Going into the great outdoors, or into the wilderness, can be an amazing and rewarding adventure. But along the way, you may also encounter some unpleasant and unpredictable situations, such as getting lost, getting injured, getting exposed to strong elements, and more. To survive these kinds of situations, there are three things you must do before heading out: preparation, preparation, and more preparation. Coming prepared may just as well save your life in the wild. And so, we have listed everything you need to prepare for before you go on to your great adventure.
First Things First
At least a couple of weeks before your outdoor trip, learn everything there is to learn about the location where you may be hunting, hiking, or camping. Research about the terrain, the probable weather, the local flora and fauna, the nearest water source from the site, and even the route you are going to take to get there and other possible routes. Memorize it by heart and use this information to prepare the things which you may be needing. For example, if the temperature is going to be below freezing, then you must bring extra jackets and gears.
Also, make sure to leave important information about where you are going with someone you trust. Send them your itinerary and indicate the duration of your trip. In case you are not yet back on the supposed arrival date, perhaps they may start contacting the authorities to check up on you.
Condition your Body
If the activity requires strenuous effort, then your best bet is to condition your body through exercise at least a month prior. It will come as a great shock to your body if you have mostly been a couch potato and then suddenly you are climbing up a very steep hill. Without conditioning your body, you get easily tired due to lack of strength and energy and you may put yourself to risk with severe physical injuries.
Prep Your Mind
Prepping your mind is just as important as conditioning your body. Once an emergency situation happens, our brains sets off to a fight-or-flight mode. This sudden surge of adrenaline may cause anxiety and extreme fear. Do not panic whatever happens. Learn to keep calm and keep your cool during stress-inducing situations. Pause and take a breath. Once you regain your focus, make a quick mental inventory of your resources and prioritize what needs to be done: building a fire to keep warm, locating water sources, building your shelter, etc.
Pack the Essentials
Here are the essentials that you must have with you in the wilderness:
- Enough food and water; also bring water purifier tablets so you can gather and drink water from anywhere in case a clean water source is nowhere close
- Shelter and insulation that can protect you from the harsh elements and provide heat, if necessary
- Fire/Light, or tools for making fire (e.g. matches, lighter, or flint and fire-steel) and tools that provide illumination, such as a high-powered flashlight with extra batteries
- First Aid Kit, which must contain: gauze, adhesive bandages, antibiotic ointment, antiseptic wipes, aspirin, thermometer, tweezers, scissors, and necessary medications
- Navigation tools such as a compass (although you must also know how to use this), maps, or GPS tracker
- Multi-purpose tools or a swiss knife, duct tape, para-cords, and wire saw *tip: have these tools in bright color so you can easily locate it if it falls into the ground covered in leaves or stones
- Miscellany, which includes a whistle (or even a flare gun), bug spray, and hygiene wipes and sanitizers
Remember these Survival Tips
- Keep in mind the ‘Rule of Threes’: you can survive three hours without maintaining your core body temperature, three days without water, and three weeks without food.
- To start a fire, you need these three elements: fuel, oxygen, and a spark or heat.
- Build your shelter on a flat, solid, and dry ground. Avoid places where an animal may inhabit.
- To keep extra warm, layer your clothes, insulate your head, and empty your bladder – your body uses up heat just to store urine.
- As a makeshift compass, put a stick into the ground and mark the shadow’s movement. The sun moves from east to west, which you can use as good indicator of the direction.
- If you lost your group and is left alone, stay where you are or close where you are so they can easily track where you are. Also wear bright-colored clothes so you stand out among the greens and the browns of the forest.
- Swarms of bees and lots of birds are good signs that you may be near a water source.
- Do not travel through the wilderness in the dark. Find a good spot and make camp if you can. Most animals living in the wild are nocturnal creatures and if they attack, you are very vulnerable for not being able to see well in the dark.
- Organize your bag well; keep you emergency essentials accessible to save yourself time from digging around.