6 Survival Skills You’ll Need in the Wilderness

Survival Skills

There are many survival skills you could learn, but here, we will talk about six basic and critical survival techniques that you need to know if you venture into the wilderness. Everyone who goes in the outdoors must be aware of the potential use of survival skills when going in the backcountry.

Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned hiker, it’s vital to acquire some skills in order to survive in the backcountry. Your priorities are to find water, look for food to eat, create a fire so you don’t freeze at night, build a shelter, create signals, and learn basic medical skills until you find a safer place or someone to help you.

Also, it’s essential to use two of your most necessary body parts to survive, your brain and ears, and NOT TO PANIC. Exercise your wits, and properly execute the six basic survival skills that follow.

In this article, we’ll be discussing the survival tactics that you should learn before you venture out in the wilderness. These include the measures you should take when you get lost or run into a problem, and knowing when to worry and take action.


Choosing the right footwear for your hike is very important. Wearing the wrong footwear could lead to sore feet and blisters which will prevent you from enjoying your hike to the fullest. Lucky for you, we have a list of the best hiking shoes for men, women, and children all in one article.


Six survival skills you’ll need in the wilderness

Knowing how to properly trek a mountain is not enough if you want to go camping in the backcountry. It’s also vital that you know and practice the six following skills to make sure that, in whatever challenges you may face, you can survive on your own.

These are survival skills that will bring you home safely.

1. Find water first

In every survival circumstance, you must first look for water. The human body is made of an average of roughly 60% water, and it needs sustained rehydration.

  • Water lubricates and protects our muscles, ligaments, and internal joints.
  • Water is the main element in our blood.
  • Brain tissues need water to keep synapses and neurons performing appropriately.

The first indication of dehydration is the dry feeling in your mouth. The dryness signals that there is an insufficient amount of water in our body.

Other dehydration symptoms include: 

  • Lower urinary output
  • Incapacity to perspire / produce tears
  • Fast heart rate
  • Heat exhaustion
  • Ultimately, death

Not having the potential to find and purify water is a major problem to survive outdoors. Particularly in an excursion, you’ll escalate your walk and exposure, so you’ll dehydrate faster than usual.

We suggest that you always bring a portable water filter that you can put in your backpack’s side pockets, to ensure that you’ll be able to filter water whenever you need it.

2. Look for food

Food and water are the most important things in survival. Habitually assume that you’ll need extra food and water when you’re planning to have a trip. Therefore, always bring candy and energy bars in your pockets. Finally, avoid eating wild berries that are peculiar.

3. Create a fire

Fire can cook food, purify water, provide warmth and light, and be a signal to rescuers. Everyone who explores the wilderness should know at least two ways to initiate a fire by themselves.

Also, note that a few small fires can produce more heat than a single big one. Gather firewood that you think you’ll need for the night. You can make a reflector from your space blanket on the back wall of the shelter to throw back the heat from your survival fire.

4. Build a shelter

Building shelter is a survival manner that will protect your body from too much exposure to the sun, rain, cold, snow, and wind. Your clothes are your primary protection, so choose and wear clothes that are suitable for the outdoors. Obviously, don’t waste your energy and time building a shelter if nature already provides some.

Learn how to build shelter quickly in case you can’t find a campsite. Don’t stand by until you crucially need to create one. You can utilize your blanket to avoid moisture, and cover yourself in a sitting position to focus on your body core heat.

5. Create signals

Signaling is distinctive among the survival methods that will provide you the ability and means to be aware of all the possible rescuers that you call for help. Flashing lights, a fire, flags, bright color markers, mirrors, and whistles can help you get found.

Note that three fires in a triangular shape are acknowledged as a distress signal. Apply a signal mirror only when you see a plane or people in space. You can even use emergency strobe lights at dark, to attract the attention of people that may be present in your area.

