Is it a Scary Thought?
If the phrase survival in the wilderness or extreme survival strikes a cord of fear or panic in you, then let me assure you that although it can be an intimidating topic, we can prepare ourselves with some basic preparedness skills to survive any outdoor scenario!
It helps to realize that we absolutely ARE able to survive even the most severe weather if we are prepared for it. Learning a few SIMPLE basic skills can prepare us for ANYTHING.
A few key resources to living in the backwoods for any length of time are a nice wood burning stove and a creek or some reliable water source. Oh, and a gun helps for keeping meat on the table.
But honestly, while storing up groceries is always a wise idea, and planning ahead is never unwise, these things alone will not guarantee that we make it if everything goes to pot around us.
Someone can steal our stash but they can never rob us of our SKILLS!
Staying Warm in Sub-Zero Temps
Last winter a homeless person wandered into the area within a few miles from us ( In the NW part of US) and survived in the woods in MINUS 20 degree weather until someone found her.
We had no idea there was someone like her in the area until we read it in the paper!
She stayed alive in the extreme cold by huddling under a heavy pine tree with a small fire.
There was a lot of snow this year which brought the branches to the ground, providing a somewhat insulated shelter, and then warmed up a bit with the heat of the fire – enough to keep her from freezing.
It’s a sad, but incredible story of extreme survival!
Snow is an excellent insulation
We use it all the time here in Montana, by shoveling it up against all our buildings to help insulate them.
If you ever get the chance , dig a snow cave out of a big snow drift, just for the fun of it… and to help with emergency preparedness!
Make it a three level home while you are at it….You will want the top level for your fire ring so make sure you drill a small hole into the top to let out the smoke.
The middle level will be to sleep in and the bottom level is for storage and also where you come in and go out, so yes, that is where the door is at. That level would be where you store your food, etc…
I think you will find it a pleasant little shelter – comfortable and warm…probably one of the most pleasant forms of survival in the wilderness!
Another great wilderness shelter is open caves or under an overhanging cliff.
Scout the area first to make sure you are not sharing your shelter with an animal!
What if We Are Not In The Woods?
If you are in an open area with not much shelter, gather whatever you CAN find and pile it up to make a make-shift wind break that you can huddle behind.
If it is not raining you can also huddle into any small dips or depressions in the ground to stay warm. If it IS raining you will probably find yourself in a puddle of water.
A large fallen tree trunk will also work really well as you can pile up smaller branches and crawl underneath it.
Visit our survival fire page here for tips on building an outdoor fire that will make you happy…. and also our Wilderness Survival Shelter page for more info on how to stay cozy warm in the wilderness!
If You Get Stuck in Your Car
Many of the folks that need some survival in the wilderness tips are the ones that get caught out there when their car runs out of fuel or they have an accident… with NO means of preparedness in their vehicle.
Some of my kids’ favorite stories and videos are of guys surviving a plane crash in the wilderness and watching them exercise basic skills to stay alive.
With everything at our fingertips we have this tendency to overlook packing all the simple little things that can make life so much more bearable in the event we DO get caught out in the weather with nothing but a cold unresponsive vehicle to hang out in!
So….Just In Case The Car DOES Decide to Quit At the Top of The Pass
There are several ways to not only improve our chances of survival in the wilderness but to make it a bit more bearable, should we get thrust out of your comfort zone!
We have put together a short list of things and gadgets to carry in a vehicle emergency kit that will help with all that…
Build one of these roomy, comfy wilderness shelters, pictured at the right…..to take with you on the run! DIY cabin plans available here.
Learning how to build a fire is a huge asset in ANY situation, including building a campfire in the backyard for a nice evening get together.
Even getting a fire started in a stove can be a work of art at times! Especially if you don’t have a tall enough stove pipe, or maybe NO smoke stack on the stove, but even a small stove without a stack can make cooking outdoors much easier.
You may want to add some magnesium fire startersto your pack to make the task even simpler.
And then there is the delicate subject of taking care of ‘personal business while out camping or living in the wilderness.
There are some great tools, such as a small shovel that can make the task not only easier, but more sanitary as well.
Most of us are going to have either a small shovel or digger included in ouroutdoor gear list, but just in case, make sure you have one… they are so handy to use for so many things.