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Skills You Need to Survive
Whew! We got so busy writing our Ultimate Bug Out Bag Buying Guide that we almost didn’t get the POWW out this week.
But fret not, we’ve got a good one for you. This week is all about essential survival skills.
Because food, shelter, and water are so easy for most of us to come by, these skills aren’t a necessity anymore and are becoming more and more of a lost art.
I mean, unless you go backpacking or go on boy scout camping trips, when are you supposed to learn many of the bushcraft skills that you’ll need to survive out in the wilderness?
So enough putting it off. You never know when a disaster will occur so let’s go ahead and get started learning!
How to Use a Compass
First up, you’ve probably heard that your bug out bag checklist should include a compass. Whether you’re trying to get back to camp or make your way to a safe zone, being able to use a compass can get you there fastest and keep you from walking in circles.
Unfortunately, while everyone knows what a compass is, few actually know how to use one. Thankfully, Brian has written up a pretty great post on using a compass. As Brian says,
“Using a map and a compass is such a fundamental part of being outdoors or hiking that it should be one of the very first things that you learn before setting off to the wilderness.”
So learn this skill now before you need to use it. It’s also something that you don’t need to actually go into the woods to work on.
You can easily practice around your neighborhood while taking the dog/kids for a walk or head to the park and creep out the bird watchers.
Pair this with geocaching and you’ll never get lost (and it’s fun!).
How to Find Water in the Wild
Our second skill is probably the most important one if you find yourself lost in the wilderness, how to find water in the wilderness.
You already know that you can only survive for three days without water while you can go three weeks without food. So finding water is, to say the least, kind of important.
The article addresses how to find multiple sources, depending on your environment.
If you’re in a humid place, collecting dew or checking tree crevices for small puddles might be your best choice. If you’re in an area with snow… well you know what snow is made of, right? And if you’re in a desert, get out of the desert.
How to Build a Fire
Following closely behind finding water on the survival skills hierarchy is being able to build a fire.
I can tell you from experience that not enough people know how to properly start a fire even when they’ve got lighters, fuel, and tinder on hand.
Imagine how useless they will be when all they’ve got is a battery, gum wrapper, cotton ball, and vaseline (preeeeetty sure that was a Macgyver episode).
There is a lot of focus on different ways to start a fire but not enough on what to do with the spark or flame once you have it.
Thankfully, Jeff wrote a great piece about how to build a fire (we prefer the teepee method).
How to Cook Over a Campfire
“But what will I do with this fancy fire that I’ve built”, you ask. Plenty of things, really.
Besides providing light and warmth, you can dry out clothes, sterilize a needle, purify water, or make shadow puppets.
Or you can use it the same way our ancestors have for thousands of years; to cook.
If you’ve got some hot dogs or marshmallows, I’m sure you already know what to do with those but if you’re trying to make a soup or grill some freshly caught trout, you may want to check out this post on how to cook over a campfire.
We’re simple people with simple pleasures so we appreciate the picture tutorials. Plus they remind us of old comic books. Isn’t learning fun?
And if you’re at a loss of what to cook in your new handy dandy outdoor kitchen, we’ve got a list of over 500 campfire recipes for you to peruse as well as a bunch of recipes to make pemmican.
That’s All Folks!
Of course, these aren’t the only bushcraft skills you need to know to survive in the wild, these are just the best articles we read this week.
We will almost definitely revisit the survival skills theme in future POWWs since there are so many that we couldn’t get to this week.
Which other skills do you think are essential for survival?