Our modern world may be filled with conveniences, but deep down, we all possess the innate ability to survive. Whether you find yourself in the wilderness or faced with unexpected challenges in your everyday life, knowing essential survival skills can be crucial. In this blog, we will explore the enduring wisdom of old-world primitive survival techniques, passed down by our ancestors through generations. Along the way, we will also debunk eight deadly survival myths, ensuring you have the right knowledge and confidence to navigate any unexpected situation. So, get ready to rediscover your resilience and embark on a journey towards self-reliance – because the survival skills everyone should know and be able to do start here.
When it comes to survival, one of the first priorities is finding or creating a shelter to protect yourself from the elements. Knowing how to construct a shelter using natural resources can mean the difference between life and death in a survival situation.
Finding suitable materials
Before you can start building a shelter, you need to find suitable materials in your surroundings. Look for sturdy branches, long sticks, leaves, and any other natural resources that can be used to create a framework for your shelter. It’s important to choose materials that are strong and flexible enough to withstand wind and rain.
Constructing a basic lean-to
One of the simplest and most effective shelters to construct is a lean-to. To build a lean-to, find a large fallen tree or a couple of sturdy trees that are close together. Lean long sticks against the tree or trees at an angle, forming a sloping roof. Cover the roof with leaves, branches, or any other available materials to create a waterproof barrier. Make sure to leave an opening for entering and exiting the shelter.
Building a debris hut
If you’re in an area with abundant foliage and debris, a debris hut can provide excellent protection. Start by selecting a sturdy base, such as a fallen log or large rocks. Then, gather branches and create a framework over the base, leaving enough space for you to crawl inside. Cover the framework with leaves, grass, sticks, and any other available debris to insulate the shelter and create a waterproof barrier.
Creating a shelter with natural resources
In addition to lean-tos and debris huts, you can also create shelters using natural resources such as caves, rock formations, or even large tree trunks with hollowed-out sections. These natural shelters can provide great protection from the elements, but it’s important to ensure they’re safe and secure before using them. Always check for potential hazards such as loose rocks or unstable structures.
Fire is not only essential for cooking food and providing warmth, but it can also be a valuable signaling tool. Knowing how to start a fire in various ways can greatly increase your chances of survival in the wilderness.
Using a fire starter kit
Carrying a fire starter kit, such as waterproof matches or a lighter, is a reliable and convenient way to start a fire. These kits are designed to withstand moisture, making them ideal for wet or damp environments. It’s important to keep your fire starter kit in a waterproof container to ensure its functionality when needed.
Creating friction to generate fire
When you don’t have a fire starter kit, learning how to create fire through friction can be a lifesaver. The most common method is using a bow drill. This technique involves using a bow to rotate a wooden spindle against a fire board, creating friction and generating heat. With practice and the right materials, you can create an ember that can be used to ignite a fire.
Making fire from a magnifying glass
If you happen to have a magnifying glass or a convex lens, you can use the power of the sun to start a fire. Position the lens in direct sunlight and focus the concentrated sunlight onto a dry tinder bundle. With patience and precise positioning, the heat from the focused sunlight will eventually ignite the tinder and start a fire.
Utilizing a flint and steel
Using a flint and steel is another traditional method of fire starting. Simply strike the steel against the flint, creating sparks that can land on a tinder bundle and ignite it. This method requires some practice to master, but once you get the hang of it, you’ll be able to start a fire even in adverse weather conditions.
Water Sourcing and Purification
Water is crucial for survival, but finding safe drinking water in the wilderness can be a challenge. It’s important to know how to source and purify water to avoid dehydration and waterborne illnesses.
Finding water in the wilderness
In a survival situation, it’s essential to know where to find water sources in the wilderness. Look for signs of water such as lush vegetation, animal tracks, or low-lying areas where water may collect. Keep in mind that not all water sources are safe to drink, so it’s important to purify the water before consuming it.
Building a solar still
A solar still is an effective method for collecting and purifying water. Start by digging a hole in the ground and placing a container in the center of the hole. Then, cover the hole with a clear plastic sheet, ensuring that it is airtight. As the sun heats the ground, moisture from the soil will evaporate and condense on the plastic sheet, dripping into the container.
Constructing a filter with natural materials
If you have access to natural materials such as sand, charcoal, and gravel, you can construct a simple water filter. Layer the materials in a container or hollowed-out section of bamboo, starting with the coarsest material (gravel) at the bottom and ending with the finest material (sand) at the top. Pour water through the filter, and it will remove impurities and improve its drinkability.
Boiling water for purification
Boiling water is one of the most effective ways to purify it and kill bacteria and parasites that may be present. To boil water, find a heat-resistant container and bring it to a rolling boil over a fire. It’s important to boil the water for at least one minute (or longer at higher altitudes) to ensure thorough purification.
