How To Survive In The Wild: 15+ Tips That You Need To Learn

Rilor Staff
Update: April 12, 2021
Table of Contents

How to survive in the wild?

Perhaps this question came across your mind already. Initially, you didn't bat an eye about this. However, a sudden weeklong trip to the outdoors with your family and friends made you think about this matter again. 

Of course, survival is an important matter that you shouldn't shrug off, especially if you are planning to venture into unexplored terrains. During SHTF situations, you should respond accordingly and promptly to ensure that you won't be in peril.

Essential Survival Gears For The Wilderness

Surviving is difficult if you don't come prepared. Besides your skills, you need to be equipped with the right utilities to combat various emergencies and dire situations. 

If you are thinking about survival, you should invest in the following things:

  • Firestarter - A fire starter is a crucial tool for your survival kit, as it can create fire from cold tinder, even on a wet or windy day. Regardless of your wilderness survival skill level, a fire starter is a must-have piece of gear in your survival pack. You never know when you'll need a fire to keep you warm, cook your food, or even signal for help.
  • Multi-tool or survival knife - A multi-tool is a small handheld tool that can do many different tasks. They're made to be lightweight and portable, so you can take them with you when you're outdoors. They can be useful when you're building a shelter, gathering wood, or during other outdoor tasks. Whether you're hiking, backpacking, camping, or preparing for an emergency, a multi-tool will help you carry out a wide variety of tasks.
  • Map of your location - Maps are a crucial tool for any outdoor survivalist. They allow you to properly prepare for a backcountry hike, hunt, or other outdoor activities by allowing you to identify landmarks and other essential features that you may encounter along the way. While basic topographic maps are available for free at most local outdoors stores, if you want a higher quality map that shows more details, you'll need to purchase a map made for navigation purposes such as GPS maps.
  • Compass - It's true: even the most experienced outdoorsmen can get turned around in the mountains or the wilderness. If you don't have the compass, finding your way back might be difficult. Fundamentally, a compass is a tool that helps you figure out where to go. However, its pressing function is to help those who got lost navigate their way back. 
  • First aid kit - A first aid kit is a must for any outdoor trip, along with the right survival knowledge. With this utility, you will have an easy and inexpensive way to ensure you will be able to patch up any wounds and injuries that you may sustain during the trip. But then again, a survival kit would be useless if you don't know how to use it. Hence, it is vital that you get proper training on how to use and assemble one.
  • Survival whistle - One of the most important things to have with you if you're headed into the great outdoors is a whistle. A whistle can help you stay in touch with your friends and family when you're exploring and can be a lifesaving item if you're lost or in danger. 
  • Paracord - Paracord, or parachute cord, is one of the handiest things to have in your survival kit and is a definite must for any outdoor adventure. You can use a paracord for a wide variety of things, including lashing together items, as a tow rope, to make a stretcher or a snare, as well as a fishing line. The uses are endless because a single cord can be made into multiple things due to the many braided strands. You can even unravel the cord itself, removing the inner strands, and have a rope to tie down items.
  • Water filtration - Water is an essential part of your outdoor survival kit.  You might be able to live without food for weeks, but you can only go about three days without water. This is why it is crucial to have a good water filter with you at all times. Water filtration is one of the best ways to ensure you have a safe water source during emergencies. 
  • Flashlight - Be it a natural disaster, outdoor activity, or regular old bad weather, flashlights can be a lifesaver in an emergency.  In addition to adding light to dark areas, flashlights can signal for help and ward off dangerous animals.  Given the importance of flashlights in an emergency, it's important to invest in a flashlight that is both rugged and bright. 
  • Tarps - In the wilderness, there are a lot of scenarios where you can easily fall prey to the cold, wet weather.  In such situations, a tarp can be the difference between surviving or not. A tarp is a sheet of plastic or canvas material that is used to provide shelter in an emergency. It is an essential piece of equipment for people who want to be prepared for the worst. Tarps can be used to provide shelter from rain, snow, and wind. It will also act as a ground cloth to protect you from the damp, muddy ground.
  • Signal mirrors - Signal mirrors are small, glass or plastic mirrors used to reflect sunlight to send signals. They were initially used by the military and are now used by outdoor enthusiasts who need to signal for help. Right now, they are typically used for signaling rescue planes, helicopters, or other rescue personnel in emergencies. 
  • Dry bag - A dry bag can keep your food and gear dry even when you're not, making it essential for outdoor survival. Specifically, this utility is a water-tight container where you can keep your extra clothes, food, and camping gear in. If you're lost in the middle of the wilderness or have to swim to shore in an emergency, a dry bag can help you protect your things from being lost or damaged. 
  • Space blanket - A space blanket is a thin sheet of material designed to keep people warm in cold weather or cool in hot weather. It reflects your body heat back to you, which is called a thermal barrier. It is also waterproof and windproof. A space blanket is a must-have for any outdoor activity where the weather may be unpredictable or unsafe.
  • Radio - If you are ever caught in an emergency situation, you will realize that a radio is a precious resource that can help you stay safe and informed and locate loved ones. Whether it is a severe weather situation or an isolated natural disaster, radio signals can help you receive up-to-date information and keep in touch with the world.

