Lost in the wilderness - how to survive with a simple survival kit
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Lost in the wilderness - how to survive with a simple survival kit

What would you do if you became lost in the wilderness? How would you survive. A simple survival kit will greatly increase your chances of survival.

It's not very likely that you or I will ever become lost or injured while out hunting, hiking or participating in any other activity that takes you into wilderness areas. But, unfortunately it does happen. We read in the papers or hear on the news more and more often about someone being lost in the mountains, the national parks and forests and even at sea but never imagine that it could happen to us. No one who has ever been lost in the wilderness planned it.

Most people, in today's world, totally freak if their power goes out even for a day. The lack of lights, heat, the fridge and heaven forbid, the TV, is more than most of us can take. So what would you do if a situation occurred that prolonged these conditions for days or even weeks. We are totally dependent on electricity for our most basic survival needs, which are, food, water and shelter. We depend on electricity to the point that, without it, we are helpless.

With the threats that face us today, both natural and man made, every family should be prepared in the event of catistrophic or emergency situations. A few simple steps can help to prepare you for those hard times if they should happen. Every home should have a survival kit. The survival kit should contain at least a months supply of nonperishable canned and dried foods, stored or bottles water, a portable stove for cooking, candles or lanterns for light and a fossil fuel heater for warmth. A means to defend your home, supplies and family should also be considered.

The list below is for a survival kit that you should have with you any time you venture into the woods or wilderness. If lost or injured this kit can save your life. The list can also be expanded and used as a basis for a home survival kit.

Surviving in the wilderness

  • If you take an important medication for such things as heart or diabetes, make sure that you include at least a 3 day supply in your kit.
  • You should take along a compass and a topographical map of the area you will be hunting,hiking or using. You should already know how to read a compass and how to orient the map. But, for those who don't know how, or as a refresher course for those who do, here's the instructions.

Orienting your map and compass

1. Lay out your topographical map on a flat surface away from any metal objects that could cause a false reading. Place the compass on the bottom edge of the map.

2. Wait until the needle of the compass stops wobbling and is pointing in a steady true north.

3. Hold the compass in place while rotating the map underneath until N, north on the direction legend on the map is pointing the same as your compass needle.

You, your map and compass are all now oriented with the surrounding area.

  • You should always have a way to build a fire when in a wilderness area. I have more than one fire starter, matches, lighter or steel and I also know how to create and use a bow-drill if necessary.
  • A large candle is a great help when starting a fire. It can also be used for light and a small amount of heat in situations such as snow or rain.

How to build a fire in snow

1. If possible find a natural wind break. A large rock or downed tree will work. If there are none you can create one using pine, cedar or other evergreen boughs.

2. Determine the wind direction and place your fire on the opposite side of the wind break.

3. Walk down the snow where you are going to build your fire until you have a well packed circle about 6 feet in diameter.

4. Cut or gather logs of about 4 inch diameter and lay them side by side until you have a platform roughly 2 or 3 foot square.

5. Gather dry firewood from standing dead trees and snags.

6. Place your firewood on top of your platform and start your fire. As the snow under the platform slowly melts just keep adding firewood. The fire will last as long as you add fuel.

7. Do the same thing in wet weather.

  • I also carry a small, sharp belt ax or hatchet. The hatchet can be used for a host of jobs in the bush such as collecting firewood, clearing an area, as a hammer, if it's sharp a cutting tool and also a weapon.
  • A knife of some type is a must in the field. I carry a large folding knife with 2 blades. A sheath knife will work as well.
  • A way to collect and purify water. Most people carry some variation of a canteen when hiking or hunting so add water purification tablets to your kit.
  • A tarp is also essential for your survival kit. An 8x8 tarp can be used as a shelter from the sun or rain and can also be used to collect rain water for drinking and cooking.
  • Rope or nylon cord for setting up your shelter (tarp) and for many other jobs around camp. At least 50 foot.
  • A flashlight.
  • A good first aid kit.
  • A small hand held mirror or reflector for signaling.

These few items fit easily into a backpack and weigh very little and believe me you will be glad you have them if that unfortunate situation ever arises.

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