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How to Survive in the Wild

April 09, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 130

The very nature of a survival situation is the fact that one can occur when you least expect it. Many people take the comforts of their home for granted, and the extremities of the wilderness are often underestimated. The growth in outdoor adventure sports in the last decade has meant that a substantially increasing number of people are suddenly finding themselves in life or death situations. Anyone participating in such activities should be prepared for the worst.

The first and most important aspect of wilderness survival is planning. This can not only help to avoid survival situations, but will also increase your chances of survival when things don't go so well. Planning should involve a detailed plan of the activity route, as well as contingency plans for anything that could go wrong. A good precaution to take is to produce detailed route cards for your trip. These could include your planned route, expected times of arrival, back-up routes and weather forecasts. The route cards can then be made available for everyone taking part in the trip and also to friends or family not taking part in the trip as well as the relevant authorities. This way, people will know when to expect your return and will know where to search if you go missing.

You should also make contingency plans that can come into action if something goes wrong, for example, someone going mountain biking might carry a puncture repair kit so that they can repair a puncture. It's inevitable that contingency plans will have to be used at some point and you should not the importance of them should not be underestimated.

Another good step to take in planning for your trip is to make a basic survival kit that is small enough to be carried around without becoming a burden. A basic but adequate survival kit should fit into a small tobacco tin and should include, as stated by the SAS survival guide:

- Waterproof Matches: These can be purchased at any outdoor shop. They can be snapped in half to save space.

- Candle: Shave it into a square for easy packing. Tallow ones can be eaten or used for frying in an emergency.

- Flint and Striker: Processed flint and a saw striker, can be used to generate sparks and start a fire.

- Magnifying Glass: Can be used to start a fire in sunlight.

- Needles and Thread: Can be used for repairing or making cloths in an emergency.

- Fish Hooks and Lines: A selection of different sized hooks and split lead weights and as much line as possible.

- Compass: Liquid filled type with a luminous button is best.

- Beta Light: Small and reliable light source, ideal for map reading.

- Snare Wire: Ideal for trapping small game, low energy form of hunting.

- Flexible Saw: Various uses.

- Medical Kit: Pack medicines in airtight containers and label dosage and expiry date.

- Surgical Blades: At least two scalpel blades of different sizes.

- Butterfly Sutures: Can be used to hold edges of wounds together.

- Plasters: Waterproof and various sizes.

- Condom: Good for water storage, holds 1 litre.

- Knife: A good quality, full tang knife with a blade between four and six inches long. Can be used for many different tasks, arguably as essential as all of the other items combined.

Although not all of these items have an obvious use now, it's likely that uses would be found in a survival situation. The key here is improvisation, the number of potential uses of every item in this survival kit is only limited by your imagination.

When planning an expedition, it's extremely unlikely that you will consider everything that could go wrong, and even the must experienced explorers can find themselves in tricky situations. Therefore, it is necessary to know what to do when things don't go to plan.

The SAS survival guide outlines the Acronym - PLAN, which is designed for use ironically for when things don't go to plan. 'P' stands for protection, the first thing you should do is ensure that you are protected from any harm. This might mean finding or building shelter to escape a storm, or concealing yourself from the enemy in a combat situation. 'L' stands for location, meaning you should try to determine your location by looking at landscape features and comparing to a map. You should also draw attention to your position for rescuers. 'A' stands for acquisition, look for food and water. 'N' stands for navigation, meaning that if you're to move, you should constantly keep track of your location.

PLAN requires survival knowledge and skills for its success, therefore it's important that essential skills such as shelter building, hunting and navigation are refined through practice prior to any expedition, such that you have sufficient ability to make use of plan. Another important skill to practice before and expedition is fire lighting. You should learn various methods of lighting fire by friction to the extent that you can acquire fire with nothing but what can be found in the wilderness.

Good contingency planning as well as knowledge and skills built up before you find yourself in a survival situation will vastly improve your chances of survival. These skills will help you psychologically by increasing confidence, as well as practically.

To find out more about survival and to read our complete survival guide visit where you will find survival guides, tutorials and stories.

Source: EzineArticles
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