Survival tips and tricks

Staying Alive: 18 Survival Tips and Tricks You Probably Don’t Know

Guest post by Logan at AllOutdoors.com

Survival Tips and Tricks

Everybody likes to think that there is some magic trick to get you out of any survival situation. It is just not that easy.

To get out alive, you have to control your emotions and find a way to endure. There is no quick fix to survival.

However, there are specific strategies that may make you more efficient and effective in your efforts. Here are a few tips that may help a bit:

Berries may look like a good food option, but only if you are cautious


Edible berries in the wild

Some berries are highly toxic and can kill you quickly. Your best bet are black or blue colored berries. Berries of these colors have a 90% chance of being edible, so the odds are in your favor.

For more heat out of a small fire, build a rocket stove


rocket stove diagram

The design is simple. It needs to be air tight and ‘L’ shaped. This allows for an opening on the side to feed wood to the fire, and a chimney for the heat to rise. You can build one with bricks or cinder blocks.

You can also use dryer ducting and just build a frame to support it. All the heat is directed upwards to a small area where you set a pot or pan to cook.

Rocket stoves are great for cooking but it won't put out the kind of light that a lantern or flashlight can. You'll want to build a regular fire in that case.​

Carry chemical water purification products


I always carry iodine tablets with me in the bush. If you drop two of these into tainted water, it will kill most harmful bacterial and microorganisms. You can also carry a vial of bleach and put a few drops in your water to accomplish the same thing.

Replace your boot laces with paracord


paracord boot laces

If you are in a pinch, you can pull the interior strands out of 550 paracord and get several dozen feet of cordage while still using the exterior sheath as boot laces.

Bark can be a food source


edible tree bark

Most people do not know that the inner bark of trees such as maples, birches, and pines is edible. Use your knife to cut back the rough outer bark and you will find a soft white inner bark before you get to the actual wood of the trunk.

You can boil this to soften it or cook it over the fire to make a crispy snack. You can eat it raw if needed, but it is pretty chewy.

Build a platform to keep your fire off of wet ground


If it has rained recently, the wet ground can keep your fire from lighting or can put it out after it is lit. Use poles or rocks to create a barrier between the ground and your fire.

Be careful when you add wood to your fire


tips for building a fire

Often people add large chunks of wood too fast and smother their fire. Gradually increase the size of the wood you add. Also make sure that each piece you add is lit before you move on to the next piece.

Carry some sort of water filter with you


lifestraw water filter

I prefer to carry a water bottle with a filter built into the lid. I can fill it with water before I go hiking or camping and then refill in a stream or pond when it runs out.

The filter eliminates 99.9% of harmful bacteria, and microorganisms. If you need to conserve space, there are also straw style filters that work fine for getting a drink on the go.

A four point spear is an essential tool


These are easy to make. Find a pole that is taller than shoulder height. This will ensure you do not fall on your spear. Split the end twice so you have four sections. Shove sticks in the gaps to spread them apart and sharpen each point. Then harden the points in the fire. This gives you more surface area to spear small game and fish.

Use found products for a chemical reaction fire


pool chemicals for fire starter

If you are digging through an abandoned garage. Look for the pool chemicals and automotive fluids. Mixing chlorine and brake fluid will create a flame perfect for getting a fire lit in rough conditions.

If you are stranded on the sea, get a drink from a fish


drink fish spinal fluid

You absolutely cannot drink salt water. It will cause severe dehydration that leads to organ failure, hallucinations, and death.

However, you can get drinkable water if you can catch a fish. The spinal fluid is safe to drink for saltwater fish.

Insert your knife into the back behind the head until you feel a pop. You can then drain the fluid and drink away.

Be cautious when using a cave for shelter


A cave may seem like the perfect spot in a rain storm, but other animals may think the same thing. Before settling in, look for fur, tracks, or evidence of a kill.

Also, never light a fire in a cave. The heat could crack the rocks above and cause them to come crashing down on you.

If you need a fire, light it just outside the cave and sleep just inside the entrance.

Be wary of carbon monoxide


Never build a fire or light a candle in a shelter unless you have good ventilation. A buildup of carbon monoxide could cause you to fall asleep and never wake up.

Also, the gas tends to collect in low spots, so keep your bed up off the ground.

Petroleum jelly and cotton balls can be a lifesaver


Using petroleum jelly to start fires
Using cotton balls to start fire
cotton ball and vaseline fire starter

Bring these two items to make sure your fire lights in any conditions. Rub the cotton balls in the jelly and then cast your sparks into it.

These will stay lit in any conditions and give you time to get your tinder going. It is like turning your ferro rod into a lighter.

Always boil your meat or fish if possible


boil meat before eating

When you cook, you want to consume all the nutrients possible. The best way to do this is to boil your meat and drink the broth.

Many of the fats and oils are released into the broth, and drinking it will hydrate you and give you the most from your meal.

Use thorns to deter predators


If you are worried about an animal attacking at night, surround yourself with thorny branches. It will not be complete protection, but it is just another reason for predators to think twice.

If you have leftover food, always use a bear bag


using a bear bag

​Hanging a bear bag is easy.

Wrap everything tightly and hang it in a tree at least 10 feet in the air and at least 100 yards from your camp.

If you leave it on the ground, animals will likely get to it overnight.

If you hang it close to your camp, you run the risk of dealing with predators in your camp.

Use your hand to tell what time it is


tell the time with your hand

If you're out in the wilderness without your trusty survival watch, you can still get a pretty good estimate of what time it is during the day.

Hold up your hand with your fingers parallel to the horizon. Every four fingers between the sun and the horizon is roughly one hour of daylight.

If you are ever in a situation where you are fighting for your life, just take one step at a time. Think about the fastest way to get yourself to safety and then prioritize your needs from there. Hopefully these tips will help with some of those needs.

Looking for more survival tips? Check out this list of the top 117 survival tips and tricks.