basic survival skills everyone should know

Top 6 basic survival skills that everyone should know

Imagine an unpredictable volcanic eruption or a tsunami hits your neighborhood, and you had to survive. Are you ready to get through it? We live in a world that is full of modern conveniences, but every once in every blue moon, a huge disaster can strike, which knocks out the power or even renders your gadgets unusable. It is at these moments that you really need to become a survivor to get through these problems. For parents, nothing is scarier than the thought of your kid being unable to survive through a disaster, away from home. These basics will come in handy if you teach your children how to become a survivor.

To become a survivor, one needs to be prepared for any disaster strike. Through a few skills that will be discussed in this list, you can learn to start a fire, find and filter water, find food or even hunt, medicate yourself, how to navigate, and build a shelter. These skills and talents, with practice and constant honing, can be the difference between staring at the sky hopeless or coming out of a disastrous situation as a victorious survivor. Once you hone these skills you will become a victorious survivor.

Starting a Fire

The ability to start a fire is among the most useful and life-saving skills you can develop. Fire is very significant because it can provide you with much-needed warmth when it’s cold, it can boil water, can be used to cook food, it can be used to cauterize wounds, ward off predators in the night, and even help you call for help. As you can now tell, fire is very vital, especially in the night. Using modern convenience, one can easily start a fire with a set of matches or a lighter but to become a survivor, you need to know how to start one from scratch. First off, find drier wood, twigs, sticks or brushes because however skillful you are, you’ll never start a fire with anything that is wet. Anything that is attached to a living tree is automatically hydrated, so go look for cracked, dry and dead branches off of the ground.

Same goes for grass. In fact, dry dead grass is ten times better at starting a fire, and it will save you both energy and time. Secondly, start small with whatever you are trying to make fire. The smaller the fibers the easier it is to light up. Once you start your fire, then you can add on the medium-sized branches and wood. Otherwise, starting with bigger fibers will not only waste your energy, but it will also waste your time and fuel. Be gentle and patient, as you try to create a spark because even a single spark can be the start of a raging bonfire. Lastly, be creative in your ways of starting fires. Lighters, friction, and matches are not the only methods of starting fires. One can use glasses by focusing the sunlight at the pile fibers. Even your reading glasses can do the trick.

If you are still interested and want to know a little more about starting a fire then refer to this article: How to start a fire without matches. It will go into detail with five different ways to start a fire without matches.


Finding and Filtering Water

Water is the most important survival tool in an emergency situation. Humans can only survive for 3 days without water. Therefore, finding drinking water is an essential part of surviving if you are in a survival situation. Nowadays drinking water is usually purified to kill germs and parasites. Scientists have found in recent years that failure to purify water can cause major diseases and premature death. First, we need to learn to find water. The best water sources are flowing ones. In case you are in hilly terrain, water will always move downhill because of gravity. So you can count on finding creeks in crevices and streams at the bottom of a hill. If you cannot find a stream, try listening for signs of water, then follow it. The sound of water flowing over rocks is unique and easily indentifible.

If you cannot hear or see water, one should search for any signs of life like insects or animals. Frequently, animals most certainly move towards areas of flowing water to quench their thirst.

As an ultimate resort, one can dig a hole in damp soil, which every so often opens up to groundwater. As a warning, this is the last resort because groundwater is riddled with parasites and can be very filthy. Secondly, boil the water, if you can. Never assume that flowing water is clean, purify it to avoid getting an infectious disease or a parasite. If you can start a fire, then use it to boil it. The fire is even safer and the most reliable way to purify the water. If you can carry your own purifier, one can purchase their personal water filters and or purification tablets from your nearest retailers.

As a last resort, if you must, drinking the non-purified water can be the only option. As a warning, even snow or ice must be purified. The risk is just not worth it. Lastly, as one searches for water on hills and every other wild area, avoid drinking stagnant pools. They are just full of parasites, diseases, and bacteria. Avoid even pooled water in streams. They most likely propagate whatever is in the river. Pooled water has two of the most extremely dangerous diseases, which are dengue fever and malaria. If you have any other choice, avoid pooled water by any means necessary.

For a more detailed article on how to filter water then click here: How to filter water in the wild. This article will show different ways how to filter water in the woods properly.


Finding Food/ Hunting

In case your survival situation extends beyond the expected days or weeks, you will need to find food to stay alive. There are several ways to find food but they all have their merits and drawbacks. The following are ways you can catch food in the wild; The first method is hunting after a game. This method is undoubtedly the most rewarding but it has its setbacks. You will need to fashion a weapon like a spear, bow, and arrow, or a sharp long sturdy sticky. If you are able to make a weapon, then you are at an advantage when it comes to hunting animals like birds, rabbits, or fish.  After you make your weapons make sure you spend some time practicing before you put it into action. You’d be surprised how many people can make simple weapons, but don’t know how to use them. Nevertheless, if you don’t give up, hunting is very rewarding.

The second method is fishing.

