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

11
votes
2answers
851 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
4answers
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
48 views

At what point is a rattlesnake mature enough to control its venom?

Young rattlesnakes are more deadly than large rattlesnakes, the reason being because when they are young they are more likely to strike, but more importantly because they can't yet control their ...
14
votes
4answers
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 ...
20
votes
2answers
824 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 ...
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 ...
15
votes
2answers
567 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
138 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
204 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, ...
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 ...
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 ...
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 ...
8
votes
10answers
3k 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 ...
13
votes
2answers
415 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. ...
23
votes
2answers
694 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 ...
15
votes
4answers
9k 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?
42
votes
5answers
21k views

Is drinking urine safe?

We've all heard stories about how people saved their lives by drinking their urine. Is drinking urine safe when there are no other water sources available? Can I filter it with a water purifier?
5
votes
5answers
209 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. ...
9
votes
2answers
830 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 ...
12
votes
4answers
440 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 ...
37
votes
9answers
27k views

Does eating snow help dehydration?

I have heard many people say that eating snow actually can increase dehydration since the energy required for the body to heat up and melt the snow is greater than the benefits received from the ...
10
votes
1answer
384 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 ...
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 ...
6
votes
2answers
173 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, ...
28
votes
3answers
1k views

If I have to cross an icy, flowing river, what are some ways I can cross safely?

If I'm alone in a survival situation and I have to cross a very cold river that's still flowing, how should I accomplish this safely?
17
votes
2answers
777 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?
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 ...
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 ...
16
votes
7answers
3k views

If lost in the wilderness, what is the first thing I should do?

If I get lost in the wilderness, what is the very first thing I should do?
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: ...
17
votes
7answers
323 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?
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?
8
votes
2answers
293 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 ...
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?
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 ...
34
votes
3answers
11k 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 ...
8
votes
4answers
7k 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 ...
7
votes
2answers
168 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?
20
votes
4answers
32k views

How can I start a fire by rubbing two sticks together?

When trying to start a fire by rubbing two sticks together, what does one need to consider? I am assuming I can't just grab any two sticks and start rubbing... Should they be dead or green? Hard ...
6
votes
1answer
262 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
554 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 ...
41
votes
3answers
79k 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 ...
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 ...
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
777 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 ...
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 ...
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 ...
10
votes
2answers
4k views

How do I desalinate seawater?

I know I shouldn't drink seawater (because of the salt it contains), but how can I desalinate it?
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 ...