Camping & Wilderness Survival

Camping & Wilderness Survival
Knowing how to survive in the wilderness is mandatory for anyone who likes to hike or camp. Wilderness-survival training goes beyond learning how to treat bee stings with wild plants or make an impromptu fishing net out of lakeside reeds; knowing how to cope if you're lost or stranded in the wilderness can save your life or the lives of others.


Difficulty: Challenging

Step 1
Be alert for dangers. Know what can and can't hurt you. Be able to identify poison ivy and poison oak. Become familiar with the area where you'll be camping or hiking and learn how to respond to predatory animals like mountain lions and bears. Park rangers are usually eager to share this information with you. Federal or state parks offer such information on their Web site, too.
Step 2
If you are lost in a wild place, know how to find or build a shelter in the event of a storm. It's best to find a natural shelter, like a cave or thick brush. If vegetation is sparse, create a shelter with a tarp or a waterproof sleeping bag.
Step 3
Practice catching fish, making rabbit traps and foraging for food in the wild. It's wise to carry a field guide to help you identify edible plants you come across. Always carry extra provisions in case of an emergency and eat wild food when you can, preserving the rations for times when other food isn't available. Never go hiking or camping in a wilderness area without bringing enough potable water for everyone.
Step 4
Keep waterproof matches sealed in a plastic sandwich bag. If you haven't built a fire in the wild before, you'll need to clear the area of brush and other fuel to avoid starting a wildfire. Create a tepee structure with dry wood and fill the base with kindling. Practice rubbing two sticks together on a base of cottonwood fuzz or similar airy, flammable material. Use matches as a last resort. Keep the fire going to summon a rescuer, cook your food, deter wildlife and stay warm.
Step 5
Consider attending a wilderness-survival school. These are available in almost every state, and their goal is to teach people how to survive in the wild and to raise awareness of wilderness preservation.

Tips & Warnings

Carrying a topographical map and compass or a satellite-linked GPS device can help you find your way out of the wilderness. Keep the GPS device turned off so you only use battery power when necessary.

Article Written By Lisa Russell

Lisa Russell has been a freelance writer since 1998. She's been published in "Rethinking Everything Magazine," "Playdate" and "Home Educator's Family Times." She has a professional background in education, cosmetology and the restaurant industry. Russell studied early childhood education at Antelope Valley College, and is pursuing a degree in law.

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