YOUR FIRST PRIORITY IS WATER.
You will survive in the wilderness for weeks with a limited food supply. But, to be caught without water reduces this time frame to just a few days.
So, where can a wilderness explorer go for a water refill? Logic holds the key! The nature of water is to always flow to the lowest ground. This means the bottom of the hills and the lower parts of ravines and mountains will be a good place to begin your search. If you are in a desert look around for greenery. If there is green vegetation, there must be sources of water that are maintaining this life. You can also get water from the plant itself if you can’t dig to find the water sources. Just tie a plastic bag around a branch and wait for the water to be released and condense in the bag. Done right you can produce as much as a third of a cup of water a day. So, you may need more than one.
But, it is not good enough to locate water. If you were to drink contaminated water you could sentence yourself to a slow and agonizing death from contamination or intoxication. Be sure to always carry water purifications tablets in your adventures.
2. PACK A SURVIVAL KIT.
Your water purifications unit, tablets or drops should be the most important part of your wilderness survival kit. But, what other items will you want to have in this emergency kit?
Knife – after water purification solutions, the next most important thing to keep with you will be a reliable knife. Here are some of the characteristics of a blade that could save your life in a wilderness adventure:
Fixed blades are more reliable and sturdier than a folding knife.
Full tang means the steel blade and handle are one piece of metal that extends from the hilt to the tip of the blade.
A blade between 4 and 6 inches long
Not essential, but having a toothed blade will make sawing wood an easier task.
A genuine Swiss army knife or some other multi tool will be a great support to your primary blade as they have an assortment of useful tools. Get the best survival tools here.
First Aid Kit – If you will be heading into the great outdoors for more than just a few hours you will need to bring a first aid kit. The further you are from civilization, the more complete you will want your first aid kit to be. The most basic of all first aid kits should be complete with some method of disinfecting and dressing a wound. An OTC pain medication can help to reduce the pain of fever and other problems that can arise on the trail. If you will be heading into an area without much cover, sun block is another important part of the kit. Make sure the supplies you bring properly anticipate any of the hardships you may encounter.
Fire Starting Equipment – You may be a great fire starter, but you will still want to bring with you some lighters and matches. Then carry some candles as well as these can make the task of lighting a fire very easy. Flint and steel is the next easiest way to start a fire and a skill that is worth mastering if you will be spending any time in the outdoors. Your flint and steel kit should contain char cloth or some other form of tinder that lights easily and is placed inside a water proof container.
Emergency Blanket – also called a space blanket or solar blanket, this Mylar covering does an excellent job of trapping body heat. In addition to treating conditions of hypothermia, this is a good thing to have if your sleeping bag becomes wet or lost. It has a reflective side as well which is good for signaling for help over great distances.
Map and Compass – if you have not yet learned the fine art of navigations with a map and compass, it is time to get some valuable experience. Never leave on an excursion without a topographical map of the area and the route you plan to take back to civilization.
3. THINK ABOUT THE FOOD SITUATION.
Remember that if you are facing a water shortage, you should consume less food to preserve water. This is because the body uses great supplies of water to process foods. Nevertheless, once you have located a water supply, you will want to eat. Ideally, you will never venture out into the wilderness without plenty of food to sustain your adventures. If you should become lost or stranded, food should be rationed out.
You will then begin the arduous survival stage where suddenly everything in the forest looks delicious and edible. The important thing to remember is that a healthy adult can last weeks in the wilderness without eating. With this in mind, you will greatly extend your capacity for survival by staying healthy. Unless you are well-versed in all the bounty of the wilderness, it is not a good idea to go sampling berries and insects as you may inadvertently eat something that does not agree with you. Getting sick will greatly reduce your capacity to survive in the wilderness.
Insects are about the most abundant and healthy food source for the starving adventurer. But, you will want to cook them first as these bugs can also carry a slew of parasites. Remove the heads and wings and roast over hot coals. Never eat caterpillars or other brightly colored insects as these are often poisonous.
4. STAY WARM AND DRY.
It is more common to die of hypothermia in the wilderness than starvation or dehydration. If you have become lost make sure you find a safe and warm place to set up camp while you await rescue or plan your next move. This needs to be a warm and dry place so if you brought a tent good for you. But, if you don’t have a tent, you will be just fine if you can set up a lean-to with sticks, branches and your Swiss army knife.