Survival Skills for Wilderness

Even if you go into the wilderness with the best preparations, things can still go wrong, and you might find yourself in a desperate survival situation. You must understand the basics of staying alive until help arrives, or you can find your way out of the wilderness to civilization. You must train to survive to stay alive when things go wrong.

Here are a few tips that will help you better understand how to survive if you are injured, lost, or have most, if not all, your survival gear become unusable.

High & Dry

The first order of business is to find as safe a place as possible to camp. This means you want to avoid valleys, paths, and low areas where water can flow. A flash flood can wipe out your campsite and put you in terrible danger in seconds, so locate a high point to camp.

Make sure it is free of insects, spiders, and similar threats. Plus, it pays to be close to running water, dry wood, and some formation that can shield you from the elements if you no longer have shelter.

Create a Shelter

The number one killer of those caught outdoors in cold weather is hypothermia. If you lose your tent, you must make a shelter from the surrounding materials. You can make a lean-to by using a fallen tree, lining up several branches on one side, and packing it with leaves, moss, and other debris so that it stops the wind from coming in. You’ll want to line the floor of the lean-to with at least six inches of debris to protect you from the cold ground.

Build a Fire

Hopefully, you’ll have a Firestarter kit that works in all types of weather. However, if that is lost, you can start a fire by simply short-circuiting a battery and having your kindling ready. If you do not have that, you will need dry kindling, three sizes of wood from a toothpick to pencil size, and lip balm or Vaseline, which are petroleum products that can help start a fire.

Take a larger piece of timber and lean the smaller twigs against it, much like a lean-to. Once you start the fire, keep adding wood pieces up to bigger logs so the fire can maintain itself.

Find Clean Water

While you can do without food for a time, you’ll need clean water quickly to survive. Ideally, you should boil the water, which will kill any pathogens. Depending on the conditions, you can find water falling rain, snow, or even the morning dew, which should be fresh and pure and not require boiling.

You can use a bandana to soak the morning dew and pour the water into a bowl or bucket. Vines, certain types of cacti, and thistles also contain water, as do maple trees.

You will need these survival skills to stay alive when out in the wilderness. Be sure to focus on getting what you need, one item at a time to maximize your chances of survival.


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.