Humans today have it really easy in our comfy world compared to the rest of the humans in history. In the past, if you wanted to live past 40 in the wilderness, you had to learn basic survival skills in order to survive the harsh elements and dangers around every corner. As much as we enjoy the modern conveniences we have, such as indoor bathrooms and cheap food, the fear of running out of gas or experiencing a power outage is very real for us. We’ve provided a list of survival tips from the pros, you know, in case you need to prepare for being thrown back into the dark ages.
The well-known motto of the Boy Scouts is “Be Prepared.” Good planning is the beginning of survival, like always making sure your nearby survival kit is well-stocked. If you’re planning to take a hike, make sure you have a kit with you, but also make sure you leave one in your trunk for emergencies. Your kit should always be climate/season appropriate, and should always contain the following: first aid supplies, a flashlight, bottled water, a small blanket, matches, a multi-tool or knife, and toilet paper. That sounds like a lot of stuff, so maybe you’d rather have a smaller kit that you would carry with you at all times.
A single match can ensure your survival if you need to make a fire for a signal or warmth. A pill bottle is perfect for storing a firestarter, plastic baggies, matches, needles, fish hooks, aluminum foil, razor blades, and string. It will also keep them nice and dry. They may not seem like a big deal, but these things are better than nothing when it comes to a life and death situation. It’s important to know how to use these kits correctly because you don’t want to waste any resources.
Matches are extremely valuable and can be easily wasted by wind and cold. So that brings up the importance of plan B – being able to start a fire without a match or lighter. Collect some shredded dry material, like pine needles or small, dry sticks. “Feather” the wood by making lots of slices in it in order to free up the surface area. Damp wood can be used, as well! Use friction or get creative with it and use a small battery and a piece of wire between the terminals to create a spark. While you’re getting that fire going, think about how you’re going to alert others that you’re in need of help.
You can use the fire to signal others about your distress. If the area you’re lost in is in the middle of nowhere, helicopters would be used to scan the area from above. The fire’s smoke will escape any kind of forest cover. There are certain ways to signal, too. If you have any reflective material, such as aluminum foil, a mirror, or even a watch, you can use it to reflect the sun. You can also draw S.O.S. in a field or across the shore. Speaking of water…
As humans, we can go a couple of weeks without food. After all, Gandhi went 21 days without it in protest. But you can only go without water for a few days. If you’re in a survival situation, it’s vital to find a water source immediately. Even if you have water, how long do you expect it to last? If there are no bodies of water around, dig into the ground to look for a seepage of groundwater. If you’re able to, make sure you boil the water before you drink it, because there could be a microorganism in it that could further dehydrate you. Since you’re messing around in the water, it’s a good time to think about dinner.
Even though you can survive two weeks without food, you still need energy from food to survive. Unless you find yourself stranded in the desert or the Arctic, the land should be full of food sources. You’ll just have to put in a little work to get to it. The easiest way to get food is by fishing. You can build a trap in the shallow water that can be used to corral fish. This makes it easier to pick up or spear this fish. While you’re fishing be mindful about possibly being in someone else’s fishing hole.
If you’re going to hunt small creatures, make sure that you remember that there might be a bear, a mountain lion, or a pack of wolves not too far behind you. Even though they want to eat you, you could still try to scare them away. You do this by making yourself look larger than you are, by holding out your arms, and as you walk backwards, scream at the top of your lungs. If a fight breaks out, fight as hard as you can, and make sure you’re ready to nurse your wounds.
It doesn’t matter if an eagle tore your arm apart after it caught you stealing its fish, or you got a cut from opening a can, a cut could lead to an infection or even a deadly amount of blood loss. It’s key to your survival that you know how to take care of yourself. Sew a wound shut like the laces on a football, and use antibacterial ointment that you have in your first-aid kit. After a busy day of building a fire and fighting a bear, you’ll need a place to rest so you can recuperate. Have you built a shelter yet? No? Well, here’s some pointers.
Unless you have a tent, you’ll have to make a shelter in order to stay dry and warm if it’s cold, and in the shade if the sun’s too hot. Luckily, there are tons of building materials in the woods. Since they’re quite pliable, using saplings for framing is a great idea. And branches, or large leaves, can be used for the roofing. You can find premade shelters inside of caves and underneath the canopies of larger trees. You could get some great survival tips from these surprising experts. You won’t find them surviving in the wilderness, though. These experts can be found in large urban jungles.
The ultimate type of survivalists are the homeless people. More often than not, they are sleeping “rough,” meaning outside without shelter. Homeless people can be found in the richest of cities and in the poorest of communities. Not only do they pack for mobility, they prepare themselves for cold and wet weather. A good tip we learned from them is stuffing your clothes with newspapers. The papers act as insulation. There are plenty more tips where that came from, too!
After a race, many times runners will be handed a space blanket. Sometimes space blankets can be found littering the street. The homeless know how valuable the blankets are so they grab them up quickly. The blankets reflects your body heat back at you and then it’s trapped within its layer of plastic. Because of their small size, the blankets can be packed in any emergency kit. If you can’t get your hands on one, than you can use any reflective material and plastic sheets. These aren’t the only things that can used for warmth.
Tin cans can be found everywhere, from the jungles in the Amazon to the camps at the bottom of Mount Everest. If you fill them with petroleum jelly they can be used as a space heater. Adding candles or cooking grease can offer heat for cooking or getting warm. After you get done eating, you’ll want to wash up. Let us introduce the cheap, yet effective, solution to cleaning that’s most likely hanging out in your fridge right now.
The magical substance we’re talking about also acts as a great household cleaner. Baking soda not only deodorizes your body, it also makes a pretty good toothpaste. It also makes pancakes extra fluffy, which is why baking soda is a necessity for survivalists. Always keep a box in the trunk of your car, just in case. When things get rough, make sure that you take a real good look in your car. You never know what kind of useful you’ve stashed away.
When you’re up the creek without a paddle, you’ll most likely have to learn to improvise in order to find supplies. Searching a car could definitely improve your chances of survival. You can use a seat cover for a winter jacket. Always check all of the storage bins. Drain the gas tank of its fuel and remove the battery, they have quite a few uses. If you’re just trying to survive, and there isn’t a zombie apocalypse going on, then you can just live in the car and look for resources in the area.
We have one final tip for you. If you’re not fighting for your life in the wilderness, but you’re on the streets trying to survive in the city, please remember the different freebies that may be available in the city. They could mean the difference between barely surviving and having a bit of comfort. Many community cafes will allow you to pay what you can, even if you don’t have anything. Sometimes restaurants and stores will give away things, and several of them just throw out things that don’t get sold. With a little preparation and a few resources, you’ll be able to survive anything.