How to Survive in the Wild

How to Survive in the Wild
Accidents in the wilderness happen all the time. People wind up stranded by the failure of a bus, train, boat or plane, while others might see their camping equipment or supplies damaged or destroyed. If you find yourself far from civilization in a survival situation, two interlocked issues you must address are securing drinking water and starting a fire. Without the fire, you won't be able to purify your water, and without clean water you won't last more than three days.


Difficulty: Easy

Starting a Fire

Things You’ll Need:
  • Straight, dry stick of hardwood for a drill
  • Bent, green stick for a bow
  • Boot lace
  • Piece of thick, dry bark
  • Pocket knife
  • Tinder and kindling collected from the forest
  • Cooking pot or metal camp cup
  • Charcoal
  • Plastic canteen or bottle with cap
  • Pocket knife
Step 1
Cut notches on either end of your bow with a pocket knife. Take one of your boot laces and tie it on to one end of the bow, loop it around the middle of the drill stick, and then tie it off at the other end of the bow.
Step 2
Cut a notch sized to match the end of your drill into the side of the dry plank of bark.
Step 3
Set one end of the drill onto the plank of dry bark and place a flat, smooth river stone or another flat rock on the top of the drill to pin it down. Set one foot onto the bark to pin it into place, and place the drill inside the notch you cut into the side of the bark.
Step 4
Hold the drill in place by pushing down on the rock, and turn the drill by sawing the bow back and forth. The back and forth motion in the bow will rotate the drill through the string. Keep sawing the bow and spinning the drill until friction creates an ember in the plank of bark.
Step 5
Blow gently on the ember to stoke it as you put tinder on it. Once the tinder has caught fire, put your kindling on. With the kindling burning, you can move to larger pieces of wood.

Purifying Water

Step 1
Set some water in a pot or cup over your fire and boil it for a few minutes. This will kill bacteria and parasites. An alternative, if you do not have a metal container to boil water in, is to pour water into a depression in a boulder. Heat rocks up in the fire, and then move the rocks from the fire to the water-filled depression.
Step 2
Scrape out some charcoal from your fire and put it out with water. Grind up the charcoal into small chunks with a rock. You can use this to make a carbon filter to remove any organic pollutants from your drinking water.
Step 3
Poke a pinhole in the cap of a plastic canteen or bottle and cut off the bottom with your pocket knife. Fill the bottle with the small bits of charcoal.
Step 4
Pour the boiled water into the bottle. The pinhole will restrict the flow of water out of the bottle, ensuring it slowly passes over the charcoal. The result is an improvised activated carbon filter, akin to those made by Brita or Pur.

Article Written By Edwin Thomas

Edwin Thomas has been writing since 1997. His work has appeared in various online publications, including The Black Table, Proboxing-Fans and others. A travel blogger, editor and writer, Thomas has traveled from Argentina to Vietnam in pursuit of stories. He holds a Master of Arts in international affairs from American University.

Don't Miss a Thing!

All our latest outdoor content delivered to your inbox once a week.



We promise to keep your email address safe and secure.