Survival Tips

– [Narrator] The natural world can be a scary place. And it’s easier than you might think to get lost in the wilderness without any means of immediate escape. If you do happen to find yourself in this sticky situation, don’t panic, and try to remember these tips, because they could literally save your life.

(playful music) – Amazing. – [Narrator] Build a shelter. Assuming you’ve decided to stay put for some time while you await your rescue, one thing you’ll need is a decent shelter to protect yourself from the elements. The last thing you want to do is spend your remaining daylight hours panicking and end up spending the night on the forest floor.

Mostly because this will significantly increase your chances of catching hypothermia. No matter what type of shelter you create, you should ensure that your body will be elevated from the ground as you sleep. So create a padded bed using dry leaves or prop yourself up on a platform of sticks or logs to heighten your chances of survival in the long run.

Wear any extra layers you have and pad your clothes out with dry leaves and foliage to insulate yourself. And if you happen to have any bubble wrap on you, grab that too. This is because bubble wrap has been proven to create an insulating shield 70% as effective as three cut and blankets, making it a miracle survival tool.

If you can resist popping those oh-so-tempting bubbles that is. Finding drinkable water. The human body can go three weeks without food but can only sustain about three to four days without water. So finding it is gonna need to be at the very top of your list. Contrary to popular belief, drinking your own urine is actually not advisable and can only lead to health problems and further dehydration.

Drinking urine is basically like drinking seawater. The kidneys filter out 5% of by-product waste from the body when we urinate. So reconsuming it forces your kidneys to work twice as hard, causing gut problems and even kidney failure. If the next natural water source you were going to reach for is the fabled oasis hidden inside a cactus, then you should probably consider the dangers first, as most cactuses protect their flesh with acids and potent alkaloids, which can cause vomiting, diarrhea and you guessed it more dehydration.

So where can you find safe drinking water in the absence of a natural pond or river? Think green. One sure-fire method to get your precious H2O intake involves two simple things: any kind of plastic bag and the nearest leafy tree. Making sure the tree receives a decent amount of sunlight throughout the day, just add the bag over its greenest part and allow nature to do its thing.

The sun will force the water stored inside the leaves to evaporate, trapping the moisture inside the bag which can then be pierced to provide a clean water source. Another smart way of collecting water without a visible source simply requires you to tie rags, cloth, or tufts of fine grass around your ankles and for a stroll before sunrise.

Walking through tall or or dense grassy areas still covered in morning dew can allow you to collect surprising amounts of water, which can then be rung out into a container. By repeating this method, native Australians are able to collect up to a liter of water every hour. Finally keep an eye out for any bees or insects heading for sizable holes in trees, which might indicate a potential water source.

You can simply stuff the hole with a cloth or absorbent material tied to a stick and ring that baby out. Making fire. Fire’s one of man’s greatest discoveries and it’s classed as one of the most high importance materials when you’re lost in the wilderness. Assuming you’ve forgotten to bring matches or a lighter with you, there are several inventive ways to get a fire going so that you can stay warm and prepare food and water.

Friction based fires involving bone dry wood such as cedar or willow, a spindle and a dry tender nest are the most well-known method, but require a lot of patience and steely determination. Creating fire using a glass lens, like a magnifying glass or eyewear is a proven and effective approach which uses sunlight to your advantage.

But there are ways to achieve this feat, Even if you aren’t a glasses wearer. A balloon or a condom filled with water and shaped to form of concentrated enough beam can work just as well. And if you happen to be in a colder climate, ice can even be carved into a lens like sphere. If you can’t find any natural tender around you to get the flames going once the spark is lit, you’d be surprised to know how many everyday items could come in handy.

Corn chips like Doritos, lint from socks, alcohol-based hand sanitizer, or the foam insulation in most backpack straps are all highly flammable and make great tender. If you don’t have any of this stuff on hand but you do somehow happen to have a battery and a foil backed gum wrapper, just place the wrapper at either end of the bed, battery and voila, you have fire.

Signal for help. Now that you have fire, it’s time to make an effective signal for help so that you don’t have to spend any more time in the wilderness than truly necessary. First, select a prime location. A visible and elevated area like a hilltop or ridge is ideal. Just make sure it’s isolated enough that you won’t accidentally cause any wildfires.

The best kind of fire signal requires lots of smoke to attract attention. So you’ll want to gather as much fresh pine, spruce, wet leaves or even rubber materials as possible, as these create thick or black smoke when burned. Next, take a damp blanket or a large branch with green leaves and cover the fire for three to four second intervals until the smoke ceases.

Before removing the covering to release a cloud of smoke into the air. By repeating this process you can send simple but effective smoke puff signals. Generally one puff can alert someone to your location. Two can signal that you’re a safe and well while three in quick succession will indicate an emergency.

Staying hydrated. With these essential survival elements under your belt, You’ll now be able to boil and purify your collected water to make sure it’s safe to drink. All you really need for this process is a regular plastic water bottle cut into two sections, which will act as your own makeshift filter and boiling container.

