Survival in an emergency situation is largely based on common sense. That being said, knowing a few survival tips can be very helpful. Here are some ideas that just might save your life.
Survival strategies are largely divided into four categories: food, water, fire, and shelter. I will first cover tips for acquiring food.
- Trapping is much more efficient than hunting. Instead of tromping through the bush for hours at a time, set some snares or deadfall traps and check them once a day. You can build these traps from found materials and expend fewer calories than you would with active hunting. Make sure you know how and where to set these traps.
- Know your berries. Some berries in the wild are highly toxic and can end your survival efforts. Nevertheless, 90% of black or blue colored berries are edible. Stick to these colors and you have much better odds.
- Do not eat mushrooms unless you are an expert. Mushrooms are very difficult to identify. The only mushrooms I feel comfortable eating are morels because of their distinctive appearance. Otherwise, I avoid them completely.
- Wild edibles are a great food source, but be careful with identification. Mother Nature often places ‘look-alike’ plants right next to each other. This means that a poisonous plant make be growing within a few inches of a similar-looking edible plant.
- Do not eat a large meal if you have no water. Processing food will further dehydrate you. Instead, eat a small amount and use that energy to go find water before finishing your meal.
- When in doubt, cook your plants. Even toxic plants can often be eaten if you cook them properly. Boil them in clean water, dump the water, and boil them again. I suggest doing this three times if possible. The boiling process will leach out most of the toxins in the plants.
- Trees can be an emergency food source. Any trees that produce nuts are an excellent source of protein and carbohydrates. Even acorns can be eaten if boiled. The ‘helicopter’ seed pods from maples have an edible seed as well. Many young saplings have leaves and green shoots that can be eaten. In addition, there are several trees that have an inner bark layer that is edible. If you need hydration and an energy boost, tapping trees in the spring can give you a natural energy drink.
- When fishing, do not stick to a rod and reel. The most efficient ways to fish are more unconventional. A trot line allows you to put multiple baited hooks on one line. A gill net allows you to block off an entire section of water and trap fish that try to escape. You can also build primitive fish traps. One design is comprised of poles or rocks blocking off a section of water with a small funnel to direct fish into the area. Once they swim in, they get confused and cannot find their way out. You can also weave a fish trap with a funnel and accomplish the same thing. For small minnows, try spit fishing. Wade into the water, pull up the front of your shirt to act as a net, and spit in the water. The small fish are attracted to saliva.
- If you decide to hunt, an atlatl may be your best weapon. This tool is easy to carve and can be very effective. It is comprised of a spear with a throw rod hooked on the end. It allows you to create more energy when throwing and can be very accurate once you get a little practice.
- When hunting, go barefoot. The skills of tracking and stalking prey have largely been lost due to modern weapons. When using primitive weapons, it is very important that you get close enough to make a kill. The only way to do this is to walk through the woods without making a sound. Going barefoot allows you to feel what is under foot before you put your weight down. It helps you avoid sticks or leaves that may give away your location.
- Once you have a kill, preserve anything you cannot eat right away. The best way to do this is smoking. Be aware that smoking is not a cooking process. It is a drying process. Keep your fire temperature between 100 degrees and 225 degrees. Build a smoking rack to keep your meat away from the flames. Cut your meat thin, less than ¼ inch thick so it dries easier. You can also wrap a tarp or blanket around your smoking rack to hold in the smoke. Continue smoking until your meat breaks when bent, but does not come apart completely. You can also salt your meat or build a makeshift refrigerator to keep it cold. Put one container inside another, fill the gap with wet sand, and put your meat in the interior container. The evaporation process will keep the meat cold.
- Build yourself a good spear. I prefer the four point spear where you split the end twice so there are four points. Sharpen them and then harden the points in the fire. This is great for spearfishing or going after small game. It also helps with self-defense. However, make sure that the spear is long enough to reach past your shoulders if you stand it on end. This ensures that you will not trip and fall on your spear.
- Do not try to hunt at night. Most animals that are active at night have vision that is much better than a human. In addition, many predators do their hunting at night. Even something as small as twisting your ankle can be a major issue in the middle of the night.
- Do not throw away your gut pile. The kidneys, liver, and heart are all edible. You can also eat the eyeballs and tongue. Save the rest for bait.
- Try growing sprouts as a food source. If you have dried beans, put them in a cloth and soak them overnight. Then dunk them again twice a day. After a few days you will have sprouts shooting out that can double or triple the amount of food you have. Make sure you boil them before eating to kill any bacteria.
