Here is a pretty nifty article written by Alex over at Authorized Boots.
Cool Survival Tips
No one wants to imagine something going wrong during exciting travel or vacations, but it’s an unfortunate fact that sometimes accidents happen and we find ourselves caught with limited resources in the wilderness for a few days. These events don’t have to be catastrophic, though, and with a little foreknowledge, you can face up to any challenge. Here are ten cool survival tips we found that anyone can do!
*Here is a link to a broader list of essential survival tips
- To start a fire, you need kindling – logs and branches will not start to burn easily on their own. Kindling in the wild, however, is not hard to find at all. Dry pine needles make excellent kindling, as well as the wispy seeds from a thistle plant. Some fungi that grows on fallen dead trees can also be fibrous and easy to burn. For this, look for Coal Fungus (like little black lumps of coal) or Horse’s Hoof Fungus (named for it’s shape and similarity in appearance to a horse’s hoof). These can be used to help start your fire, providing warmth, light, signal, and a way to cook.
Keeping Warm with Foliage
- Warmth is important – hypothermia can be deadly. If you find yourself lost during the cooler months, you can help insulate yourself by stuffing dry – must be dry, this is important! – leaves between layers of clothing. You can do the same between your bedroll and the ground – or your body and the ground, if you don’t have a sleeping bag – to keep off the cold ground through the night.
- Water is one of the most important needs you have, and you’re not always lucky enough to get lost beside safe, flowing water. It is possible to find water – especially after a rainstorm – that is safe to drink by squeezing out moss. It won’t taste amazing, but it will be fresh, and will keep you hydrated. Another option, early in the morning, is to tie fabric – like a shirt that is mostly clean – to your ankles and walk through dew-covered grass. The fabric will collect the dew, which you can squeeze to store and drink.
Daytime Signal Fire
- Obviously one of the biggest goals when lost is to be rescued. Fires tend to have less visibility during the day. However, with green branches – that is, branches that still have green leaves on them, or are green in the stem when you break them from the tree – can help increase the daytime visibility of your signal fire by producing a lot of smoke. Green branches smoke more than brown ones because of the water content contained within. A second perk of smoke from green branches – the smoke can help keep some of the bugs away.
- Food, while not as important as water or shelter, is still a need, especially if you find yourself having to travel long distances. There are a few wild resources available, however, that can provide some sustenance. The dandelion, for example – it grows in a large number of places, and the entire plant is edible. It can be eaten just like a salad.
- Acorns can be eaten, but should be boiled first – acorns produce tannin, and when boiled, the tannin leeches into the water. This water – a sort of tannin tea – can be drunk to help ease stomach troubles (such as diarrhea) but should be used in moderation.
- “Berries” are often a quick go-to, but some are poisonous, even deadly. There is a rule of thumb to remember – “White and yellow, kill a fellow. Purple and blue, good for you. Red… could be good, could be dead.” While not completely foolproof, it provides an easy-to-remember guideline.
Cattails – Nature’s Walmart
- If you can find Cattails, you are doing great! These beauties are known as “Nature’s Walmart,” because of the multiple uses provided through the entire plant. The woody tip is filled with fibers that can be used for kindling, and the stalk and roots are edible.
Tinfoil and Cleaning
- If you have to get lost, getting lost with tinfoil is the way to go. Tinfoil has many uses, but the one we’re going to cover here is one that many people don’t think about – keeping cookware clean. This is important because it helps prevent mold growth – which can be very dangerous. A small balled-up piece of tinfoil can be used as a scouring pad to clean any cookware or dishes. without wasting precious water. With this, your cookware or containers can be used for as long as you need them while lost, without having to worry as much about mold-caused illness.
Counting Daylight Hours
- Traveling at night can be particularly dangerous, but there’s a way to find an estimate of how many hours of daylight remain. Hold your hand sideways, flat, with your palm facing towards your face and your thumb tucked in, the base of your pinky at the horizon line. Each finger represents about one hour – if the bottom of the sun is touching the top of your hand, there are roughly four hours left.
Directions with Analog Watches
- You don’t always have a compass along when you wind up in a scenario where you need one. Most everyone knows the simple direction-telling “Sun sets in the West and rises in the East.” If you need slightly more specific directions or are having trouble locating where you are, there’s a way to create a makeshift compass using an analog watch – specific to which hemisphere you find yourself in. In the Northern Hemisphere: Hold the watch face up, parallel to the ground, with the hour hand facing the sun. It doesn’t matter what time it is, as long as the hour hand faces the sun. Halfway between the hour hand and 12 marks South – directly opposite is North. It will be the smaller of the two angles – the direction with the shortest distance between the hour hand and 12. The Southern Hemisphere is almost identical, except it’s 12 that you will be facing towards the sun, with the point between 12 and the hour hand being North.
Getting a Spark – Cell Phone Battery Uses
- These days, almost everyone has a cellphone, while lighters are often in shorter supply. Not everyone knows how to start a fire using other means, either, and the sticks rubbed together we see in movies is actually quite difficult. It’s possible to get a spark using your cellphone battery that can start a fire, though. Using your cellphone battery and a piece of conductive material (such as that tinfoil, or a knife) over a bed of prepared, dry kindling, you can get a blaze going. Just connect the positive and negative terminals of the battery with the conductive material, and it will do the rest.
No one wants to have to face survival with limited resources, or being lost in the wilderness. It’s important to be somewhat prepared though, and having knowledge can help you survive in situations where otherwise it might be difficult. Travel is fun, worthwhile, but sometimes accidents happen – that doesn’t mean that you can’t more than rise to the occasion.
Hi, my name is Alex and I am the owner of Authorized Boots. I am a blogger in the survival/prepper space. Recently, I have had the pleasure of posting on Survival Life.