Survival skills are something you are probably never going to actually need, but knowing them and practicing them might just one day be the difference between life and death. Or, it might make you look really cool in front of the kids at your next camp out. Here are five survival skills that every man should know.
Finding and Making Water Safe to Drink
If you’re actually stranded, the number one thing you’re going to want is fresh water. You can survive a good while without food, but you’ll perish in no time at all without a good supply of clean and safe drinking water. Knowing how to find water and how to make it safe to drink is a skill everyone should have. There are many different ways to collect water, but the easiest way is just to remember the alliterated “Gravity, Greenery and Ground” to help you remember how to find it. Listen for streams running downhill (gravity) around greenest areas in your surroundings (greenery) and as a last resort, dig near the sound of running water if you can’t find it (ground).
Starting a Fire
There are so many ways to start a fire, some easier than others, but the most reliable way is to carry a waterproof fire-starting device like a flint and steel with you. Fire will help you keep warm, ward off predators, boil water for safety, and can even aid in basic first aid. You can even use it to tell stories around – take some inspiration from this blog about what it means to be a man.
You’ll need three components to start a good fire – an ignition device like a fire-bow or book of matches, some kindling to get it going and some wood to fuel the fire. All your fuel and kindling should be nothing short of bone dry or as close as possible. Start your fire off small and slowly add fuel until it grows to the size you need.
How to Tie Knots
There’s a good reason boy scouts spend so much time learning to tie strong and solid rope knots of many different varieties. Each has a purpose and knowing some of them will come in handy when you’re out in the wilderness. If you’re building shelters or securing food or water, you’ll want to make sure your knots are solid and well tested because if they come undone in the middle of the night, you’ll not have the energy or time to remake it.
Basic First Aid
Take a first aid course. It’s something that you will never regret doing and it’s a skill that never having to actually practice it is the best outcome. Know how to dress wounds, strap sprains and breaks and when to use and when not to use first aid devices like tourniquets. Perhaps most importantly of all, learn to do CPR.
You might not be expected to hunt for food or build your family a house with your bare hands in the modern world, but it won’t be amiss if you could get a fire going for the family on your next hike or camp. Being able to do some other basic survival stuff might come in useful too if you’re the outdoorsy type, or it might just be fun to learn.