- Before you go hunting or trapping, mask your scent and appearance. Rub mud or soot all over exposed skin and clothing. Shove a few branches with leaves in your clothing to where they stick out and break up your silhouette.
- If you are low on meat, boil it and drink the broth. Any nutrients that are released from the meat through cooking will end up in the broth. It will help you stay hydrated and also make the most of your meat or fish.
- If you are surviving on nothing but lean meat, you can be afflicted with an illness called rabbit starvation. It comes from eating meat but getting no fat in your diet. You can eat the internal organs, eyeballs, and ground bones to add fat to your diet and avoid this illness.
- Grow a drip line garden. Plant veggies around the base of your shelter. When it rains, the runoff from your roof will fall on your plants and keep them watered.
- If it is winter, you can still look for winter annuals for food. Scrape the snow back and look for henbit, chickweed, ground ivy, thistle, and dandelions. These plants can grow even under snow and are edible.
- Cook all your meat well done in the wild. Many animals carry parasites and bacteria. Cooking the meat to well done gives you the best chance of staying healthy.
- Hang any food you are saving in a bear bag. This needs to be at least 10 feet off the ground to keep predators from getting to your food. It also needs to be at least 100 yards from your camp.
- Do not forget about insects as a food source. Avoid any that are brightly colored, hairy, or have a foul smell. Cook them to make sure any parasites are killed.
Next, we will discuss fire survival tips. This is a life sustaining force that is absolutely necessary in most survival situations. Creating and sustaining a flame is difficult but can be achieved consistently with the right methods.
- Always look for fire wood off of the ground. Anything laying on the ground will likely be saturated or rotting. Find dead branches still up in trees to get the driest material.
- Look for materials that will burn even when wet. This includes pine resin and birch bark. These materials can get a fire going in even the worst conditions.
- For a smaller fire that puts out more heat, try building a rocket stove. Arrange cinder blocks so you have an opening near the base to build your fire and a chimney rising above it. The finished chamber should be ‘L’ shaped. The chimney directs all the heat straight up towards a pot or pan that you can place there. The stove also hides the flames in case somebody is tracking you.
- Build a heat reflector behind your fire. This is a short wall that will bounce heat back towards you. You can use boards, stones, or poles and make it at least three feet tall. It will make your fire much more efficient.
- If you need a torch, use birch bark. Cut a three foot long pole and split it at one end. Then shove birch bark in the gap and light. The flame will produce a great deal of light, but it will not last very long so make it count.
- Consider keeping your fire burning day and night. If it was tough to get it going the first time, it may make more sense to keep it going all night and even take it with you if you move locations. You can put some hot coals in a can to carry them or put a coal in some tinder fungus. You can also build a fire bundle by wrapping tinder with bark restricting the flow of oxygen. This should smolder long enough to move.
- If the ground is wet, make sure you create a platform on which to build your fire. The moisture in the ground will often put out your fire if it can get to the flames. Before you build your fire, put down a layer of dry poles or rocks to protect it.
- Take a small manual pencil sharpener with you. Even wet sticks are typically dry in the center, and the shavings make for great tinder.
- Look for dry tinder in specific places. No matter what the weather conditions are, bird’s nests are a great tinder bundle. You can also break open cattails and thistle to use the fluff inside for tinder or use fluffy small feathers if you can find any.
- Make char cloth. Find a tin and put small strips of cotton cloth inside. Poke a small hole and throw it in a fire. The impurities will burn off and exit the hole leaving nothing but pure carbon. This is the best material to catch a spark in a survival scenario.
- Make a lamp using a can of tuna or a roll of toilet paper. Tuna that is canned in oil will burn for a while. Just add a wick. You can also soak a roll of toilet paper in oil and light it in a pinch.
- Bring cotton balls and petroleum jelly. By rubbing cotton balls in petroleum jelly, you are adding an accelerant to a tinder substance. These will catch a spark and stay lit long enough to get your wood burning.
- If your wood is wet, remove all the bark. Many times the bark has absorbed most of the moisture. Removing it may only take a few seconds, but it could make all the difference in the world.
- If you are being tracked, dig a Dakota fire pit. This is a design that hides the flames of your fire below the ground, but still allows you to cook and stay warm. Did a hole about a foot in diameter and two feet deep. Then dig another smaller hole a few inches to the side. Tunnel a small channel between the two and air will flow from the smaller hole to the larger hole. Build your fire in the larger hole and it will keep you hidden while also allowing you to put a rack on top with which to cook food.