Food Foraging and Hunting
In a survival situation, finding food is a top priority. Learning how to identify edible plants, trap small game, fish, and gather wild berries and fruits can greatly increase your chances of staying nourished in the wilderness.
Identifying edible plants
Before consuming any wild plants, it’s crucial to have knowledge of edible plants in your location. Some common edible plants include dandelions, cattails, nettles, and wild berries. It’s important to be cautious and confident in your identification skills to avoid ingesting poisonous plants.
Finding and trapping small game
In addition to foraging for plants, learning how to find and trap small game can provide a valuable source of protein. Set up traps using natural materials such as sticks, rocks, and foliage to catch small animals like rabbits, squirrels, or birds. It’s important to check the traps regularly to ensure humane treatment of the animals and increase your chances of success.
If you’re near a body of water, fishing can be an excellent way to supplement your food supply. Learn how to craft fishing lines from natural fibers and create simple hooks from materials such as thorns or bones. Experiment with different fishing methods such as handlines, spears, or improvised nets to increase your chances of catching fish.
Gathering wild berries and fruits
Wild berries and fruits can provide a valuable source of nutrients in the wilderness. Equip yourself with knowledge of local plant species and their edible fruits and berries. Remember to be cautious and careful when consuming wild plant foods, as some may have toxic or irritating properties.
Navigation Without a Compass
Being able to navigate your surroundings without a compass is a vital skill in a survival situation. Knowing how to rely on natural cues and landmarks can help you find your way to safety.
Using the sun and shadows
The sun can serve as a reliable navigational tool. If you’re in the Northern Hemisphere, the sun rises in the east and sets in the west. By observing the position of the sun and shadows throughout the day, you can determine the approximate direction.
Reading the stars
At night, the stars can be your guide. Learn to identify common constellations and their positions in relation to the North Star (Polaris). The North Star remains nearly stationary throughout the night, making it a reliable reference point for navigation.
Navigating with natural landmarks
Pay attention to natural landmarks such as mountains, rivers, or distinctive rock formations. By studying your surroundings and noting these landmarks, you can create mental maps and track your progress as you navigate through unfamiliar terrain.
Creating and using a natural compass
If you’re without a compass, you can create a makeshift compass using a piece of magnetized metal, such as a needle, and a small still body of water. Magnetize the needle by rubbing it against a piece of silk or wool in one direction. Place the magnetized needle on a small leaf or cork and float it in the water. The needle will align itself with the Earth’s magnetic field, indicating north and south.
Basic First Aid
In any survival situation, basic first aid knowledge can be crucial in treating injuries and preventing further harm. Understanding how to address common medical emergencies can make a significant difference in your chances of survival.
Treating minor cuts and wounds
Clean any cuts or wounds with clean water or an antiseptic solution if available. Apply gentle pressure to stop any bleeding and cover the wound with a clean cloth or bandage. Monitor the wound for signs of infection and seek medical attention if necessary.
Administering CPR and chest compressions
Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and chest compressions are life-saving techniques used to restore blood circulation and oxygenation. If someone is unresponsive and not breathing, call for help and begin CPR by providing chest compressions at a rate of about 100 compressions per minute.
Dealing with fractures and sprains
In the event of a fracture or sprain, immobilize the affected limb using a splint or any sturdy material available. Use bandages or cloth to secure the splint in place and reduce movement. Elevate the limb, apply a cold compress if possible, and seek medical help as soon as possible.
Recognizing and treating hypothermia and hyperthermia
Hypothermia occurs when the body’s core temperature drops dangerously low, while hyperthermia is the opposite condition, with an excessively high body temperature. Learn to recognize the symptoms of these conditions and take appropriate actions such as providing insulation and warmth for hypothermia or cooling the body and providing shade for hyperthermia.
Signaling for Help
In a survival situation, it’s important to attract attention and signal for help. Knowing how to create and use signals can greatly increase your chances of being rescued.
Creating and using signals with smoke
Smoke signals can be a highly effective way to signal for help during the day. Build a small, controlled fire using materials such as green leaves or wet wood to produce thick smoke. To signal for help, create bursts of smoke by covering and uncovering the fire with a cloth or other material.
Building and using signal fires
Signal fires are another way to attract attention from a distance. Build a large, well-contained fire using dry and easily ignitable materials. Once the fire is established, add green foliage or damp material to create a lot of smoke. Create a pattern of short and long bursts to generate attention.
Using mirrors or reflective surfaces
Mirrors or other reflective surfaces can be used to create flashes of light that can catch the attention of rescuers. Position the mirror in such a way that it reflects the sunlight towards the intended target. Signal by aiming the reflected light in the direction of the target.