Keep in mind that this list only shows the basic outdoor survival utilities. Some outdoor survivalists and preppers have recommended other specific items that you should carry every time you head on a wilderness trip. 

But for starters, the things that I've listed above should be enough. 

How To Survive In The Wild?

There are various unexpected things that you can encounter in an outdoor activity. Of course, these things could either be good or bad. But if it is the latter, you have to be prepared. 

Now, there are a lot of scenarios that can play out. And honestly, it isn't easy to pinpoint which one has the highest chances of happening. The best thing that you can do right now is to get ready. Before you go, pack your gears, prepare yourself, and be equipped with the right survival skills.

Here are some of the essential survival tips that you can do for every different scenario and setting. 

On The Woods

Find water 

  • When it comes to outdoor survival, finding water is one of the most important tasks you should do. Having water in the outdoors is crucial for you to live another day. You need water to stay alive, and that's the truth.

While it is true that there are various water sources that you can find in areas like forests (i.e., rivers and streams), most of them are unclean. Hence, if you find one, make sure that you filter them first with your water filtration system. If you don't have a filter, boil the water for five minutes.t

  • How to find water? Well, try searching for an animal and follow it. Animals require to drink water, too. If this is not possible, try to go to areas with low elevation. After all, water bodies tend to flow downhill. Alternatively, you can dig a well in areas where it is moist and full of vegetation.

Create fire 

  • To create fire, find a parched part of the land and clear it until only dirt remains. Place rocks around the area so that the fire won't spread. Don't set fire on areas near vegetation or combustible items.
  • After that, gather materials that can help you start the fire, such as dried branches, grass, or wood shavings. Having a fire starter, match, or lighter is extremely helpful at this point. But if you have none of them, learn the traditional method of lighting fire. 

Look or build a shelter

  • Given that you will be stuck in the woods, it is essential that you make a temporary shelter. To do this, look for a flat area--at least 100 meters away from streams and rivers. Don't build your shelter on exposed ridges and hilltops. They can get windy and cold. 
  • Also, scout the area for boulders and rotten trees. They might fall or roll over you. Here, you should learn to construct various survival shelters, such as the A-Frame. 

Fend off animals

  • When you are in the woods, wild animals would be present. And it is extremely important that you step away from them. You wouldn't want direct confrontations against bears and leopards. But if you are in a wooded area, the most common threat is the snake. 

To avoid them, don't camp in grassy and dark areas. Don't stick your hands into holes, as snakes usually make them their homes. 

  • If you get bitten, wash the wounds with water and soap. Try to be still because walking and breathing will just hasten the spread of the venom. Don't forget to tie a bandage two to four inches above the bitten area. 
  • As a reminder, noises can help fend off aggressive creatures. When you are walking, make sounds so that animals will know that you are there. Also, cook food 100 yards away from your camping site. If you encounter a bear, don't scream or run. If you get attacked, lay down and protect your neck and head. Try to play dead. 

Mountains / Peak Bagging

General guidelines

  • The risk of strains and sprains is high due to the extreme conditions of the hike. Hence, you need to be alert at all times. Before the trip, make sure that your body is fit and received the proper training.
  • Don't move at night. In this setting, the visibility is low, and other risk factors are too high. You are also prone to temperature changes.
  • Also, be equipped with the proper gear. It is expected that the temperatures above will get low. If you are thinly clad, you'll suffer from hypothermia and other life-threatening conditions. 
  • Bring utilities that can help you create fire and warmth, such as fire starters and insulation.
  • Don’t forget your radio or satellite phones. They can aid you in calling for help from below!

Avoiding avalanches

  • Some mountains are icy and snowy throughout the year. Therefore, they are always prone to avalanches. If you are trekking in these areas, don't create too much noise. After all, high volumes of noises can start a rampaging deluge. 
  • Look for paths that are tightly compressed when walking on snow. You can test the course by driving a stick on it. Don't go on areas with a steep and high slope. If the area has a convex shape, don't go there. They are quite prone to avalanches. 
  • You should never tread routes that are sunny. If the heat is high enough, the snow could melt. The best thing that you can do here is to go to areas where there are trees that serve as canopies. Irregular terrains are suitable, too. 

During avalanches

  • When you spot an avalanche coming in your way, you need to step aside. Don't descend, and don't face it either.
  • If it is too difficult to avoid the falling snow, look for something where you can cling tightly. 
  • An avalanche can bury you. Therefore, it is essential that you bring an avalanche beacon with you. It would help rescuers find you immediately. 

Spotting and surviving crevasses

  • These crevasses are natural gaps and seams in a glacier. These crevasses are easy to spot, even if you are far. However, there are some of them covered by a thin layer of ice, making it difficult to spot them. If you feel that there are crevasses around, avoid them, especially if you don't have the right equipment to rope your way out. 
  • If you fell into a crevasse, finding help is difficult. If you are alone, you have to start making shelter and building fire to survive the night. For others to see you, throw a noticeable or bright-colored fabric outside. 

