What Wilderness Survival Skills Do You Need

Adventurous outdoor sports or recreational activities are as dangerous as they are exciting. Limiting oneself to a confined space must never be a solution.

Getting exposed to the varied realms of adventurous activities provides quite a thrilling experience, only when you have mastered the wilderness survival skills and possessed the ability to get yourself out of a life-threatening situation.

In this article, we will discuss the basic and most essential wilderness survival skills required in varied terrains, along with various other related issues.

To emerge as a victorious survivor from a fatal and stranded situation, wilderness survival skills such as lighting fire, building temporary shelters, tending to the wounds, and so on are needed to be learned and practiced.

A thorough practice of these skills will shield you from any calamities that may lash out in a hostile environment.

So, pack up your luggage bags and start gearing up for the adventure!

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1. Basic Wilderness Survival Skills

1.1 Search For Sources Of Water For Survival

Survival without water for a few hours is impossible. Therefore, it is necessary to know how to obtain and purify water.

Individuals going mountaineering or camping in the hills must know that the direction of the flowing water is downhill. Moreover, within crevices of rocks or boulders, you can found streams and waterfalls.

You may also collect the dewdrops, in a bottle or a container, either from the moist ground or from under the rocks, since rocks slow down the evaporation process. 

In some cases, you may find streams, lakes that may have apparently clean water, but it is always safe to boil it or purify it and free it from bacteria or insects.

Contracting infections or parasitic worm infestations on a trip is quite disgusting and detrimental to one’s health. Hence, it is always better to remain on the safe side.

Adventurers can carry personal water filters on their journey, the details of which will be provided in the following sub-topics.

1.2 Technique to Start a Fire In The Wild

Fire is a basic necessity due to its multi-faceted uses. If you are hungry, you can easily cook simple meals.

Besides, fire aids in providing warmth at night or in places with cooler temperatures and also threatens and keeps the wild animals away from your camp.

By considering its tremendous applications, it becomes imperative to describe in detail certain easiest ways to start a fire with minimum equipment. 

Adventurers will come across many dead or dried leaves spread on the forest roads. These are effective in starting a fire.

Also, there is the age-old way of starting a fire by rubbing stones against each other.

A more unique and easy way to start a fire is by applying physics that almost everyone learns in their school. All that one needs to do is to focus/converge the sun rays by using glasses or magnifying glasses, and then it is done!

It is advised that the adventurers should carry a lighter case with them apart from the above-mentioned natural ways.

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1.3 Shelter Building

The skill of shelter building is quite necessary since it allows individuals to build a makeshift hut with the use of wood, leaves, or branches and will keep one insulated from various dangers that can be expected in a forest.

The easiest way to have a roof over your head is by putting a large number of branches together to create a shelter that secures you from all sides. 

certain points need to be kept in mind while constructing a shelter:

  • Building makeshift shelter structures near the marshy areas or near rivers is quite risky. In unforeseen circumstances such as floods or an increase in water level after heavy rain may lead to the destruction of the shelter. Hence, construction should be done away from any sources of water or muddy or damp areas.
  • While making shelters, prefer uplands because they protect the occupant from insects or floods.

1.4 Finding the Correct Geographical Direction

While going for an adventurous trip in mountainous areas or the forests, obtaining the right direction according to the map that you will be carrying is very significant.

Otherwise, there is a high probability of your getting lost, with no way out. A simple way of determining the right direction is by talking the aid of the sun’s position (which changes from east to west).

You can take a small piece of wood or a stick or a rod and then insert it into the ground, with most of its upper part projecting out of the ground. The next step will be to mark or encircle the area on the ground where the shadow of the stick will fall.

After noticing the change in the direction of the shadow, the correct direction can be ascertained. 

To ascertain the exact direction without putting in much effort, a compass can be carried along the journey.

You can also purchase compasses with accurate precision. More on this below.

1.5 Treatment of Wounds

The skill to treat wounds is of utmost importance since gaping wounds will attract bacteria and cause fatal infections.

In more serious cases of a fracture, the wisest thing will be not to nudge it but tie a branch with a rope or a climb. It is recommended that adventurers should carry a medical kit with them.

1.6 Knot-Tying

The art of tying a knot is significant to secure shelters, snares for animals, tightening bandages to tend the wounds, and so on. You can purchase and carry a paracord survival belt along the journey to simplify tying knots. 

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2. Must-Have Survival Gear

To apply the basic wilderness survival skills efficiently and to facilitate them, the use of the following survival products is of utmost necessity. 

  • To consume clean and freshwater, LifeStraw Plastic Portable personal Water purifiers can be purchased by adventurers. It has a capacity of 200ml and filters about 99.99% of bacteria and germs. It also reduces the turbidity of water by filtering down to 0.2 microns.
  • Waterproof lighters ease the technique to start a fire. Exotac manufactures waterproof lighter cases that are waterproof and has a gas lock that allows it to stay on without holding the gas button.
  • Hatchet with a stainless steel blade is quite important while going camping. It eases the shelter-making process. It smoothly works over wood and makes it easier to construct a temporary shelter.
  • Camping and hiking pocket compass helps the adventurers to ensure that they are moving in the right direction. These can be attached to your outfit or jacket and thus helping one not to go aimless.
  • Carrying burner stoves while going camping makes lighting fire easier and also makes cooking convenient. Its lightweight makes it easy to carry it along the journey.
  • Paracord survival belt is used to secure shelter, set hunting traps, and also contributes to tending wounds by securing bandages. Varieties of survival belts are available at Amazon, and you can choose any that suits your needs.

3. Survival Experts

Survival experts refer to those who expertise themselves in emerging successful out of harsh conditions of the place where they go for camping, hiking, or other recreational activities.

