Questions relating to staying alive in the wilderness and learning survival techniques. Please **do not** use this tag for questions about general survival that are not related to the outdoors. Surviving in town or city environments will likely be closed.

learn more… | top users | synonyms

2
votes
0answers
37 views

Surviving a forest fire while backpacking [duplicate]

A friend of mine recently was forced to cancel a backpacking trip because Waterton Lakes National Park (Canada side of Glacier National Park in Montana) canceled his backcountry permit due to a forest ...
14
votes
3answers
1k views

When will a rattlesnake strike?

There are a few questions about how to avoid rattlers, and what to do if you're bit, but at what point does a rattler actually strike? I had my first rattler encounter ever yesterday, just out in ...
14
votes
2answers
555 views

How to make a traditional torch?

How would you go about preparing an old fashioned torch for use in survival situations where an electrical torch has failed?
4
votes
2answers
135 views

Could spray foam insulation be used effectively as an emergency sleeping bag?

Is it harmful for our health? How thick should the foam be around the body to be okay down to 0degC with warm clothes underneath? Is there enough foam for this in a 500ml can (average man)? Or two? I ...
10
votes
2answers
202 views

Encountering a bear in water?

I found myself in a situation the other day that I've never been in before. I was paddling along in my canoe with my wife and kids, when suddenly a young black bear came scrambling down the slope, ...
8
votes
10answers
2k views

What are good baits for Crabbing?

Now certainly if you're British you likely just had a wave of nostalgia over the idea of Crabbing! I did when I thought this through certainly. Crabbing is not only a great way to spend the afternoon ...
5
votes
5answers
207 views

Drinking alcohol as the last choice in survival situation

I'm asking this just for curiosity: Imagine your are alone in the wilderness without any resources since a few days. You're dehydrated and you find a bottle of an alcoholic liquor in your baggage. ...
10
votes
1answer
377 views

eating ash in Soviet Union

My Polish grandfather in early 1950's was sent by communist regime to a gulag. People were starving there and malnourishment was common, so they came up with idea of burning some kind of trees and ...
14
votes
5answers
4k views

What do I do if a black bear is right outside my tent?

Even if I was to follow the advice of letting bears know I am in the area, keeping my cooking and anything that smells at least 100m from my camp & downwind, etc, suppose a bear finds my tent and ...
6
votes
2answers
167 views

How do you survive getting towed under a log jam?

When I was a boy, my father and I were unexpectedly swept into a log jam (pile of logs the size of a house) on the banks of the Elk River while canoeing near our home. Somewhat similar looking jam, ...
7
votes
2answers
3k views

Top gear presenter pees on snare, why?

I was watching Top Gear last night and Richard Hammond was (supposedly) trapped on a mountain in British Columbia and had to "survive". At one point he laid a snare for rabbits on a track and said: ...
7
votes
2answers
460 views

What is the most effective way to flee from an alligator?

I've heard that running in a zig-zag pattern makes it more difficult for the alligator to keep up with you. Is that true?
5
votes
6answers
344 views

How can I survive multiple days in cold environment?

What can I do to survive multiple (2-4) days in a cold environment (like in mountains in winter)? As resources I've normal Skitouring gear with me for a single day, no sleeping bag or bivy bag. What ...
8
votes
2answers
284 views

Is there a more practical type of cord to carry than “550 paracord”?

Paracord is widely considered a must-have for wilderness survival, and there are hundreds of tutorials for making bracelets out of it, etc. With this popularity has come a glut of people selling ...
37
votes
7answers
9k views

Does cotton really kill?

For outdoor hiking, backpacking or camping trips, I always hear people saying Cotton Kills. That means don't wear cotton anywhere (underwear, shirts, pants), and no cotton blends. Usually it's given ...
15
votes
2answers
3k views

If you are buried in an avalanche will you survive?

Obviously, my best chance of survival is in not being buried, but if I am unfortunate enough to become buried in an avalanche what are my chances of surviving it?
15
votes
5answers
6k views

How to check if a fence or cable has electricity without having special tools?

