on top of the fine sand. Water will be filtered through the fine sand, followed by the charcoal, the coarse sand, and the gravel. You will need to collect the water that comes out of the opening you made. ​

It is important to remember that this is not an ultimate filter, since charcoal can absorb some toxins, but it is still fairly crude.

6: Obtain water

If you're stuck in the driest parts of the wilderness, you may not find any water. The ultimate survival tips and techniques for survival in the wild are quite plentiful, but I think this is one of the trickiest ones. Here are some things you can do in the wilderness to collect water. The simplest method involves trees trapping transpired water.

A process called transpiration causes trees to lose water in the atmosphere. It is possible to capture this water. Here's how you do it:

  • The best tree to pick is one that has many branches and is thick and green.
  • ​ A plastic bag should be tied over a branch with a bunch of leaves early in the morning. Make sure that the leaves are completely covered by the bag.
  • ​ Additionally, you can add a small rock to the plastic bag to make it heavier. By doing so, a low point is created in the bag where water can collect.
  • ​ During the day, water escapes the leaves, the plastic bag will catch it and let it condense into a liquid. This water can then be collected at sunset. It is not necessary to filter the collected water because it is pure.

7: How to stay cool in a desert or arid region

It is essential that you keep your body cool if you are trapped in the desert or in the wilderness. Although it can be difficult to find shade, a rag and your urine can be used to create a cooling hat.

With the rag (or any piece of clothing) soaked in urine, you can then wrap it around your head to stay cool. You might think it sounds gross, but it is very comfortable to wear a pee-rag on your head.

8: Learn how to treat animal bites

If you're stuck in the wilderness, you're in the territory of wild animals. It is possible that an animal will bite you! When confronted with such a situation, it’s important to know the best course of action.

As a first step, tie a ligature around the affected limb (above the bite) to hinder the flow of blood from the wound to the rest of your body. The next step is to thoroughly wash the wound. If soap is available, wash the wound with soapy water.

It’s your job to prevent the blood from being contaminated with parasites from the animal bite. Washing thoroughly can eliminate some pests, thereby reducing parasite loads. The immune system will then have a better chance of fighting parasite infections.

You can apply some alcohol to the wound if you have alcohol on hand. This will further reduce the number of pathogens. It is important to use hard drinks such as whiskey or rum in order for this to be effective. There is too little alcohol in drinks like beer to be useful in this situation.

9: How to Find Directions in the Wild

Most people can’t understand directions when they’re lost, which sounds ridiculous. Regardless of the time of day, a survivalist should know how to determine directions even when the sun isn’t visible. Many little clues can be found in nature that can help you locate the north. Here are a few examples.

  • Look for moss on the trunk of a tree. Moss typically grows as far as possible from sunlight and is often found on the north side of rocks and trees. Moss is the thickest on the north side of the tree or rock if it is covered in it.
  • ​ On the south side of the trees, spiderwebs can be seen. You can use them as an indication of the direction you should take if you find any.
  • ​ Mark the end of the shadow of the stick on the ground by putting a stick on the ground when the sun is out. Watch the shadow for a few minutes before it moves. After it moves, mark the beginning and end of its new position. Join those two points along the east and west axis.
  • ​ The west side of water reserves is where animals breed if you are close to a body of water.

Despite the fact that none of these tips will give you exact directions, they can get you in the right direction. You can, of course, use a compass or the position of the sun!

10: Process the food as far as possible away from your shelter

Imagine you are stranded in the wilderness, and you catch a fish or a small animal for food. Preparing the animal for cooking near your shelter can be a mistake.

Keep in mind: blood, animal entrails, and other items can attract wild animals from a distance.

Keeping the dead animal away from your shelter will make it much safer for you when preparing it for cooking. Keep uneaten food away from the shelter as well. Be sure to clean up all the bones and half-eaten food from your shelter.

11: Learn how to improvise cooking utensils

You won't have the utensils to cook your food if you find yourself in a survival situation. You may then need to improvise in order to make your own. Grilling is an excellent method of cooking in the wild. You can create a makeshift grill using metal rods or picks from your tent or backpack.

