The 3 Essentials For Survival in the Wilderness
Water, shelter and fire are the pillars that support survival in the wilderness. Without these, life ceases to exist.
Besides supplies and knowledge, emotional toughness is also essential for survival in the outdoors. Staying calm and avoiding panic is key when facing a life or death situation. The mind is a powerful tool, but it must be controlled.
Water is a survival necessity because it’s crucial to the life of all living things. Two-thirds of your body is water, including the lungs (which are 83% water), skin (64%), muscles (31%), and bones (29%). The brain and heart are also mostly water, so it’s no surprise that you can’t live very long without enough of it. It quenches thirst, flushes out toxins, sends nutrients around the body and aids in digestion. It’s also critical for thermoregulation – your body’s delicate set of mechanisms that prevent heat stroke by sending salt and water to the skin to release sweat, or by contracting blood vessels to preserve warmth.
When you’re in the wilderness, though, finding freshwater can be a huge challenge. Even in pristine areas, there’s a good chance the water is polluted with bowel-churning pathogens like bacteria and viruses. Unless you’re equipped with a Katadyn MyBottle microfilter or Portable Aqua’s iodine tablets, untreated water is likely to be dangerous.
A shelter is arguably the most important survival gear item. It protects you from the elements — heat, wind, rain or snow, extreme cold, and even predators.
Without shelter, your body will quickly become dehydrated and cold, which can lead to hypothermia or even death. In the desert, prolonged exposure to sun and wind can cause heat exhaustion (which can be just as deadly).
The best survival shelter is one that is built from natural materials found in your environment. This will save you from having to carry heavy shelter materials in your backpack, which can also make you a target for predators and other frantic wilderness dwellers.
When selecting an area to build a survival shelter, look for the Five W’s: wind, widowmakers, wildlife, water and wood. Avoid winds that blow directly at you, as they can create dangerous gusts. Widowmakers are dead trees that may fall on your shelter, so select a location far away from these. Water is vital for survival and should be near your shelter, but it should not be a danger or a source of noise that could attract other people to your camp. Finally, wood is a key ingredient for survival because it provides warmth and allows you to fuel your fire.
Regardless of what type of survival kit one is packing, it’s essential to remember that the four fundamental needs for nearly all situations are shelter, water, fire and food. If a person doesn’t have these things to sustain them, they will die.
If someone had to rely on the wilderness for their survival supplies, they’d want to pack a selection of foods that will be easy to eat, high in energy and contain important vitamins and minerals. These items would be ideally packaged in such a way as to allow them to be stored for an extended period of time.
Foods such as peanut butter, for example, would make an excellent choice for survival foods because they are a great source of calories and protein while also providing a variety of other nutrients. Another good option is dried fruits and nuts/seeds. They’re packed with healthy fatty acids and can be stored for an extended period of time.
Of course, the most essential survival item is the ability to create a fire. It can be used to cook and purify water, signal rescuers, keep predators away and provide warmth in a cold environment. This is why anyone who’s considering going into the wild should have a way to start a fire and understand how to use it in different conditions.