The Four Core Elements You Need for Wilderness Survival


I have always been taught that there are four core elements required for wilderness survival.  If you can master these four subjects, you stand a good chance of surviving under almost any conditions.  So what are the core elements needed for wilderness survival?  The following list is not necessarily in their order of importance sine that can vary depending on conditions.

Water is often number one, but sometimes fire and shelter can be of greater importance, depending on the weather.  First, look for surface water.  Second, look for hidden sources.  Learn how to locate water from watching the wildlife including insects and birds.  Know which plants contain water.  Spend some time studying this subject and then go out and try it.  Learn how to filter or boil your water.

Fire, we all like to think we are Daniel Boone and can start a fire anywhere.  Go outside and try it with and without matches after it has been raining for a few days and most of your wood is wet.  Learn what woods and materials are the easiest to ignite.  You can learn to start fires using things like magnifying glasses, steel wool and batteries, flint and steel and even the a fire bow.  But above all fire starting takes practice and not just on sunny days.

Shelter.  Spend some time learning how to find shelter in the outdoors.  There are often downed trees and other terrain features that you can use to your advantage.  Learn how to make a bed that will keep you up off the cold or wet ground.  Something as simple as huddling up to sun-warmed rocks can make the difference between survival or death.

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wilderness survival
Grubs are edible

Food.  Learn all you can about edible plants, grubs, insects, fishing and trapping.  There are many good sources of food that are available to you in the wilderness.  Here is a link for information on edible plants.

Just remember wilderness survival is all about keeping your body hydrated, controlling your core temperature and supplied with calories.

The whole secret to learning any of these skills is practice.  You can read all you want but until you go in the field and try these skills you will not develop them.  In the near future we will post articles covering these areas in more depth.


3 thoughts on “The Four Core Elements You Need for Wilderness Survival”

  1. Good points all…

    But I would add that there are a couple essentials which can help avoiding inadvertently getting into situations which require using your survival skills.

    Having excellent land navigation skills, and reliable communications goes a long way towards avoiding the OMG~! moments in life.

    Learn how to use a map and compass, technology is great, but when it fails you need to know how to do it the old fashioned way.

    Communication, as simple as telling a responsible person where you are going, when you expect to return and your expected route, so they can raise the alarm if you are late.

    Having reliable flashlight, whistle, signal mirror, flagging tape to find your way, mark your trail and attract the attention of searchers.

    Having a cell phone and a 2-way radio, Airband, Marine, ham, GMRS, MURS, CB, etc.

    ET phone home! When you have a signal on your cell, update your position, route, status and expected return. Having an accurate last known location is vital when starting a SAR mission. Set up a communication “sked” and have your contact call authorities if you miss two consecutive check-ins.

    You get the idea…

  2. Whistle saved this lost solo hiker’s life.

    She was lucky. When the full story gets out, this will be a wood case to tabletop with your family on the importance of navigation and communication.

    While solitude in the wilderness is a peaceful pursuit many seek, it is not without risks. Having a route plan and communications reduces the danger and makes it possible to come back alive when your bag of luck runs out.

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