We live in a time when modern conveniences abound. But, occasionally, disaster strikes. Even though there may be a terrible storm that knocks out your electricity or you may get lost because you wandered too far away from the trail, a very bad situation could be avoided if you just knew a few basic survival skills first.
To help you be a little more prepared for whatever might happen, we've put together this list of survival skills. From making fire, building shelters, and binding wounds, these are the skills that can help you survive no matter what happens. So get familiar with it, because someday you might need them.
You can be prepared by learning the basics of fire building and water purification, and perform first aid in your backyard if needed.
Learning survival skills in the back yard is a safe and easy method for preparing yourself before venturing into the wild. These are eight basic skills you need to learn and master if you want to be prepared for any survival situation.
1. Start a Fire
A fire can keep us warm, ward off predators and provide heat for cooking It's not always easy to start a fire, especially if the weather conditions are wet or overcast or in survival situations where you have few or no resources.
There are several innovative methods for creating fire without any equipment, but they require practice, patience, and skill. Preparing yourself for emergencies by practicing some basic survival skills in your own backyard is an excellent idea.
You can practice finding dry tinder by carving an arrow shaft from a piece of wood or hunting for amadou, a fungus that grows on the bark of conifer trees. If you don't have any flint, you can also look around your backyard for quartz rocks that can be used to make a flint.
Never underestimate the importance of fire in a survival situation. Whether you need to stay warm, cook some food or cauterize a cut, the ability to make a fire is an absolute necessity for survival. But rather than struggling to light a fire using a bow drill or a handful of flimsy matches, keep a disposable waterproof lighter handy and you'll always have a flame available.
2. Making Potable Water
It's vital to source clean drinking water in any survival situation. Unfortunately, natural water supplies are not always clean and may harbor parasites, viruses, or bacteria. You can easily make potable water from natural sources using a few simple techniques.
Boiling water is the easiest way to purify it, but you may end up with sediment or other particles that affect its taste. You can use a t-shirt or build a filtration system using charcoal from your fireplace, sand, and small stones inside an upside-down plastic bottle.
You can practice drawing water from soil by building a solar still if you cannot find a source for water. A solar still consists a hole approximately two feet wide and one foot deep.
Put a container at the bottom of the pit and cover the hole with tarp or plastic sheeting, sealing the edges with soil or sand. Place a small rock at the center of the lid, and moisture will condensate on the underside of the lid and rip into the container below.
Personal Water Filter:
However, it isn't always easy or even possible for people in the wilderness to boil water. If you're having trouble starting a fire, or if you don't have a vessel in which you can store that life-giving liquid (i.e., water), you can better prepare yourself by bringing Personal Water Filter along with you on your adventures. It kills up to 99.9 percent of all waterborne bacteria, parasites, and viruses. And it filters up to 1,000 liters of water without the use of any chemicals.
3. Foraging for food
You might be surprised at how many edible wild plants there are in your backyard farm or near your neighborhood. Plants are a vital source of nutrition that can provide a low impact source of energy.
It can be tricky to identify edible plants, as many toxic species look similar to non-toxic ones, so it’s important to know which plants are safe to eat. There are several nutritious plants growing everywhere, including stinging nettles, dandelions, lamb's quarters, miner's lettuce, and others.
If you're inexperienced at foraging for wild foods, it's best not to eat fungi and mushrooms, as they can be poisonous. You can also brush off your identification skills in your own backyard by consulting a local plant guidebook.
4. Learn How to Tie Knots
Often overlooked, knot-tying skills can help you survive by helping you build a tent, set traps, and create tools. It's an underrated skill set. Learning how to tie knots takes time and practice; therefore, get some rope and brush up on the basics.
When properly learned and executed, they can help with securing trapping lines, fishing line, bandage, survival shelters, and can play a role in pretty much any other skill on this list.
You should at least know how to tie a half hitch, double fisherman’s knot, and bowline. There are dozens of types of knots, but these basic knots should be enough for you to tie yourself up if you need to.
Paracord Survival Bracelet/550 Paracord
If you were to bring just one thing on a deserted island, you might want to bring paracord survival bracelet or rope. This survival bracelet can hold your pants down, but it can also unravel into over 80 feet of paracord – a very handy survival tool that can help you build shelters, trap animals, bind wounds, and so much more. There are no limits to the number of applications you can create.
5. Making a Slingshot
If you find yourself alone in the woods without any weapons, you're at risk of becoming prey. A slingshot can be made quickly and easily from basic materials you can get at home. You don't need anything fancy for the pad. Just a forked stick, some rubber tubing, and a piece of leather or canvas.