You run across a wire cable, or wire fence in the wild, with which you would have to interact in some way. How to check if electricity runs through it without having special tools? EDIT: As the ...
7
votes
2answers
166 views

What is the easiest way to prepare a rabbit snare with minimal tools?

If I don't have much with me and I want to catch a rabbit for food, What is the easiest way to prepare a snare? What kind of knot should I use and where should I put the snare?
17
votes
2answers
772 views

What is the first thing to do, when buried in an avalanche?

Are there set rules I should follow which would increase my chances of survival if I get buried by an avalanche? Should I try to do anything if I get caught-up in one, before it has settled?
6
votes
1answer
258 views

Where can I expect to find naturally occurring flint in the wild?

Where would I look if I was in a survival situation and wanted to find some rocks for fire starting? Where does flint occur naturally? What environments could you expect to find some in? I've created ...
12
votes
5answers
548 views

Ration or consume water?

In a situation where you don't know when you will find water again, is it better to ration the water you have over time (and ever increasing dehydration) or to drink it to quench thirst as soon as ...
15
votes
2answers
1k views

What formation to best survive a flood?

I just heard of an incident where a group of people were caught unprepared by a flood. It is known as the "Bulacan State University Field Trip", Looking at the images online, I couldn't help but ...
12
votes
3answers
2k views

How do you locate the “North Star”?

What if it's night and you want to find north? How do you locate the North Star in the night sky?
4
votes
2answers
792 views

How do I find north using a watch?

I've heard this is possible but I'm not sure on the details. Can someone elaborate?
8
votes
4answers
775 views

If injured and lost, what are your biggest priorities for survival?

Let's imagine for a moment that you're solo hiking somewhere you've never been before and take a fall off the edge of a trail, injure yourself (to the point of limited mobility), and become entirely ...
0
votes
0answers
101 views

What is a great, all-purpose knife? [duplicate]

I'm going to go camping soon and would like to have a dependable knife that I can use when I'm there. What do you guys recommend? Not to be that guy or anything, but I'd prefer if it was American ...
38
votes
14answers
10k views

How can I tell if I am dehydrated or have low electrolytes (need salt, etc.)?

How can detect, in the outdoors with minimal equipment, if I am dehydrated or need electrolytes? Update Some background: I get overheated very easily, possibly because I don't sweat as much as most ...
14
votes
12answers
3k views

Survival type activies for Scout camp

I taking a bunch of scouts camping next week. While we are staying at a Scout campsite with facilities and some organised activities. We have decided we want to have a bit more of back to ...
12
votes
3answers
520 views

Tree bark as food

I saw a youtube video where this guy skinned a spruce tree stick and ate the bark while claiming it is nutritious. That got me curious since trees are everywhere and this could be a great tip so I ...
9
votes
1answer
795 views

Water filters - why sand and rocks?

Saw a video on youtube where some guy made a water filter out of a bottle, charcoal, sand and little rocks. He commented that since the charcoal is very porous it's great for filtering. Then, after ...
11
votes
5answers
1k views

Reacting to tornado warnings while camping with no buildings nearby

This afternoon there was a tornado warning - TAKE SHELTER IN A PERMANENT BUILDING IMMEDIATELY - for the west half of Algonquin Park issued through the usual channels including Twitter. I believe by ...
2
votes
1answer
172 views

What is the most energy efficient way to get food in the wilderness(Central Sweden)?

I have gained an interest in arranging a full week camping trip together with some friends(party of 4). We are looking to cut down on our packing by limiting ourselves to emergency ...
7
votes
1answer
152 views

How is the Nuaulu palm leaf carrying pot made?

In a Ray Mears BBC Demo, The Importance of the Sago Tree, he travels to Seram in Indonesia and witnesses the natives using Sago leaves to create this really cool pot at 2:40: The Nuaulu tribesman ...
8
votes
6answers
2k views

Practical uses for urine

When on extended outdoor excursions are there any scenarios where you can leverage urine as an efficient tool? An example would be: You're in your sleeping bag in a tent and it's -30*C outside, you ...
10
votes
2answers
198 views

Is there a standard set of light signals for mountaineers?

