Surviving the outdoors is hopefully something you never need to do in real life, but it’s a good thing to know about, as every single year, people get lost and have to rely on themselves to survive. This 54 year old man got lost in a popular bushwalking range where I live and survived in the elements.
The Boyf and I really love camping, and I love to watch survival shows on TV; even silly ones like Doomsday Preppers but I also adore Bear Grylls; what a guy! I often joke that I married The Boyf because he would be good at surviving an apocalypse. He is clever, efficient, knows how to catch things and loves to cook meat. I can sew, make jams and preserves, and I know how to start a fire. We’d be a great team!
If you ever need to survive the outdoors, there are a few things to know. The following survival checklist will help adventure aficionados survive the outdoors in case things don’t go according to plan, and you need to rely on your wits.
Step #1: Find shelter
The very first thing that will get you, is exposure. There are very few countries and times of year where you can survive for days without overheating, or freezing. Finding shelter is top of your agenda, unless the weather is perfect, and likely to stay that way.
Dehydration and starvation are often incorrectly thought to be the leading causes of death in the wilderness, but hypothermia actually accounts for the majority of fatalities. Even during summertime, temperatures may plummet to dangerous levels. Find shelter, and if you can, build a fire to keep warm.
Step #2: Find a water source
Your next step is to find a source of water, and to keep yourself hydrated. In the absolute best circumstances, a human can last only 2 or 3 days without water. Dehydration greatly reduces your chances of survival. Among the symptoms of dehydration include; a headache, low energy levels, muscle cramps, dizziness, and loss of consciousness.
Rainwater is the safest source of clean water out in the wilderness. You can get it from non-toxic leaves or collect it in a waterproof jacket. Or, finding a source of fresh water by climbing up high and surveying your surrounds. Remember drinking dirty water can make you sick, giving you diarrhea, which will dehydrate you faster. Carry water purifying tablets is a great idea.
Step #3: Find a way to signal
Signaling allows you to alert potential rescuers. Bright colour markers, mirrors, fire, whistles, and flags are great for the job. Lighting fire in a triangular form is recognized as a distress signal. However, take necessary precautions to avoid igniting surrounding areas. Also, you might want to light an emergency strobe at night to seek attention from potential rescuers.
Step #4: Seek alternative food sources
Yep, you gotta eat. This amazing young Australian survived 43 days eating only 2 chocolate bars (and a caterpillar, ha!). We can survive a few days without regular food. However, you must seek alternative sources of nourishment to keep your energy levels as high as possible.
Bush tucker is available in most areas, but of course you need to know what is safe to eat. It pays to know about the local plant varieties of places you might be bushwalking or camping. Remember, you should not eat anything at all until you have water, as this can dehydrate you as well.
Step #5: Make a survival kit
OK, so this is a bit of an “in advance” tip, because a survival kit can be so handy if you ever get lost. Always carry a first-aid kit. Sprains, knocks, bruises are common for outdoor lovers. As you prepare for your next hike, stack a first aid kit in your backpack. You need a survival plan.
Consider something like a stun gun if they are legal in your area (please do your own research into this). Getting lost in the wilderness is frightening enough, running into an animal is worse. Since no one wants to kill an animal, the best stun gun will deter any threats to your life. Luckily where I live, there aren’t really any big animals to worry about, but boy do we have some venomous snakes and bugs.
Surviving the outdoors can be done
As always, the best tip for surviving the outdoors is preparing for any eventuality both physically and mentally. Where possible, avoid unsafe situations and getting lost. Carry light and keep close family and friends of your whereabouts in case things don’t go as planned.