How to Survive in the Alaskan Wilderness

How to Survive in the Alaskan WildernessAlaska's wilderness is one of the most desolate and deadly regions in the world. Glaciers, mountains, wild animals and sub-Arctic winters pose a hazard to travelers, particularly individuals traveling alone. If you are lost or stuck and need to go into survival mode, your biggest challenge will be to prepare for nightfall, when temperatures drop and your body burns calories faster.


Difficulty: Moderate

How to Survive in the Alaskan Wilderness

Things You’ll Need:
  • food
  • Knife
  • Flint
  • Waterproof matches
  • Tent
  • Flares
  • Sub-zero sleeping bag
  • Sub-zero or Arctic weather wear (coat, pants, boots, hat, gloves)
  • Space blanket
  • High-energy food
Step 1
Go through your gear and see what might be useful, such as tools, tents, flares and food. Take stock of what you can do with what you have, and be careful how you use your resources.
Step 2
Seek out shelter. Anything that will protect you from the wind will do, but caves or dense forest areas are ideal. Burrow a snow cave or build a lean-to against a tree or boulder using pine branches. Fill in the holes of the roof with extra clothing, moss or ground shrubs. Build a fire outside the entrance of your lean-to or snow cave to keep the cold out.
Step 3
Forage for berries and lichens. Water is not a concern because the snow can be melted, but you will need to keep eating to maintain your body heat. Keep an eye out for dead animals or easily captured ground animals; any protein you can find in the wild is essential.
Step 4
Stay in one area if you do not know where you are; this will make it easier for rescuers to find you. Try to stay in an open area or leave spare materials as clues to your location.
Step 5
Survey the surrounding area by climbing to get a good vantage point. This will help you pinpoint your location and search for a survival cabin, small town or just a better location to find food,

Tips & Warnings

Bring equipment and supplies with you to last several days in the event you get lost or stuck due to the elements, even if you only plan on being gone for a day. Make sure you carry extreme weather gear, flares for rescue teams to see, a knife and flint, waterproof matches, protein bars or trail mix and a space blanket. If you have space, bring a tent just in case.
Never take off any clothing or do anything to make yourself colder. The longer you are out in the wilderness, the harder your body has to work to keep your body heat up.
Use your energy wisely. If you are low on food, it is better to lay low than to climb mountains searching for a way out. The more energy you use without food to replace it, the more dire your situation will become.

Article Written By Jonathan Croswell

Jonathan Croswell has spent more than five years writing and editing for a number of newspapers and online publications, including the "Omaha World-Herald" and "New York Newsday." Croswell received a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from the University of Nebraska and is currently pursuing a Master's of Health and Exercise Science at Portland State University.

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