Camping, hiking, or touring a wild unknown area of nature can be an amazing experience. I love hiking and camping, often by myself, in many of the more out of the way locations around the country. While it’s often a fun, educational, and relaxing experience you can never be too prepared for things that can go wrong. Three years ago when camping with a girlfriend she had an accident that resulted in a broken arm and our GPS system ended up not working. After many extra hours of trying to get back to civilization I decided that I was going to learn as many survival tips as I could to prevent this sort of incident from happening in the future. Here are ten survival tips you may need if you are ever lost or stranded in the wilderness.
1. Take Inventory– Almost any supply on you could be used as a tool for survival. Everything right down to your clothes may just save the day in a bind. Using clothes to cover wounds, anything dry to start fires, or shoelaces as makeshift fishing line could save your life in a dire situation.
2. Get Oriented– Stay positive and thinking about where you are trying to go, not only where you are. When thinking in a positive way you’re more likely to be alert, creative, and open to more information. Survey your surroundings closely to find things that might be useful and to keep track of where you have been.
3. Small is Big– In the wild something small that normally would be no problem could be catastrophic to your survival. Remember to take each step carefully as cuts, broken bones, or an unhealthy, desperate diet could be a fatal error. Watch where you walk especially on hills and along flowing water to avoid any potential mishaps.
4. Carry A Multitool– When going somewhere that is uncharted or unregulated, always bring a multitool with you that could help you in any situation. Many standard multitool devices can help you start fires, cut branches for shelter, and help you catch or harvest wildlife for food.
5. Know How to Get Water– While a person may go a long while without food, everyone needs water on a more regular basis to survive. If you don’t have a portable filter with you make sure to boil any water thoroughly before drinking it as it may be contaminated.
6. Build a House– Shelter is another key to surviving in the wild. This will provide protection from the elements, animals, and temperature. If you don’t have access to building materials to make a lean to, look around and see what forms of shelter could possibly already exist. Cliff overhangs, shallow caves, and some trees will provide shelter that is truly better than nothing.
7. Get Food– When going on any adventure that could end up as a survival mission it’s important to learn the edible fruits, roots, and plants that are located in the are you are traveling in. Along with being able to identify plants you should also learn how to craft a rough snare trap device from the things around you.
8. Fire– Make sure you can light a fire without matches if you have to. This is used as a heat source, for cooking, and to keep unwanted visitors away in the night. With the proper materials and technique you can learn to start a fine in almost any conditions.
9. Send a Sign– When days have passed and you know people are out looking for you, you need to send a signal to let them know you’re there. Making an extremely smoky fire from green wood and writing out large messages with materials that are different colors than your surroundings are great options. Even using a reflective surface to flash a light can be seen for miles to let someone know you’re there.
10. Know Your Astrology– Know how to navigate your surroundings by using what is at your disposal. If a compass isn’t in your inventory then you need to know how to read the constellations to know your position. Remembering that moss generally grows on the North side of trees and rivers usually run North to South may be helpful as well.
Use all of these tips to survive if you are ever in the unfortunate position of being lost in the wilderness. Thankfully, despite one hard situation, i have never had the need for these tips but I am grateful to have them in my repertoire. Stay Safe!
The Preparator: A Survival Guide- National Park Service
Survival Guide- The Franklin Institute
For more great camping and outdoor activity reading from this author, check out:
Things to know Before Hiking the Appalachian Trail
How to Identify & Treat Poison Oak, Ivy, and Sumac
Great Outdoor Activities You Should Give a Shot