8 Basic Survival Skills Everyone Should Know


The world that we live in today has a lot of modern-day conveniences and innovations that we can do just about anything with a push of a button. These things are totally fine but as time goes by, we tend to neglect the importance of basic survival skills.

We might get caught in a bad situation that we may not know how to get out of. That’s why we must know a few basic survival skills that can help us conquer challenges like natural disasters or getting stuck in the wilderness.

Here’s a list of eight basic survival skills that everyone should know. These skills will help you a lot in terms of preparedness, presence of mind, and overall survival!

1. Finding A Clean Source of Water

This one is on top of the list because nothing is more important than having clean drinking water. We can survive for weeks without food, but we can only live for a few days without water. The effects of dehydration can happen so quickly in extremely hot and dry environments.

Your best choice is to look for places with a strong water flow when you are out in the wild. If you don’t see one, take a moment of silence and listen to the sound of dripping waters through the rocks. If you can’t hear a hint of sound, look for any signs of life within the area as animals frequently go to areas with clean water.

You can also try digging a hole in damp soil as your last resort. Remember that groundwater is potentially filthy. If that’s what you end up with, bring the water to boil for at least one minute to purify it. Avoid stagnant water as it may contain mosquitoes and other insects that breed in still waters. That can make you sick with dengue or even malaria.

2. Making Fire With Your Bare Hands

Making fire is the most functional skill after finding water. With fire, you can purify water, cook food, stay warm, cauterize wounds, signal for help, and ward off potential predators in the area. You may have a lighter or some matches but at some point, you may not have one. You should have the ability to start a fire from scratch and with your bare hands.

Look for the driest and the most cracked branches; try to collect them early so you’ll be ready when you need to use them later on. They can easily be burned since they lack moisture.

Find a piece of stick or twig that is bone dry and use the “hand drill method” to start a fire. Rub the stick between your hands. This will serve as a spindle over a piece of wood or “fireboard”. 

Put the dried leaves or grass beside it to catch the bits of coal residue from rubbing the pieces of wood. Blow it gently until smoke starts to rise and that should start the fire. Remember to start small when building fire; start from dried grass and leaves then twigs to branches.

3. Making A Temporary Shelter

You should protect yourself from all elements when you are outside. The danger of getting cold from heavy rain, wind, and snow is great if you don’t have a shelter to protect and keep you warm.

There are two traditional survival shelters you can make. They can protect you while you’re out in the wild or finding your way back home. Learn more about them below:

The Lean-To

This is the easiest of traditional survival shelters you can make in the wild. It is called lean-to because you will be leaning up against natural formations or trees and rocks to build your shelter. This type may not give you 360 degrees of protection, but it is the easiest and the fastest you can make most especially if it’s near dark and you need the most immediate shelter you can use. 

The Round Lodge

This type of shelter is the evolution of the lean-to as it is surrounded by a large number of branches that are bound together to create a large shelter. This type offers greater protection from all the elements. However, it would take time and effort to complete a 360 protection that would entirely enclose you and your belongings.

4. Basic Navigation and Use of Compass

The basic navigation tool is the compass. Other forms of technology may cease to work but a compass would remain to work because it doesn’t need any batteries to function. You can learn to read the compass by reading sources on the internet.

Another way to find your way through is to look for higher ground. It is the simplest way of knowing where to go as you can see wider areas when you’re on top. You can also use the sun for direction; use a stick and make it stand on the ground to see the movement of its shadow from east to west.

Finding your way to a clean water source could save you time in finding your way out too! You may come across other people that could be off the grid and ask for directions.

5. Hunting And Looking For Food

You might be stretching a few days or a week of survival and you must know how to find food to keep yourself alive. You can hunt for food by improvising a long sharp stick as a spear, a trap or snare to catch your food, or a line and hook for fishing.

You can also forage for plants to eat in the area as long as you know what is edible or not. Try reading a survival book or look for sources from the internet to equip you with the best knowledge for survival.

6. Cooking For Survival

The combination of your knowledge to find a clean water source, create fire, and hunt for food comes cooking for survival. It is good to know what to eat in the wild and it helps a lot if you know how to cook. It’ll provide the energy and the nutrients you need to go on for days until you’ll be able to find help or your way home.

Remember to clean your catch or know how to gut and dispose of digestive tracts to make it safer to consume. Always stick to muscles and limbs for your safety. In the wild, it is better to eat overcooked than undercooked because that will get rid of potentially harmful bacteria in the meat.

Dispose of all food waste away from where you sleep. Wild animals might smell it and have a bit for themselves. Bury them far away for your safety.

7. Dressing Your Wound

Getting wounded could be the worst case that can happen during your ordeal as it can potentially disrupt your survival skills. Learning how to dress your wound will increase your chances of survival. 

Learn how to close your wound because an open wound may lead to infection and worsen the situation. Learn how to bandage reasonably to keep your blood flowing. Keep in mind that very tight binding may lead you to lose your limb in the long run. 

In case you have a broken limb, bind your injury with cloth or ropes and restrain it with wood to prevent unwanted movement. Never try to reset your bones as it can make the fracture more severe.

8. Learning How to Tie a Knot

This is the most underrated survival skill but it comes in handy when you need it. This skill can be used during sailing, rock climbing, and survival situations as well. 

It can be used for hunting traps, securing a fishing line, binding survival shelters, and bandages. There are 20 essential knots you can learn to help you in any emergencies or that you can use leisurely. The possibilities are endless. 

Final Thoughts

It goes with a Chinese proverb that says “It is better to be a warrior in a garden than a gardener in a war.” It applies in combat and also in survival situations wherein preparedness is the key to survival. Be a prepper and be prepared!

It is always better to equip ourselves with the right knowledge before any situation arises than being caught in a real situation and you don’t know what to do. Hopefully, this article will help you a lot and urge you to read more, as everything should come in handy especially when your life’s on the line.

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