What plan of action do you have if you’re stranded and far from civilization with darkness falling? Tackle any situation with these wilderness survival skills.
Despite the fact that you might have a phone that comes with a GPS or you’re in the best shape of your life, what happens if you find yourself injured or your phone battery dies? In today’s society we have become dependent on our digital crutches, but it’s always a good idea to know a few vital wilderness survival skills that you can turn to when that inevitable moment arrives.
1. Finding a Suitable Camping Spot
The first thing to do is pick somewhere that is high and dry. Avoid areas such as paths or valleys where water is likely to flow toward you. Ideally, you want to be located near dry wood and walls that will protect you from the elements. Check the ground you’ve picked and remove any stones that could make sleeping a painful experience.
2. Building the Ideal Shelter
Hypothermia is a real risk when dealing with cold weather, which is why it’s important to build a shelter to ward off the cold effects before it’s too late. To build a shelter locate a fallen tree and place smaller branches together on one side. Collect as much debris as you can find, such as moss and leaves, and layer them against the angled wall. To protect yourself from the cold ground, insulate it with the help of more moss and leaves.
3. Finding Clean Water
We can only survive without water for up to three days, so you will need to locate a clean water source. Reliable sources of clean water are rain, snow or even dew as these don’t need to be purified and can be collected with little trouble. If you find yourself in an area where vines and cacti can be found, these are also viable sources of clean water that can be squeezed out.
4. Building a Fire
A fire can be a psychological comfort in times of need, so building a fire should be on your list of wilderness survival skills. To build a fire you should find a forearm-sized log, which will act as the base and windscreen for your tinder. The tinder you should collect should be dry and when lit it should be stacked against the large log so that oxygen can pass through easily. As the flames get bigger, you can add more kindling until you have a fire that can take bigger logs.
5. Eating Edible Plants
At some point you will start to think about what to eat and while you may think about setting a trap to catch something, you don’t have to. Instead you’ll find a wealth of edible plants waiting that will just as easily satiate your appetite. Knowing which plants are edible and which aren’t will come down to memory and the best way to achieve this is to buy a book on edible plants. A few plants to know that are edible include dandelion, chamomile, red clover and stinging nettle, although it’s best to pick the young leaves when the stinging hairs have not appeared.
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6. Navigating by Night
To find out where you are, locate Polaris, or the North Star, which can be seen at the end of the Little Dipper’s handle. To locate the Little Dipper, find the Big Dipper and then draw a line between the two stars that are at the outer part of the dipper. Extend this line toward the Little Dipper and it will line up with the North Star. If you face toward it you will be at true north.
It’s important to note, however, that practicing these skills is just as important as you don’t want to put yourself in a false sense of security by thinking you’ll know what to do in a crisis situation.
Hopefully these tips will help you if you find yourself in a less-than ideal situation.