Making shelter

  • The higher you get, the more difficult it is to build a shelter. On the ground, you have a lot of options where you can construct your temporary shelter. But up there, your options are pretty limited. You can either settle on rocks or snow. Relying on your tent or outdoor shelter would be the most ideal.
  • Making a shelter in these hostile regions is a challenge, and it would require you some technical know-how to achieve such a feat. You don't go mountaineering or peak bagging if you don't have the right survival knowledge at your disposal. Most of the time, your skills, experience, and knowledge can spell the difference between life and death.

Long Hikes / Thru-Hiking / Foot Trailing

Remain calm

  • This piece of advice applies to all of the emergency scenarios that you could encounter in the wild. Regardless of where you are, you need to keep your mind composed. In this way, you will be able to think properly. Your survival can depend on the sharpness of your mind. Quick-thinking lets you avoid further disasters.

Look or build a shelter 

  • You can follow the procedures that I've mentioned earlier in the first section (On The Woods). Find places like caves and canopies because they can serve as natural shelters.
  • Consider bringing tents, hammocks, sleeping bags, or other forms of lightweight shelters before you hike. 

Stay warm 

  • If you already have a shelter, take off your clothes so that you can dry them. After that, insert yourself into a sleeping bag to get warmth. If you don't have a sleeping bag, then you should construct a fire. 

Determine your location

  • Given that you are lost, you have to assess your situation and pinpoint your location. Use a GPS, map, or compass to ascertain where you are currently located. You can also think of the last familiar location you passed and make preparations to get back there. 
  • Be attentive to landmarks and other noticeable parts of the route you took. They can help you trace your back.

Get replenished

  • Before you hike, make sure that you brought enough food and water with you. You have to replenish yourself, even if it is just a hike. And in unexpected situations, the food and water that you brought could put your survival afloat. 
  • Since you are in a tight spot, you have to ration your resources. Don't eat all of your stuff at once! Who knows? The area where you are stuck may not have any natural resources that can feed you. 
  • If you have a water filtration system, you can look for water sources like rivers and streams. Even if you don't have food, as long as you have water, then you can still survive. 

Get help 

There are various things that you can do to call help. If you have a radio or a smartphone, contact the emergency lines. If they are not available, you need to wait for rescue. At this point, you would want the rescuers to find you quickly. Signal fire and survival whistles are among the usable amenities here. 

Camping And Bushwacking

Learn to navigate

  • Again, I have to emphasize the importance of navigating. Since camping is an outdoor activity where you can bring a lot of stuff, you should be able to bring various navigational items like a compass, maps, and GPS devices.

Identify dangerous plants

  • There could be dangerous species of plants in your camping area. Make sure that you can identify them, as they can cause dehydration, diarrhea, and rashes. In fact, before you head out, you have to do your research first. You can ask locals or site managers about this particular matter. 

Learn to catch fish and animals

  • Unless you are a vegetarian, one of the survival skills that you need to learn is to catch fish and other small creatures. If you are going to camp near water bodies, it would always be prudent to bring various fishing tools such as rods, hooks, and lines.
  • Make spears and traps to get land-based creatures. But don’t ever attempt to capture aggressive animals. Don’t get those that have poison on their bodies. 


  • When it comes to survival, water is considered to be a top priority. Of course, we are aware that potable water is not readily available outdoors. Therefore, you need to make them clean first before drinking them.
  • You can strain water through the use of a water filtration system. Purifying water through boiling is also a viable idea, especially if you have the tools to do so.
  • You can locate sources of water by following animals. You can also find them by yourself by going downhill or digging areas with rich vegetation. 

Building fire

  • Let us say that you failed to bring a match of lighter in your camping trip. How could you create fire, then? Well, the traditional method can work. Get a rock and several sticks and rub them against each other. The friction should be able to generate heat. 
  • You can also use a magnifying glass to generate fire. We learned how to do this trick back in grade school. 

Get shelter

  • Let just hope that you have brought your tent or outdoor shelter with you. Otherwise, you will really need to find a quick shelter--or build one right away. You can make your own cover using wood, ropes, leaves, ropes, and tarps. Even a makeshift shelter is already better than being fully exposed to the elements. 
  • You could also look for caves or other natural formations that can act as temporary shelters. 

Dealing with injuries

  • Treating injuries is a must for any outdoor activities. But doing so requires you to learn the right first aid skills. At the same time, you need to have the appropriate tools. I deem that these things are mandatory, considering that medical help won't be readily available. 

Take stock 

  • Keep in mind that being able to adapt to any situation is quite important. In fact, the speed at which you can adjust yourself would be a crucial aspect of your survival. Nobody knows how long you will get stuck. Therefore, you should be able to familiarize your environment and utilize all available resources.
Other readings you may enjoy
linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram