Questions tagged [survival]

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

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13
votes
4answers
1k 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 ...
13
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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 ...
13
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2answers
5k 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?
13
votes
1answer
3k 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
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1answer
1k views

What to do if you're bitten by an adder?

I've heard that while adder bites are venomous the number of people who have died from them are extremely low. If you're on a trek and you're bitten is it safe to continue for a couple more days ...
12
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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?
12
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2answers
7k 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 ...
12
votes
4answers
1k 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 ...
12
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3answers
376 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?
12
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2answers
1k 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
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3answers
1k 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 ...
12
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4answers
4k 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, ...
12
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2answers
1k views

Is “survival” paracord with fire starter strand dangerous

There are a number of "survival" products on the market that integrate "extra" strands into the standard paracord (US MIL spec, ~4mm accessory cord, usually 7 strand nylon or cotton) Most of them ...
12
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4answers
1k views

How can I desalinate ocean water enough for cleaning or showering?

I'm planning for a long cruise in my small yacht. The water tank in the yacht has enough clean water to drink, but not quite enough for showers, cleaning the dishes etc.. Desalinating ocean water ...
12
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1answer
1k 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 ...
12
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2answers
5k 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 ...
11
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5answers
6k views

What is the best rope to have in a survival situation? [closed]

What rope would be most helpful/versatile in a survival situation?
11
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3answers
1k 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 ...
11
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1answer
2k views

SERE Surival Kit includes velcro finger lights, but why?

I have seen a survival kit that has been spoken well of by many reviewers: the SERE Air Force Survival Kit. SERE stands for: survival, evasion, resistance, escape. It is a rather small kit fitting in ...
11
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4answers
3k views

How dependable is a cheap compass?

I was reading the BBC news today and there was an ad for an inexpensive "5 in 1 Outdoor Survival Gear Escape Paracord Bracelet Flint / Whistle / Compass / Scraper" I clicked on the link and saw this ...
11
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3answers
1k views

What materials are suitable for constructing a sleeping mat?

This weekend I forgot my expanded-foam sleeping mat and was cold during the night. The environment was an autumn forest. There were plenty of dry fallen branches. However, I couldn't work out a way ...
11
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3answers
8k 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 ...
10
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4answers
1k views

If in a survival situation, how can one preserve a hide of an animal with a minimum amount of tools and skill?

If in a survival situation, how can one preserve the hide of an animal with a minimum amount of tools and skill in order to make clothing or bedding? I am not asking how to make things with the hides....
10
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5answers
275 views

Water preparation on desert hiking

I have heard that if you drink a lot of water as a habit, the body doesn't do much retention. Therefore, if you are preparing for a hiking in the desert where not much water will be available, is ...
10
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3answers
1k views

Can any automotive fluids be made safe to drink?

My vehicle has broken down in the middle of a desert, I have some tools but I am out of water. I have the ability to make a fire. I know that drinking antifreeze is fatal, but I am wondering if I ...
10
votes
1answer
281 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. ...
10
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3answers
366 views

How dangerous are polar routes, if an aircraft must land on water or wild land?

Suppose an emergency landing necessary for a commercial aircraft on a polar route on water or in the unoccupied, secluded Arctic outback (e.g. Siberia, far northern Canada). What is the time ...
10
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1answer
5k views

Is it a good idea to drink blood to avoid dehydration?

When in an emergency survival situation were you don't have access to clean or at least "okay" water but to wildlife (or it is at least easier to grab a snake for example than to gather water), is it ...
10
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1answer
5k 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 ...
10
votes
1answer
278 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?
10
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1answer
242 views

Are there significant behaviour differences among bear species to adopt different safety rules?

Living in the north-east part of America, my chances of encountering a grizzly bear are very low. I have greater chances of meeting a black bear. If I got the chance of meeting a grizzly, should I ...
10
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1answer
150 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 ...
9
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3answers
2k views

Different woods and how they burn/what if we are unsure of the wood?

I'm keen on learning more about different woods and how they burn in particular in the context of bushcraft. There is a lot of existing literature on all the different woods out there. I started to ...
9
votes
5answers
971 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
6answers
774 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 ...
9
votes
3answers
2k views

How can one tiller a bow without a tillering tree or similar wooden device?

I've been crafting a longbow from ash and am about ready for tillering. By tillering I mean: stringing the bow loosely and drawing the bowstring back little by little to give the bow some flex, making ...
9
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5answers
3k views

Transition to “Starvation Mode” in Survival Situations

The textbook "Fundamentals of Search and Rescue" in Chapter 6 describes the priorities of needs in survival situations. The priorities listed are Air Shelter Rest Signals/Communication Water Food ...
9
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3answers
551 views

In a survival situation is it actually efficient to eat edible plants?

In a survival situation is it actually efficient to eat edible plants? Assume late spring to early fall in a temperate climate. We have plenty of questions about where to find edible plants and how ...
9
votes
4answers
2k 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
800 views

Quick and easy winter shelter for kids to build

What would be the easiest type of shelter for a young kid to build, alone and with minimal tools, in a deep winter survival situation? For a kid 10-12 years old, carrying only a Swiss army-knife, a ...
9
votes
2answers
1k views

What materials can be used to make cordage in forests of the Adirondacks?

Context: Rope, aka cordage, is useful in many bushcraft projects. Cordage can be useful to hang things up, and it is particularly valuable in constructing tools (e.g. bow drills for fire making, ...
9
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2answers
460 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?
9
votes
1answer
2k views

Starting a Fire with a Battery - what are the fundamental guidelines for safety and efficacy?

There are numerous videos online demonstrating that its possible to start a fire using a battery. Here are four examples using different starting materials. But I have not found any tutorials that ...
9
votes
1answer
192 views

How to find water in thick tropical forests?

A couple of years ago, we hiked up to a place in the western ghats during the month of December (end of it). Which is actually the end of winter in the Indian subcontinent. The biggest problem we ...
9
votes
1answer
235 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
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3answers
1k views

How did/do scouts venture into the wild?

Scouts, messengers, pioneers exploring the frontiers of civilization - images of these sorts of characters paints an ancient archetype, one that I think could be useful to understand in present times. ...
8
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3answers
4k 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 ...
8
votes
4answers
249 views

As an outdoor beginner, what features in knife/tool combinations should I look for?

As an outdoor beginner, I was interested in some possible tool combinations for shorter outdoor hiking trips, say, 2-5 days. From what little experience I have, I reckon that the most common tasks ...
8
votes
3answers
693 views

What does it take to become a wilderness skills guide as a business?

I see lots of schools around different states and countries that teach wilderness skills and they seem to vary a lot in their basis (that is, what qualifies them to do what they do). Some are led by ...
8
votes
3answers
935 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 ...