Sticks, leaves and brush can be used to construct windbreaks, dome structures and a roof over logs, rocks and dirt ravines. Leaves and branches covering the branch frame provide wind and rain protection as well as heat retention. Keeping yourself cool is just as important. Shade, whether from natural sources or constructed from items you find, will help your body to retain fluids and avoid overheating.
Fire is a survival tool that provides heat, the ability to produce safe drinking water and food, and a signal for help. Magnesium fire-starters are compact, used when wet and snapped onto a pack or belt loop. Magnifying glasses are also are used to start a fire. Fire-starting skills like using a bow made with your shoestring and sticks found in the wilderness are worth learning.
A person can last for several weeks without food but only three days without water. Consider all water sources in the wild contaminated. Rainwater is safe to drink without boiling. Running water from a creek or stream is safer than standing water from a pond or lake. Water should be filtered using cloth like a bandanna or T-shirt, and then heated to the boiling point to ensure safety.
Finding safe food to eat in a wilderness situation is difficult. Learn which plants, nuts and berries are safe before you might need them may save your life. Small fish, grasshoppers, crickets and pine needles are safe in any situation.
If you're lost, wet, damp leaves and green wood will produce a lot of smoke when laid over a fire. Have a fire going so that you can ignite a signal fire quickly when you hear a plane or helicopter. A mirror and a whistle also can be used to attract attention. Even the shiny foil of a survival or space blanket can be used as a signal.
Anytime you head out for a stroll in the woods or berry picking, fishing, hunting or hiking, you should wear a fully equipped fanny pack or back pack. A few basic items like flint and steel and a survival blanket will ensure that you survive any situation in the wilderness.