- Use electricity for fire. If you have a battery, cut a thin strip from a gum wrapper. Press the two ends to the poles of the battery and it should flare up. You can also press steel wool to the poles of a battery and get an ember. In a tight spot, you can stab a cell phone battery to get the sparks needed for a fire.
- If you want to avoid being seen, hide your smoke with a tree. Build your fire directly beneath a tree with lower branches. As the smoke rises, it will be forced to move through the branches and will dissipate before getting above the canopy.
- Use a chemical reaction for fire. You can mix chlorine and brake fluid for an instant flame. You can also use potassium permanganate to get a fire going.
- Use lenses for fire on a sunny day. Focusing the power of the sun on a specific spot can be a great way to get fire going. Use the lens from reading glasses, from binoculars, or from a camera to focus light. You can also use the reflective backing from a flashlight to focus light. Create a lens using found products. Polish the bottom of a soda can with chocolate. Fill a condom with water to create an orb. Use a chunk of ice for a lens.
- Always carry a ferro rod. Matches run out and lighters expend fluid, but a ferro rod is always effective. Some even come with magnesium to shave off and use as an accelerant.
- Learn to use a bow drill. This requires lots of practice, but it is a method that allows you to create fire with no brought tools other than a blade. It can be a valuable asset in a survival situation.
- One of the biggest mistakes people make when building a fire is not having enough small tinder. Find twigs about the diameter of a pencil lead and gather enough to just barely fit your hands around the bundle.
- Add wood slowly. Often people dump large chunks of wood on the fire and end up putting it out. Start with small wood and carefully add more making sure that it catches fire before you go to the next piece.
- Build an upside down fire. This design puts the layers of larger wood on the bottom and gradually tapers to layers of smaller wood at the top. Sand or dirt is used to fill the gaps and restrict oxygen flow. Build a small teepee on top and it should last for hours.
- Build a self-feeding fire. Construct two opposing ramps with poles and stack round logs on each side. Build several teepee fires along the bottom two logs. As they burn through, the upper logs will roll down to take their place. This can keep your fire going all night without having to get up and add wood.
- Use accelerants when needed. Alcohol, lighter fluid, and gasoline are all fluids that can help your fire when added to tinder. Be careful. These liquids flare up aggressively.
- Whatever amount of wood you think you will need, double it. Most people drastically underestimate the amount of wood they will need for a fire. Finding more in the dark after your fire has gone out is no fun.
- Give yourself plenty of time. In cold or wet conditions, getting a fire going can take several hours. Make sure you have enough daylight to get the job done.
- Give the fire plenty of oxygen. When you are dealing with a small ember, oxygen is the key. Gently blow on it or fan it. The added oxygen will help it to flare up.
- Put rocks around your fire and bring them into your shelter at night. They will keep you warm and are much safer than building a fire inside your shelter. You can do the same thing with a water bottle and stick it in the bottom of your sleeping bag to keep your toes warm.
- Build your shelter on top of coals. If you have time, make a large fire and let it burn down to coals. Bury it in a foot of dirt, and then start building. The warmth will radiate through the soil all night.
Water has to be one of your biggest priorities in a survival situation. Most people can only make it about three days without water, so here are some survival tips to help you find and purify water.
- If you are worried about water being contaminated, dig a proximity well. Dig a small hole at least 10 feet from the edge of the water. Keep digging until you start to see moisture building up in the bottom. Let the dirt settle and you have water that the earth has partially filtered.
- Always carry some sort of filter. Life straws work great in a pinch, but you can also replace your standard water bottle with one that has a filter built into the lid.
- Build a makeshift filter. This can be done by adding a layer of sand, a layer of gravel, and a layer of charcoal to a tube or container. Put a piece of fabric over top and any water you pour through will be partially filtered.
- Do not risk drinking contaminated water if you can avoid it. Tainted water can cause vomiting and diarrhea. These symptoms can actually make you more dehydrated. However, if you are reaching the three day mark with no water you will not have a choice. Getting sick from water could take a week or two to fully take effect, and you could be rescued and in a hospital by then.
- If you need to melt something for a water source, stick with chunks of ice. Snow is 90% air and 10% water whereas ice is 90% water and 10% air. You will yield much more water out of ice.
- Wrap your shirt around your pant leg and walk through tall grass just after sunrise. The dew will collect on your shirt and you can ring it out and drink the water.
- Make a rain catching device. In certain climates, rainwater may be your only option for hydration. Find a large leaf or a piece of plastic and direct the water into a container. You can even build your shelter so that water flows off of the roof and into your catch device.
