Anytime you’re planning a trip to the wilderness, whether it’s a simple camping trip to the local campground or an extended hike through rugged terrain, you need to know some basic outdoor survival tips.
All it takes is one bad step and a broken ankle, a wrong turn off the tail, or a myriad of other possibilities, and you could be spending a rough night in the woods. Being prepared with basic outdoor survival tips will help to keep emotions like fear at bay if you ever find yourself in any sort of survival situation.
I can’t stress it enough, but always tell someone you trust where you’re going and when you plan to be back. It’s a basic tip, but one that can shorten any possible survival situation that may arise. Make a plan with this person to check in at regular intervals during your trip if possible, but at least plan to call when you get back. This way, if something happens during your adventure, the proper authorities can be alerted quickly.
The next thing you need to do is either buy or make a survival kit. These can range in size and complexity depending on the type of trip you’re going on. However, they should always include some sort of fire starter such as a magnesium rod or waterproof matches, a signaling device of some kind, a compass and map, and some basic first aid supplies. Things like space blankets or bear spray should be added if your trip is in more rugged terrain or you’re planning an extended stay in the wilderness.
A knife is also absolutely vital for anyone spending time in the woods. It has so many uses, not only for survival, and having one is a luxury that you’ll be thankful for if you wind up having to spend an unplanned night in the woods.
Practicing your fire starting skills (you can read my article on fire starting tips here) before you leave is also a great idea. Not only does fire provide warmth and light, but the psychological comfort of a fire cannot be stressed enough.
Shelter building should be the next thing you become familiar with. Having the ability to get out of the elements if lost in the woods without a tent is very important. A shelter can protect you from the elements and help keep you warm. A survival shelter doesn’t need to be elaborate either. Just try to get off the ground if it’s cold (this can be accomplished with a pile of leaves or pine boughs) and make at least a semi-watertight roof (I offer a few more in-depth tips on survival shelter building here).
A human can survive for approximately three days without water, so finding some potable liquid is an important consideration in many survival situations. Try to avoid drinking directly from a natural water source. You never know what kind of bacteria or parasites may be present, and the last thing you want is to get sick. If boiling the water isn’t possible, there are many different types of ultra-portable water filtration products available, including iodine tablets and straws that filter water as you drink through them.
Lastly, focus on staying positive and having a good attitude if forced into any type of outdoor survival situation. This is one of the most important outdoor survival tips, but it’s often overlooked. Do whatever it takes to stay calm and avoid panic. Those emotions greatly increase your chances of getting into an even worse situation through injury or mistakes.
These basic outdoor survival tips may seem like common sense, but they truly are part of an important toolset that any outdoors enthusiast should be aware of. You might be thinking that you’ll never get lost or that you’ll be fine without these skills, but unpreparedness in the wilderness is a very dangerous thing indeed.
Writer. For Roadtrippers. For KOA. For sanity. Catcher of fish. Baseball fanatic. Proud to call Ohio home.