How to Be a Survivalist

How to Be a SurvivalistFor survivalists, situations requiring survival techniques and expertise are often welcomed as a challenge. Survivalists are well versed in a variety of skills and bush-craft to be prepared for situations requiring elevated outdoor living experience. Survivalists typically have experience with fire starting, shelter building, food gathering, and hunting skills. A survivalist may also have knowledge of biological factors in an environment, such as diseases, native animals and plants, and comprehensive weather-reading skills such as cloud formations.


Difficulty: Challenging

Step 1
You should learn to carefully observe and understand all aspects of your surroundings in order to be an experienced survivalist. Pay attention to wildlife in your area, weather and how it might affect you (storms and snow, for instance), and what kind of environment you are in---knowing what is around you will help you survive better by providing information you could use, like available tools, food and dangers.
Step 2
Look for and know your wild edibles and water sources. Food is not an immediate essential, but it will become one after a few days. Drink water close to its sources, but avoid glaciers, which have abundant bacteria in their water. Learn to identify wild food like berries, walnuts, acorns, pine needles, and pine nuts---if the birds are eating them, it is probably safe to consume; stay away from white berries as these are poisonous.
Step 3
Learn how to build fires. If you have nothing, rub a smaller stick up and down the grain of a larger piece of wood to form coals---place tinder, bits of small shredded plant material, on top and blow. You should ideally know how to use a variety of fire-starting implements, such as a light, matches, and flint/steel (strike the steel against the flint so the sparks fly into the tinder).
Step 4
Construct shelters by hand using only the tools supplied to you by nature. Twine can be made with vines and braided green maple bark, and sharp rocks make excellent knives. Shelters should be placed in an area that is in no environmental danger from floods, rocks or landslides. A site should be dry, and the shelter can be built by placing sticks up against fallen logs and then covered with pine boughs.
Step 5
Build physical fitness. Although not vital, physical fitness is an important aspect to being a survivalist---many circumstances call for strength, such as building a shelter or hauling logs for a fire. A running routine and strength building at the gym are a good idea.
Step 6
Prepare yourself mentally. In a survival situation, you will have to step out of your comfort zone and do whatever it takes to ensure your safety and the safety of others. Practice your skills in the woods, or plan a camping trip to get more comfortable with being a survivalist.

Tips & Warnings

Check out your local library, bookstore, and YouTube videos for information on wilderness survival to help prepare you as a survivalist.
When heading out into the woods, always take someone with you and tell someone how long you will be gone, where you are going, and when you will be back.

Article Written By Justin Chen

Justin Chen is a freelance writer and photographer with 6 years of professional experience in outdoor activities, extreme sports, travel and marketing topics. His professional work experience includes publication with KOMO 4 News Seattle, Fisher Interactive Network, and Demand Studios. He is a current Pre-Med student at Walla Walla University.

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