34 Survival Tips That Will Improve Your Survival Outcome

How to survive wilderness

I think that we can all agree that we have all imaged a scenario where we might be in a survival situation. Whether we got this idea from movies, news stories or even documentaries such as Bear Grylls Ultimate Survival.

In the past, we had to learn how to survive in the wild before we got to the age where we started getting comfortable with modern technology and infrastructure.

If you are new to survival, then do not worry because this guide has got you covered.

Here is what you will get:

In this guide, I will go through everything that you need to do to stay alive in the wilderness.

I will cover basic survival skills from how to make a fire, finding and purifying water, how to manage injuries, navigation, building shelters and even more.

Are you ready?

Let’s get started.

First things first

If you find yourself in a situation outside the reach of modern society such as the wilderness without any form of contact, then you can consider yourself in trouble. Your problems can become much more substantial if you do not know your location.

1. You need to stay calm

This aspect is crucial. It is tough to make informed decisions if you are under stress. This is especially true if you are in a situation where the smallest mistake can lead to death. First of all, take a deep breath don’t panic and get your bearings together.

2. Take stock of what you have

If you have a backpack with you, then do yourself a favor and take everything out of it. This way, you will have a better idea of what you can utilize. Now you also have a better grasp on how long your supplies will last and whether you should start to scavenge.

3. Get your bearings together

If you have a map and compass with you, then this will help you a lot. You can start by reading the section on how to navigate and also find your current position. Now that you know your position, you can then begin to look for help.

6. Preparations for the SOS signal

If you hear or see a helicopter or plane, then you might be in luck. If your SOS signal is not already prepared, then you might miss your only hope to get help. The best way to prepare a signal is with smoke. If you can make a fire, then try adding wet leaves on top as this will create enough smoke to get some attention. Always make sure that you have a fire ready for if the opportunity arises.

7. Your mental framework

There is a very good chance that you might not survive especially if you have zero surviving skills or knowledge. The sooner you make peace with this, the better. I know it is hard, but it is necessary. The best thing that you can do is to utilize the skills and resources that you do have. Who knows, maybe you might be in luck. We as humans have a powerful fighting spirit, and I know of a couple of stories where people survived for months on end against all the odds.

Tools that might just save your life

Sometimes you need to do the best with what you already have. If you are planning to go out into the wilderness somewhere outside the reach of civilization, then you might as well make sure that you have the necessary tools in place for just in case. Below, I will give you a list of some of the essential tools or equipment that might save your life.

Survival tools
  1. Knife
  2. Satellite Radio
  3. Steel container (water bottle)
  4. Water purifier
  5. Lighter
  6. Compass
  7. Antibiotics
  8. Ax or hatchet
  9. Medical kit
  10. Flashlight
  11. A Map

This list can go on, but we need to remember that you cannot always carry a ton of equipment for just in case something happens. These items are small and can easily fit into a small compartment of your backpack.

You cannot live long without water

You can go for weeks without food and only 2-3 days without water. The body has enough reserves in the form of fat to provide the body with energy through ketosis. Unfortunately, the body does not keep a reserve of water because the kidneys need to regulate the water percentage of the body continuously.

You cannot live long without water.

You can go for weeks without food and only 2-3 days without water. The body has enough reserves in the form of fat to provide the body with energy through ketosis. Unfortunately, the body does not keep a reserve of water because the kidneys need to regulate the water percentage of the body continuously.

how to find drinking water

1. How to find water in a desert

It is easy to locate streams of water in a forest, but when you are in the desert, the tables can quickly turn against you. Below are some tips on how to find water in the desert.

a) Water always flows to a lower level

First, you need to find the highest vantage point to scout the are. From there you can spot the surrounding areas to find ridges or any formations that go downhill.

From there, you can follow these formations by marking them on the map (if you have one) and then try to locate the lowest vantage point. Water has the property to flow downhill and will always collect at the lowest point.

b) Use water indicators

Remember that you are not the only living being or organism that is searching for water. You can search for areas that have green vegetation such as plants or trees and also animals.

