Most humans live in comfortable modern environments, but disaster can strike at any time.
Here are three outdoor survival skills everyone should know in case they’re stranded or lost in the wilderness.
By far the most important outdoor survival skill you should know is how to find water. That’s because the human body can only survive without water for between three and four days – aside from breathing, it’s the one thing you can’t go without for very long. In fact, you need to find water before you even think about getting food.
In the wild, water may not be particularly easy to find or convenient to reach. Still, even if you’re stranded in an unfamiliar environment, you can find water by using geographic logic.
For instance, hilly terrain will often have several streams or creeks, particularly in various crevasses where hills come together. Furthermore, hilly terrain can be a great environment to find water since you can just head downhill: the direction in which streams and rivers will flow.
You can also try to find water by listening for the sound of it cascading over rocks or logs, or by listening to the sounds of animals. Insects, in particular, are great indicators of nearby water, as they can’t always get as far as larger animals and will more often hang around nearby ponds, streams, and the like.
Once you find water, you also need to know how to purify it. This second important survival skill is especially true if you can only find stagnant water sources like still ponds or lakes. Rivers and streams are much better for drinking water if you don’t have any purification ability since moving water has less bacterial danger.
However, you should still avoid any pooling water in streams; only ever try to drink stuff that’s flowing quickly and consistently.
Regardless, you should try to purify any water you collect in the wild to get rid of bacteria, and in particular harmful illnesses like malaria or dengue fever. These are dangerous even in civilized society and can be lethal if you’re stranded in the outdoors by yourself.
To purify water, you should always try boiling it whenever you can. Boiling doesn’t always get rid of dirt or debris, but neither of those will seriously harm you if the bacteria in the water is broken down by heat.
You can alternatively try to filter out any physical impurities in water by pouring it through mesh materials like socks, other clothing, and so on.
If you want to purify water using the boiling method mentioned above, you’ll need to build a fire: the third most important survival skill you should know.
Fortunately, you can start and tend to a fire in almost any outdoor environment. The trick is to always start with dry kindling – you need to dry sticks, grass, and shrubs since wet vegetation catches fire only with great difficulty. Always go for dry and dead vegetation as your fire-starting material.
Be sure to build up a pile of larger sticks and burning material before the flame starts. To get a spark going, create friction by rubbing one stick against the interior of another split stick. You can also focus light from the sun if you have glasses or a broken watch, for instance. Once you get a fire started, tending the flames is relatively easygoing.
These three skills aren’t all you need, but they take care of your most basic biological necessities and can give you a fighting chance at survival.
Thank you for reading, stay safe out there.