Basic steps in wilderness survival

By Stef Zisovska
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Basic steps in wilderness survival

Stef Zisovska
 
Lost in the woods
Lost in the woods
 
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Congratulations on being in good shape and choosing a great phone, which probably has all the possible applications in the world. But what if the battery dies, and you get lost? Or if you get hurt and stranded in the woods and can’t find the way out without your GPS?

It doesn’t sound like a good scenario, but it can happen to anyone. If such an incident occurs, you need to do everything possible to survive, maybe for days or even weeks. Perhaps you are proud of your hiking skills and think you can never get lost, but be aware that nature is unpredictable sometimes and it can happen to you as well. Being lost in the wild is not something you wish for, so be careful and learn some survival skills.

 

Lost in the woods
Lost in the woods

Before embarking on your forest adventure, or any adventure for that matter, make sure your survival kit contains the following things: a knife for shelter building, hunting and protection, a lighter, matches, a flashlight, compass, extra batteries for the flashlight, water purification tablets, dehydrated food (It’s very light to carry around and full of proteins), a roll of toilet paper, mini first-aid kit for injuries, socks, and a whistle for signaling your position and getting attention.

 

Having all these things gives you a better chance to manage any survival situation. It’s worth remembering that you also need to know how to use them.

 

Part of a Survival kit Photo Credit
Part of a Survival kit Photo Credit

The panic that strikes as soon as you realize you’re lost is your worst enemy. Keep calm, get some tea brewing and make a plan of action.

You should always make long-term plans because you have no idea how long are you going to be trapped in the wild. Your first steps should be finding a water source, building a shelter and getting a fire going.

Finding a water source

You cannot survive without water more than few days, so start searching for a water source immediately. Look for a river, a stream, a lake or a pond and collect water but don’t drink it straight away without boiling it or purify it with the purification tablets.

If there is no water body near you, then dig a hole in the ground to create an Indian well or collect rainwater, if necessary use large leaves to collect the rain.

 

Lastly, if there is no rain or water body, put large leaves in a plastic bag and let them condense inside. The water they release in the process of condensation can save your life.

 

Rainwater 
Rainwater 

Starting a fire 

Fire is essential for warmth, purifying water, keeping up morale, cooking, and even protection.

Use the lighter or the matches from your survival kit. If by any chance you lose your survival tools, there are alternative ways of starting a fire that will keep you warm, dry your clothes and boil the water.

If you have glasses and it’s a sunny day, use them to start a fire with dry leaves, dry wood pulp, etc. If you’ve practiced at home or been taught the right techniques you can ue flint and steel or friction fire lighting methods such as the bow drill, hand drill or fire plough.

 

Starting a fire Photo Credit
Starting a fire Photo Credit

Building a shelter

Remember, if there’s natural shelter then use it and save yourself from expending energy making one.

The easiest way to build a temporary forest home is bending saplings and tie them with cord, pieces of clothing or vines. The sapling should be a base on which you build everything else.
If there are no saplings, use foraged wood and branches to create a lean too.

Gather lots of branches and lean them on the saplings. Use lots of dry leaves and moss to make a bed and avoid sleeping directly on the ground because it will lower your body temperature and can lead to hypothermia.

 

Bent sapling shelter Photo Credit
Bent sapling shelter Photo Credit

These are the three basic steps you need to do if you get lost in the wild. Stay hydrated, find or build a shelter and keep your body warm. You never know how long it will take the rescue team to find you or how long will take you to get back to civilization.

 

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