You can also follow birds that are flocking to a specific area as they are better equipped at spotting water. You can also follow the trail of wild animals which might lead to a water point.

You can also search for rock formations where water springs might originate and also shaded areas that might prevent any water from evaporating. Rock formations will also have natural indentations where water can be preserved.

2. How to purify water

The water that you will get will not always be clean and free from bacteria. Your water will still contain a little bit of dirt which will give it a light brown color and will not always be harmful.

The problem is not the dirt itself, but the microorganisms such as bacteria that are living inside of the water. These bacteria can cause gut infections that will lead to diarrhea which will lead to even more moisture loss and in turn will reduce your chance of survival. Below are some of the ways on how to purify water.

a) Boiling your water

Boiling the water for at least 1-5 minutes will kill all of the disease-causing bacteria in the water. This method will, in turn, make the water safe to drink without having to worry about getting sick.

Always make sure that you have a small steel container (water bottle) with you at all times. Once the contaminated water is collected inside the container from a source, you can then make a fire and put the container close to the fire.

It is essential to cover the container and not to seal it. This trick will make sure that only a little bit of water evaporates without having the risk of the container building pressure and then exploding.

b) Water filters and purification tablets

At most outdoor shops, you will have the opportunity to buy water filtering straws that will make the water drinkable; you can also use water purification tablets that make use of chlorine, chlorine dioxide or iodine that will deactivate the microorganisms and render them harmless.

Some tips on how to start a fire

Learning how to start a fire has some life-saving benefits such as cooking your food, boiling contaminated water and also keeping you warm. By learning how to create fire, was a significant turning point for our ancestors to get us where we are today.

How to start a fire

1. Let’s start with the preparation.

The very first step is to locate a flat, dry and hard surface area on which to make the fire on. It is also essential to clean the area surrounding the fireplace of any dry debris. By doing this, you will prevent the starting point of a forest fire.

Now that you have the location cleaned up and ready, you can then start to collect material that will be used as fuel. The best way to do this is to collect dry pieces of wood and sticks. Always try to sort and then group your wood according to their thickness.

It is easier to start a fire with the thinner sticks to get the fire going and then to move on to thicker ones to create long-term burning coals. Now that your fuel is sorted, you can then start to collect enough dry grass or leaves which will be used to ignite the fire. Now that you are prepared let’s move on to the different methods to start this fire.

2. Using a flint striker to start a fire.

One of the reasons why I like a flint striker so much is because you can use it over an over again and does not rely on any limited resources such as gas. Most flint strikers can be used alongside a knife.

The best way to do this is by holding the knife with the dull side facing down and then position it close to the dried grass or leaves. You must hold the blade with your strongest arm and then push your hand on the ground to keep it as still as possible.

Now that your knife is in place, you can then rub the flint onto the backside of the knife at a 45-degree angle until the sparks ignite the dry grass bundle. It is imperative to add smaller sticks to the bundle of dried grass once flames start to appear.

3. Starting a fire with a flint rock

In case of a situation where you do not have a flint striker or a lighter at your disposal, you can always make the use of a flint rock to get a fire going.

Flint rock is a dark-colored rock that can be found near rivers or streams of water. There is a guide on how to find flint in your surrounding area. Once you have a rock with flint in it, you can either use a piece of steel or another flint rock to ignite a spark.

Above, you will find a video that will teach you how to start a fire with flint rock.

4. How to make use of a hand drill

If you do not have access to flint rock or a lighter, then you can do it as our ancestors did and that is by using a hand drill. This is a conventional technique where you use the friction of two pieces of dried wood against each other to create a small flame which is the starting point of a fire.

The best type of wood to use is that from a tree that is dead. Using wet and live sticks will not work. Make sure that the stick is at least 30cm long and as straight as you can get. If you can truly master this skill, then you will never run out of ways to make a fire.

5. Starting a fire with a magnifying glass

This method is also one of the best ways to make a fire if it is a sunny day. There is also no limit on the number of times you can use this method, and all you need is a small magnifying glass.

