Guide to Wilderness Survival

Guide to Wilderness Survival
Wilderness survival is determined by knowledge, skills and actions. Knowledge is acquired through study and experience, skills are developed through practice and actions enable your survival by overcoming obstacles, addressing needs and making appropriate decisions.

Be Prepared

The ability to survive in the wilderness requires preparation. Prepare a survival kit with items that can aid in signaling, shelter construction, food and water procurement, fire starting, navigation and first aid. Learn survival skills such as shelter construction, fishing, finding water and making it drinkable and first aid.

Assess the Situation

Survival situations begin unexpectedly and often abruptly. Get out of immediate danger. Examine yourself for injury. Inventory your equipment and resources. Familiarize yourself with your surroundings. Determine your position and prioritize needs and options.

Mental Attitude

Maintaining the will to survive is perhaps the single-most important part of wilderness survival. Recognizing and dealing with stress factors can keep you in control of your actions. Some survivors have kept their mind preoccupied by recalling golf courses, pleasant memories, pace counting, or making a fishing net. Most importantly, value your life and find reasons for living.


Different areas require different survival skills and knowledge. Surviving through a blizzard on a mountainside is much different than floating adrift on a tropical ocean in a life raft.

Know Your Body

Maintain physical fitness. Overcoming obstacles is more easily accomplished with higher strength, stamina and coordination. Treat minor injuries quickly, before they become serious.

Get Out

The situation ends when you are removed from the perils of survival. Navigation and an understanding of the topography can help you get out. Be prepared to signal potential rescuers using visual and aural signals. Signals can be produced using bright or reflective objects, large markings in clearings, a signal fire and whistles.

Article Written By David Chandler

David Chandler has been a freelance writer since 2006 whose work has appeared in various print and online publications. A former reconnaissance Marine, he is an active hiker, diver, kayaker, sailor and angler. He has traveled extensively and holds a bachelor's degree from the University of South Florida where he was educated in international studies and microbiology.

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