Questions tagged [survival]

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

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20
votes
12answers
17k 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 basics/...
20
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6answers
10k 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?
20
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4answers
27k 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
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 ...
20
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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 ...
20
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1answer
9k 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 ...
19
votes
8answers
4k views

Are there any natural materials that can be used as a magnifying lens (or to craft one)?

I am currently stuck in the wilderness, and I have been out here for a while. I want to focus light. There are various reasons for wanting to do this, with the two biggest reasons being for vision and ...
19
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2answers
1k 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). ...
18
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4answers
7k views

Surfacing out of a sunken ship/submarine - Survival Tips

Here is a scary scenario: Let's say you were in a ship or submarine that sunk to the bottom of the ocean. No scuba gear, no oxygen tank, nothing. The depth of the ocean is such that nitrogen ...
18
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2answers
2k 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 ...
18
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2answers
14k 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?
18
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4answers
3k 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 ...
18
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2answers
867 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 ...
18
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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 ...
18
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2answers
16k 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 ...
17
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4answers
3k 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 ...
17
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3answers
2k 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, ...
17
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2answers
14k 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?
16
votes
6answers
915 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?
16
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5answers
15k 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 ...
16
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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?
16
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4answers
10k 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?
16
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3answers
21k 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? ...
16
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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. ...
16
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4answers
506 views

Are there any specific guidelines for edible plants in North America?

I know there are dangerous plants and fruits to eat, but are there any basic rules one can use when in an emergency situation that apply to all safe foods? The 'rules' don't necessarily have to apply ...
16
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2answers
1k 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 ...
16
votes
3answers
883 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 ...
16
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3answers
26k 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 ...
16
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1answer
1k 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 ...
15
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7answers
3k 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 ...
15
votes
2answers
702 views

How to decrease the risk of being injured by a Moose?

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 ? I ...
15
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1answer
3k 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 ...
15
votes
3answers
993 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 ...
15
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3answers
1k views

Am I able to “open up” a snake bite and suck the venom out of it?

Someone told me that you should treat a snake bite (in the wilderness) by cutting a X in the skin (with a knife) and sucking the stuff out of it. This sounds a little weird to me. Is this really a ...
15
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4answers
11k 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 ...
14
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3answers
3k views

Uses of a rabbit in a survival situation? [closed]

Let's say your plane crashes and you end up in a forest in a cold Russian winter miles away from civilization. You have lost all your clothing; completely butt naked. You manage to get fire and make ...
14
votes
3answers
7k 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 ...
14
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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 ...
14
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2answers
7k 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?
14
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4answers
1k 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 ...
14
votes
3answers
409 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?...
14
votes
3answers
35k 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 ...
14
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2answers
760 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?
14
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3answers
996 views

How real is the danger of suffocation in an Igloo?

Last weekend I spent a night in an igloo. The event was organised by professionals (it was a company retreat) and during the night there was always one of the guides awake making rounds and checking ...
14
votes
2answers
329 views

Why is traditional marine advice to stay still, rather than swim vigorously, if fallen in cold water?

Traditional marine advice says that, if one falls into cold water, it is better to stay still rather than try to swim (unless the shore is so close that you are absolutely able to make it) to extend ...
13
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17answers
83k 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
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2answers
1k 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 "...
13
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3answers
4k 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?
13
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2answers
1k 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 ?
13
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2answers
4k 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 ...