This method is rather easy because all you need is a fishing line, a hook, and a body of water. With patience, you can probably catch high-protein white meat, which is safe-to-eat. As a warning, if you are fishing in a water body with plenty of fish, you should beware of other large predators that come to drink and eat at the water hole. The third and last resort is foraging. This method gets you the least a good amount of energy to survive without having to hunt or fish. Additionally, without knowledge of the surrounding flora, one can consume poisonous fruits like ivy berries and plants like mushrooms. However, there are several varieties of fruits and plants, which are food. Familiarizing yourself with local flora can be beneficial in the long-term when it comes to your survival, and foraging skills.

How to Navigate

Say you get lost while hiking in your favorite national park, and you totally lost your mobile signal with no trails in sight. Instead of panicking, the best way to survive getting lost is to learn how to navigate. There are numerous ways to navigate this situation, which we will highlight; First, find the position of the sun. The sun should be the first method to determine where you are headed. No matter your position on this earth, the sun moves relatively from the east to the west. Therefore, one needs to know the position of their shadow in relation to the sun.

Additionally, one can find a long sturdy stick and push it into the ground. Mark the position of the shadow, and wait a few minutes for the length and direction of the shadow movement. Generally, the direction of the shadow is eastwards. It is a simple trick and you can never go wrong. The Second is finding high ground. When the skies are gloomy and the clouds are covering the sun, the next best way to find where one is headed is finding a high point. At high points, one can have a bird’s eye view of the landscape and destination, relatively easily. It sounds pretty obvious but it is very helpful as a starting point to gauge your general location.

The third method is using a compass.

A compass is one of the most reliable devices when navigating because its needle always points to one direction, the North. Even experts use it, which amplifies its reliability for a lost hiker, or a lost wanderer. The greatest benefit of a compass is that it works even when all other devices fail, such as your cellphone or tablet. Lastly, look for water sources like dams or rivers because water is a major life source. If you find a water point or resource, chances are you will find people who will connect you back to the grid. Worst case scenario, you will be able to find drinkable water while you still search for civilization.


Building Shelter

If you find yourself lost in the wilderness and far away from any city or town then you will definitely need to build some type of shelter to protect yourself from the elements and predators. Building a shelter depends on your environment and materials available, therefore to be able to build one we will discuss two most common types of shelter and how to build each of them; The first structure, that is easy-to-build for your shelter is called the lean-to shelter. As the name suggests, it is dependent on a pre-existing structure or natural formation.

A natural formation may include a rock face, fallen tree (most common) or a wall. The shelter requires that you construct a 3-piece frame to lean on the pre-existing structure. However, the shelter does not offer all-around protection on account of the natural formation onto which it’s built.

The second shelter type is the round lodge. It is a natural evolution from the lean-to because it is built with large branches, just like the lean-to, but they are leaning into each other all-round into a hut-like structure. Unlike the lean-to, this shelter-type provides a 360 degrees kind of protection. It offers a greater survival shelter because it can safely cover one’s gear, food gather, and protection from scavenging animals. As a warning, it is prudent to set up these structures away from water bodies because you might be washed away by the flash-flooded banks.

Additionally, avoid areas that have animal droppings because it implies that wildlife frequently travels that route and may step on your structure or unexpectantly visit when you are sleeping. Another warning is to not set up the shelter in the direction where the wind is blowing because of your fire. A burst of wind can blow a spark of fire, which could burn your shelter to the ground.


Medicating yourself

Being injured in a disaster situation is at the very least, the worst possible occurrence. Because not only are you already in a disaster situation, but you are also injured which can slow you down or even stop you from reaching safety. Below is some information that can help if yourself in this situation, and you need to medicate yourself or do the first aid.

In the case of a gash or an open wound, the most important step is to close the wound. Find a cloth, or tear one and bandage the opening because they can be a gateway for bacteria, which would only make the situation worse, though an infection. Remember, an infection would weaken your body because your body will try to fight off the infection, and expose you to other kinds of diseases.

In dire cases, one can burn the wound to seal it shut. In the case of a broken bone, you should find a relatively straight and strong tree branch. Tie the tree branch to the broken limb with some rope or cloth. As a warning, do not dare attempt to reset a broken bone, unless you are a medical professional. Unprofessionally resetting your bone could potentially make the fracture worse than before. In the case of a burn wound, you should cover the wound with a rinsed cloth. The cloth should be rinsed with clean water and bandaged every two days. Avoid popping the blister that forms after it heals because the wound may be re-infected much easier.



In conclusion, having these basic survival skills that everyone should know up your sleeves can help you save on time and energy when a disaster strikes. Having these basic skills will ensure that when you are in an emergency situation, you will be able to find water, hunt and find food, build a shelter, start a fire to cook your food, and boil your water, and most importantly you will be able to perform first-aid when you break your limb or cover and treat your wounds. Once you have these skills, you will be able to face any situation because you will be fully prepared.

A wise man once said, we cannot stop natural disasters from happening but we can learn so that many lives will be spared if we have enough disaster preparedness.

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