64

Settlements tend to be near water like rivers, lakes or oceans and the larger the body of water, the more likely there are people. A small stream is likely to join another at some point. This is why going downstream (or merely going down if there is no stream) is the safest bet if there are no other clues. Even if you're not actually on a mountain, it's more ...


40

In many parts of life, you have to play the percentages. The likelihood is higher that going downstream will lead you to a trailhead or some other sign of civilization than it is for going upstream. As for the comment that ....as long as you stay on the road, you will find civilization. This may be true of a road, but it is often not true of a trail. ...


29

Trails show less use the farther from the trailhead one goes because fewer people walk the trail all of the way to the end and most turn around far more quickly. The odds are that going downhill will lead one back to civilization, but in the odd exceptions where this is not true such as when one needs to go uphill to reach the trailhead, trail usage will be ...


24

Theoretically, it might be possible to survive on fish, rainwater and desalinated seawater. In one 1930 experiment, two men survived for a year eating exclusively meat without experiencing any health issues. This indirectly suggests that meat (and therefore possibly also fish) contain all the essential nutrients, but this was a small and relatively short ...


23

As usual, skills are the lightest and most effective thing one can carry. From how to bushcraft useful things from natural materials, to clever ways to satisfy needs like signaling or navigation, to keeping a healthy state of mind. Nonetheless, some useful items greatly increase chance of success / reduce chance of suffering. The less skills, the more ...


22

Second Edit: Thanks for all the upvotes. I just want to clarify one thing: I don't think I've done a good job in answering the OP's question. I think cr0's answer is much better for winter hiking. This little kit that I've put together is my 3-season emergency kit. Consider it the start of an emergency kit for the winter. [Also, since I have a fair ...


20

Summary: eat the rabbit. Every single bit of it. With 1 rabbit per day, you are in starvation while probably not exceeding your normal capacity for daily protein digestion, though it may very well exceed the protein digestion capacity if you are in total starvation (also without protein) for a prolonged amount of time. In any case, you should stretch it ...


17

I have spent significant time in the backcountry in the winter. Last year I did an early season through hike of the Continental Divide Trail, spending months living in the snow. Below is a list of some items I'd recommend bringing if you're going on a casual hike in the winter. You should not bring all of these at once. Consider the conditions, your ...


17

You can, of course, use the skin for some (minimal) clothing - furs are nice and warm. You could also use the animal as bait (living or dead) to attract larger animals (bigger skins) or for fishing. You could also boil the meat and skin to extract the fat components, which then could be consumed in a broth/soup. Marrow from the bones is very nutritious, ...


15

I think that list is talking about immediate priorities, that is, what you must focus on first to stay alive in a survival situation, not whether food is necessary. From Backcountry Chronicles, the article Wilderness Survival Rules of 3 – Air, Shelter, Water and Food lists four of the rules like this Survival Rule of 3 and Survival Priorities For ...


14

... can someone gather/hunt/farm all of the nutrients required to be healthy whilst never having to land again? Nutrients yes, healthy not likely. A 1000 days is a grueling journey. Reid Stowe, whom used to have a website called (Beyond) 1000 Days at Sea: The Mars Ocean Odyssey, lived at sea (without contact with land) for 1,152 days (equals 3 Years, 1 ...


12

In my particular area (Alabama, USA), I can mostly tell how well something is going to burn by the hardness of the wood, the density of it, and the general ratio of late to early growth in cut sections. If I cut wood, say a branch, with a saw or something where I can see the rings in the wood, I can look at the amount of late season growth (more solid wood) ...


11

In most cases, and certainly in this one, you want to go downhill following water if at all possible. Downhill will take you to civilization in almost all cases as humans have tended to settle in the valleys and not on the mountaintops. Going downhill will also help one find more water as streams get bigger the farther downhill you want to go. The other ...


11

Because swimming takes energy that your body could be using for heat and instead uses it for movement. The more energy you use in cold water, the more your body cools off. If you cannot climb out of the water, conserve body heat by remaining as still as possible and reducing the amount of your body exposed to the water. Protect your critical heat loss ...


10

It's hard to be absolutely certain without a specific goal for the firewood, but there are some generic things to look for: Sap: Sap-rich woods usually produce a lot of smoke, often black or dark grey in color due to incomplete combustion of the terpenoids in the sap. Classic examples include cedar and pine. Dried twigs from sap-rich woods can make good ...