To use this method, you need a small bundle of dried grass. Then you need to take your magnifying glass and make sure that you are not standing between the lens and the sun. Hold the magnifying glass over the dried pile of grass and then aim the focused light so that the dot is showing up on the grass.

Once your aim is spot on, you then need to focus the light until the dot is tiny. You can focus the light by moving the glass either towards or away from the pile of grass. Once a small dot is visible, you then need to hold this position until a flame is visible.

Managing injuries

Our bodies can be very fragile to mother nature, and something as a small cut can turn into a nasty infection. Injuries such as wounds, broken bones, infections and snakebites can determine the difference between life and death. Let’s start with cuts and bruises.

1. Treating cuts and wounds

Depending on how deep the cut or wound, you first need to stop the bleeding. It can take some time for the blood vessels to constrict and for the blood to clot which will reduce bleeding.

You can find a video below which will go into detail on how to treat a wound (It might be graphic for most viewers).

  1. First, you need to apply pressure to the wound and keep it up until the bleeding stops. You can use a clean cloth or your hand if necessary.
  2. If the injury or cut is located on one of your hands, feet or legs, then try to elevate it above your body.
  3. Once the bleeding has stopped, you then need to clean the wound. You can use clean water which will rinse off most of the dirt and microorganisms.
  4. Once the wound is clean, you can then apply antibiotic ointment or sprays which will keep the remaining bacteria at bay.
  5. Now that the wound is as clean as it can be, you need to keep it clean by applying a bandage which will prevent any further contamination.

2. How to manage a broken bone.

There are few things more painful and life-threatening than a bone fracture. Most of the cases it will be limb fractures such as a broken arm or leg which can easily immobilize a person.

Watch the video below:

  1. Firstly, you need to get two straight and sturdy sticks that you can use to provide support to your leg. Make sure that they cover your leg from your upper knee down to your ankle.
  2. After you have the two stick, you can start by securing the lower and upper joint of the fracture. In the case of a tibia (lower leg) fracture, you need to secure the knee and the ankle. You can do this by placing the two sticks at both sides of your leg.
  3. Now you can use a cloth or bandage to tighten the two sticks to your leg. Make sure that you tighten the cloth just below your knee and the second one around your ankle so that the sticks do not slip out.

3. Treating a snakebite

Most guides online will never mention this part. When you are outside in the wilderness, you will most likely get exposed to venomous snakes. Not all snakes are poisonous, but you need to be prepared for those that are.

If a snake has sunk its fangs into your body and you experience swelling or a burning sensation, then the chances are very high that you have been poisoned and the bite was not dry. If this is the case, then here is what you should do:

  1. Stay calm and focused as adrenaline will increase blood flow which will allow the venom to spread faster.
  2. The limb on which the snakebite is located should be kept still at all time to help slow the movement of the poison into the circulation. You can also use a splint or a sling to help immobilize the limb to lessen movement.
  3. Clean the snakebite wound of any excess venom to help prevent any further poisoning.
  4. Apply a bandage as tight as possible on the snakebite and roll it up towards your thigh or shoulder area. This trick will somewhat restrict blood flow which will reduce the spread of the venom.
  5. Here is what NOT to do. Do not make cuts around the bite and do not try to suck out the venom. You might pull out a small amount of venom, but now you create even more exposure to infection.
  6. Try your best to identify the snake and call for help asap.

4. How to prevent hypothermia and frostbite

Hypothermia is a condition where your temperature drops from normal (37 C) down to 35 C or lower. The most common symptoms of hypothermia are excessive shivering and a weak pulse rate. If left untreated it can result in frostbite which will start with the toes and fingers. Below are some of the things that you can do to reduce your chances of developing hypothermia and frostbite.