- If you are on a life raft in the ocean, you can drink the spinal fluid from a fish. Cut a small incision right behind the head until you feel a pop. Then you should be able to drain the fluid and drink it.
- Make a solar still. This typically only works in humid conditions. Dig a pit and fill it with crushed up green leaves and grass. Place a container in the center and cover with clear plastic. Anchor the plastic around the edges and put a small stone in the center. The moisture from your plant material will evaporate and then condensate on the plastic. The stone in the center directs it towards the container.
- If in the jungle, take advantage of water vines. These thick vines run from the canopy to the ground and are filled with drinkable water. Cut off a section and let it run into your mouth.
- Look for natural rainwater collection. Often trees will have an area in the crotch that will collect water. Certain shapes of leaf will collect water as well.
- Distill saltwater for drinking water. You will need a small fire and some tubing. Get a container of saltwater and attach the tubing to the top. Set it in the fire and put the other end of the tubing in an empty container. As the saltwater evaporates, it will condense in the tubing and the runoff is salt free. You can also wrap a wet cloth around the tube to speed up the condensation.
- Carry iodine tablets or bleach with you. Adding these products to contaminated water can eliminate most of the bacteria and parasites. If you have the option, boiling the water is still the safest bet.
- Spilt open coconuts for the water inside. Coconuts have a water inside that is packed with electrolytes. However, do not drink too much. This can cause diarrhea
- Hydrate by eating prickly pear cactus. You may want to eat some charcoal to keep it from upsetting your stomach, but prickly pear is full of moisture. Cut off the skin and spines and the rest is edible.
- Try a dry creek bed to dig a well. If you are in the desert, look for any green vegetation. Often the last plants that are still green will be lining a dry creek bed. If you find a low spot and dig down a few feet, there will likely be some water seeping into your well. This also works in the bottom of slot canyons. Flash floods leave the sand of slot canyons as the only water source in the area.
Finding or building a shelter in the wild has many benefits. It can protect you from rain, sunlight, wind, cold, and predators. Below are a few survival tips on efficiently providing shelter for yourself.
- Always carry a tarp or emergency blanket with you when leaving civilization. These items can be used to make an effective shelter in just a few minutes. Carrying a tarp or emergency blanket can save you hours of building time compared to using only found materials.
- Consider a cave or rock overhang for a shelter. These options can be the easiest solution, but they have their risks. Make sure no animals are already living there. Many animals are territorial or protecting their young and could be aggressive towards you. Also, never build a fire underneath a rock overhang. As the heat radiates off the rock, it will often shift and crush anybody that is underneath.
- Build a lean-to shelter. These are easy to assemble and do fine in most weather. Lash a ridge pole to two trees and lean timber against it. The steeper the angle, the better it will shed rain. Add a large pile of leaves for added insulation.
- If you cannot build a fire in cold weather, consider a debris hut. Lash two poles to make a bipod and lean a long ridge pole against it. Lean more wood against the ridge pole on both sides and then pile leaves on top to at least a few feet thick. This design holds in your body heat like a sleeping bag, so make it just large enough for you to fit.
- Always check above your shelter area before you start building. If there are any dead trees or dead branches, the next gust of wind could drop them on your head. Move to an area that has no hazards above you.
- If you have access to a tarp, maybe a super shelter is the best option. Just build a lean-to and then drape the plastic over the entire structure. Secure it at the ground with rocks or logs. Build a fire just outside the tarp and the heat will radiate through. If done correctly, the heat will be held inside your shelter. I have seen this design keep a shelter 60 degrees warmer than the outside temperature.
- In deep snow, a snow cave may be your only option. Find a drift at least four feet deep. You can pile more snow on top if needed. Shove several six inch long sticks all over and start hollowing it out from the side. When you see the end of the sticks, then you know to stop digging so it does not collapse. Terrace the interior so there are at least two levels. The higher one is where you sleep, with the cold air collecting on the lower level.
- Make sure you have good ventilation in any shelter. If you build a fire or light a candle inside, carbon monoxide can build up. This situation is especially dangerous in a sealed shelter like a snow cave. The poisonous gas will collect in low spots, so sleeping on an elevated surface is even more important.
- While building, you can use squares of birch bark for shingles. Layer them so rain cascades down your roof.
- Use the reflective surface of your emergency blanket inside your shelter. If you attach it to the ceiling or back wall, the shiny surface will reflect heat back towards you.
