March 25, 2014 at 11:31 am #2451
Wilderness survival techniques are arguably a matter of life and death. Turning into a self-sufficient survivor does not happen at the snap of a finger.
It takes knowledge, proper gear, and preparation. By planning for the worst before it happens you could be saving your life and other’s.
According to some of the top wilderness survival websites, there are eight common mistakes that can cost you big in the wild. The first is no shelter, which really turns into a double barrelled mistake. If you do not have a proper shelter with you or lack the knowledge to build one with what is around you-you might be in trouble.
It is vital to create a shelter that keeps you dry and limits exposure to the elements, especially the wind.
The second biggest wilderness survival mistake is being caught without a working navigational tool. It is easy to get turned around in the middle of thick bushes and trees. A map and a compass are failsafe standards any wilderness adventurer should pack.
Thanks to technology, a GPS is a handy tool as well. GPS devices are small, compact, and generally able to work for a descent time period if kept at full charge. Keep navigational tools with you at all times.
Learning how to utilize cardinal directions by the sun and stars is also beneficial.
Another common mistake that can cost you is lack of knowledge and preparation.
There are five key things you should be knowledgeable of first:
How to build shelter
How to signal for assistance
What is safe to eat and how to find it
How to build and maintain a fire
How to locate water and safely prepare it
Never underestimate the risk factor. The most innocent of outdoor excursions-fishing, hiking, hunting-can turn into a wilderness survival situation. Always be prepared.
Don’t be caught with the wrong clothing. A rule of thumb is to always dress in layers, making the outer layer warmer than what you should need. Research indicates that most hypothermia cases develop in temperatures over 40 degrees Fahrenheit thanks to lack of proper clothing.
Water is essential to survive.
The problem is finding drinkable water. Waterborne organisms can cause severe diarrhoea and vomiting, which increases dehydration. Carry a supply of pure drinking water along with the ability to filter water by boiling, chemical tablets, or filters.
Finally, be sure to have a signal plan and know how to create and maintain a fire. Almost any outdoor/camping supplier has sections dedicated to signal devices. Whistles, mirrors, high beam torches, and fire starting devices are all easy to carry signal devices. Couple these with learning how to create your own emergency signal by using trees, rocks, dirt, or even snow.
Fire is vital to wilderness survival. It can warm, protect, and heat food or boil water. You can even use it to signal for help.
Do not underestimate learning how to make and maintain a fire. Take time to prepare for your outdoor excursions and you will be able to tackle whatever kinks come your way.
When it comes to survival skills, the smallest of mistakes could have a huge impact on your ability to stay safe.
However, there are a few things which can help to avoid making such mistakes, and will ensure that your survival skills are as effective as possible.
If you find your survival skills being put to the test unexpectedly, then the natural reaction can be to panic.
However, this is often the worst thing you can do, as you need to be thinking as clearly as possible in such situations.
You might not be able to simply google ‘survival techniques’ whilst checking your facebook page and playing cheeky bingo, but if you have done your research, then you will already be well prepared.
You simply need to keep a clear head, and remember all the skills which you have learnt.
Often, people panic the most when it comes to putting up a shelter, and tend to rush the process. In actual fact, it is worth spending extra time making sure that your shelter is safe and secure, and unlikely to collapse without warning, OH! And water and wind proof as well.April 3, 2014 at 8:42 pm #6623
Hmmm…if things REALLY go down internationally (the Koreas are firing upon each other now), a GPS might not be functional. Also, in that case, I would NOT build a signal fire or ask for help. It might get one killed if the wrong person responded.
But yes, the above skills are needful for staying alive, and the expertise is not acquired overnight. I remember a short story by Jack London (who, BTW, only spent a few months in the Far North) about a cheechako (newbie) travelling in winter with his dog. Had plenty of matches, but no knowledge of how to properly start a fire. By the time the matches were gone, he was numb with the cold. He died.
Know your area, know your gear, acquire skills by experience.April 3, 2014 at 10:12 pm #6647
Thanks Tom, good points.
I would say again that panic can be really killer in survival situations, no matter how many great skills you have, also overconfidence is bad stuff, and it can happen to anyone to forget on some small but important thing thinking that he knows everything.April 3, 2014 at 10:31 pm #6663
Excellent points to consider. Thanks Tom. To echo Selco’s point I’ve seen (particularly in the military) men with great skills panic and add a lot of risk for themselves and others. How does one prepare not to panic?April 3, 2014 at 10:35 pm #6664
Experience.May 14, 2014 at 7:22 am #13724
<div class=”d4p-bbp-quote-title”>chester wrote:</div>
Excellent points to consider. Thanks Tom. To echo Selco’s point I’ve seen (particularly in the military) men with great skills panic and add a lot of risk for themselves and others. How does one prepare not to panic?
In addition to (or perhaps instead of?) experience, i would say knowledge and practice.
1. Learn the rule of 3 and other survival maxims that you can mentally review if you are in trouble.
2. Stop and assess your assets before your do anything; tally everything you have including your knowledge, and what your knowledge will allow you to acquire or create.
3. To make point 2 more effective, practice the skills you will need before time so you have the muscle memory and training to KNOW that you can succeed at making a shelter or a fire for example.
The worst time to find out just how much work it is to make a fire with a bow drill is when you need it most
Remember: People don’t rise to the occasion, they fall to their highest level of training.May 14, 2014 at 9:39 am #13729
I believe that good combination would be training, knowledge , experience and mental state ( life philosophy or similar)
While now I have all of the above,I remember the time when I did not have anything, and first thing that I actually used was something like mental state, or you could call it philosophy of acceptance.
It helped me much, until I learned other things.
You need to have “cleared” state of mind in hard times, in order to avoid all s..t that can pull you and get you killed.
Do not get me wrong, having mental toughness alone does not mean too much, but it will help you a lot to put everything else in correct order.
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