  1. If your clothes are wet, you need to take them off and start a fire. You are far better off being naked than wearing wet clothes. You can also place your clothes next to a fire to dry them up.
  2. Keep your arms crossed and hold your chest. You can even squad and pull your knees up to your chest.
  3. Start sipping hot water. This action will help to increase your body heat. If the cup is still warm, you can keep hold of it with your hands which might help in preventing frostbite. It is essential to keep your hands warm.
  4. Always have a second set of dry clothes to keep you warm. Only wear them once your body has already dried.

How to navigate your way to help

When you find yourself in a dire situation where you need to survive without the comfort of the modern world, it is imperative that you find help. If you have a map and a compass at your disposal, then this section will help you to find the support that you need.

1. How to use a map and compass

  1. Before you can think about using the map or compass, you need to know your current location. You can start by moving to the highest point if possible. You can also use landmarks such as mountain and rivers to find your position. Mountains will also display contour lines which will make it possible to navigate.
  2. Now that you have your current location, you need to make a mark on the map where you need to go. Always make sure that your map indicates which direction is north so that you can adjust your compass accordingly. You can also use the scale on the map to determine the distance in (km or miles) between your current position and your destination.
  3. Now you need to adjust the dial of the compass so that it correctly aligns to the direction of your destination.
  4. Once you have the distance and also the exact route between you and your target (remember to adjust the dial), you can then start to move. A tip that I can give is to point your compass to a visible target and then proceed to that target. Once you have reached the target, you can then point the direction of the compass to the new target. Repeat this process until you have reached your destination.

2. How to make your compass from scratch

If you are in the unfortunate position where you do not have a compass at hand, you can make your own. The method that you can use is called the shadow stick method which incorporates a stick for the shadow and small rocks as markers.

Your job should be to plant the larger stick into the ground at a 90-degree angle. Then you need to place a small rock at the end of the shadow that is projected from the larger stick. Then you need to wait 15 minutes and then plant the next rock or stick. Do this until you have at least 4-5 stones planted.

The first rock that you have planted will indicate West while the last one will indicate East. From there on you can point North and then South.

How to build a shelter

If you are planning to overnight outside in the wilderness and you do not have access to a tent, then you might want to create a shelter that will protect you from the elements. Try not to spend more than 60 minutes to build one and do this while there is still daylight.

1. The debris tripod hut

This type of shelter is straightforward to build and will not take between 30 minutes to an hour. You can start by collecting three thick and sturdy wooden sticks that are at least as thick as your wrist. Two of the sticks need to have a fork at the end which will support the third stick which is also longer.

To test the strength of the framework, you can put your full body weight on the joint to see if the sticks break or slip out of position. Now that your structure is set, you can now apply thinner sticks to the framework for further protection.

You want these sticks to be just the right length and not longer than it needs to be. Once your framework and support beams are laid, you can now apply braches which will stop the leaves from falling off. The last step is then to apply leaves to your shelter which will provide insulation and protection against rain.

Make sure to stack these leaves onto your framework as thick as possible to give extra support.

2. The debris beam support hut

The second type that I am going to cover today is much easier to build and is also stronger than your more traditional tripod debris hut. This type requires only one long, thick and robust stick that you will attach to the fork of a tree.

Make sure that this beam can handle your body weight before you start to apply more material. Attach this stick to the fork of a low standing tree, and after that is done, you can begin to attach smaller sticks along the side. Once you have smaller sticks attached, you can now start to add branches and then ultimately leaves.

3. The larger half faced two person shelter

The third type of shelter is going to be larger and can be used by two people. This type makes use of one long branch as thick as your arm that will be supported by two trees. This branch will be horizontally attached to the two trees and have the function of a support beam.

You then need another two sticks that also has a “V” shaped fork on end. You then need to place two sticks per tree in an upright position so that they keep the horizontal beam in place.

Once they are set, you can add more sticks to the horizontal beam which will make out the roof. You also need to remember to cover the sides as well. Once the framework is set, you can then add branches on top to protect you against rainwater. You can also stack rocks along the side for extra support.

How to forage for food

You will be amazed at how many different edible plants and creatures you can find in the wilderness. The person that can distinguish between the edible and non-edible will have a much better time outside in the wilderness.

