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

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 ...
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 ...
17
votes
5answers
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 ...
8
votes
1answer
47 views

How to make a fish hook?

I am in a survival situation and need to make a supply of fish hooks. What are my best options. I have a knife and in my travels I have noticed much native vegetation as well as a couple of animal ...
4
votes
2answers
448 views

When stranded, how do I choose a place to camp on an island?

We are in a Robinson Crusoe situation where we're stranded on a tropical island (lonely or not). We've to setup our camp. How to determine the right piece of land? For example you might wanna have a ...
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?
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?
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 ...
7
votes
1answer
144 views

How much does body fat actually insulate you against the cold?

I'm not a big guy, but I can sit in a cold pool of still water for a long time if I stay still and control my breathing, my skin gets cold, but after you get past the cold shock I can sit there rather ...
12
votes
2answers
1k views

In a survival situation what all I can use from a green coconut?

Why is a coconut tree so valuable for a person in survival situation?
14
votes
3answers
2k views

What to do if a team member falls sick?

Recently I fell ill whilst car camping and it made me consider the situations when not around amenities. In addition to this I recently was part of a four man, one dog team climbing Snowdon and one of ...
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 ...
5
votes
1answer
367 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
2answers
473 views

How do you make a snow shelter?

Sometimes when mountaineering, there may be an emergency situation which leaves you in bad weather with no or damaged shelter (such as returning from a summit attempt or after a wild and crazy storm). ...
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 ...
10
votes
3answers
873 views

Snake on chest while sleeping?

Now, this is not very common, however I have heard it enough times from people to know that it actually does happen. When sleeping in the open or in an open tent (yes, i know you shouldn't), snakes ...
24
votes
4answers
4k views

What do mountaineers eat and drink on the day of an Everest summit?

I was watching Everest (2015) on the weekend and was wondering what the mountaineers do for sustenance on the day they attempt to summit. It appeared they left around midnight, aiming for a 2pm ...
6
votes
1answer
113 views

How to deal with a tooth infection?

Caries and other similar disease can be a painful threat. It even can be a danger to life if not threatened over several months. An abscess may result from a trapped piece of food, uncontrolled ...
21
votes
8answers
2k 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)?
0
votes
0answers
26 views

Building a fridge in the wild [duplicate]

I've read that one can create a (actually a pretty decent) fridge with quite common materials a few years ago. How do you do that?
6
votes
2answers
187 views

How to deal with Serbian scorpions?

I always wanted to visit Balkan region, but I'm affraid of scorpions. As far as I searched there's plenty of those terrifying creatures, but none of species I found was poisonous. So I have two ...
13
votes
5answers
513 views

What are some alternative ways of fishing - i.e. catching fish?

If I'm out in the wilderness and want to catch fish to survive, what are some ways I can do this without a conventional fishing pole/line?
6
votes
3answers
189 views

How to create a cast or splint to aid a broken bone?

Assuming you or one of your party has broken his leg (or something). How can you create a provisional splint or cast to bring you/him/her back to the next hospital etc.? Would be cool if it's made ...
1
vote
3answers
366 views

In an emergency situation, is it healthy to eat human flesh?

We all know these scary stories where people had to eat their fellow sufferers after a plane crash or something. I don't know if there is even one of them true. I feel like it might result into more ...
5
votes
1answer
87 views

Heal burn wounds in the wild

When out in the wild and a companion falls into the fire and gets injured very badly. How can I aid his wounds? Would be great to hear from some possible herbs (natural materials in general) but ...
2
votes
1answer
52 views

Avoid swimming into climbing plants/creepers

As far as I know there is a danger of swimming into "climbing plants/creebers" in lakes. This can bring you in an extremely dangerous situation where you tangle up more and more cause you panic. Am ...
0
votes
0answers
17 views

How to react if stuck in quicksand? [duplicate]

If I step accidentally on quicksand and get "caught". How do I react? How can I avoid stepping on it in the first place? Quicksand is a colloid hydrogel consisting of fine granular material (such as ...
5
votes
2answers
121 views

How to measure the temperature without a thermometer?

We are in the wild and need to know how cold/hot it is. How can we measure the temperature if we don't have any thermometers? Can we build something similar, etc.? It doesn't have to be necessarily ...
0
votes
0answers
30 views

Is it a good idea to eat snow? [duplicate]

I'm in a survival situation in the mountains and I'm short of water. I don't have anything but the snow around me. As far as I know you should avoid "eating" snow cause it cools you down too much. ...
4
votes
1answer
151 views

How to react to an aggresive boar

As far as I know, boars are pretty aggressive when they have piglets. In the appropriate season, one might happen to hike into the path of an overprotective mother and get attacked. How do I react ...
0
votes
0answers
16 views

Is it a good idea to drink your own urine [duplicate]

I mean, we all know the famous "Bear Grylls" scene where he drinks his own urine. I've ever wondered if it's a good idea to do so if you are in such a situation? My thought was that it can't be a ...
1
vote
0answers
34 views

How to open a coconut with no tools? [duplicate]

After reading this question about the usefulness of coconuts in survival situations, I was wondering: How can I open a coconut with no tools without hurting myself? Whenever I've been in a tropical ...
13
votes
5answers
1k 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 ...
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 ...
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 ...
26
votes
2answers
2k views

What makes certain mountains more dangerous than others?

Why do mountains like K2, Nanga Parbat and Annapurna (36 successful attempts, 47 failed) have higher fatality rates than, say, Everest or Cho Oyu (79 successful attempts, 28 failed)? (source) Can I ...
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 ...
13
votes
3answers
474 views

What are the real dangers of climbing at high altitude?

I had a campfire discussion not long ago with a man that got pulmonary edema while attempting the summit of Aconcagua, and we got into the discussion of the effects of high elevation. I had always ...
41
votes
14answers
14k 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 ...
8
votes
11answers
7k 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 ...
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 ...
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 ...
2
votes
0answers
40 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
1k 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
176 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 ...
11
votes
2answers
264 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, ...
16
votes
5answers
8k 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 ...
15
votes
5answers
7k 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 ...
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. ...