The basic rules for wilderness survival
Whenever you venture into the wilderness, safety precautions and preparations are imperative.
The rules for wilderness survival are plentiful, and although the following tips will better prepare you for an adventure in the wild, they are not a substitute for professional training. Consult an expert when preparing for any type of wilderness excursion.
When setting out on an outdoor adventure what you wear and pack is of the utmost importance. Light layers in natural fibers work best for most climates and a hat is necessary to protect you from the heat and the sun as well as from the cold. Dress accordingly for the environment you are in, making sure to wear proper footwear and waterproof outer layers.
Packing a survival kit is a necessity. Although it may seem unnecessary for a day trip, the unexpected can occur and it is imperative that you are properly equipped. Regardless of where you are traveling, all survival kits should include a compass and a map as it is possible to become disoriented even in well-known territory. Should you become lost, signaling equipment such as flares will alert your rescuers to your whereabouts so be sure to pack these as well.
Other items that are imperative in a survival kit are insect repellent, trail food, a flashlight with extra batteries, and a pocket knife. Your kit should also contain waterproof matches. Fire is necessary to keep you warm, cook your food, purify your water and ward off potentially dangerous animals. Unless starting fire by rubbing two sticks together comes easily to you, make sure that these are included.
The ability to make safe, potable water is essential to planned and unplanned wilderness experiences. For this reason, water purification tablets are another important part of a wilderness survival kit. If the worst case scenario happens and you are forced to be outdoors for a longer period of time than you had planned for, chances are you're going to run out of water. Foraging for water on leaves of plants, in rock crevices or in nearby lakes and streams may be a necessity and if you do not have fire and a container with which to boil the water, the purification tablets will ensure that your water is safe to drink. If you are in a cold climate, remember that consuming ice and snow directly can reduce body temperature significantly so melting both prior to consumption is required. Remaining hydrated is one of the most important rules of wilderness survival as dehydration can cause disorientation and fatigue as well as illness.
Plan for shelter, even if the weather seems mild. If you are planning an overnight stay, make sure to bring shelter that is waterproof and easy to construct. If you are caught unprepared, make shelter amongst trees and rocks to protect yourself from the elements. Note that a smaller shelter will conserve body heat better, keeping you warmer for longer periods. Paying attention to the climate you are in is important. Do all you can to stay cool in hot climates and when in cold climates make sure you keep moving to ensure that your body temperature doesn't fall too low.
Don't forget the first aid supplies. Your first aid kit is potentially the most important item in your survival kit and is imperative when adhering to the rules for wilderness survival. Injuries should be tended to as soon as they occur to avoid further complications or infection. Your first aid kit should include bandages and antiseptic as well as elastic bandages used for wrapping sprains. You should also carry a tourniquet in case of snake or poisonous insect bites. In addition to carrying a first aid kit, make sure you have completed a first aid course so that you know how to treat possible health issues such as hypothermia, heat stroke, frostbite, cuts and abrasions.
Above all, stay calm. One of the most important rules for wilderness survival is to remember not to panic. Staying calm and cohesive will help you to rectify your situation and ensure your personal safety.
The above rules for wilderness survival are a mere scratch on the surface. If you are planning an excursion, please consult a professional for further training.