Survival Skills and Survival Equipment
By Andrew Ivor
Wilderness survival used to be part of daily life. But even though we feel protected inside our modern cocoons, getting a grip on survival skills is still a smart 'just in case' set of skills to acquire. Even in today's world, survival skills are not only for the Backpacker, outdoors enthusiasts or sportsman any more.
But what are survival skills?
Survival Skills are the techniques and the know-how that might help you to make it through hazardous conditions (such as storms or earthquakes), dangerous locations (like the desert, the mountains, the jungle and other extreme environments.
As soon as practicable, try to learn the essential survival skills, for example, ways to avoid getting lost, how to construct a shelter, the best way to pack a survival kit, how to make a fire, and how to get access to clean and safe water are the critical skills to lean for every extreme environment - whether winter survival, desert survival, forest, mountain or other environment.
So what should you do if you find yourself lost or stuck in an extreme environment?
The order of which survival skills to focus on first are based on basic human needs and the particular hazardous circumstance you find yourself in. However, creating a shelter to protect yourself from the harsh conditions is usually your first and principal task. No matter whether you create a lean-to shelter or a poncho shelter - making sure you are safely out of the harsh weather condition should be your immediate focus. Next is water.
Getting clean drinking water is perhaps the second most critical element in surviving a life threatening situation. Water might be collected in several different ways, one way in desert or hot climates for example is through condensation traps or solar stills but however you find your water, it should be brought to a rolling boil to purify and make it drinkable via fire. That leads us to the next critical survival skill and that is knowing how to create fire.
Fire is an extremely useful tool for survival. From drying your clothing, purifying water and even aiding in the making of tools and keeping threatening animals or pesky insects at bay, fire is necessary for both warmth and protection. Fire will definitely make it more comfortable but a shelter is more important in most situations.
A First Aid Kit (If you are Prepared!):
My survival equipment includes a critical book on survival (the U.S. Army Survival Manual) and your first aid kit is most likely to be the most essential item in any emergency kit and having the right equipment is imperative for wilderness survival.
Why a first aid kit?
Because injuries should be tended to as soon as they occur to avoid further complications or infection.
Your first aid kit should include bandages, antiseptic and ideally, you should have taken a first aid course and know the best ways to deal with heat stroke, snake or poisonous insect bites, abrasions and other injuries. A great first step is getting the US Army Survival manual which covers most of the critical information you'll need.
Ideal Foods--- low fat, high fiber foods and artificially sweetened beverages.
Drinks - Drink all you want of diet sodas, tea, coffee or Kool-Aid either unsweetened or sweetened with an artificial sweetener such as Splenda, Sweet 'N Low, Equal, saccharin or a blend.
Travel In Extreme Winter Conditions:
With skis you can get farther into the back country faster than any other way, so winter survival skills are crucial for all levels of ski mountaineering.
Useful skills include lighting a fire, finding shelter, making water safe to drink, finding and identifying food, treating injuries, and climbing, swimming, and using specific or makeshift tools. Almost all Survival Skills are environment specific and require training in a particular environment. Learn basic survival skills, such as how to avoid getting lost, how to build a shelter, how to pack a survival kit, how to build a fire, and more by using the U.S. Army Survival Manual FM 21-76.
Knowing fundamental survival knowledge will help you keep your cool in most circumstances. Do your best to hone your survival knowledge so that you will be efficient in the essentials for example navigation, creating fire, getting and cooking food and water for risk-free consumption, and creating shelters. Get prepared by referring to the US Army Survival Guide - a great starting point for ensuring you and your family are ready for any extreme environment.
Good luck and happy travels.