3 Crucial Elements for Outdoor Survival: Shelter, Fire and Water

3 Crucial Elements for Outdoor Survival: Shelter, Fire and Water

How to Find a Natural Shelter for Outdoor Survival


A shelter is crucial to your survival if you are stuck or stranded in the wilderness.  Sometimes, you don’t have the necessary tools and supplies, to build an adequate shelter, available to you.  Look around, nature has probably given you something to work with if you stop for a moment to assess the situation.


Don’t allow your mind to make the situation more difficult.  Take a moment to stop and really look at your options.  You will probably be pleasantly surprised at the numerous shelter options available to you.


Because the rain, sun, and extreme temperatures are hard on the body, you will need to find shelter quickly.  Your current environment offers shelter to numerous species of animals.   You, too, can also take shelter from the natural landscape. 


A simple log, for instance, can be useful for protection.  If the log is at the right angle to the wind, it becomes a handy windbreak for you to use for protection.  Another fantastic idea is to use another log or stick to dig out a hollow area in the ground, where you can sit or lie down, to further protect yourself from the elements.


Hollow trees and logs are another option for shelter in a serious survival situation.  Whether the tree is standing or has fallen down, it can provide some shelter.  Broken boughs or sweeping branches can offer protection from the hot sun, pouring rain, or howling wind. 


Overhangs and caves can provide a readymade area to rest and relax.  Use some rocks or debris and sticks to form a door to the shelter area for even greater protection from the elements.  Caves can be home to animals such as insects, snakes, or other dangerous creatures, so be cautious when exploring these areas as a potential natural shelter.  


How to Make a Fire for Outdoor Survival


Survival in the wilderness can be tough.  But know that it is possible.  One of the first lessons to survival is learning how to make a fire under most any conditions.  Creating a fire can make the difference between life and death in many outdoor survival situations, for this reason, it is a good skill to master.


Making a fire is extremely important for a number of reasons.  Fire is important to keep flying insects and dangerous animals away.  Cooking, purifying water, and bandage sterilization is possible with a fire.  It is also a tool for signalling help in a survival situation out in the wilderness.


To make a fire, you must have three things:  air, heat, and fuel.  Without these three components, fire is not possible and the rate of survival, in many instances, is decreased.


First, begin making a fire by selecting the best location.  It depends what you are planning to do with the fire, to determine the best location.  Keep your fire near your shelter for convenience.  Also, in signalling    situations, you will want your fire to be highly visible.  Choose the area wisely before you begin the process of making a fire. 


A campfire must start with small pieces of wood and then progress to larger timbers.  Avoid collecting wood directly from the earth because it is probably damp.  Damp wood will not work well to start a fire.  Your efforts will be futile. 


To begin a fire, you will need tender.  Tender is absolutely dry material that requires only a spark to ignite.  Paper, if you have some available, will work well.  Use dry leaves, bark, and grass also make great tender to start a fire.


Once you get the fire started, progress from the tender to kindling.  Kindling is dry sticks and twigs that are readily combustible.  When placed on a small flame, kindling should start burning quickly and easily.


Once the fire has begun burning, you can begin adding larger pieces of wood to the area.  The fire can continue to burn well with proper maintenance and attention.


Your outdoor survival kit should include items to start the fire such as tender, a candle, and waterproof matches.  A flint striker is another method to make a fire.  This method provides a spark that will get the flame to burn.  


The finer and drier the tender, the easier it is to start the fire.  Fluff the tender well to simplify the fire making process.  If the outdoor survival kit doesn’t have tender, use your knife to cut and chop dry sticks and bark to create tender.  Remember the smaller the pieces the better.  Place the flint striker at the tender and strike to create sparks.  The sparks should make the tender catch fire.  Sheltering the fire area from the wind when first making the sparks can be helpful.


Practice using these survival skills before an emergency to best is prepared.  Making a fire is extremely important to survival.  Learning the skill to making a fire will be extremely beneficial if you are ever placed in an outdoor survival situation. 


How to Purify Water for Outdoor Survival 


We are used to the luxury of walking over to the sink and having safe water at our fingertips fresh from the tap, but in the wild, water is not generally safe for drinking.  Because water is seldom pure, it is essential to know how to purify water for outdoor survival in an emergency.


If you are not absolutely certain that the water is safe, you must purify it.  Clean water is crucial to good health and survival.  Water that is polluted can contain microorganisms that can cause serious illness.  Viruses and bacteria can really take their toll on someone out in the wilderness.  Stomach issues are not pleasant in the comfort of home, let alone out in the wild.  Do what you can to protect yourself.


Chemical pollutants are also a concern in some areas.  Such chemicals are often herbicides or pesticides from farming industries.  This form of pollution is another problem that we cannot see in the water.


There are three main ways to purify water.  Filtration is one method for cleaning water that removes the visible particles in the water.  Your sock or T-shirt can become a filter or strainer to remove dirt and debris from the water.  A filtering water bottle can be a useful tool for an outdoor survival kit.  Do remember that filtering water is not the same as purifying water.


Boiling is a safe way to remove harmful microorganisms.  Boiling water does not remove chemical pollutants from the water.  Water must boil rapidly for just a few minutes to be safe, but in some cases, this method is not practical.  If you are able to create a fire, you may be able to boil the water sufficiently for safety.


Many outdoor survival kits include iodine or purification tablets to purify water and make it safe for consumption.  Check the contents of your outdoor survival kit to see if such items are included.  If not, purchase this item to supplement your current outdoor survival kit.  Learn how to use the specific products that you have available.  Follow the directions carefully for any chemicals to purify your water.  The water is safe to drink using such methods, but know that the taste does not improve. 


To improve the taste of your drinking water, it is a good idea to combine filtering and purification methods for the best taste. 


A combination of these methods can make the water safe and improve the taste.  It is crucial to locate water and make it healthy for consumption in an outdoor survival situation.  Use what items you have with you, as well as, the items found in nature. 


Begin with the water that appears the clearest.  Moving surface water is always the first choice whenever available.  Stagnant water is the least favourable for survival.  Water that is not moving and shows no sign of life is a warning to you.  Stay away from such water whenever it is possible.


Safe, pure water is key to survival.  Dehydration is a real concern in an outdoor survival situation.  Use purification methods to ensure your good health during outdoor survival situations.  Staying hydrated with clean drinking water can allow you to survive for a significant period of time in the wilderness.  


Even in snowy weather, you can take shelter beneath a medium-sized tree.  Pockets may form beneath the branches near the trunk.  Dig in the snow to locate such areas to use for shelter.  Stay inside an open pocket of snow.  Cover yourself up with snow to use as insulation.  Your body heat will remain in this area, rather than escaping, and help to keep you warm.  This will reduce the risk of frostbite and hypothermia.


If you are in an area that is completely open, sit with your back to the wind.  Pile any supplies or belongings behind you to act as a windbreak for protection. 


You should always select your shelter area wisely.  Your shelter must be safe for survival.  Try to avoid dangerous areas with falling rocks or falling trees.  Proper drainage and ventilation are also key to survival.  Areas that are too close to water may be dangerous due to flooding. 


You can use logs, hollows, or caves to protect yourself from the wind, sun, and weather.  Even your supplies or broken limbs can offer some comfort.  Finding a safe shelter to sleep and rest is crucial to your survival in an emergency.  You can use the assets of the environment to protect yourself until help arrives. 

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