Survival skills By Anthony Brown
Even though it is not directly a survival need, fire is one of the most useful basic survival skills. It can help warm your body or your shelter, dry your clothes, boil your water, and cook your food. Also, fire can provide psychological support in a survival situation, creating a sense of security and safety.
Ideally, when traveling in the wilderness, it is best to carry multiple fire-starting tools, such as a lighter, matches, flint and steel, etc… Even with these implements starting a fire can be challenging in inclement weather. We highly recommend practicing fire starting in different weather conditions within different habitats. Good fire-making skills are invaluable. If you were to find yourself in a situation without a modern fire-making implement, fire by friction is the most effective primitive technique. Popular friction fire-making methods include bow drill, hand drill, fire plow, and fire saw.
You might be surprised to see food so low on the basic survival skills priorities list, though we can survive for much longer without it as compared with shelter and water. Remember "The Rule of Threes": humans can survive without food for roughly 3 weeks (though I'm sure you would not want to go that long without food!). Thankfully, most natural environments are filled with a variety of items that can meet our nutritional needs. Wild plants often provide the most readily available foods, though insects and small wild game can also support our dietary needs in a survival situation.
Here are a few plants which are abundant throughout North America:
Cattail: known as the "supermarket of the swamp", the roots, shoots, and pollen heads can be eaten
Conifers: the inner bark, known as the cambium, is full of sugars, starches and calories, and can be eaten on most evergreen, cone-bearing trees [except for Yew, which is poisonous]
Grasses: the juices from the leaves can provide nutrition, and the root corm can be roasted and eaten
Oaks: all acorns can be leached of their bitter tannic acids, and then eaten, providing an excellent source of protein, fats, and calories
Be sure that you properly identify any plant you plan on consuming (using field guides and/or the guidance of an experienced expert). Many plants can be difficult to identify and some edible plants have poisonous look-a-likes. If you cannot identify the plant, do not eat it.
The more you know about nature, the better you will be able to survive in the outdoors. To be great at wilderness survival, beyond the basic survival skills, requires an in-depth understanding of a variety of nature skills. For example, wildlife tracking skills allow one to effectively locate wild game for food, and knowledge of herbal medicine allows one to heal illnesses with wild plants. Especially for the situation where you may choose to purposefully practice survival living for a lengthened period of time, naturalist knowledge is absolutely invaluable.
All of our hunter–gatherer ancestors had classification systems for living organisms, knew their names, understood their uses, recognized how they inter-related to each other, and were aware of exactly how to utilize those resources in a sustainable fashion. This knowledge was at the foundation of their ability to thrive within the natural environment.
For even the recreational wilderness skills practitioner, a basic knowledge of the natural sciences (such as botany, ecology, geology, etc…) can be very useful and enriching. A great place to start is by purchasing the relevant plant and animal field guides for your region. These resources can help you begin to identify species and understand how they relate.
Now, with these six keys to basic survival skills, you are well on your way to thriving in the outdoors!
Water is more important in terms of living than food is, but growing food is harder for most people than finding water. After your garden is growing, start a project of collecting rain in rain barrels or digging a well. Just having a 50 gallon barrel in your basement isn’t going to be enough in a true collapse scenario. Once you have water, you will need to treat it unless it comes from a clean source underground
Observe your surroundings
Emergency Food Tips
Starving to death is not an immediate problem. A person can survive for weeks without food. Food is one of the last priorities in a survival situation. If you eat you also need water, as water is necessary to digest the food.