10

First: buddies. Solo activities are inherently riskier. Not that's out of the way, what kit is practical? Extra insulation and extra wind/waterproofing. This may be just one item, but it's more likely to be a foil blanket, extra mid layer, and survival bag. If you stop moving, you stop generating as much heat, so you need insulation. The extra mid layer, ...


10

Do they work? Yes...but you need to know why... The Key, Like Most Things, Is Understanding How They Work The material on “space” blankets was actually developed by NASA for the purpose of use in space to protect astronauts from solar heat, and they’re very good at it. In a wilderness setting, they do have limitations with must be mitigated though. They ...


10

In my experience, it comes down to 4 things. Wilderness First Responder Certification: The first course is 80 hours and then you need to recertify after 2 years. There are other certifications such as a Wilderness EMT but this is pretty much the standard. Organization specific instructor course: When you become an instructor for an organization you usually ...


10

Assuming you have no way of safely and reliably leaving the cave to get help, your first priority is not to become a casualty yourself as well. Even if the Guide needs urgent medical attention, it would take an appreciable amount of time for the first members of the cave rescue team to arrive on site and then to locate you and the Guide in the cave, so ...


9

There is actually an international standard for this: The Chicago Convention on International Civil Aviation, and in there Annex 12 – Search and Rescue, appendix 2 "Ground-air visual signal code". Quoting it: 2.1. Ground-air visual signal code for use by survivors […] 2.3. Symbols shall be at least 2.5 metres (8 feet) long and shall be ...


9

I looked first at bears to get a handle on this question, because it is well known that bears get a significant part of their caloric intake from berries. I should have looked first at berries! According to Blueberry Nutrition Facts, one quart of blueberries has 340 calories. Let's assume that the lost person of the Q expends 4,000 calories per day ...


8

There are some good answers about trails that I am not going to expand on. For roads that are not heavily used like logging roads These may extend many miles into the forest, with multiple branches, all ending in dead ends. There can be 10's or 100s of miles (or kilometers) of roads. Often there will be a locked gate at the entrance to these areas, ...


8

Not as real as the danger of death by exposure and hypothermia while outside the igloo. Your risk of asphyxiation in a snow shelter depends largely on its size, and the number of people inside it. People have been living in igloos for hundreds if not thousands of years, and not just for one night or two at a time, but as permanent dwellings also. Igloos ...


8

Even the “regular” paracord would be set ablaze if you put it close to a fire / heat source :) It’s a nylon / polyester after all… In my opinion, such gimmick paracords are not more dangerous than a normal one. Unless that tinder is a strand of black powder fuse :) UPDATE I reckon that extra strand is some kind of waxed cotton or something. If that is the ...


8

TL;DR: Death trap? No. Should you be cautious? At least as cautious as you would be with normal tinder. Think of it this way: Pile of loose jute twine, seem dangerous? No. People who use it for arts & crafts probably don't even realize its fire potential. Pile of loose paracord. Dangerous? No. Tinder can sit out without worry. Paracord can sit out ...


7

There are some good answers here from some people with solid experience in mountains in the winter. However, these answers seem to slant extremely heavy on gear. Sometimes it's reasonable to do a day hike in winter in the mountains in a lightweight style, but you do want to be carrying the crucial things in your lightweight kit. The first thing to do is to ...


7

Animals gathering there (while 'eating'). You would have to distinguish the reason for them gathering (probably by moving closer, thereby scaring them away, then investigating the reason). Not very effective, because they can gather for many other reasons (water, other food, social). A complication is that these places may be hidden. I remember a salt lick ...


7

is there any evidence to suggest that de-prioritizing food increases survival Anyone who has ever prioritized food and died of any of the other issues would be evidence that de-prioritizing food would have increased survival. If someone spends a couple days setting traps, snares, and fishing lines only to realize they still don't know how to get fresh ...


6

The best thing to do when lost is to climb a mountain (well probably not all the way to the peak but you want a ridge) to acquire your location. Generally speaking anyway. This won't apply everywhere, but most places on attaining a high ridge you can visually reacquire your location enough to determine which direction civilization is. Once having done so, ...


6

The safest concept is to always plan for the worst case. Of course, best practice varies according to context. Whether you're going solo or in a group, the equipment will change. Same goes for the different seasons. But generally, plan for slightly more than what you expect; i.e. if you're going on a day-trip, carry at least enough to overnight outside. In ...


Only top voted, non community-wiki answers of a minimum length are eligible