Beginner’s survival guide: Wilderness is not so scary

Going out in the wilderness is so much fun and the lure of exploring and testing your survival skills can be gratifying. Fortunately, there are gadgets aplenty that can save you should such adventures go awry.  Remember to plan your wilderness adventure with as much safety and precaution in mind. Practice on your survival skills even before your trip. Whether you’re planning a day hike on a mountain trail, an extended trek in the woods or wilderness travel in a foreign country you need some tips to make your adventure memorable and safe.

Have a plan

When you go on a wilderness trip it is important to have a plan to keep you safe and to ensure an enjoyable experience. You have to know the regulations and special features of the area you are going to visit. You have to know the special concerns such as geographical features and weather. Bring in essential gadgets to aid in your trip such as a compass and a map. You have to be prepared for extreme weather, hazards, and emergencies. Visit in small manageable groups so everyone knows everybody. You have to keep yourself extra safe in the wilderness because professional help is not available and you would only be reliant on your own capacities for at least several hours.

Make a shelter

Shelter is of primary importance in the wilderness. People die in the wilderness frequently because of lack of proper shelter.  Exposure to the elements is hazardous and can cause death in as little as three hours. Remember to keep dry when it is wet, to keep cool when it is hot, and to keep warm when it is cold. When choosing a site for your shelter make sure it is far from hazards such as flood, avalanche and high wind. Make it as small as possible and just adequate enough for your needs.  Make sure the ground floor of your shelter is insulated to protect your body from heat loss.

Build a fire

Fire is all important in the wilderness especially in cold areas to keep your body warm, dry your clothes and convert snow into water. You’ll need to gather three types of wood in the forest to keep a fire blazing. You will need tinder which is extremely dry and thin material such as wood shavings, and pine needles. Next up you will need kindling which is a little thicker than tinder such as twigs. Next, you will need fuel which is full-size wood that will keep the fire going such as wood that would be perhaps the size of your arm.  Arrange the wood in a tepee arrangement with the tinder at the center the kindling in the next layer and then the fuel. Light them with a matchstick or a lighter.

Survival kit essentials

Before heading out into the great wilderness you have to bring along some items that will contribute to your comfort and safety. Tarps are lightweight, handy and easily folded so bringing some along. Tarps can be used as a shelter for you and for your equipment most importantly the wood you will be using for a bonfire.  Fold tarps and attach a rope to a tree and you can get a comfortable hammock. Tarps can also be used to gather water and as a flotation device. You can also use it to cover the wet ground.  For your hygiene, you should bring some disinfecting wipes which kill germs and bacteria. Disinfecting wipes are easy to use and hassle free when you need to go in the middle of nowhere.


Water is of vital importance in the wilderness. You can survive without water for only three days so you have to be aware and assess clean water sources whenever you venture into a wilderness area. Don’t let yourself be dehydrated and always replenish your water supply. Dehydration can happen even in cold weather.  If you find water in nature be sure to treat it before drinking and you can treat it in a number of ways. You can kill bacteria and pathogens in water through boiling, but make sure you bring it to a full boil. You can likewise use chemical tablets which contain iodine and chlorine that kill bacteria and protozoa. Another option is filtering which trap harmful organism so it won’t intermix with the water.


It is important to know the first steps you should do in case you find yourself lost or needing help in the wilderness. Bring a high-pitched whistle and blow on it in three sharp blasts. Three is a universal sign of distress. If you are within the range of a cell tower call 911 immediately to get help. Smoke and fire are also a good signal during the day to alert search and rescue of your location.