6. Learn basic survival medical needs

Knowing how to apply first aid is the first thing you need to survive, besides water and food. But first, DO NOT PANIC. Do what you have to do to handle yourself. The key point is to keep your brain functioning coherently.

Plus, evaluate your necessities prior to going on trips, make a medical checklist, and bring a first aid kit all the time, and make sure you master how to use it. Most survival scenarios only require dressing for bruises and small cuts.


Conquering the wilderness can become terrifying, stressful, and exhausting. But, no matter how scared you are, you have to develop a plan on how to handle the situation. To help you get over your anxieties, follow our 8 important steps to survive in the wilderness


What should you do if you get lost?

Getting lost in the outdoors can be deadly. But, appropriate action and planning can keep you safe. You can write down your exploration plan, so that people will know where you are, and when you are expected to get back.

And if you get lost, don’t panic. Stop and think about what you know, and where you are probably at. Where is the closest and helpful resource you can find, such as a road? What resources do you have? Think about your resources, and plan according to what you know.

Here are five tips that may help you when you’re in this situation.

  • S.T.O.P method

S– Stay calm. Avoid panicking, and take deep breaths to calm yourself down. Pause momentarily, and don’t rush for unplanned directions. This will only add up to your worries.

T– Think. Take a breath and realize where you’re traveling, whether you’re on a straight line or on twists and turns. Did you traverse any familiar spots or encountered people? Are you heading north, south, east, or west? You need to answer these questions, as the answers can be helpful.

O– Observe. Analyze what’s happening, inside and outside. Are you able to find out in which direction is the south? Can you determine the landmarks? Have you spotted any footprints? Try to look for any clue that can help you guide yourself back to your primary path.

P– Plan and proceed. Keep doing the right things. Examine which direction you should walk in, and do so carefully. If you don’t find your original trail, you can go back to the point where you first noticed that you were lost.

  • Point your location

    Look around you. Pinpoint your location, and if possible, look for a higher spot that will offer you a better view of your surroundings.

    Standing on a higher point, you will have a better chance of seeing a lake, river, and road that can help you determine where you are. Otherwise, you might travel in the wrong direction. So, select your vantage point that you think you’re safe.

  • Look for and listen to signs

    Always be vigilant while traveling in the wilderness. Regularly scan the area for possible signs of human venture. Observe potential tree stumps, old campsites, fishing lines, cigar butts, food wrappers, plastic bottles, or any kind of trash.

    If you notice such proofs, observe your environment to know which way these people passed. You may be close to a road that can guide you out, or you can make use of a hunting camp and logging for your emergency shelter.

    Also, don’t forget to listen attentively. You could hear the sound of busy roads or the ring of a bell or any noise that can be heard in a distance.

  • Prefer open countries

    Going on an adventure in an open country is a good plan to find an indication of civilization. It’s generally a nice idea considering it’s easier to walk along the dense forest. Nevertheless, if you suddenly get lost in the mountains and there’s no open ground to spot, you can still upgrade your chances of getting out.

  • Walk downhill

    If you’re lost in hilly ground, your top choice is practically to travel downhill. Most people prefer to come down in valleys, often close to water. Except if you detect signs of people on higher terrains. Alongside, you can walk more grounds and save energy trekking downhill.

    The flow of the water in a downhill order can take you to an occupied lake or town, and you’ll also have a source from which to drink water — but always purify it first.


Sometimes, encountering problems while you’re out hiking cannot be avoided. They can be as simple as painful blisters or as serious as dehydration and fatigue. Read our article to learn about the most common hiking problems and how to avoid them



Mastering some survival skills can do a lot of character development, but it requires some practice and openness to adversities. The techniques we supplied above can be lifesaving. They provide extensive benefits when you practice them in an actual survival situation.

These survival skills can be used to sustain life in any environment. They must be learned at all ages, especially by young children. But the best way to learn survival skills is through real-life experience. If you ever find yourself in a dangerous situation, don’t panic and remember the survival skills that we discussed in this article.

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