Surviving in the woods is no joke. It’s man vs wild – the real deal. Statistics show that nearly 2000 people get lost in the woods every year. That’s huge! It means that whenever you are on a trip to the wilderness; there’s a fair chance of you getting lost. It can be a trek in quest of the unknown, or just a camping trip. There’s no denying the fact that incidents like this keep happening, and you can fall victim to it any day. While you don’t have any control over a mishap like this, you can always take preparation. The same goes if you plan to cut off all ties with your urban life and embark upon a solitary voyage. And there’s still the risk of an SHTF situation of a yet-to-come apocalyptic scenario. The point is, surviving in the woods requires a set of skills and planning which are necessary for everyone to learn.
Surviving in the wild is not exactly rocket science. The key to surviving is just being alive, which is not that hard with the right skillset and tools. There are a few basics you have to cover to survive. We’ll cover them one after another.
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Fresh, Clean Water!
Question: how many days do you think you can survive without water? There are two answers to this question. Technically, you can live up to three days without water. But, just imagine! Can you really survive without water for three days straight?
So, to survive, you have to find a water source – preferably containing clean water. If you can’t find clean water, you’ll have to purify it. More on that later. For now, let’s move on to finding water, shall we?
- Try to find a water source with movements, so that it decreases the chance of containing bacteria to the minimal. Sources like rivers, lakes, and streams will serve you best. There are several ways to find these sources. You can try listening carefully for running water or follow animal footprints.
- Collecting rainwater can be an effective way to get clean water though the amount of collection won’t be sufficient. The process is easy too. Use anything like a bottle or container. If you have a poncho or tarp, you can use it to tie between trees and collect rainwater.
- Digging a well is another efficient way. If you can find an area with lots of green plants, then digging a hole there will give fresh water. The hole should wide enough to easily collect water and deep enough for the groundwater to pass. Use a container or a plastic bag to collect the water afterwards. You can use a cloth to filter the mud.
- No matter how you collect your water, you have to boil/purify the water for at least five minutes before drinking. There’s a fair chance that the water contains bacteria or other harmful organisms & substances that might get you infected. The river or lake water is sometimes polluted with animal carcasses and such. The best way to purify the water is to boil it for a while. You can also use a purifying gear or purification tablet if you have them with you. Another simple method of filtering the water is to expose it to direct sunlight for a day. This way, the UV rays of sunlight will kill most of the pathogens.
Home Sweet Home!
Whether you are in the jungle or a metropolis, you need somewhere to pass the time, rest and relax. This place called home will protect you from all sorts of dangers and calamities. But in the wilderness, you can’t make a well-constructed home. Thus, a temporary/makeshift shelter will have to do for the time being. Among other methods, an easy way to make shelter involves saplings and ropes/vines. The idea is to bend over a sapling and to tie it down with rope/vine. Once the sapling is secure, you can make a roof with sturdy branches, saplings, sticks with leaves, etc. Making the sapling base, you have put large sticks alongside. For insulation, you should use dry tinder in your shelter.
You also have to make a bed with leaves, branches, and moss as you shouldn’t sleep on the ground. The earth will cause your body to lose temperature quickly. Thermal blankets are ideal for keeping yourself warm. In the absence of that, you can always use a pile of dried leaves. They also work like a charm against cold.
Fire serves you in many ways. You need fire to cook food, boil water, keep yourself warm, protect you from predators, and make a distress signal. If you a survival gear or tool to start a fire, then it’s your lucky day. Make use of that along with dry tinder to start a fire. You can also make a fire pit with tinder and firewo[ood. First, choose a clear spot away from plants and bushes. Clear it and place rocks around the spot so that the fire doesn’t spread much. Then collect tinder and firewood. Finally, arrange them in a teepee, crisscross or any other shape and then light it up.
But if you don’t have any equipment, then you’ll have to use your creativity to the fullest. Lenses of binocular, glasses, or camera can be used to make fire. Just angle the lens toward the sun and focus the sunbeam onto a pile of tinder. Once the tinder starts to make smoke, feed the fire by gently blowing on it until it starts up nicely.
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Surviving in the Woods: Food for Thought!
Food delivers us with the energy we need every day. We need food to keep ourselves functional and healthy. After taking care of water, shelter, and fire, you’ll have to arrange food. The initial plan here is to forage, as it’s the easiest method to gather food in the woods. Keep an eye out for known plants and bugs that are guaranteed to be non-poisonous. And yes, you can’t be picky in the wild. Bugs and plants will be your primary source of food there, so you’ll have to adjust to it. Always remember the following tips:
- Avoid mushrooms altogether as identifying non-poisonous ones can be tricky
- Not all berries are edible. So, if you’re not sure or not able to identify, just leave it.
- Avoid caterpillars and bright-colored bugs as they are often poisonous
- Check plants with the universal edibility test. You’ll have to take different parts of the plant. Then, rub them against the inside of your arm and wait for a reaction. If nothing happens within fifteen minutes or so, try with your lips. If the plant passes this stage, then eat it and wait for around eight hours for a reaction. If you feel sick during this time, vomit and never eat it again. If not, then you’ve got yourself a stable source of food, my friend.
- If you are confident about hunting and have all the right gear (or you have the skill to make them), then go for it. Fishing will be a more efficient choice for you if you seek delicious protein. Just remember one thing – never eat raw meat or fish. Always cook them before eating. Otherwise, you’re likely to get sick or infected with bacteria in no time.
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Surviving in the Woods: Protect Yourself!
If you make peace with other children of nature, you’re good to go. Animals won’t disturb you if you don’t bother them; except for obviously – predators. If you haven’t guessed by now, they will try to eat you. So, stay clear of them for surviving in the woods. Aside from that, there are a few things to remember, as well. You are more likely to encounter snakes than any other threat in the wilderness. The biggest problem with that is, a bunch of their species are venomous. So, dark shady places, tall grasses and tree hollows where snakes are usually found. Also, you must know how to prevent and survive a snake bite.
Bears are another animal with a tendency to attack humans. The reason behind this is they see us as threats and take action immediately to neutralize this threat. So, always look out for bears and stay clear of them. If you are unfortunate enough to face it, keep your calm. Never try to scream, run, or make a drastic decision. Instead, prepare beforehand with the necessary skills and techniques to survive a bear attack completely unharmed.
That concludes the basic ideas on leading a life in the wild. We hope the above instructions have answered your questions about surviving in the woods. Surviving in the woods is in our blood, as our ancestors have gone through it for thousands of years. The modern life we live nowadays is just a result of years of co-existing with nature. So, our inner wildlings are not that hard to wake up. Just a few days in the wild should do the trick. But for that, you’ll need to prepare yourself thoroughly for surviving in the woods. For more detailed information on wilderness survival, you can go through all the other articles we have. Feel free to subscribe to our newsletters and leave a comment below.