First pierce a few holes in the cap, then fill the top half with layers of moss, grass and small stones, or even better fine sand, which will filter out various unwanted and sediments as it drips into the bottom half below. Now, place your filtered water in its container over the fire and wait for it to boil.

As long as the bottle is full of water it will stay firm enough to withstand the flames. Just don’t rely on this method as a long-term fix, as chemicals released from the plastic could be harmful. If you can get hold of any charcoal, this can be crushed and added to the water as it boils to aid the purification process and it can even make the finished product taste more drinkable.

Hey, no one said the water was gonna taste particularly nice. Insect repellent. If you’re truly lost in the wilderness, the last thing you want is a hoard of bloodthirsty mosquitoes preying on you as you sleep. As no one plans to get quite so lost, it’s likely the more absent minded among us would have forgotten to bring an effective insect repellent along to ward off the annoying bugs.

Luckily, there’s a simple remedy for this itchy predicament. All you need to do is find the nearest pine tree and grab a fistful of its sharp, green needles. Mosquitoes and other flying insects can’t stand the scent of pine. So crushing the needles up and rubbing the oils on your clothes can provide quick relief.

And why not take some back to burn on your campfire for a fly free zone? Foraging for food. With shelter, fire, and save drinking water, you should be well equipped for survival but it won’t be too long until you start feeling peckish. If creating hunting materials from scratch seems beyond your abilities, and there doesn’t seem to be any large game available anyway, there are plenty of easy ways to satisfy your hunger just by foraging around and knowing what to look for.

It might not occur to you at first, but there’s plenty of good grub to be had by flipping over sizable logs and surveying the ecosystem beneath. Insects like ants, termites, beetles, and grubs are easy enough to catch and kill and are packed full of valuable fats and proteins. Those can be raw or cooked for a few minutes if they have outer shells.

Just avoid spiders, ticks and flies if you’re unsure. Not that any of those sound particularly appealing to begin with. Recognizable wild berries like blackberries, gooseberries, and elderberries are great too, but any white berries are generally toxic to humans. Searching for edible mushrooms in damp dark areas can seem like a bit of a minefield, but there’s some simple rules to follow.

Choose mushrooms with brown or tan gills on their underside and white tan or brown caps. Never white gills or red caps as these can be deadly. If you’re not sure just don’t eat it. Getting your bearings. Okay. You’ve been lost for a while now. And rescue seems increasingly unlikely. So you’re going to have to leave camp and get on the move, but you have no idea where you are.

Assuming you have no compass and your smartphone is out of battery eliminating any hope of using its GPS system, there’s still a couple of clever ways to figure out your location. Unfortunately, moss doesn’t always grow on the north side of trees and waiting for the sun to set in the West can be a big waste of time, but fear not.

If you happen to be wearing an analog watch, you can easily turn it into a compass using just the sun and a bit of quick thinking ingenuity. First point the watch face horizontally, so the hour hand is in line with the sun. Then figure out the center point between the hour hand and the 12. And there you have your north south line.

In the Southern hemisphere the 12 o’clock Mark should be pointed toward the sun and the line exactly halfway between the hour hand and this mark will point north. Smartphone hacks. If you don’t have a watch, but you do have a dead smartphone, and you’re in a desperate situation you can dismantle it to create your very own survival kit.

Besides a mirror you can use for signaling and circuit boards which can be sharpened into a makeshift knife, there is a tiny magnet behind the speaker system, which has big potential. You’ll need a small metal pin like a needle, a watch pan or a hair grip, which can be rubbed against the magnet for several minutes to magnetize it and a puddle or pond with a still surface.

Place the metal pan on a leaf and wait for it to align itself with the Earth’s natural north and south magnetic poles, which will provide you with a directional line to get your bearings. Generally, the end pointing furthest from the sun is the North and the closest is the South. Although this is reversed in the southern hemisphere.

Escaping quick sand. Quick sand isn’t always found in barren deserts, as the movies would have you believe. In fact, you could be hiking near a riverbank lake or marshland, and before you know it you’re trapped in the deadly stuff and sinking fast. It’s important to act quickly and to know what to do to escape your impending, muddy fate.

Your first move should be to make yourself as light as possible. So lose any backpacks, shoes or heavy clothing before sinking any further. The human body is less dense than quicksand, so it’s impossible to drown, but you’ll still want to stay calm because frantic movements can dislodge the sand and suck you further in.

Instead, breathe deeply and move slowly. Wiggling your legs slightly to create pockets of air for liquid to trickle down and loosen the sand’s grip. Now lay back to distribute your weight evenly across the surface and remember your basic swimming lessons by replicating the backstroke and using sweeping arm movements to propel yourself backwards.

Once your legs and lower half are freed, roll away from the quick sand until you safely reach hard ground and breathe a sigh of relief that though you might be covered head to toe in mud, you have made a lucky escape to safety. The wilderness can throw all sorts of challenges your way, but now you should be better equipped to deal with them.

Do you think you’d survive? Do you know any other useful survival tips? Let me know down in the comments and thanks for watching.

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