On a recent winter backpacking trip there was some confusion and danger of separation of the group. The group had not walked together before. Some members were not very experienced, while others were ...
5
votes
3answers
183 views

When to perform a filtering of the water?

Let's imagine I'm hiking and I find a water source - like a lake, a stream or a well, and I want to fill my water bottle with it. I have a bottle and a water filter. And a bandana. Since I can't ...
9
votes
2answers
825 views

How to estimate the depth of a pool of water from a distance above?

In a few episodes of "Man vs. Wild", survival expert Bear Grylls was seen jumping off a cliff into a pool of water below. He made some rough estimation of the depth of the pool before making the ...
13
votes
2answers
406 views

How to prepare for and survive wildfire?

In some areas, such as the western US, wildfires are common during the summer dry season. "Fire safety" advice usually centers on not starting a wildfire, e.g. extinguishing or avoiding campfires. ...
12
votes
4answers
434 views

Is cold shock response a real danger, if someone is used to cold water?

Various sources (mostly TV stations, at least in my region) are constantly warning about the danger of cold shock response, if someone goes to water too quickly. But on the other hand, Bear Grylls ...
15
votes
3answers
10k views

Is it possible to develop immunity against mosquitos?

For me, every bite by mosquito results in heavy itching and the blister, which size is dependent on how long the mosquito was sucking the blood, in worst cases even 1 cm in diameter. If I would stay ...
3
votes
1answer
566 views

How many calories (aprox.) do we lose when washing in (very) cold water?

This is a common problem during wild camping or survival activity, especially during colder seasons. You are tired, you have lost a lot of calories during day, and now you want to wash, but the only ...
5
votes
1answer
151 views

Primitive fire starting in northeastern Brazil

I live on the coast of the northeastern part of Brazil (Rio Grande do Norte). As you go inland, the terrain becomes very arid. There are cactus and a lot of xerophilic plants that remind me a lot of ...
8
votes
2answers
6k views

How much heat can a candle lantern provide while winter camping?

In answering this question I tossed out that a candle lantern can add as much as 10 degrees (F) of heat while winter camping. I've heard this tossed about before, but is it true? I assume there are ...
9
votes
2answers
290 views

Moose: How to decrease the risk of being injured?

Based on Wikipedia: Moose injure more people than any other wild mammal and, worldwide, only hippopotamuses injure more. In this case, what should I do to decrease the risk of being injured ? ...
9
votes
1answer
116 views

Are there significant behaviour differences among bear species to adopt different safety rules?

Living the north-east part of America, my chances of encountering a grizzly bear is very low. I have greater chances of meeting a black bear. If I got the chance of meeting a grizzly, should I change ...
6
votes
1answer
530 views

How can I build a safe, effective igloo?

If I want to build an igloo to keep me warm in a snowy climate, how can I go about this? What size blocks should I cut? How big should the entrance be? How can I mitigate the risk of the igloo ...
7
votes
2answers
557 views

What backwoods trick to get pure water produces the most safe water?

So I read this answer and I was wondering what contraption produce the most water when you don't have a water source? So what water trap produces the most water? Specifically, what should I do with my ...
12
votes
4answers
3k views

Can I heat a shelter with fire?

So I built my survival shelter and I decide a nice fire would really warm things up. Is there a way I can build a fire that would heat the shelter without too much smoke? I know I could make the ...
10
votes
1answer
2k views

What should I do if caught in a sand storm?

If I find myself caught in a sand storm, what should I do? Should I sit it out, or try to keep moving somehow? Can this depend on the severity of the sand storm?
7
votes
1answer
75 views

How to choose a safe cliff path

When walking alongside eroding cliffs in more built up / touristy areas, there's usually big warning signs or closed paths if the cliff is unsafe to walk on. Sometimes it's obvious why, if the path is ...