We have all seen it, the guy who gets stranded out in the wilderness with no supplies or understanding of his surroundings, or the group of hikers that forget to bring along a compass. They quickly find themselves in hot water, and you wonder, why weren’t they more prepared?
Whether you like to camp, hike or just generally be outdoors, knowing a few basic survival skills can go a long way in an emergency situation. Once you learn these skills and remember to take along a survival kit, you will have no reason to fear the outdoors.
Understanding the rule of 3s
The rule of 3s will help you prioritize and make the best decisions possible when you find yourself in a compromising situation outdoors. The human body can survive without oxygen for three minutes, without shelter for three hours, without water for three days and without food for three weeks.
Shelter and fire
Of course, if the weather is warm, a shelter may not seem so critical. However, building a shelter and a fire motivate people to stay put. It is much easier to find a lost person if they are stationary than if they are wandering around. In fact, a very important safety tip that all parents should give their children if they are ever lost outdoors is to hug a tree.
A simple shelter can be crafted by leaning three or four thick branches together to form a teepee-type structure. You can use twine or vine to tie the sticks at the top and lay branches, leaves or grasses on top of the sticks for a covering.
Be sure you know how to light a fire not just with matches, but also with an eyeglass lens, magnifying glass, flint and steel, or even two sticks. Remember that fire is essential to warmth, cooking and is a great way to send up a signal for those who may be looking for you.
Finding a safe source of water is far more important than securing food. Although your stomach may be telling you it is time to eat, water is far more essential. One vital tool you can bring with you is a way to purify water. Portable water filters are small and allow you to quickly purify any source of water so that you can drink it.
When you are lost
One of the worst things you can do if you become lost is to panic; this will surely make the situation worse. If you do find yourself lost, the first rule to remember is to STOP. Take a minute to sit down, take a few deep breaths and relax. Once you have relaxed, it is time to think about your situation.
Think about what is important to your survival. Next, look around you and take in your surroundings. Look for roads, trails or landmarks, along with possible water sources and a good place to build a fire or erect a shelter. Formulate a plan of action that addresses your most immediate needs.
A survival kit takes up a small amount of room for the good it may bring; you can even wear most of your supplies. Even if you go hiking or camping 100 times and never need your kit, you just may need it on that 101st trip into the wilderness. The most important tools in any survival kit are those used for combustion, cordage and cutting.
There is no replacement for a good knife with multi-tools that can easily strap on your belt loop. This knife can help you start a fire and build a shelter. A 50-foot piece of paracord can be made into a bracelet and worn on your wrist.
Cord can be used in erecting a shelter or unwound and roughed up to use as a fire starter. Always bring along with you a couple of different ways to start a fire: a flint and steel works, but you can also wear a small butane lighter around your neck.
In your kit you should also have waterproof matches, jute cord, magnifying lens, plastic garbage bag, fish hooks, emergency space blanket, water, portable water filter, compass, first-aid kit, and some nuts or energy bars.
Tell someone before you go
Whenever you venture outdoors, it is a good idea to go with a group and tell someone where you are going and when you plan to return. Without this information, no one will know where to begin the search if you happen to become lost.
-The Alternative Daily