Essential Survival Skills you Should Have

learn survival skills

Have you ever thought about what you would do if you found yourself in a survival situation? With modern technology making our lives easier than ever before, it’s easy to forget that we still need to know basic survival skills to keep ourselves safe in the great outdoors. From starting a fire to finding reliable sources of food and water, there are a few essential skills that everyone should know in case of an emergency. Keep reading to learn about the top survival skills that can make a big difference in an emergency situation.

The importance of survival skills

Basic survival skills are important for anyone who spends time in the great outdoors. You never know when an emergency situation may arise, and having the knowledge and skills to survive can mean the difference between life and death. Whether it’s building a shelter, starting a fire, finding water sources, or identifying edible plants, having these basic survival skills can give you the confidence and ability to handle unexpected situations and stay safe. So, it’s always wise to learn and practice these skills before heading out on any adventure. [1][2]

 Basic Survival Skills

# Finding or building a shelter

Finding or building a shelter is crucial in any survival situation. To do so, you must first identify suitable materials and locations. Then, you can construct different types of shelters depending on the terrain, environment, and season. It’s always best to practice building a makeshift shelter in your backyard before needing to do so in the wilderness. With your childhood fort-building skills, you can start with a basic lean-to or tarp-tent and gradually build up your skills until you’re comfortable lashing together long branches to form a teepee. [3][4]

1. Identifying suitable materials and location

When it comes to survival, finding or building a shelter is a fundamental skill. It is important to identify suitable materials and a safe location that can provide protection from the elements. Knowing which materials are suitable for construction, such as branches, bark, or leaves, can make a difference in how effective your shelter is at keeping you safe and warm. It is also important to consider the location and choose a spot that is well-drained and protected from wind and rain. With the right skills and knowledge, you can construct various types of shelter to suit different environments and situations. [5][6]

2. Constructing different types of shelter

Constructing different types of shelter is a crucial skill to have in any survival situation. There are various types of shelters you can build based on the terrain and environment, from natural shelters like caves and hollow stumps to man-made ones like a debris hut or a lean-to. When planning to build a shelter, you should consider factors such as location, insulation, and the heat source. With the right materials and techniques, you can construct a sturdy and reliable shelter to keep you safe and protected from the elements. [7][8]

# Starting a fire

Starting a fire is a crucial survival skill. It enables you to cook food, keep warm, and even purify water. While it is common to carry a lighter or matches, it’s important to know how to start a fire without these tools. There are various methods using minimal materials such as the hand drill, fire plow, or bow drill. It’s essential to understand the basics of fire and collect dry fuel to start with a small fire and progressively add larger kinds of fuel. Practice these skills to be prepared for any emergency situation. [9][10]

1. Understanding fire basics

Fire is an essential survival skill that can make the difference between life and death. It can provide warmth, light, a way to cook food, and a signal for rescuers to find you. Understanding the basics of fire-making is crucial in a survival situation, including how to gather and prepare firewood, and different methods to start a fire. It’s important to carry at least two ways to start a fire with you in case of emergency. Practicing fire-making in different weather conditions is highly recommended. [11][12]

2. Gathering and preparing firewood

When it comes to starting a fire, choosing the right type of firewood is just as important as knowing the different methods of starting one. Gathering and preparing firewood can be a daunting task, but it is essential for building a strong and long-lasting fire. Look for dry wood, preferably dead and standing, as it will burn more efficiently. Splitting the wood into smaller pieces also helps speed up the drying process. Remember to always follow Leave No Trace principles and only take what you need. [13][14]

3. Different methods of starting a fire

Starting a fire is crucial for survival, as it provides warmth, light, and a means of cooking food. There are several methods to start a fire, including using matches, lighters, and flint and steel. However, in emergency situations, these tools may not be available. Learning primitive fire-making techniques such as the bow drill or hand drill can prove to be useful. It’s essential to practice starting fires in various weather conditions to create a fire when needed. Remember, fire is not just a survival need; it can also provide psychological support. [15][16]

# Water Procurement and Treatment

 Finding water sources

In any survival situation, finding a source of water is crucial. Without water, you won’t last more than a few days. Luckily, there are several ways to find water in nature. You can collect rainwater in a waterproof tarp or cloth, or look for flowing streams, rivers, and lakes. Animals and plants also give clues to finding water sources, and building traps and snares to catch rain or dew can be another option. Just remember, it’s essential to purify or filter any water you find before drinking it. [17][18]

