Surviving in the wilderness has become a hobby and a sport for some adventure addicts over the last several years. Usually, these enthusiasts buy necessary survival gear in advance or head out to the wild area with no equipment on purpose as a challenge. However, the second type of survivalist is often trained and has all the basic skills to survive in the wild.
Anyway, the difference between purposeful expert survivalists and other people is in preparation. If you’ve got here, chances are you’re a beginner survivalist or a responsible person who wants to be prepared for an emergency. Therefore we asked an outdoor store to write an article on gearless survival in the wild to supply you with survival tips.
Wild Survival with Nothing
When things go off script, you need to take care of only three things: shelter, water, and food. Depending on the situation, your top priority would be finding shelter to shield yourself from extreme weather or finding water since our body can’t live without it for more than three days.
What about fire? Fire is a handy instrument that greatly boosts your odds of survival since you can use it to sterilize water, signal for help, cook food, and keep yourself warm and dry, but starting a fire without equipment can be really hard. Add damp conditions that might catch you, and making fire becomes impossible. When the weather is kind, you can try building a bow drill or any other friction tool. Another way to start a fire without special gear is to strike sparks out of flint or rock. If you wear glasses, you can use its lenses to concentrate sunlight.
Anyway, if you can start a fire, consider half of your problems are solved – the water is sterilized, the food is heat-treated, and the clothing is dry. But for the sake of the declared subject, we concentrate on survival without fire.
Building a Shelter
Unlike what a beginner might think, some situations require you to prioritize shelter before water. Typically, these include extreme weather conditions like blizzards and storms, exposure to which accelerates body heat loss. Also, put building a shelter first if you find yourself in a survival situation at dusk since nighttime is obviously colder and wetter because of dew.
Naturally, your environment will dictate where to base your shelter and what it is. Natural shelters like overhanging cliffs and caves are ideal since they don’t require building but rather a little arrangement. If you’re in a situation of forest survival and can’t find any natural shelters, a lean-to shelter is a viable option since there are all kinds of materials around you. Tree wells might work for you if in a snow-covered, heavily wooded area. Otherwise, make a snow cave (don’t forget air holes) or a snow trench with the top covered with branches and debris
Ideally, you want to base your shelter near the water source. Don’t base it near hillsides prone to rockslides, flatland areas prone to flooding, and dead trees.
The main purpose of a shelter is to prevent heat loss. Therefore it should:
- Be small because it’s easier to warm with body heat.
- Protect you from wind since wind accelerates heat loss.
- Have cold-proof insulating flooring. Cover the ground with dead leaves and spruce branches.
Finding a water source is critical because an adult’s body can function properly for only a day and a half. Then, water is medically necessary. More than three days without water will kill you. Time is not on our side in this matter, so you should be prompt in action.
In most environments, finding some water is not a big problem. You’ll probably find some water bodies, and if not, you can use your shirt to collect morning dew or rain drops from leaves, grass, or tree pockets or dig a hole. However, finding pure water is far from easy since raw water contains bacteria that can cause illnesses.
A river, a waterfall, or a stream are great since moving water is purer than standing water. The latter must be sterilized, but it’s impossible without boiling. Drinking such water is risky and, at the same time, a lesser evil if we consider the possibility of not drinking water at all. Illnesses caused by harmful bacteria usually progress slowly, so you’ll buy some time to find rescue.
You can also collect water from the inside of some plants (cactus, bamboo, or banana) or use your shirt to absorb morning dew from leaves and grass. Another method is to dig a hole in a damp area. Water coming from the underground is purified and filtered through the ground itself.
Though our body can live without food much longer than without water, for three weeks, to be precise, don’t put searching for food off since every hour you lose energy and each further activity will be more energy consuming for you.
Insects (beetles, larvae, crickets, ants, and grasshoppers) and worms aren’t the prettiest food but are protein-rich and generally safe to eat. Nuts, the inner bark of coniferous trees, and berries will diversify your diet, but the rule of thumb is to avoid red and white berries. If you’re unsure about whether a plant or a mushroom is edible, don’t push your luck.
Some More Survival Tips
Use Improvised Resources. Creative thinking boosts your chances of survival just as well as fire. So don’t be shy and try to find a use for any object at hand. For example, you can use shoelaces as ropes and boots as containers for water. You can also bust open your zipper loop and make a fishing hook, collect fibers from your wool socks to prepare a fire-starting material, and use metal litter to make a spear tip or a blade. Finally, you can break down your phone to extract parts for your survival tools – a screen for reflecting sunlight as a signal, thin metal elements for making sharp objects, and a magnet for making a compass leaf.
Signaling. Always try to signal that you need help. Start a fire, pile rocks, lay SOS or HELP words with contrasting materials, and use your clothing as flags.
Predators. Avoid encountering predators by warning them about your presence with loud noises and steering away from their kills. If encountering happens, stay calm and slowly back away while leaving an escape route to an animal.
Navigation. Before you start moving somewhere seeking rescue, try to find a hill from where you can observe the surroundings. Then, mark your trajectory and always mentally retrace your steps.
A professional writer with over a decade of incessant writing skills. Her topics of interest and expertise range from health, nutrition and psychology.