- Always sleep at least a few inches off the ground. You can accomplish this by building a bed, using a raised platform, or building a hammock. You can even just pile up leaves or spruce boughs for insulation. Otherwise the ground will draw out body heat and make you feel much colder.
- Always have a cover overhead, even in nice weather. Direct exposure from the sun can lead to dehydration, heat stroke, or severe sunburns. Also, having direct exposure to the night sky will draw heat out of your body.
- If there are predators in your area, create a deterrent as part of your shelter. Surround your shelter with thorny branches to make an attack less appealing.
- In deep snow, sleep under an evergreen tree. Spruces and cedars will often keep the ground underneath their branches dry and snow free. The branches overhead give you some protection, and there is typically a dry bed of needles already there on which to sleep.
- Create an alarm system. Find an aluminum can and put a few small stones in it. Then run a trip line around the perimeter of your camp and tie the can to it. If animals or people try to sneak up on you, you will hear the rattle from the can and bug out.e
Finally, there are dozens of miscellaneous survival tips that do not fit into these four categories. They are every bit as important and could save your life.
- If you have been bitten by a venomous snake, do not try to suck the poison from the wound. This is a common misconception and could make things worse. Snakebite kits are really no better. Keep your wound below your heart. Pay attention to your symptoms and write them on your forearm with a permanent marker. If you lose consciousness, this practice could help emergency personnel diagnose the issue. If you have no way to call for help, do what is needed to get to a hospital. Anti-venom is really the only effective treatment. Most poisonous snakes have pits on their head, narrow pupils, and a diamond shaped head.
- To tell how much daylight you have left, use the four finger method. Hold up your hand so that your fingers run parallel to the horizon. Count how many times you can fit your four fingers between the sun and the horizon. Each four fingers is roughly an hour of daylight left.
- To determine your cardinal directions during the day, shove a straight stick into the ground. Mark where the shadow falls and wait 15 minutes. Draw a line from the end of the new shadow to the end of the mark you made, and that is your East/West line. Draw a perpendicular line and you have your North/South line.
- When lost in the woods, follow the water. In most cases, small water sources lead to larger water sources. This is where people are most likely to be found. You can also follow game trails if there is no water nearby. Most animals will travel to water at least once a day. You have a good shot at finding water if you follow these trails.
- Never build your shelter right next to water. These areas are prone to flooding. They are also where you are most likely to have issue with predators. In addition, insect activity is normally worst near a body of water. Building your shelter 100 yards from water will reduce these issues.
- If you have an open wound and need to wrap it, consider the interior of your clothing to find clean cloth. Often the exterior of your clothing is dirty after a few days, but pockets and lining are often still clean. Your odds of getting an infection are lessened by using clean cloth.
- Always carry paracord with you. Even having a small amount of cordage can help because paracord has several strong interior cords that are still fine for most tasks. Cut open your paracord and you greatly increase how much cordage you can use. Consider replacing your boot laces with paracord. If needed, you can remove all the interior cordage and still use the exterior sheath as boot laces.
- If you have no sunscreen, cover yourself in mud. Eventually it will dry and flake off, but the mud gives you an added layer of protection from the sun. If you get into poison ivy, applying mud or a charcoal paste can help extract some of the toxins in your skin as well.
- If you have access to tampons, hold on to them. A tampon can be used to filter water, start a fire, or bandage a wound.
- Carry a shemagh with you. This is an oversized bandana and is perfect for protecting your face and head from sun, wind, cold, and rain. It can also be used as a bandage, water filter, or fire starting material.
- Dress in several loose fitting layers. Winter clothes keep you warm by trapping air near your body. Your body heat then warms that air. If your clothes are tight fitting, it does not work nearly as well. Also avoid sweating if possible. Sweat has a chemical that draws warmth out of your skin. Be prepared to shed layers as it warms up.
- Avoid hypothermia by keeping the blood flowing. Do squats or pushups to stay warm. Stay hydrated and try to eat something before bed. Hypothermia can set in faster if you are dehydrated or hungry.
- Avoid frostbite by constantly wiggling your fingers and toes. This will keep the blood flowing and help prevent permanent damage. Cover as much of your skin as possible and use chapstick or Vaseline on exposed skin for an added layer of protection.
- Tie brightly colored cordage to any tools you will be using on a regular basis. This will ensure that they do not get lost if you drop one or set it down and forget about it. You can also use brightly colored paint or tape.
- Keep your knife, hatchet, and machete razor sharp. A dull blade is more likely to cause an injury than a sharp blade. For the sharpest edge, try stropping. This is the practice of running your blade along a strip of leather. If you do this once a day, your blade will stay in great shape and you will likely not have to sharpen with a stone.