# Food Procurement

 Gathering edible plants

Learning to forage for edible plants is an essential survival skill. In an emergency situation without an emergency food supply, foraging can act as a temporary solution to give you the energy and strength you need to survive as you wait for rescuers. While food storage is important, foraging can bring new and different flavors to the table. It’s crucial to establish foraging rules, be familiar with edible plants in your area, and consult a field guide for preparation and cooking instructions. Always remember to be mindful of safety and health concerns while gathering edible plants. [19][20]


Fishing is a valuable survival skill that can provide a steady source of food in emergency situations. Whether it’s using active methods like casting a rod or passive methods like setting up a net or trotline, there are many ways to catch fish. With a little practice and the right gear, it’s possible to catch enough fish to sustain yourself indefinitely. And when it comes to survival, every bit of protein and fat counts. So why not learn how to fish and be prepared for any emergency situation? [21][22]

# Navigation

 Understanding cardinal directions

Understanding cardinal directions is a crucial skill that everyone should know, especially in survival situations. By knowing the cardinal points, you can navigate your way through the wilderness using a compass and map. Teaching kids how to read a map and use a compass is a fun way to introduce them to basic survival skills. You can start by having them draw a map of their home and practice finding their way around using a token to represent themselves. Going on nature walks and practicing orienteering is also a great way to reinforce cardinal directions. [23][24]

#. Basic First Aid

 Wound cleaning and dressing

Taking care of wounds is essential in any survival situation. It’s important to first clean the area around the wound using water, gentle soap, or wet wipes. Then, apply pressure to the wound to stop any bleeding before cleaning the wound itself. A wound can be dressed using a variety of dressing options, including alginate, composites, film, foam, and gauze dressings. Hydrocolloids and hydrogels are other options available for dressing wounds. It’s important to continue replacing the dressings until the wound is fully healed. [25][26]

 Treating broken bones

Knowing how to treat a broken bone is a crucial survival skill, especially when venturing into the wilderness. If a bone is broken, it is important not to move or reposition the injured limb. Instead, place a simple splint on the broken area to hold the bone still and protect it. Traction is also a process that can be used to gently apply pressure to the bone to put it back in its proper position, relieving pain and improving circulation. With these techniques, you can ensure that you are prepared to handle any unexpected bone injuries when out in the great outdoors. [27][28]

 Identifying and treating medical conditions

When out in the wilderness, it’s important to be prepared for any medical emergencies that may arise. Knowing how to identify and treat various medical conditions can be a lifesaver. Taking a wilderness first-aid class and having a reference book on hand can help you become more capable and self-sufficient. It’s important to remember that safety is your responsibility and that no article or video can replace the advice of a physician or professional instruction. [29][30]

# Self-defense

 Basic self-defense techniques

Having basic self-defense techniques is an important survival skill. It’s not just about fighting off attackers, but also about avoiding dangerous situations altogether. Learning how to read body language, keep a safe distance from strangers, and protect vulnerable areas of the body can greatly increase your chances of staying safe. It’s important to remember that the goal of self-defense is to escape and seek help, not to engage in a prolonged fight. Practice these techniques regularly and stay aware of your surroundings to be prepared for any emergency situation. [31][32]

 Use of weapons such as knives and guns

Firearms, knives, and other weapons serve many purposes. Food procurement is imperative in a survival situation. Self-defense is another consideration. While it’s always better to avoid violent confrontations, sometimes there’s no choice but to fight. Basic self-defense techniques are valuable skills, even just to buy you enough time to escape the threat. Knowing how to use weapons such as knives and guns is also important. However, it’s important to use them safely and effectively to prevent injuries. [33][34]

Remember these  essential survival skills

In summary, the essential survival skills covered in this article include finding and building shelter, starting a fire, finding water sources, gathering edible plants, fishing, understanding cardinal directions, wound cleaning and dressing, treating broken bones, identifying and treating medical conditions, and basic self-defense techniques. It is important to practice and develop these skills as they can make the difference between life and death in emergency situations. Remember to always be prepared and have the necessary tools and equipment on hand. [35][36]

Importance of practicing and developing these skills

It is crucial to practice and develop essential survival skills because you never know when you may find yourself in an emergency situation. By learning how to build a shelter, start a fire, find clean drinking water, gather food, and administer basic first aid, you can greatly increase your chances of survival.

Practicing these skills in your own backyard can also help you feel more confident and prepared in case of an actual emergency. Remember, it is better to know these skills and not need them than to need them and not know them [37][38]

Learn more and be prepared for any emergency situations.

Basic survival skills are essential to have, especially for those who love exploring the outdoors. While the likelihood of finding yourself in a survival situation may be low, being prepared for any circumstance can make all the difference.

So why not take the time to learn more and develop your survival skills?

Remember, there is always room for improvement, and the more you know, the more confident you will feel in any emergency situation.

Stay safe, stay prepared, and happy exploring! [39][40]

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