The other day my best friend posted a question to me. Now to give you a bit of backstory, my friend is a prepper. My friend was concerned that I’m not a prepper so she posed the question like this:

“What would you do if you found yourself stranded in the wilderness? You don’t have anything (no supplies) but the clothes on your back”.

I pondered this for a time.

Now: I’m not normally a person who would panic, but, my friend’s question really made me stop and think, “What would I do?”

Alone, Stranded in the Wild

So I began some research. Stranded in the wilderness with only the clothes on my back sounded like a scary adventure. While I love an adventure, I wondered how exactly would I survive? I mentally listed the things I’d require:


The first thing I would require would be sheltered. With no knife and no other equipment, I’d be hard pressed and would have to use both my ingenuity and what was at hand.

I made a mental note to keep a knife on me the next time I was in the wilderness. Not just a pocket knife, but a really good survival type knife. That would certainly make the adventure far easier to survive.

Shelter Options:

I would have several depending on where I was stranded. I could take smaller trees and break them down by moving them back and forth and design a lean-to or teepee type structure. If I put some broken off evergreen boughs over the top it might protect me from rain and wind.

I could remove my belt or use my shoelaces to tie the top together. It might make for some loose fitting pants or floppy shoes but at least I’d have shelter.

Maybe I need a paracord bracelet too. I made a mental note to purchase one and wear it daily.

I could dig into a hillside if one were available with a good rock and make a cave-like shelter. That would certainly protect me from the weather elements and if I made the entrance fairly narrow I could maybe find something to put in front of it like a pile of rocks to hide if I needed to hide.

Food And Water:

Now that I had that figured out, I knew I would require food and water. How would I manage this? I remembered back to high school when I had taken a course on gardening with a friend.

There were many roots and trees that could be eaten. There were also many bugs that could be eaten. I’d have to study up on those. The rule of 3 is essential for every survivalist to learn by heart.

I could also sharpen a tree limb on a rock and go fishing like the Native American’s did when they would turn over a rock and stab a fish with their sharpened tree limb.

By this time, I was pretty proud of myself. I figured I at least had a shot at survival if I were ever stranded in the wilderness. But, I had to consider the issue of water. How would I find water in the forest?


The key thing to water is that it must be safe to drink. Not all water that is found in the wilderness is safe to drink. There are many stories about people in impoverished countries that are dying of diseases due to bad drinking water.

Whether it be a mountain stream or a mud puddle, I would have to find some source of water and find a way to purify it so I could drink it.

I don’t carry a water filter with me (although I think you should) wherever I go so I had to do some strategizing here. I studied up and found that in many countries, they use a piece of fabric to strain the water.

While not perfect, it will certainly help to strain out some of the potential toxins and I might at least survive dehydration. I could rip the bottom of my shirt off and use that to strain the water.


How to Make a Fire in Wild?

Of course, I would have to find a way to either signal for help or stay warm and cook my fish.

I began to study ways to start a fire when you don’t have any matches or a lighter. I began my list:

  • Collect wood (both smaller sized and larger)
  • Find some rocks that would spark when I stuck them on each other
  • Find some small wood or pine cones that would easily catch fire

I would have to dig a hole into the ground and place some rocks around it to prevent a large fire from starting. Inside of the hole, I’d place my pine cones and bits of wood chips that I found in the woods or even mosses.

After that, I could begin striking my rocks until I could spark enough flame to start a fire. As I hit the rocks hopefully the action of friction would cause some sparks.

Then I could add in my larger pieces of wood alternating the direction so as to not suffocate the fire. Once it was going it would stay as long as I kept adding some wood.

Now, I was excited. I called my prepper friend and told her excitedly that I had an answer to her question.


My name is John Winger, I was born and raised in Virginia. I spent a good part of my early adult life in the US military, namely the Army and served in Iraq. I saw my fair share of combat missions and thanks to that experience I have a better understanding and appreciate for what my country means to me and the world.