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.
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.