Becoming lost or trapped in unfamiliar surroundings can be terrifying. Even the most basic survival skills are useful when trying to stay alive-the most important thing is to stay calm and resist panicking. If you find yourself in a survival situation, immediately take stock of everything you have that could be useful. A jacket, pocketknife, and water bottle are three of the most helpful basic items to have on your person at all times. It is also vital to keep track of where you are (or where you think you might be) and where you have been. Keep reading to find out more about the basics of surviving in the wilderness.
When lost in the wilderness, it is extremely important to immediately locate fresh water. Survival is impossible without access to clean drinking water-our bodies are made up of 75% water, and most people will only survive three days (at most) without it. Our bodies lose two to three liters of water per day through normal activity like sweating and urination, so it is critical that this fluid is replaced. In the wilderness, survival will only occur if the body is kept hydrated. Hydration is critical to maintain the mental capacity needed to find food and locate or build shelter. Signs of dehydration include dark, strong-smelling urine, fatigue, decreased skin elasticity, emotional trouble, and thirst. Remember: once you show signs of being thirsty, you're already 20% dehydrated!
The first step should be to scan the area for rivers, streams, or lakes, which are likely to be a great source of drinking water. Survival is possible as long as the water you drink is clean-- water located at a high elevation is probably safe to consume, but runoff streams made of water that was originally ice or snow tend to contain large amounts of dangerous bacteria. If you're unsure about the quality of the water, always purify it. Water naturally drains and collects in low valleys, crevices, and thick vegetation, so make sure to check those areas for any leftover rainwater. Another trick to finding water is to follow the animals. Bees are almost always a sign of nearby water, and so are ants, pigeons, and wild pigs. Keep in mind that animals need the same things as humans for survival: water, shelter, food.
Food is also important to acquire during wilderness survival in order to maintain a stable energy level and body temperature. It will also improve your mental and emotional wellbeing, which is crucial to withstand being lost in the wilderness. If you have the experience, fishing and trapping is an excellent way to gain food that is high in fat and protein. There are many wild plants and berries that are edible, but don't take the chance if you don't already know which plants to avoid. Many bugs such as ants, grasshoppers, crickets, and worms can be eaten in a pinch for their high nutritional content. Bird eggs are also very nutritious and safe to cook.
Finding or building shelter is another one of the most valuable survival tactics one could learn. There are several different types of makeshift shelters-lean-tos, double lean-tos, and teepees can all be created if you happen to have a poncho, tarp, blanket, or parachute on hand. Snow caves are useful to keep warm in frigid temperatures, and trenches are another good choice if lost in the woods. Always look for natural shelters such as caves and standing/fallen trees first because they are likely to be more stable.
If you find yourself lost in the wilderness, there are many simple skills that can be called upon for survival. Water, food, and shelter are the main needs of every human being, so after accessing your situation, attempt to locate water and find a food source. Remember that putting aside panic and fear is essential to survival-keep calm, assess the situation, and find the basic things that will keep you alive.
Check out these links with several useful survival tactics about how to find water, create shelter, and survive in the wilderness:
- 6 Dangerous "Urban Survival Myths" About Water
- How To Find Water
- How To Build A Survival Shelter
- You Alone In The Maine Woods - The Lost Hunter's Guide
- Basic Survival Skills
- Army/Navy/Air Force First Aid Survival Guide
- Water Purification Guide for Backpackers
- Emergency Water Supplies & Treatment
- Wilderness Survival Tips
- Cold Weather Survival Tips
- Lost in the Woods: Tips for Staying Safe
- How to Build a Shelter
- 7 Primitive Survival Shelters That Could Save Your Life
- How to Find Water in the Wilderness
- Overall Survival Tips
Written By: Lynn Taylor