Calm Down and Make Careful Decisions
This is a guest post from Josh at http://www.minutemanreview.com.
When it comes to survival, you need to be ready for any situation no matter what environment you are in. If you like to venture out into the wilderness sometimes, that environment will be far away from any signs of civilization at all. So, you’ll need to know how to handle life in the wilderness. With this short and quick basic primer, you’ll have a thumbnail sketch on what skills you may need to use to get yourself found and survive on your own.
When you find yourself stranded in the woods the first thing to do is not to panic. Then, think about what your best course of action is. For instance, if you need to seek out help, you’ll want to determine the correct general direction to travel in and then start moving immediately to make it as far as you can before you start dealing with dehydration and fatigue.
Once you stop moving or if it wasn’t the right decision to travel at all, you’ll need to take care of other some of your survival needs which we will touch on below.
If the weather is bad the first thing might need to do is build a shelter to keep yourself dry. Getting wet in a survival situation can be deadly even in mild temperatures. Hopefully you were prepared before you left for your trip and you have a tarp or a small tent, but if not you may need to construct a natural shelter.
What you use for your shelter will depend on where you are and the resources available to you at the time. The key to building shelters with natural materials is to keep them as small as possible. A common shelter option is to build a lean-to in which branches and leaves are fashioned to create a “roof” leaned against a sturdy structure. Alternatively, finding a pre-existing natural structure like a rocky overhang can be helpful as well. Remember, smaller shelters are going to be better insulated than oversized ones and most importantly they will help you conserve your energy.
Water takes precedence over food in any survival situation. The average human can only make it around 3 days without water and that timeline decreases if you’re in a hotter climate. The more you sweat, the faster you’ll get dehydrated.
The key thing to remember with gathering water in the wild is that you need to make it safe to drink before you ingest any of it. If you just dip into the first water you see, you’re likely to end up dealing with the dangers of contaminated water. The best way to combat this is to keep a commercial water filter/purifier on you whenever you go into the wilderness. Chemical water purification tablets are also a great lightweight option for hiking and survival kits as well.
Another alternative is to boil the water over a fire, of course you will need a container to make this happen as well. First, run it through a cloth to rid it of any dirt or debris and then bring it to a boil. Just bring it to a good solid rolling boil and the water will be safe to drink at pretty much any altitude in the lower 48 States.
After shelter and water, food is the next necessity. First, it’s a good idea to research what plants are edible and even keep a handy manual on you whenever you go out camping or hunting. If you aren’t sure if something is edible, it’s probably best to stay away from it. The last thing you want is to get sick from something you ate.
For a more filling meal, you could also hunt for animals in the area. The easiest way to do this is to keep a firearm on you when you’re out in the wilderness. Firearms are also good to keep around when you go into the wilderness because they can be used for self-defense and protection. This can be especially helpful if you’re in an area with natural predators such as wolves, cougars or bears.
To prepare food, boil water, and stay warm, you’re going to need to be able to start a fire. The best and easiest way to tackle this is to keep a fire starter on you. Matches or lighters can also work in a pinch but make sure to keep your matches dry if you want them to be of any use. It’s also important to note that you shouldn’t use lighter fluid or gasoline to start your fire because it’s an easy way for a fire to get out of control.
To learn the best way to start a fire check out JJ’s video below, on how to start a fire in the snow or click here to watch it on Youtube: https://youtu.be/UIm7S6OU58U
If there’s one universal tool you can never go wrong with, it’s a sturdy knife. Whether you’re fashioning a shelter, collecting kindling, or preparing food, a knife is going to come in handy. A pocket knife isn’t your best choice here – a fixed blade knife with a full tang is much better. You can find foldable options which are easier to store but also easier to break. A fixed blade goes a long way and is much safer and stronger.
Finally, you’re going to want to be prepared before you ever heard out into the woods. This means making sure you have a full survival kit (day pack with survival gear and first aid kit) and making sure that you have doing what you can to learn some basic survival techniques. Practice the techniques you are learning before you go out into the woods if at all possible. Or just start wth short day trips and don’t get too deep into the woods so that you are sure not to get lost until you are more proficient at the basic survival skills listed above.
Calm Down and Make Careful Decisions
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