You can create a temporary grill from these metal wires and rods once a fire has been lit, and cook anything from fish to meat on it. Additionally, you can make a makeshift cup out of aluminum sheets to boil water.

12: Learn how to identify edible plants

Keeping yourself fed is one of the keys to surviving in the wilderness. If you do not have the energy to carry out your plans, you will fail in your survival efforts. Although you can hunt or fish for food, both involve a certain degree of skill and patience.

Among the best sources of food in the wilderness are plants. It will be easier to hunt a type of plant that you can eat, rather than frantically hunting an animal.

However, you should be careful when consuming wild plants, fruits, or flowers. Some of these plants are extremely harmful, and even toxic, if consumed. Simply looking at a plant or fruit cannot tell you whether it is toxic or not.

The characteristics of many poisonous plants are, however, very similar. Therefore, you should avoid coming into contact with them. Some of the characteristics of poisonous plants include:

  • Poisonous plants have thorns or spikes on them.
  • ​ Poisonous plants taste a little bit bitter.
  • ​ The sap of these plants is milky; most of the plants with white fluids are highly toxic. They should be avoided at all costs.

Again, this is not meant to be the ultimate taste. It is possible that some poisonous plants do not have either of the above characteristics. However, if you are unsure, you should avoid plants with these characteristics.

You can easily identify some edible plants if you do a little research. The internet is a great source of information that you can use to educate yourself about how to identify poisonous plants. Take your time to read up on this!

13: How to Find Water by Reading Nature’s Cues

Finding fresh, drinkable water can be difficult if you are stranded in the middle of a dense jungle. If you remain vigilant and look out for small clues and signs, however, then you will be better able to spot them. Observing the environment around you can tell you a great deal about the ecosystem of that area. For example, take a moment to watch the birds or insects or listen to the sounds of the jungle.

The following are some great tips that you can use to locate water in the wilderness.

  • The presence of bees is always a good sign. This means there is not only a hive full of honey nearby but also a source of water. Usually, bees live within a four to five mile radius of a body of water.
  • ​ There is also a great deal of evidence that a water body is nearby if birds are present. Many grain-eating birds, such as finches and wild pigeons, drink plenty of water. If you find these birds, then you can be sure there is a body of water nearby.

However, you should always boil water before drinking it. A makeshift container made from aluminum foil can be used to boil water.

14: Don't travel in the dark

If you are not completely exhausted, you may want to keep traveling even after the sunset. However, this is one of the most dangerous things to do in the wild. Be sure to wait until dawn to travel since traveling through the wilderness in the dark can be very dangerous.

I can tell you for a fact that most predatory animals are nocturnal and that's why they're built for night hunting. Even if it is pitch black, they can see you better than you can see them. There are also insects and snakes that come out at night on the forest floor. Always remember that you are in a land you have never been to before. When you can't see where you are going, you may even fall off a cliff!

15: Plan ahead and be prepared

Having an awareness of survival situations and being prepared are the most important survival tips. When a situation arises, you will never be able to perform unless you anticipate and prepare for it.

Imagine that if survival were an exam: you would have a better chance of passing it with good preparation, wouldn't you? It is therefore essential that you gain more knowledge, anticipate scenarios, and create strategies.

Don’t forget, the more prepared you are when the time comes, the better chance you will have to survive!

In conclusion

The skills listed above are the wilderness survival tools you need to survive. It’s important to have a positive attitude and make the most of the time you have.

Be sure to take breaks, don't overexert yourself, and stay ready to ask for help whenever you need it. Staying alive will depend on your bushcraft survival skills, so practice and use them to your advantage.

Did you find these wilderness survival tips useful? If so, please share them with your friends.

Article by Sam Fury

Sam Fury is the creator and owner of the Survival Fitness Plan.

He has had a passion for martial arts and outdoor pursuits since he was a young boy growing up in Australia.

As a young adult he joined the military and studied outdoor leadership in college. After that, to further his skills, Sam started traveling to learn from the best in the world in various fields related to the Survival Fitness Plan including various martial arts in China, SE Asia and Brazil, Parkour in Singapore, Surf Life Saving in Australia, and others. 

These days, he still enjoys learning new things, traveling and sharing what he has learned via the Survival Fitness Plan. 

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