Some eminent survival experts include Bear Grylls, Ray Mears, and Les Stroud. The following list reminisces certain popular survival experts of the world and their achievements.

3.1 John Wiseman 

John Wiseman had served in Britain’s classy Special Air Service unit since 1959. Later, after his retirement, he became a popular consultant and advisor, teaching pupils in the survival schools about various outdoor survival skills.

John has also appeared in many shows broadcasted on television. He got acquainted with the survival skills while getting trained as a SAS. He is also the author of many books based on outdoor survival. 

John Wiseman Survival expert
John Wiseman: Survival Expert

3.2 Tom Brown 

Tom Brown is one of the eminent survival experts. Having mastered the skills of survival and bushcraft at a quite young age, Tom became proficient in wielding the skills gradually, over the years.

He is the author of 18 books. He has also established “Tracker School” in New Jersey, where young students aspiring to be like Tom Brown receive training from Tom Brown himself. 

Tom Brown Survival Expert
Tom Brown: Survival Expert

3.3 Les Stroud 

Les Stroud is a popular Canadian survival expert. He is also quite renowned worldwide as a filmmaker and musician. He is also the host of the popular and loved television series “Survivorman”.

He possesses vast experience in survival and primitive living skills. Stroud was nominated for six Gemini Awards for his excellent work in “Survivorman”.

His show instilled courage in the hearts of common people as it showcased how to get oneself out of dangerous conditions. 

3.4 Bear Grylls 

Bear Grylls is a SAS serviceman. He too got acquainted with the survival skills while training as a SAS. He is a survival instructor and is well-known for his popular TV series – Running Wild with Bear Grylls and The Island with Bear Grylls.

He is also the author of many popular books such as ‘Facing the Frozen ocean’, ‘The Kid Who Climbed Everest’ and so on.  

Bear Grylls Survival Expert
Bear Grylls: Survival Expert

4. How to Live in the Woods Without Getting Caught?

Certain points are required to be kept in mind while setting camp and staying in the wilderness for days, without raising suspicion of others. 

  • Prefer to set up camps in the dark and not in the open daylight. Setting up camp must be done at a time when a little daylight is available so that they do not have to switch lights and announce their arrival.
  • Choose a dark-colored tent so that it has a camouflage effect, and gets easily mixed with natural surroundings.
  • It is always advisable to hide or cover up the tracks that have probably been left by your vehicle so that no one gets to know about your presence in the wood.
  • Adventurers must be careful enough not to trespass the private properties. 
  • It is recommended not to camp at the same place for a prolonged period of time. The more you stay at the same place, the higher is your chance of getting spotted. 
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5. How to Survive in the Woods for a Month?

Though it may feel a bit uncomfortable, surviving in the woods alone for a month is actually possible and is also relaxing.

As discussed in the previous sections, to stay secure in the wilderness, one must look for sources of water and food. They must know the techniques of lighting fire.

Another useful skill is shelter building with the help of woods by the application of survival hatchets. 

In simple terms, if you have the means to tend to your wounds, can find a viable source of water, or have enough food, it is possible to survive in the wilderness for 1 month.

However, if you get yourself in trouble or encounter certain unforeseen circumstances, it becomes necessary to send a signal. By starting a fire, you can let others know that you are in danger.

In case you are unable to start a fire, you can put together rocks or branches in the form of a triangle. You can also try to make the international distress symbol of three fires laid out in a triangle. 

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6. Survival Training

6.1 Military Survival Training

Military Survival Training implies receiving training in various aspects of warfare in different ecological habitats. Escape & Evasion (E&E) training is a type which is unique to military survival training.

This is mainly imparted to the soldiers and other military members who may have to battle with the opponents behind the enemy lines.

Besides gathering knowledge about survival skills on land, military training is also given for survival skills at sea. Saving one’s life from the hands of the enemies is the chief aim.

6.2 Bushcraft Survival Training

Mastering bushcraft survival skill implies a high probability of returning safely after camping in forests.

The term ‘bushcraft’ is related to the aboriginal and tribal people dwelling in the forests all over the world. Thus, bushcraft survival training implies the skills of gathering food, making tools and shelters from wood, branches, and leaves.

There are similarities in the skills imparted in both the military and bushcraft survival training. 

6.3 Self-instruction Survival Training

As the name suggests, self-instruction survival training involves self-learning by reading ‘survival skill guide’ and watching survival videos.

To ensure that you are accurately learning everything, it is better to appoint a survival instructor who will help you to master the skills efficiently. 

7. Reasons to Learn Survival Skills

Learning wilderness survival skills is significant due to the following reasons:

  • So far, millions of people have gone missing or died and never returned after completing their trip. The reason mainly is that they lacked in wielding the wilderness survival skills and thus could not save themselves from the clutches of death. The need to learn survival skills thus becomes important in this context.
  • Wilderness survival skills are also vital to shield oneself from natural disasters, accidents, or any similar unforeseen situation. 
  • Learning about outdoor survival skills also increases one’s knowledge about geology and brings an individual closer to nature, its flora, and fauna.
  • Moreover, wilderness survival skills must be learned as a hobby since it is relaxing and gives extreme enjoyment to an individual.


The topic of wilderness survival skills is multi-faceted. Many aspects of it have been upheld in this article. Outdoor survival skills are a must to ensure success in your adventurous trip.

Every person having an interest in outdoor recreational activities must allot a part of their schedule to watching survival shows and learning the skills.

There is no other way of getting acquainted with nature, except for going on adventurous trips. Thus, the relevance of outdoor survival skills becomes all the more relevant. 


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