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How to Survive in the Outdoors

by Bruce Haring

Not many of us are wilderness gurus but the truth is we need to be prepared to survive the outdoors in case you are stranded with no immediate help in sight. You could be in top shape, have some canned food and crackers with you, be well equipped with GPS, and so on. However, you need a few key skills to counter any emergencies where you could be injured or stranded and your smartphone battery dies out on you, you get the picture.

It is all a matter of how well you respond to disaster or emergency situations in the outdoors. Modern living in a way has diminished our basic survival instincts, which can spell the difference between life and death in a disaster survival situation.


Camping outdoors doesn’t mean you could pitch up a tent anywhere. You need to find a suitable campsite and potentially stay high and dry. Stay away from valleys and paths where there is flowing water. A flash flood could ruin your entire camping experience. In addition, locate a campsite that is free from insect nests and falling rocks. The key is to choose a campsite close to resources such as running water, dry wood, and rocky formations where you can be protected from the elements.

Build a Shelter

A well-insulated shelter ought to be high on your list so that you can make the most of any survival situation. Conditions like hypothermia could jeopardize your life so remain prepared with a tent or tarp. A tent is your best bet but you may not have one in your bug out bag and you may not have a bug-out bag at all. If you don’t have a tent or tarp you must learn how to make a debris shelter.

You can set a large branch against a standing tree or if you find a downed tree that rests at an angle you can use that too. Gather leaves and moss and layer it across the angled wall. Make sure to layer the ground with at least six inches of debris to protect you from the cold ground.

Start a Fire

You can start a fire with a battery. All you need is to connect the two terminals with a wire and steel wool or a gum wrapper or any type of foil to create sparks that are enough to light a dry bundle of tinder. Stack smaller kindling against a large log when the tinder is lit so that oxygen freely pass through and feed the flames. Keep adding larger kindling as the flame continues to grow until it is heated enough to handle bigger logs.

Remember, fire is useful for a variety of reasons. It helps you to keep warm, cook food, increases visibility in the dark, can keep animals at bay, and also allows you to signal for help. Carry a storm proof lighter and you won’t have the hassles of trying to use a battery to start a fire or even worse, trying to start a fire based on friction and your own hands.


In survival situations getting water to drink can be a daunting task. You need to think about water the moment you find yourself in fight for survival.  You ought to carry a mini water filter in your bug-out bag. Use fire to boil your water and make it potable. If you don’t have a container then drop a few heated rocks in the water.

If you are out of water then you can depend on Mother Nature to provide you. Take a plastic bag and wrap it around a bunch of leaves on non-toxic vegetation. Tie the loose ends and leave the bag on for around 6 to 7 hours in the sun. Water will collect in the plastic bag through the process of transpiration.

It is easy to squeeze water from specific cacti or vines. With a bandanna you can soak up rain and dew and use it as drinking water. If there are maple trees in the vicinity simply cut a hole in the bark and drink the watery syrup.


Once you’re done with fire, water, and shelter, it’s undoubtedly food that you have to think about. Your emergency rations may not last that long, which means you have to find food. Fish is the obvious alternative if you are near a water source such as a river or lake. In an emergency situation you may not have a fishing rod but you can make a basket out of vine. There are many plants that are edible. Some of these include wild spinach, dandelions, wild onion, berries such as silverberry, wood sorrel, and dead nettle, to name a few.


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