Once you've built your slingshot, go out into your yard and practice aiming at different targets. Wear eye protection and don't shoot unless you're sure that no one is in your line of sight.
6. Build Shelter
Finding shelter in the wilderness is one of the first things to do if you get lost there, but finding a safe place to stay out of the elements can sometimes be difficult. Use your childhood fort-building skill to create a makeshift shelter in your back yard.
There are several types of shelters that you can build depending on the terrain, environment and season. Start out with a basic lean-tos or tarps, and gradually increase your skill level until you're comfortable lashing together long sticks to create a teepee. If you live in a place where there are lots of winter snows, you could use them to practice digging a snow shelter.
If you want to build a shelter, you're probably better off bringing an ax than trying to break enough wood by hand. This Survival Hatchet is one of our favorites because it’s a great chopper and cutter.
7. Practice First Aid
It’s always better not to get injured in the first place. But if you do, it’s best to be prepared for anything. If you're lost in the woods, it can be difficult to get help if you're sick or injured. Knowing how to administer first aid may help you save your life or the lives of others.
An open wound is a gateway for infections. Infections can lead to worse complications if left untreated. Clean up a cut with alcohol and bandage it up with cloth or first aid band-aid as soon as possible.
Tourniquets should only ever be used as an absolute final resort. The tight binding of one limb can result in its loss. Unless it’s a real-life or death situation, don’t use a tourniquet.
If you break a bone, finding a strong, relatively straight tree branch and brace it by attaching it to the limb with rope, cloth, or 550 paracord. Unless you're a medical professional, don't try to reset a broken limb.
Get a friend, partner, family member, or someone else to help you practice administering first aid for common injuries that may occur in survival situations. They include the following: the basic CPR procedure, treating bleeding, stabilizing limbs, finding soothing plants for insect bites and stings, and treating burns.
Medical First Aid Kit:
Always keep a first aid kit with yourself at all times. It may not always be necessary, but it can make an important difference if you do need to use it.
8. Setting Trap and Fishing
You need to learn how to set a snare to catch smaller animals and fish so you can get protein without expending too much energy. Depending on your prey, snare and fishing techniques vary, so it is important that you practice setting a variety of snares and deploying various fishing techniques so you are ready for any situation.
If you set snares in your back yard, make sure you dismantle them after you're finished so you don't injure any local wildlife or neighborhood pets.
9. Navigating a Compass
Let’s pretend for the sake of argument, that you are hiking at a national park and, through some unfortunate accident (such as losing your phone), you've lost your way and there aren't any trails insight. Well, what do I do now? Your best bet for survival is to know how to navigate.
Finding a high point in the surroundings is probably the easiest way to see where you're going and a good starting point for figuring out where you are.
Use the sun: No matter where you are on Earth, the sun rises in the east and sets in the west. Take a long stick and push it into the ground, make a mark in the dirt where the shadow of the stick is. Wait a few minutes to see whether the shadow has moved in any particular direction. If so, then it's likely that the sun is rising in that direction.
If you can find water, follow its path. Even if you don't immediately find your way back from where you went astray, you'll at least have a decent supply of drinkable water. If you're lucky enough to carry a water bottle with you, you can also refill it before venturing out.
Even if you don't know anything about compasses, you should still keep one with your camping, hunting, hiking equipment or emergency survival gear just in case. It can be an invaluable means for finding your way out of some really bad situations and back to civilization — especially if you're lost at night or on cloudy days and cannot navigate by the Sun. You can get a comprehensive military-style compass and it will make a huge difference in an emergency.
10. Camp Cooking
Even if you manage to catch some wild meat, it’s best to cook it before eating it.
Remove the guts: When you're preparing your meat for cooking you should discard all of the guts. Only use the muscles and limbs.
You're better off burning your meat than undercooking it. One of the reasons you want to cook it through is to help eliminate any potentially harmful bacteria. They're wild animals. You're better off with tough jerky than anything even remotely rare.
After cooking, you’re going to want to get rid of any waste away from where you have your shelter set up— wild animals will smell the food, make sure you get rid of it far away from where you sleep.
Being able to build a camp stove from materials you find in nature can be an excellent skill to have. However, having the foresight to pack a Power Stove can make your life much easier. It’s small, it folds up for storage, and you could use it for anything from cooking to purifying water.
Don't wait until you're stuck in the wilderness to learn how to survive. Building a fire or a shelter is a great way to spend a weekend in the safety of your own backyard.