- In snowy conditions, build snow goggles and snowshoes. Cut two slits in any strip of material and tie it over your eyes. This will reduce the amount of light that enters your eyes and prevent them from burning. You can also rub soot under your eyes to help absorb the intense light. Bend a green pole into a loop and weave cordage on the interior. Tie it to your boot and it will help keep you from sinking in the deep snow. If you need more surface area, tie evergreen fronds to the bottom.
- If crossing a frozen body of water, build some ice spikes. Cut a pole down to pieces that are six inches long or shorter. Drive a nail partially into the end and then cut off the head. Attach cordage to create a loop and keep it wrapped around your wrist. If you fall through the ice, drive the spikes into the ice and pull yourself out of the water.
- If you do not want to get wet but want some level of hygiene, consider a smoke bath. Smoke from your campfire will kill most surface bacteria and help you avoid illness and infection. It is also great to keep away insects.
- Always know how to locate the North Star. Find the big dipper and look at the two stars that make up the outer edge of the cup. Follow them away from the opening of the cup and you will run into the North Star.
- Keep a whistle and a signal mirror with you. These items work much better than simply shouting for help. In some cases they can be effective from miles away.
- If you decide to try to hike to help, make sure you mark your path. Create a large arrow in the dirt pointing in the direction you are travelling. Then blaze your trail by cutting into the bark on trees as you go. Rescuers should be able to track you down by following this path.
- When signaling for rescue, use contrasting colors. If you are writing ‘SOS’ in the snow, use dark branches or rocks to better outline your signal. If you build a smoke signal fire, either add green wood for white smoke or plastic/rubber for black smoke.
- Take good care of your feet. Dry out your socks and shoes as often as possible. Wool socks are water resistant and will actually keep your feet warm even when wet. Cut a slit in any blisters and drain the fluid. Cutting a slit versus poking a hole will keep it from filling up again. Then tape over it if possible.
- When hunting or evading captors, never walk along the top of a ridge. It can be tempting to get to high ground to be able to see 365 degrees, but it makes it too easy for you to be spotted from a distance. Instead, walk just below the ridgeline. You still get a great view and make it much tougher to be seen.
- Use your watch as a compass. Hold it up with the face parallel to the ground. Point the hour hand at the sun and then split the angle between the hour hand and 12 o’clock. This is true north. It will not work with a digital watch, but you can estimate the time using the four finger method and then draw a watch face in the dirt.
- You may be tempted to just pee wherever, but try to stick to one spot. If you are going to do any hunting or trapping, the smell of urine will scare away animals. If you just go wherever, there is a good chance you might step in it and track it with you. By sticking to one spot, you reduce the potential for this issue.
- If you have no reason to leave and you are at your vehicle, stay there. Rescue personnel will be specifically looking for vehicles, and a bright metal object is easy to spot from a helicopter. You also may want to create a large signal to show that you are in trouble. Three parallel lines or ‘SOS’ both work well and are easy to build.
- When dealing with dangerous animals or people, never throw your knife or spear. Unless you are an expert, you will likely not kill the animal with one throw and now you are defenseless.
- To help avoid predator attack, always make noise as you tromp through the bush. This will likely scare away any predators in the area. If you do come face to face with a bear, wolf, or large cat, never run. Running triggers their instinct and says “I am a meal… come and get me.” Instead, back slowly away while still facing the animal. If it keeps approaching you, make yourself look as big and crazy as possible. Wave your arms, puff out your chest, and open up your coat.
- In cold weather, stuff your clothing with dead grass or leaves for extra insulation. You can also take a trash bag and fill it with debris to make a sleeping mat. It will be warmer and more comfortable than the alternative.
- Despite what you see on television, do not drink urine or blood for hydration. Both have a very high salt content and will dehydrate you further.
- You can melt paracord for a makeshift glue. Work fast as you only have a few seconds before it hardens.
- A bright red sunrise indicates a storm front moving in. If you have good shelter, you may want to wait it out versus getting stuck in a downpour.
While these survival tips are great to remember when you are in the bush, they are much more valuable with practice. You can have all the knowledge in the world, but there are always variables that surprise you in a survival situation. Practical application is the only way to get comfortable working around these little twists. You do not have to go nuts with this stuff, but try a few out the next time you go hunting or camping. If nothing else, just the confidence from having tried them is enough to keep a cool head in real world scenarios.
Do you have any other good survival tips? Let us know in the comments below!