11 Wilderness Survival Tips That Could Save Your Life in Critical Situations

Learning self-defense techniques or creating a Medical ID on your iPhone are all things you hope to never have to use; however, it provides you with peace of mind to be prepared. Many of us love to hike or enjoy the beauty of nature and being prepared for any emergency with wilderness survival tips is just as important.

With an estimated 50,000 search and rescue missions every year, it’s a fact that thousands of people get lost in the woods. Learning wilderness survival tips to help you find shelter, staying hydrated, or building a fire can mean the difference between life or death. Here are 11 wilderness survival tips to help you survive being lost in the woods.

1) First wilderness survival tip: How to tell a non-venomous bite from a venomous one.

Not all snake bites are the same but knowing which ones are dangerous can prevent panic attacks. Here are 3 ways to identify a venomous snake vs a non-venomous snake:

  • Eyes: Non-poisonous snakes have round pupils but poisonous snakes have eyes with elongated pupils that look similar to cat pupils.
  • Body scales: Non-poisonous snakes will have a double row of scales that seem to overlap each other while poisonous snakes will have a single row.
  • Bite marks: Non-poisonous snakes will leave a double set of teeth marks while a poisonous snake bite will start with 2 distinctive holes.

2) Stuff your clothes with branches and grass to help stay warm.

Leaves, grass, and tiny branches act as insulation and can help you stay warm when the temperature drops in the evening.

3) Make a DIY leaf compass with water, a leaf, and a needle.

You’re probably aware that it’s easy to walk around in circles in a forest without realizing it. Help stay on course with a makeshift compass. Simply place a leaf in a glass of water. Then, magnetize the end of a pin or needle by rubbing it onto your clothes repeatedly for about a minute (or at least 100 times) and carefully place the threading needle atop the leaf. The magnetized end will point north.

If you spend a lot of time in nature, buying a compass is a good investment and they’re very affordable. Here’s a great compass from SharpSurvival:

Sharp Survival Best Camping Survival Compass | Glow in the Dark Military Compass | Highest Quality Survival Gear Compass
  • OLD FASHIONED COPPER COMPASS (NEW VERSION): Features 360 degree rotating bezel for easy navigation & orienteering
  • KNOW NORTH DAY OR NIGHT: Compass glows in the dark making it easy to read in all weather at any time
  • NEVER GET LOST AGAIN: Accuracy of SharpSurvival Compass prevents you from guessing which way is North
  • COMPACT & CONVENIENT: Our reliable compass measures 48mm x 12mm making it ideal for adults & kids
  • CUSTOMERS SAY: Great-looking compass that plain works! | Perfect size with accurate reading!

4) Scrape plastic from a guitar pick to help start a fire quickly.

Playing guitar around a campfire is a camping ritual for many people. If you have guitar picks, they contain cellulose which burns easily and can help start a fire quickly.

Having a pocket knife or a multitool like this one from Bibury can make outdoor activities more efficient and safe:

5) To stop any bleeding, use a tampon.

Tampons are sterile which makes them perfect to help stop bleeding or use as a makeshift bandage.

6) Protect scratches from infection by applying ChapStick lip balm.

Being in the woods increases the chances of cuts getting infected. Help seal cuts and scrapes by applying lip balm.

Wilderness survival tips like these ones don’t replace common sense. Having a first aid kit ensures you have all the tools needed during an emergency and this one from Surviveware is small enough to carry on your backpack and contains everything you need:

Surviveware Small First Aid Kit with Labelled Compartments for Hiking, Backpacking, Camping, Travel, Car and Cycling.
  • DURABLE, STRONG AND DESIGNED TO LAST. Made from 600D Polyester the Surviveware Small First Aid Kit is ready for extreme adventures. The zipper is certified for 1000 zips. With ripstop material you can stop any tears before the spread.
  • COMPACT, LIGHT AND PORTABLE. This kit is packed with 100 essential supplies for backcountry expeditions. It weighs only 1 pound and measures 5.5" x 7.5" x 3.5", making it ideal for an active lifestyle. With MOLLE compatible straps and snaps the kits can be carried on your backpack, belt or EDC bag.
  • WATERPROOF INNER CONTENTS. The bag is water resistant and all inner items are protected from water damage in durable laminate pouches.
  • ORGANIZATION IS KEY DURING TIMES OF CRISES. Each inner sleeve is labeled according to its function. During stressful situations, all items can easily be retrieved and afterwards replaced in an orderly fashion. You also have a separate zip pouch for your own prescription medication.
  • FSA & HSA APPROVED. Why not invest in great Survival First Aid Kit and use your hard-earned FSA and HSA funds?

7) Soothe insect bites with a dab of toothpaste.

Most toothpaste brands contain menthol which helps soothe insect bites and reduce itching. Toothpaste also contains anti-inflammatory properties to help reduce redness and swelling. This and other toothpaste hacks prove toothpaste does more than just clean teeth.

8) Burn herbs to help drive away mosquitoes, flies, and other insects.

Insect and even animals hate the smell of burning herbs. Throw some sprigs of thyme, mint, or lavender on a campfire to keep away mosquitos and other insects.

If you’ve ever spent an evening in the outdoors, you know how insects like mosquitoes and black flies can be relentless. Having a natural insect repellant like Repel can help keep insects away:

9) To help start a fire, light a wax crayon.

Wax crayons can be used as a candle and burn as much as 30 minutes! Because it contains combustible material, it can also be used to easily start a fire in combination with small dry branches and twigs.

10) Filter dirty water using a t-shirt.

Your body needs water to survive and getting fresh water, even a little in survival situations. All you need is two containers and a t-shirt or other clean fabric. Place the container of dirty water elevated above another container and place the t-shirt so that both ends are at the bottom of both buckets. You’ll start to get clean water within an hour but as a precaution, it’s best to boil it first.

Nothing beats being prepared for wilderness survival and bringing personal water filters like the LifeStraw ensures you’ll have access to fresh water.

11) And the last wilderness survival tip: Place dry branches in an egg carton to light a fire quickly.

If you have empty egg cartons or even a cardboard box, it will help start a fire even in windy conditions. Place dry twigs and branches in the egg carton before lighting it.

H/t: Bright Side

Again, I hope nobody has to use these wilderness survival tips but knowledge is power, even in the woods. Please share these helpful wilderness survival tips with your friends and family.

Last update on 2020-06-06 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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