31 Wilderness Survival Tips and Tricks

The cool thing about survival is that you rarely have to come up with new ideas. If there is a way to accomplish something in a survival setting, somebody smarter than me has probably thought of a solution.

Because of that, it is important to familiarize yourself with these strategies.  Here are some tips and tricks that may help survive in the wilderness.

Hunt barefoot.When stalking prey with primitive hunting weapons, you have to be silent.  To do this, you must feel twigs and dry leaves under your feet before you put your weight down.

Use water vines in the jungle for drinking water. These thick vines run from the ground to the canopy.  Cut a section and help yourself to clean drinking water.

For a quick torch, use birch bark. Take a three foot pole and split the end.  Shove as much birch bark in the end as you can and light it up. It should burn bright for several minutes, even in wind or rain.

Contrast is key when signaling. If you build a ground to air signal, use dark material on snow or light material on dirt. This will ensure visibility.

Build a super-shelter. This design uses the principle of radiation to trap heat in your shelter. Build a simple lean-to and then cover the whole thing with clear plastic.

Anchor it at the base with rocks or logs and build a long fire just outside your shelter. The heat will radiate through the plastic and become trapped, increasing the interior temperature by up to 60 degrees.

Grow bean sprouts for food. If you have dried beans, you can triple the amount of food you have by growing sprouts. Bundle them in cloth and soak overnight.  Then dunk them in water twice a day.

Within five days you should have two inch sprouts growing out of each bean and have about three times as much food by weight.  Make sure you boil them to kill bacteria before eating.

Use a dry creek bed for water. If you find yourself in the desert, find a low spot in a dry creek bed.  Start digging and eventually you should see water starting to seep into the hole.  Let the dirt settle and start drinking.

Use a gum wrapper to start a fire. Cut a metallic gum wrapper so that there is a thin strip in the center and two wider ends. Touch the ends to the two poles of a battery and the center filament will flare up so you can start a fire

Sleep at least a few inches off the ground. Direct contact with the ground draws heat out of your body.  Build a bed or hammock to keep your distance and stay warmer.

To avoid post-holing through deep snow, build snow shoes. Fold green branches into loops and weave the interior with cordage. Add a few evergreen fronds and tie to your boots.  They should help keep you above the snow.

Give yourself plenty of daylight to start a fire. In wet or cold conditions, starting a fire could take several hours.  Do not let sundown surprise you.

Build your bed on top of coals. For a warm bed in the winter, build a large fire and let it burn down to coals.  Bury the coals in 12 inches of dirt and then build your shelter on top.  It will keep you warm all night.

For water melt ice, not snow. Snow is 90% air and 10% water, but ice is 90% water and 10% air. Stick with ice.

Eat plants in the winter. I know it sounds strange, but there are winter annuals that will grow even under the snow. These include dandelions, henbit, chickweed, ground ivy, and thistle.  They are all edible.

Eat prickly pear cactus for hydration. This cactus is packed with hydration as well as vitamin C.  Just cut away the spines and skin and eat the interior fruit.  However, do not eat too much.  It can give you diarrhea.

Watch for widow-makers. These are large branches or whole trees that are dead and waiting to fall on your head. Always look up before you start building a shelter for the night.

Use steel wool for a fire.  Touch steel wool to both poles of a battery and create an ember or flame to get your fire started.

Do not build your shelter right next to water. Biting insects and predators will be heavy in that area.  You also may be woken up by a flash flood in the middle of the night.  Keep your shelter at least 100 yards away.

Carry a shemagh with you. This oversized bandanna can be used for bandaging wounds, filtering water, starting fires, collecting dew, and protecting your face and head from the elements.

Dress in several loose fitting layers. These clothes need to be loose to trap warm air next to your body, but be ready to start stripping.  Drop layers as you get warm to avoid sweating.  Sweat has a chemical that draws heat out of your skin.

Avoid hypothermia with exercise. If you are worried about your body temperature, do squats or walk in a circle.  This will help increase your body temperature.

Try stropping to keep your knife razor sharp. Drag your blade across a strip of leather before and after each use and it will be razor sharp.

Whatever amount of fire wood you think you will need, double it. It is very common for people to underestimate how much wood they will need to keep their fire going through the night.

If you have to cross a frozen stream, build ice spikes first. Cut two small handles and drive a nail half way into the end of each. Cut off the head and attach a wrist loop.

Keep these on your wrists and be ready to fall in. Drive the spikes into the ice so you can pull yourself out and get to the shore.

Build snow goggles to protect your eyes. Snow-blindness is no joke.  Find a strip of material and cut two horizontal eye slits.  Tie it on and restrict the amount of light that reaches your eyes.

Use friction for fire.  The bow drill, hand drill, and fire plough are all ways to walk into the woods with nothing but a knife and build a fire.  The key is finding the right type of dry wood.

Blaze your trail.  If you are trying to travel to safety, mark your path as you go.  Chop into the bark on trees as you pass them so rescuers can follow if needed.

Never throw your knife or spear when dealing with a dangerous animal or person.  The odds of killing an animal with your throw are not great, and then you would be defenseless.

Never eat a large meal if you are dehydrated and have no water.  Processing food expends hydration, so eat in small amounts until you can find some drinking water.

Use accelerants to flare up your tinder.  If you have access to alcohol, gasoline, or lighter fluid then use it.  Just a few drops on some tinder could help it flare up much faster.

Use the sunrise to predict the weather.  A bright red sunrise indicates that a storm front will likely be moving in from the West.  Make sure your shelter is ready.

These are the type of valuable facts that could possibly save your life in a survival situation. To best remember them, try to practice them on your own. Test out a few on your next camping trip and you will be more prepared if you ever need to use them for real.

Looking for more survival tips? Check out this full list of 117 survival tips and tricks!

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