Using whistle or other auditory signals
Carrying a whistle can be a valuable signaling tool. Whistles produce a loud and distinct sound that can travel long distances in open areas. Use short bursts and patterns to generate attention. Additionally, banging rocks or metal objects together can create loud and distinct noise that can attract attention.
Tool Creation and Repair
In a survival situation, having the ability to create and repair essential tools can greatly increase your chances of survival and self-reliance.
Making a simple knife from stone
Creating a simple knife from stone can be done by carefully shaping a piece of flint or other hard rock into a sharp edge. Look for smooth rocks with a natural shape that can be chipped away to form a blade. Use smaller rocks or bone to strike and shape the blade, and secure it to a wooden handle using natural fibers or wrapped cordage.
Crafting a functional spear
A spear is a versatile tool and weapon that can be used for hunting or self-defense. Find a sturdy and straight branch or sapling and shape one end into a sharp point using a knife or sharp rock. Secure the point in place by lashing it with natural fibers or wrapped cordage.
Constructing a bow and arrow
A bow and arrow can greatly increase your chances of successfully hunting small game. Find a flexible branch and shape it into a bow shape, ensuring that it has enough tension to launch an arrow. Use sinew or other strong fibers to string the bow, attaching it securely to each end. Craft arrows by securing a sharp point to a straight stick and fletching it with feathers or other materials for stabilization.
Repairing and maintaining essential tools
In a survival situation, it’s essential to keep your tools in working order. Learning basic repair techniques can extend the lifespan of your tools and ensure they remain functional. Use natural fibers, wrapped cordage, or duct tape (if available) to secure loose parts, mend holes, or reinforce weak points.
Being able to defend yourself in a survival situation is crucial for your safety and well-being. Learning basic self-defense techniques can help you protect yourself from potential threats.
Effective striking techniques
In a self-defense situation, knowing how to strike effectively can help you incapacitate or deter an attacker. Learn simple but effective strikes such as palm strikes, elbow strikes, knee strikes, and kicks. Practice these techniques to develop power, accuracy, and speed.
Escaping from holds and restraints
If you find yourself held or restrained, knowing how to escape can be life-saving. Learn techniques such as wrist escapes, choke defenses, and how to exploit your attacker’s vulnerabilities. The key is to use quick and decisive movements that can catch your attacker off guard and give you the opportunity to break free.
Using improvised weapons
In a self-defense situation, everyday objects can be transformed into improvised weapons. Items such as rocks, sticks, or even a sturdy flashlight can be used to strike or disorient an attacker. It’s important to have situational awareness and identify potential weapons in your surroundings.
Developing situational awareness
Situational awareness is the ability to perceive and understand your surroundings, including potential threats and escape routes. Be alert and observant of your environment, paying attention to people, sounds, and changes in your surroundings. Developing situational awareness can help you avoid potential dangers and take appropriate actions when necessary.
Emergency Knot Tying
Knowing how to tie strong and secure knots is a fundamental skill in survival situations. Proper knot tying can help you secure shelters, create tools, and secure objects in various scenarios.
Tying a strong and secure bowline knot
The bowline knot is a versatile and strong knot that can be used to create a loop or secure objects. To tie a bowline knot, create a small loop with the working end of the rope. Pass the working end through the loop, around the standing end, and back through the loop. Secure the knot by tightening it, ensuring that the loop remains open and easy to untie.
Creating a loop with a slip knot
The slip knot is a quick and adjustable knot that forms a loop that can be easily tightened or loosened. To tie a slip knot, create a loop with the working end of the rope. Pass the working end through the loop, bringing it over and then under the standing end. Pull the working end to tighten the loop, adjusting the size as needed.
Making a quick-release knot
A quick-release knot allows for easy and quick untying when needed. One commonly used quick-release knot is the bowline knot with an added slip. Start by tying a regular bowline knot, but leave a longer working end. Pass the working end through the loop once more, creating a slip. This slip can be easily untied by pulling the working end.
Constructing a taut-line hitch
The taut-line hitch is a useful knot for adjusting tension on a line or rope. Start by wrapping the rope around a post or tree and bring the working end parallel to the standing end. Pass the working end over the standing end, then under and through the resulting loop. Finish the knot by making a half-hitch around the standing end and pulling it tight. Adjust the tension by sliding the knot along the rope.
Mastering these essential survival skills can empower you to navigate and endure unexpected challenges. While the modern world provides comfort and convenience, it is essential to cultivate the wisdom of primitive survival skills that have been honed by our ancestors for generations. Remember, the journey to self-reliance starts with equipping yourself with the knowledge and confidence to face any survival situation head-on. So, gear up and embrace your primal resilience.