Let’s start with some of the basics first:

1. Only eat what you can identify

This knowledge is essential because you do not want to consume something that might be poisonous. If you can identify the plant, fruit or insect and you know it is not poisonous then you can most likely eat it.

2. Most bugs with an exoskeleton are safe

Most insects will have an outer skeleton with soft tissue inside that are very nutritious. You should stay away from spiders, millipedes and also hairy bugs should not be consumed. Insects that have bright colors and more than six legs should also be avoided.

Most worms that are not hairy can be consumed, but stay away from hairy ones. Some of the most common edible insects are crickets, earthworms, and termites. Frogs can also be eaten, but stay away from those that have bright colors.

Another type of insect that I almost forgot are those that are slimy. Insects such as worms, slugs and also snails can be eaten.

3. What about plants

Identifying edible plants can be very hard because there is not a clear distinction between those that are nutritious vs. those that are poisonous. I am aware of some cases where people mistook a toxic plant for one that is edible, and they had to live with the unfortunate consequence.

So there are no set rules as on how to identify edible plants. The best that I can do is provide you with a source that will list some of the most common edible plants out there.

You need to learn how to build traps.

If you suspect that you will be outdoors for a while without any food supply, then you might want to look into building a couple of traps. Building traps is an excellent long-term plan that can put food on the table.

Let’s start with the basics:

First, you need to realize that this is a numbers game. The more traps you have set, the more likely you will be to catch a small animal. My recommendation is to have at least 20 traps up and running which might increase the odds of you actually catching something.

You also want to put these traps in the right locations. Look for animal droppings and tracks. You can also place them near water sources as smaller animals need water as well.

1. Let’s start with the Two-Stick Deadfall

This method is probably the easiest trap to build and will not require too many resources. Below I will let the video do the explaining:

All you need is a flat rock and two sticks along with bait. The secret with this trap is to make as many as you can. Because they are so easy to build, you set up a large number of them.

2. Paiute Deadfall Trap

This trap is larger than the 2-stick deadfall which means it can kill larger animals. This trap also makes use of a large flat rock, but the triggering system is different. The only extra resource that you need is a short piece of rope. See video below for more info:

Take note that this trap has a more secure and stable trigger mechanism and that you cannot build a lot of these. For every 5 two-stick deadfalls that you set up, you can create one of these.

3. Figure Four Deadfall

This type is the best alternative for when there are no flat-shaped rocks available. Instead of using a rock, you will use a massive piece of log that will fall on the animal you intend to catch.

You will be using two log pieces and then set them up on each other. The log at the bottom will absorb the impact for when the log on top gets triggered and fall. You will also impale a stick on each side to direct the falling log in the right direction. The trigger will be made out of 3 smaller and thinner sticks.

How to protect yourself against predators

This section of the article is only valid if you plan to camp in an area where it is a known haven for predators such as bears or large cats such as mountain lions.

1. Never run away or turn your back

Most of the time when people are in danger, their fight or flight instinct will kick in and cause them to either run away or face their attacker. When in a confrontation with a predator, you never turn your back and run away because that is prey behavior. You can always walk backward while facing the animal to create some distance.

2. Make yourself as large as possible

Now that you know what NOT to do, here is what you should do. The best way to look tall is to stand up straight and throw your arms in the air. You should also shout and make a lot of noise to deter your predator.

3. Do not lure a potential predator to your location

One of the biggest mistakes that you can make is to carry open food with you. Make sure that if you carry raw meat with you to tightly seal it in a container. Predators can smell the meat from miles away, and then it leads them to you.

4. Fire is your friend

Predators hate fire, so one of the best defense strategies is to make a large fire inside your camp.

5. Do NOT make eye contact

Making eye contact is a form of aggression to animals such as wolves and should be avoided. A better place to focus your eyes is on their feet.

6. When all else fails

If the above tips did not work and the animal decided to jump you, then you need to go for the eyes or the snout. These two areas are the most sensitive and can stop an animal right in their tracks.

