Stack Exchange Network

Stack Exchange network consists of 175 Q&A communities including Stack Overflow, the largest, most trusted online community for developers to learn, share their knowledge, and build their careers.

Visit Stack Exchange

Questions tagged [survival]

Questions relating to staying alive in the wilderness and learning survival techniques.

53
votes
7answers
17k 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 ...
62
votes
5answers
4k views

What are essential items in an emergency kit?

What are must-have items in an emergency kit for a multi-day hiking trip?
30
votes
2answers
3k 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 (...
17
votes
2answers
3k 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 ...
55
votes
3answers
179k 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 ...
28
votes
5answers
2k views

Keeping warm in an emergency

When roaming the outdoors, it might happen that one finds oneself in a situation that is much, much colder than one planned for. What can one do in such an emergency, especially when it's so cold ...
37
votes
4answers
3k 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?
13
votes
2answers
3k views

How do you boil water without a proper container?

Suppose you don't have a pot or any other fire proof container to boil water in, but you need to boil it for safe drinking water. How else can you boil the water?
5
votes
1answer
1k views

How many tea light candles are needed to equal the heat output of a person?

A recent answer said: In an emergency a tea light candle carefully set on/in a disposable pie tin can heat a 4 season tent enough to aid the drying process - just be sure to isolate, ventalate, and ...
47
votes
10answers
5k 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.
46
votes
16answers
29k 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 ...
55
votes
8answers
52k 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 ...
21
votes
5answers
54k 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 ...
52
votes
4answers
32k 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?
24
votes
4answers
2k views

Why are people so worried about Giardia?

Everyone I have ever been camping with seems to have an unwritten rule never to drink from streams no matter how clear they might seem, for fear of Giardia. I have also heard people telling about ...
15
votes
1answer
2k views

Can I get fresh water from ocean fish flesh?

Ocean water has about 35 Grams of salt per liter. For the human body salt content in body fluids is about 9 Grams per liter. See related question How much sea water can I safely drink? While it is ...
49
votes
10answers
17k views

I am lost, I found a trail, which way do I go?

If I am lost in the woods, and I find a trail or a road, how do I decide which way to go? Autumn Veatch was 16 years old in 2015, when her grandparents small plane crashed in the North Cascade ...
20
votes
3answers
1k 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 ...
27
votes
2answers
12k 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 ...
20
votes
7answers
2k 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 ...
16
votes
2answers
2k views

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

Why is a coconut palm so valuable for a person in a survival situation?
8
votes
2answers
1k 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?
14
votes
1answer
12k views

How to react to an aggressive 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 ...
40
votes
6answers
17k views

What essential items should go in a small first aid kit?

Another question asked what survival equipment should be carried in an emergency kit. But very little was about medical or first aid supplies (band-aids, gauze, tylenol, moleskin, etc). What items ...
41
votes
9answers
13k 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 specific to each plant?
37
votes
4answers
11k views

Ways to desalinate water when “lost at sea”?

In recent news reports that all seem to be saying the same things: Jakarta Post Indonesian teenager survives 49 days adrift in Guam waters NPR: 19-Year-Old Survives 49 Days At Sea After Floating Hut ...
22
votes
5answers
9k 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 ...
16
votes
2answers
1k 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
8answers
2k views

What is a good knife for survival in a forested environment? [closed]

What style/size of knife would be most useful in a survival scenario in the forest?
24
votes
4answers
3k 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.
17
votes
4answers
2k 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 ...
27
votes
2answers
2k 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 ...
27
votes
3answers
4k views

Should I eat when I don't have anything to drink in a survival situations?

I've had a pretty interesting discussion beneath this survival question. A source given in the answer to this question states that you shouldn't eat when dehydration can become or is a problem: (......
20
votes
4answers
25k 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 ...
20
votes
2answers
2k 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?
13
votes
4answers
308 views

Do emergency space blankets actually work?

Inspired by a space blanket being included in emergency winter kits, I wonder if there's any rigorous study about whether these things actually work and in what ways to best use them. In my own ...
7
votes
1answer
247 views

How do I gut a fish?

I've caught a fish and want to gut it (remove it's insides ready to eat/keep). How do I do this? Where do I cut? What needs to be removed, etc?
7
votes
5answers
2k views

Does warming an enclosed area with an open flame provide help with drying wet fabric?

Comments at a recent question How many tea light candles are needed to equal the heat output of a person? suggest that burning a candle can produce water vaper that masses twice as much as the candle ...
16
votes
3answers
19k views

How much heat can a candle lantern provide while winter camping?

In answering this question I tossed out that a candle lantern can provide as much as 10 degrees (F) of temperature difference while winter camping. I've heard this tossed about before, but is it true? ...
14
votes
3answers
376 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 source?...
12
votes
2answers
991 views

Is there a way to light a fire in the wild using rocks?

Just for fun, how would I go about lighting a fire with naturally shaped rocks by striking sparks? It might be useful if I were to camp in the far north, where there are no trees. What should I use ...
12
votes
2answers
1k 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 ...
10
votes
3answers
790 views

How do you make an emergency water filter and purifier?

How do you make an effective water filter using the natural elements of the great outdoors? Suppose your only source of water was dirty and questionable at best. How could you make it potable without ...
10
votes
1answer
259 views

When to know it's worth to start with agriculture?

Based on survival series, films etc. most of the people stranded on a lonely island (not necessarily restricted to this situation of course) over a long period start with agriculture at some point. ...
9
votes
5answers
738 views

What types of food make for good emergency rations that I can store in a car?

I have a backpack with emergency survival gear for my car. The scenario being it might take a couple of days of walking to get someplace that money and/or a credit card will increase my chances of ...
9
votes
3answers
795 views

How do you make a stone axe?

If I am in a survival situation with a knife as my only cutting implement, and I need an axe to chop trees (because I know burning through them is not practical) how would I make one? What ...
5
votes
2answers
7k views

How to find natural sulfur sources?

According to a google search sulfur is widely available in nature. Volcanic regions and hot springs are common sources of it in elemental state. Less obvious sources are iron pyrites (iron sulfide), ...
3
votes
0answers
179 views

If you are stranded at sea, how reliable of a food supply are fish with a basic set of fishing equipment?

We have a question about desalinating water while stranded at sea, and another that asks if you can get desalinated water from eating fish. However, even if you could get desalinated water from fish ...
3
votes
1answer
135 views

Can I use the blade of a multi tool as a spear point?

A recent question asks about disassembling a multi tool pictured below. We have an existing question How do you fashion a spear with a fixed blade. All of the blades pictured are long handled and/...
93
votes
14answers
39k views

My car broke down in Siberia. What do I do now?

Some time ago, while driving on a snowy road, someone told me a kind of horror story. It involved a guy who was driving alone with an old car on an overland road in Siberia during winter, so the ...