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.

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7
votes
4answers
1k 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
89 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, ...
6
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: ...
5
votes
2answers
437 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
321 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
221 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 ...
36
votes
7answers
8k 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
4k 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
132 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?
16
votes
2answers
659 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
159 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
353 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
1k 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
773 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
720 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 ...
36
votes
14answers
6k 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
2k 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
325 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 ...
8
votes
1answer
277 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
427 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
157 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
141 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
1k 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
166 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
170 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 ...
4
votes
2answers
518 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 ...
6
votes
2answers
181 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. ...
5
votes
2answers
284 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 ...
12
votes
2answers
6k 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
474 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
131 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
5k 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
269 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
110 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
509 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
491 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 ...
11
votes
4answers
2k 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
1k 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
72 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 ...
7
votes
3answers
470 views

How do you fashion a spear with a fixed blade

What is the proper way to make a spear with a fixed blade to prevent breaking as described by Vorac in his comment here?
8
votes
2answers
299 views

Does anyone have an account of someone using a survival tin in a survival situation

I have read several books about survival and outdoor field craft skills. Many of these books suggest building a survival kit out of an Altoids tin or something similar. These kits include very basic ...
9
votes
2answers
4k views

How to maximise the chances of survival when stranded in open sea?

I read with interest about news of a scuba diver being stranded in the open sea when the diving operator failed to account for all members of a group. Mishaps like this and accidents such as boat ...
7
votes
1answer
605 views

Calculating time until sunset

Is there a relatively reliable way of calculating the time until sunset, without any specialist equipment, when I'm in the wilderness?
34
votes
3answers
9k views

Can I eat rotten meat and carcass providing enough cooking?

I've met often with the concept, that rotten meat and carcass is inedible because of bacteria and toxins. The most harmful of it the botulinum toxin. However, in the question Can any waterborne ...
10
votes
2answers
586 views

Will boiling be enough to decontaminate standing water from pathogens and toxins?

Will the boiling of the water itself be enough to decontaminate water taken from such standing water reservoir as that: This water looks horrible, and probably drinking it raw would cause serial ...
10
votes
3answers
491 views

Would a tampon be a good addition to a survival kit

Jezebel magazine suggests a tampon for your survival kit. I don't question that, if you just happen to have a tampon, you can use it. But at the end of the article they suggest even guys carry one ...
6
votes
1answer
114 views

Finding water in the dry wilderness

If I'm in the wilderness in a dry, hot climate without much vegetation and I'm running low on water, what land features and other potential signs can I look for to guide me to a drinkable water ...