7. Pepper spray can come in handy

This is a product that you need to carry with you all the time. The animal cannot attack you if it cannot see you. This is also an excellent way to defend yourself without permanently harming the animal. The best type of pepper spray cans that you can get are those that can release a projectile for at least a distance of two meters.

Conclusion

Hopefully, you never have to use this knowledge, but it is far better to be prepared than not to be.

In this guide, I taught you everything that you need to know to survive. I can also refer to the quote below:

If you prepare for the worst and nothing happens, you’ve lost nothing. Please leave a comment below if you would like to add something that might help.

8 thoughts on “34 Survival Tips That Will Improve Your Survival Outcome”

  1. Awesome information here!  I love camping, but haven’t done it in many years!  I used to, as a girl, go out with a group of girls and we would learn things that would help us survive the outdoors.  It was fun.  I miss camping.  This is great information for if I ever get the opportunity to go out again and do it.  I’ll be needing this as a refresher course, for sure.  I did not know, however, that you weren’t supposed to make eye contact with predators!  Very good information!  Thank you so much!  I’ll be bookmarking this for later use!  Thank you!

  2. Wow, interesting. I can tell you this, YOU ARE A GOOD TEACHER. I have never been in forest but with this post i know all about forest life. This post made me think about our new life of work online. We can’t succeed without learning what is needed to succeed.

    I am ready to learn anything to succeed.

    Thank you.

  3. WOW, I really don’t know where to start lol.

    I must admit, I love anything to do with outdoors, especially hiking and exploring new places since I live in the Peak District (UK). I’m a huge fan of Bear Grylls too, who seems to be the master of surviving in the wild and certainly pushes folks to their limits when they take him up on his survival challenges for days on end in various parts of the world.

    There are SO many awesome tips within this article that are highly important, not just for walking on the wild side of life but for life, in general, because these are the life skills we need. In fact, some of the skills that aren’t even taught in schools.

    Health and safety, learning to navigate, finding help, and especially finding food are definitely life-saving skills because you never know when you’ll need them.

    Neil

  4. I have to admit that your article did scare me a bit, but in a good way. I am one of those people who likes watching survival shows like “the Survivalman”, “Alone” etc. but never really have seen myself being in a situation like this. I guess that’s kind of a hypocrisy, I’m not sure.

    However, reading through your Quick Navigation Panel it hit me that surviving is real and not just something you see on TV and that you can survive when implementing the advice you are giving in your article.

    Your content is rich and I need to read it more than once, for sure, but it is essential, and, even though, I am not the person who will adventure too far into the wilderness I do have a couple of friends who are planning to do just that for next year going into the Canadian wilderness for 3 months.

    What are your thoughts on taking a survival training? Are they equipped enough to give the person enough knowledge? Sorry, that I can’t give any experience personally but I certainly like to know more. Your article is an eye-opener to me.

    Great information!

  5. I really enjoyed this post I have always been a nature person myself I just never really done any camping out for long periods of time. I use to watch Shows on discovery channel and animal planet all the time. Some of this stuff I knew from those shows but never had to actually use it in real life.

    The shelters, traps and the home made compass is the topics I found the most interesting. I didn’t know you could make a compass from just some sticks and rocks. I mentioned the traps for catching food because I have always fished but I never was a hunter. So that information how to build traps was really interesting and eye opening. The shelters I knew of some simple ones but these I have never heard of and I am glad I came across your site. 

    I have learned a lot just from this one article and I will be a return reader since I am always up for a good read. Plus the information is priceless thanks for the share I hope the best 

    Matt

  6. What an extremely comprehensive list of tips and techniques. As one who as had frostbite before due to hiking in the elements I can appreciate your information. wish I had it years ago.good information,this article is bookmarked for future reading. Have you had any personal experience with the water filtering straws? I want to try them but still not sure yet.

    • Hi Cathy

      Water filtering straws can work if you cannot boil the water. I prefer to boil the water. You can also drink the water with the straw after it has boiled just for extra protection.

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