8 Critical Survival Tips

When you make your plans for outdoor adventures, are you planning for bad luck as well as a good time? Every year, misfortune finds people who are unaware and unprepared in the outdoors – and the results often make their way to the headlines. Keep yourself and your family safe in the wild places this season with these easy wilderness survival and self-sufficiency tips.

BRING A CHARGED PHONE
The most vital piece of outdoor emergency gear is a cell phone with a charged battery. This modern marvel allows you to call for help, in the event of a hazardous situation. It also allows the authorities to pinpoint your location.

TELL SOMEONE
Before you go into the wild, make sure somebody back home knows the details of your excursion. This gives you a safety net in case you don’t come back on time.

DON’T GO ALONE
The buddy system is not only a great way to have more fun outdoors, but it gives you support in a variety of situations. Going into the wilderness alone is a recipe for disaster.

PICK THE RIGHT CLOTHES
Your choice of clothing can have a surprisingly large impact on your wellbeing, should the weather take an unexpected turn for the worse. Wool, fleece, and synthetic fibers keep you warm, even when conditions are cold and wet. Skip the jeans and cotton clothing in most climates, as they hold moisture and make you colder.

BRING A SPACE BLANKET
These silver plastic pieces provide an impressive amount of heat retention, along with twind and water-repelling action. Bring one of these lightweight shelter items for each member of your group.

LEARN TO BUILD SHELTER
Leaves, sticks, and vegetation can make an excellent survival shelter if you know the right architecture to build it. Research survival shelters and learn how to make a home away from home, in case you can’t make it out of the woods some night.

BRING FIRE STARTERS
Inexpensive matches and lighters can be some of the most valuable gear you have if you find yourself in a wilderness survival scenario. A fire can give you some life-saving heat, light to see, a signal for help, safe boiled water for drinking, and dozens of other tasks of self-reliance.

MAKE SAFE WATER
Don’t just drink out of waterways to slake your thirst. Most water sources in nature have the potential to carry harmful pathogens. Boil the water, or carry purification tablets, to turn any found water into necessary drinking water.

These tips and many more survival tips are in MacWelch’s books: Prepare For Anything – the Hunting & Gathering Survival Manual – and How To Survive Anything

Follow him on Twitter @timmacwelch

And check out more of MacWelch’s outdoor skills and survival articles in Outdoor Life Magazine.

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