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

3
votes
1answer
479 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 ...
18
votes
2answers
635 views

Surviving a forest fire by starting another fire

Awhile back I heard on CBC radio about a man who got trapped in a forest fire (surrounded on all sides) and survived. The way he survived was so ridiculous that he was brought to court and almost ...
4
votes
2answers
521 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 ...
11
votes
3answers
7k views

Can I shoot a bear in self-defense?

Can I shoot a bear in self-defense? Will I face fines and jail time if I do?
7
votes
2answers
492 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 ...
9
votes
3answers
2k views

Are barberries edible?

Barberries are so common around here that there would be enough for a fruit serving a day for quite a while. But there is a problem: I do not know whether or not they are edible. Are they edible in ...
12
votes
1answer
526 views

Techniques for building a raft from wood

What are some good techniques to use (materials, knots, etc.) for building a raft by gathering wood in the local area? I'm talking about something to sail on still or slow moving bodies of water, not ...
34
votes
11answers
2k views

How can you navigate without a compass or GPS

What are the ways you can navigate when you don't have a compass or a GPS? For example how can you tell which way is north.
50
votes
5answers
1k views

What are essential items in an emergency kit?

What are must-have items in an emergency kit for a multi-day hiking trip?
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
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 ? ...
27
votes
6answers
6k views

How can I identify edible berries/fruit from poisonous?

How can I identify edible berries/fruit in the wide and avoid the poisonous varieties? Is there a general guideline that can be followed or is each plant specific?
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
510 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 ...
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?
8
votes
2answers
301 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 ...
14
votes
7answers
796 views

What to look for when purchasing a fixed blade knife

I'm planning on doing some back country canoe camping this summer. I would like to avoid bringing a hatchet if possible. I also find my folding knifes get full of gunk and I am a little bit afraid I ...
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
609 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?
10
votes
2answers
600 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 ...
19
votes
7answers
1k views

How can you navigate / determine your location in thick fog?

Are there any good hints, tips and ways you can use to navigate around and find your location in thick fog (apart from a GPS)?
13
votes
3answers
300 views

What steps should I take if someone starts sinking?

What are the steps that should be taken if someone you're hiking with starts to sink uncontrollably into say a marsh? What are some good techniques and points that should be used to get them out ...
12
votes
3answers
509 views

Falling into an ice cold body of water

I've never been hiking in such extreme situations, but if in the situation in the question, i.e. you're hiking in very cold weather and someone falls in (let's say so pretty much their whole body is ...
8
votes
1answer
184 views

Is it possible to improvise a knife sharpener in the wild?

Assuming I am lost with minimal tools, but have my knife, is there any way to improvise a knife sharpener in the woods?
8
votes
2answers
144 views

Is it necessary to carry a knife sharpener?

Under the assumption that an emergency kit like the ones listed here are for the emergency of getting lost and being stranded for days, how necessary is a knife sharpener?
8
votes
2answers
161 views

Are there any specific techniques that should be used when starting a fire in the rain?

Starting a fire can sometimes be hard enough when it's dry, let alone when it's tipping it down. But when it is, what steps should you follow to try to ensure the fire gets going successfully? I'm ...
12
votes
3answers
2k views

How can I tell what time it is without a watch?

Assuming I don't have a watch or other time-telling device with me in the wilderness, is there a way to know what time it is? I don't necessarily want to know the exact minute of the day, but a ...
19
votes
3answers
389 views

What pattern for casual planes should a castaway create on a desert island?

This answer has inspired me to a question: say you are a castaway on a desert island. There might be a plane flying casualy but you can miss it. So you want to create some pattern (e.g. put some ...
16
votes
2answers
477 views

If I cross paths with a bear, what should I do?

If I'm out hiking, and I come around a corner and stumble upon a bear, what's the best course of action to take to minimize the chance the bear will act aggressively? Do different types of bear ...
19
votes
4answers
2k views

What are the rules for eating raw, wild meat?

Can you always eat raw meat (wild) as long as it is fresh?
12
votes
2answers
9k views

Can you eat pine needles in an emergency?

If you are in a survival situation in the woods and REALLY hungry, and you are unsure about which plants are edible, can you eat pine needles?
14
votes
2answers
417 views

Where are good places to look for water sources when I have run out on a multi-day hike?

Luckily this has never happened to me, but even the most prepared hiker can often get themselves into difficulties if they run out of water. My question here is in your experience in remote arid ...
12
votes
2answers
530 views

How to make a signal fire that can be seen miles away

If I were lost in the North American woods, how could I make a signal fire that would attract attention many miles away ?
6
votes
2answers
1k views

What is the best rope to have in a survival situation?

What rope would be most helpful/versatile in a survival situation?
3
votes
1answer
725 views

What is the most important survival tool I should have when in the wilderness? [closed]

When venturing out into the wilderness, what is the most important thing I should bring?
4
votes
1answer
989 views

What is the best material to make an outdoor shelter roof out of?

Say you are caught out without a tent in mild temperature conditions, e.g. moorland/woods. What material would you look for to make a good shelter roof out of?
9
votes
3answers
2k views

How do I catch fish with fish hooks but no bait?

As most survival kits come with fish hooks, I am wondering how do I catch fish without any bait?
4
votes
1answer
140 views

If I lose my compass, what is the easiest way to identify and follow a heading? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: How can you navigate without a compass or GPS Obviously we all carry a compass and a map when we go trekking, but if I lose them but know I need to get back to my car ...
17
votes
4answers
745 views

What should I do when I'm lost?

What should I do when I get disoriented or lost? How can I find help or make myself easier to find? This is a general question to do when lost in the wilderness, whether it is a meadow or mountain. ...