Much has been said and written on the subject of survival skills.
From my first experience, as a teenager, participating in a 10-day survival camp I have been intrigued by the necessary skills needed to make the transition from hiking or camping to surviving. Unlike ancient days when surviving meant existing without use of any man-made items such as a knife, ax, or proper clothing; modern man is rarely in the woods without some kind of tool or implement not manufactured by others.
Survival now days is highly dependent on the ability to adjust to the condition you find yourself in, be it lost, disoriented, or stranded. The realization that one needs to go into “survival mode” is often too great a shock for some people and the results are disastrous.
Survival skills can only be employed when panic is avoided. A person must remain calm even under sever conditions and show a willingness to keep solving problems, one at a time.
Survival starts with preparation long before any outing and it should be a fun experience learning of practicing skills in a safe environment. Here are a few suggestions.
Start at home and assemble a small survival kit that goes with you everywhere. It could be as simple as putting together a day hiking pack and keeping it in your car. You can watch our video to find out how to do it.
Always leave a detailed plan of your trip. Basic details should include departure time, daily campsite or location, return date and time. If you are on an extended trip and have access, check in each day to let your home contact know that all is well.
Keep in mind the Big-3 of survival – Water, Shelter, and Warmth. Find water, prepare your shelter to stay dry, and build a comforting fire. Check out our other posts for details.
Become part of the rescue team
This means that you are an active participant in assisting rescuers to find you. Stay in one place and make yourself visible. Do you have your cell phone with you? Disable all unnecessary apps to conserve battery. Most phones can transmit GPS coordinates. Also, your cell phone screen will light up like a beacon to a rescue plane or helicopter equipped with FLIR (forward looking infrared radar). They can spot your screen from 5 miles away!
These are just some of the basics. We’ll give suggestions about what to include in your survival kit in another article.
Be safe and have fun!