Tag Archives: warmth

Into The Wild

How To Survive In The Wild

Watching the film; Into The Wild, recently, I was immediately struck by a key element. If I were stranded in the wild, would I actually be able to survive?

Mentality

The will to live is an important factor in survival. If you manage, in your lifetime, to speak to any survivors, you will discover that they discuss the will to live. The will to live being so great, that there was simply no other option, than to survive their ordeal. A positive mental attitude is essential for survival.

Four Basic Needs – Water, Shelter, Warmth, Food

There are four basic needs to surviving in the wilderness. If you can provide for these needs, then your chances of survival are greatly increased.

Water

Three days. Three days is the average time a person can survive without water. After that, you start to feel some serious effects. Dehydration is the biggest threat. One of the first things you need to do, when you realise you will be in the wild for some time, is to source a location of clean desalinated water and ensure you can access it easily and conveniently.

Shelter

Shelter is incredibly important in the wild. It can provide some much needed warmth, but it can also provide a safe haven from wild animals and insects. Do ensure you place your shelter on dry, flat land. If you are lost, it is perhaps best not to camouflage it too well. You want to be found after all! Use foliage and ferns to fashion a bivouac between two trees; use the natural materials around you if you are lost without camping equipment. Once you have built your shelter you can dig out a trench in front with which you can build a slow burning fire to keep you warm throughout the night. A good shelter will also help you to sleep. Sleep is imperative to maintaining a rational, clear head. An important factor if you find yourself in the wild for long.

Warmth

Keeping your body warm is very important. If you have not packed essentials such as thermals or a waterproof or windproof jacket, for your duration in the wild, you may need to use whatever materials are at your disposal. Use leaves and grasses to insulate your body against the cold and to furnish the base of your makeshift shelter to make warm strong covers against the cold. Hypothermia is a critical problem for survival and your core temperature should be maintained at 36.5 – 37.5.

Food

A week is the average duration that an adult can survive without food. Therefore, this doesn’t seem like the first priority you will have to consider straight away. There are some great books such as the SAS survival guide by John Lofty Wiseman which will instruct you what sorts of berries and mushrooms are safe to eat and how to fashion rabbit traps. A key component of creating a great trap is hiding any evidence of its placement. Animals have a keen sense of smell and can detect human activity which will trigger alarm. A great trick is smoking a trap to mask your scent – as fire occurs normally in the wild. There are many types of trap such as drag noose, twitch-up snares, each with their own ingenious ways of crushing, throttling or catching your prey.

Whether you have planned a trip to the wild, or find yourself there by accident, you will discover a whole new way of life. A simple way, life stripped bare. Consider your basic needs and find ways to provide for them to ensure your stay is as comfortable as possible. Survival often depends on basic instincts. Your instinct is, naturally, to survive.

 

Jenny Sampson wrote this guest column on behalf of Sealskinz.com – the UK’s leading stockist of waterproof walking socks, gloves and hats.

 

The Importance of Fire for Survival

6 Reasons to Learn Fire Making Skills

Fire, what a magical thing. It pulled man out of the primordial mist, and it can keep your butt alive when things go south in the 21st century. Fire making is arguably the most important survival skill you can learn.

Warmth

Most people who die in a survival situation die from complications of hypothermia. Hypothermia is where you body temperature drops far enough that it can no longer keep itself warm. You then get all kinds of bad stuff happening to you, including hallucinations.

The famous rule of threes says you can live for three hours without shelter. Shelter keeps your body warm and fire can be your shelter. If you get a good fire going you can warm yourself back up and stay warm in just about any weather.

Cooking /Purification

Fire also lets you cook any critters you might be lucky enough to catch. Eating raw meat is no picnic. Fresh meat roasted on an open fire can have a calming effect on someone who is lost or misplaced.

Fire can also purify your water by boiling it. All kinds of little bugs live in wild water and getting one of them is bad news while you are trying to survive.

Protection

Wild animals do not like fire or smoke and will tend to avoid them. Many people are afraid of the woods, it is even worse at night. A fire gives a sense of security and protection that people can cling to when they are in a scary place. The peace of mind you get from having a fire going is worth a lot in a survival situation.

Signalling

Fires are also very good for signalling your position with smoke so searchers can find you. The old accepted practice was to start three fires in a triangular formation so searchers would know what to look for. This has proven to be a lot of extra work running between three fires not to mention having to collect three times the amount of wood.

Nowadays a single smoky fire should suffice to signal anyone who is looking for you.

Toolmaking

Assuming that you are without any tool (knife, hatchet), it is easy to use your fire as a tool or as a tool-maker. A few examples are listed here:

  • straighten arrow shafts
  • burning containers using coals
  • shaping wood, bone and even stone
  • hardening and densifying the points of wooden weapons and tools

Sense of well being

Have you ever sat by a fire and just stared at the flames? The sense of peace and tranquillity that usually come from this practice is a useful thing when you are lost and panicked. Fire has a calming nature to a panicked mind.

Staying calm and keeping your head is probably the most important thing to remember in a survival situation. Right behind that will be getting yourself a fire started. Learn and practice several ways to make a fire and you will have a good chance at keeping yourself alive in the woods.