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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12
votes
3answers
733 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 ...
11
votes
3answers
2k 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 ...
15
votes
6answers
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 ...
3
votes
1answer
185 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 ...
18
votes
2answers
2k views

Can groundwater still be consumed if after boiling the water turns brown with an oily substance floating on top?

This weekend we went "pole camping". A pole camp site (dutch link only) is a camp site offered by the departments of forestry in the Netherlands and Belgium. It is very basic. What is offered is a ...
7
votes
1answer
176 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
241 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
202 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
1k views

What are the first aid precautions to be taken in case of a snake bite?

I'll be trekking through a dense monsoon forest which has a sizable population of king cobras and vipers. I'll be at least 5 hours away by walk to the nearest human settlement and another 1-2 hours by ...
12
votes
2answers
1k 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
511 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
522 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 ...
5
votes
1answer
368 views

Recovering from Hypothermia

I am not much used to Camping in Cold areas. But I have been told by hikers that Hypothermia is something that I should be very careful of. Since childhood, it has been like, I don't catch cold very ...
15
votes
4answers
12k 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
628 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
163 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
8k 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
321 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
121 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
631 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 ...
8
votes
2answers
651 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
4k 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 ...
11
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
78 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
983 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
418 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
852 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?
35
votes
3answers
15k 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 ...
11
votes
2answers
1k 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
580 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 ...
7
votes
3answers
168 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 ...
20
votes
2answers
1k 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 ...
14
votes
7answers
1k 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 ...
18
votes
7answers
350 views

Good books to learn survival?

Does anybody have a recommendation to a good book about how to survive in the Norwegian woods and similar?
9
votes
3answers
3k 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 ...
14
votes
4answers
752 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
207 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?
9
votes
2answers
173 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?
46
votes
3answers
95k views

How long does water need to be boiled for to kill all bacteria / viruses?

This has come up a few times in a few other questions, but I've heard varying opinions from different people in a number of answers and comments on here - some saying that just boiling for a moment is ...
13
votes
3answers
292 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 ...
13
votes
3answers
4k 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 ...
18
votes
3answers
701 views

Are carabiners useful tools to have in the wilderness? If so, what would they be used for?

Carabiners are obviously essential in certain circumstances, such as with any type of climbing / rappelling. But are they a good tool to have generally as well, and if so what might be some example ...
9
votes
4answers
9k views

Is the “Rule of 3” proven for food?

The proverbial "Rule of 3" says you can live three weeks without food. Are there any documented cases of people actually living three weeks with no food in the wilderness and surviving? For those ...
13
votes
3answers
12k 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?
15
votes
2answers
559 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 ...
13
votes
2answers
671 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 ?
8
votes
1answer
580 views

What should I look for when buying a Lensatic Compass

Lensatic Compasses seem to be priced from $5 to $100 USD. What features should I look for when buying one?
16
votes
4answers
12k 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?