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10 Most Essential Survival Skills for Wilderness Survival

Have you ever been in a secluded area and wondered what would happen if your car was to run off the road and you ended up in a ditch, alone, miles from civilization and now you need to survive until you can either get assistance or find your way back to civilization? Can you survive in the wilderness? Is nature your friend?

First, let me say that nature is one of the greatest gifts we have. Not only is the natural world full of beauty and possibilities for adventure, but studies have also proven that exposure to nature improves our physical and mental health. However, when it comes to your enjoying nature, or being trapped in it, there is a considerable difference between enjoyment and survival. It is one thing for you to go on a weekend camping trip, but it is another thing altogether to survive in the wild when the SHTF. If you happen to become stranded as I described in my scenario would you be able to survive? Do you know what’s OK for you to eat? Can you gather water? Do you have the skills to ensure your safety and sustenance?

In this article, I am going to provide you with 10 of the most essential survival skills you require to make it in the wild. By following my recommendation in this article, you will have what it takes to survive in the great outdoors.

10 Most Important Survival Skills for Wilderness Survival

1. Food:


Hogweed, a poisonous plant to avoid

Your body requires nutritional sustenance to survive. Food provides your body with the water, energy, and focus it needs to function correctly. How can you make sure you have what you need?

Being aware of edible plants and insects is a critical skill to begin with. A general recommendation I can give you is to avoid munching on plants that appear milky, hairy, bulbous, or have three leaves or pink spurs – these are all sure signs that the plant is poisonous.

Wild plants that you CAN eat includes such plants as clovers, dandelions, and sorrel. They are each very common and edible. However, you won’t be able to survive on greens alone. In a survival situation, you must have protein and fat to thrive.

Almost all common insects are edible – from ants to grasshoppers, to worms, to even bees. These can be your go-to source for protein if stuck in the wilderness. You can also try your hand at survival hunting. A simple snare requires just a noose, which you can build from rope or wire. Simply tie the noose to a tree near an animal’s den, and wait for your next meal.

2. Water:

No matter how much food you can gather, it is impossible for you to survive without water. To survive in the wilderness, you must know how to collect and purify water. There are several ways for you to do this. One way is to collect rainwater in tarps or pots if you have them. Another way you can gather water is by digging a foot-deep hole in a muddy area, and waiting for water to rise to the surface.

However, once you’ve collected your water, you have to purify it. You can do so by boiling your water over a fire in a tin or aluminum can, a glass jar, or a plastic bottle (that means you will also need to know how to start a fire, which I will cover soon.)

3. First Aid:

In the military, I had to learn basic first aid skills to care for myself and my fellow service members. I also had to learn some skills during law enforcement basic training. Learning first aid is a simple way to help ensure your survival in the wild. Knowing how to properly dress wounds, mainly to avoid infection, and fashion splints and slings could be the difference between your life and death in the wilderness.

4. How to Start and Maintain a Fire:

Fire is essential for two significant reasons if you are stuck in the wilderness: staying warm and water purification. Knowing how to start a fire and keep it going in both wet and dry environments is one of the most essential survival skills you can acquire to survive in the wild.

5. Self Defense:

Of course, you know I am going to add self-defense to this list. If you are forced into a wilderness survival situation, it may become necessary for you to defend yourself or lose your life. Learning self-defense and remembering to pack a pocket-knife when leaving on an adventure are two ways that can help you protect yourself in the wilderness.

6. Learn How to Repair Your Clothes:

Hopefully, you won’t be in the wilderness so long that you have to repair your clothes, but warm clothes can be essential to your survival. Clothing repair may seem an outdated skill to master, but when it comes to surviving in the wild, maintaining your clothes can offer you much-needed protection and warmth.

7. Grooming:

Keeping yourself clean may be the last thing you think of when you think of wilderness survival, but basic grooming skills can help maintain your health and keep you alive.

8. Expect the Unexpected:

I often write about having a Warrior Mindset. This is important for wilderness survival as well. You must train your mind to expect the unexpected and accept the unexpected. This is what a warrior is prepared to do. Your mental outlook significantly affects your morale, and your morale dramatically affects your ability to survive.

9. Worldly Awareness:

Be aware of your surroundings, and the dangers and advantages they have to offer. Awareness can help you be a more proficient and triumphant survivor.

10. Practice Makes Perfect:

At the end of the day, no matter how many precautions you take, preparations you make, or intelligence you cultivate, surviving in the wild poses an undeniable challenge. I recommend that you continue to develop a survivalist mentality. While not in a survival situation take the time to see the possibilities objects in nature can offer you. Learn the art of scrounging or scavenging (I have written a previous article on this,) and develop your resourcefulness. The most important thing I can advise is that you be ready to push on, no matter the direness of your situation, and you will be well on your way to being a true survivalist.

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One thought on “10 Most Essential Survival Skills for Wilderness Survival”

  1. One big one you left out was “Making/Finding Shelter”. I know when I go out in the woods I have more than a few times been surprised by the weather even when the local forecast was for a nice day. Just imagine how much more so when you are out there accidentally… Even is summer you can get hypothermia if it rains long enough and the wind stays brisk.

    You need to have shelter against that 20 percent chance of rain (which is 100 percent now that you can’t get away from it). Somewhere to get out of the wind and rain will be very helpful and critical for your survival. Learn how to at least make a lean to, if not a wigwam, don’t worry about making a log cabin with your tire iron. You need to know how to make something that will keep you alive, or just hope you find a cave that is not being shared by a bear or mountain lion.

    Maybe do your next article on making emergency shelter when you left your tent at home. (or drove your car into the middle of nowhere).