Exploring the wilderness provides endless adventure, but it’s important to remember that the unexpected can happen at any time. Don’t wait for the next disaster to learn survival skills that’ll keep you safe in the case of an emergency. From seeking clean water to building a fire, here are our tips for survival in the woods.
1. Assess Situation
If you’re lost or realize that you’ve found yourself in a worst-case scenario, being pragmatic will help you survive the elements. Take inventory of your situation, resources, and location so you can plan a strategy. Should you stay put or find a safer location? Do you need to create shelter? Assessing what’s at hand will help you determine the most vital first step for survival.
2. Identify Clean Water Source
Finding a clean water source is one of our most critical tips for surviving in the woods, regardless of the weather or terrain. Since clear-looking, moving water is better than stagnant water, try to look for streams, waterfalls, or rivers first. Can’t find any? You could collect rainwater or snowmelt, or even dig for water near moisture-loving plants and trees like willows.
Bonus tip for surviving in the woods: it’s always a good idea to purify water before drinking – no matter how clean it looks. Eliminate bacteria by boiling it for 1 minute (3 minutes for elevations above 6,500 ft.), using a water filter, or treating it with water purifier tablets.
3. Find or Build a Shelter
Surviving in the woods for 24 hours means you’ll need some sort of shelter. Besides providing comfort, it will protect you from the elements and help keep you warm. Ideally, you want to find a natural shelter or build one near a water source.
If you’re building your own shelter, remember size is just as important as location. While creating a large space may sound appealing, too big of a shelter means staying warm will take more time and effort.
4. Make a Fire
Making a fire is one of the most important tips for surviving in the woods. A critical survival skill, it’s your key to staying warm, purifying water, staving off wildlife, and signaling for help. Utilize your firestarters and any natural tinder, like dried moss and leaf litter, if needed. If your fire is near or in your shelter, don’t forget about ventilation!
5. Prepare an Emergency Kit
To prepare for surviving in the woods for 24 hours, the simplest thing you can do is to have a ready-to-use emergency kit on hand. Plan for the unexpected with essential outdoor survival gear packed in your car or backpack you’re taking in the woods. This way, you can feel confident knowing you have emergency supplies like first aid kits, firestarters, and more.
Learn More About Preparedness
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