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Encyclopedia > Survival skills

Survival skills are skills that may help one to survive dangerous situations (such as storms or earthquakes), or in dangerous places (such as the desert, the mountains, and the jungle). Useful skills include lighting a fire, finding shelter, making water safe to drink, finding and identifying food, treating injuries, and climbing, swimming, and using specific or makeshift tools. This article is about arid terrain. ... Mount Cook, a mountain in New Zealand A mountain is a landform that extends above the surrounding terrain in a limited area. ... Box Log Falls, Lamington National Park, Queensland, Australia Jungle usually refers to a dense forest in a hot climate, such as a tropical rainforest. ...

Each type of wildernes challenges a person with a different range of dangers (see hazards of outdoor activities). An environment may be dry, wet, hot, cold, high altitude, low altitude, desert, rural, urban, wilderness, subterranean, or an island. Nevertheless, there are four basic necessities of life which apply in all of these cases: shelter, water, fire, and food. A fifth is oxygen for high altitudes and subterranean environments, and also specific survival situations such as drowning and landslide/avalanche. Any outdoor activity entails many risks, even if participants do not recklessly place themselves in harms way. ... Altitude is the elevation of an object from a known level or datum. ... This article is about arid terrain. ... Sign in a rural area in Dalarna, Sweden Qichun, a rural town in Hubei province, China An artists rendering of an aerial view of the Maryland countryside: Jane Frank (Jane Schenthal Frank, 1918-1986), Aerial Series: Ploughed Fields, Maryland, 1974, acrylic and mixed materials on apertured double canvas, 52... Cities with at least a million inhabitants in 2006 An urban area is an area with an increased density of human-created structures in comparison to the areas surrounding it. ... For other uses, see Wilderness (disambiguation). ... Subterranean can also refer to something below the Earths surface Subterranean was an album released by Swedish heavy metal band In Flames in 1995. ... Maslows hierarchy of needs is a theory in psychology proposed by Abraham Maslow in his 1943 paper A Theory of Human Motivation, later extended. ... For other uses, see Life (disambiguation). ... This article is about geological phenomenon. ... The toe of an avalanche in Alaskas Kenai Fjords. ...

Where survival skills are used on a more permanent basis, or as a component of daily life beyond the mundane basic necessities, they are often referred to as Bushcraft. Bushcraft is, to a certain extent a version of what have always been called survival skills. ...


Survival priorities

In most survival situations, three priorities must be addressed before any other needs are met:

  1. A positive mental attitude is essential.
  2. Finding or making shelter is important because it allows a person to stay protected from the elements.
  3. Humans can live for about three days without water. The length of survival mostly depends upon climate conditions and physical exertion.

These priorities may change depending upon environmental factors.-1... Impact from a water drop causes an upward rebound jet surrounded by circular capillary waves. ...


A shelter will protect one from potentially disastrous weather, help prevent hypothermia, and allow restful sleep. It will also boost morale, as it will become a base or home. Therefore, in typical survival situations, a shelter should be built first and quickly, dependent on weather conditions. For the geological process, see Weathering or Erosion. ... Hypothermia is a condition in which an organisms temperature drops below that Required fOr normal metabolism and Bodily functionS. In warm-blooded animals, core [[body Temperature]] is maintained nEar a constant leVel through biologic [[homEostasis]]. But wheN the body iS exposed to cold Its internal mechanismS may be unable...

A shelter should provide a somewhat comfortable place to sleep. To this end, it should account for the following:

  • Immovable rocks, animal nests, and other obstacles and hazards should be avoided.
  • Dry watercourses may be flat, sandy, and comfortable to sleep on, but they will flood in a storm.
  • Sunlight will provide warmth (which is not always welcome), and help one to wake up in the morning. However, sunny, open areas are vulnerable to wind.
  • Heat transfer: an excessively large or well-ventilated shelter will not retain warmth well.
  • Flashing (weatherproofing) to provide protection from elements.
  • A cave would be a very useful shelter because it is very resistant to rain water getting in and maintains a constant temperature. Unfortunately, bears also nest in caves, so before selecting a cave to stay in, you should check it for no inhabitance.

A simple shelter can be constructed using a lattice of branches propped up at an angle against the wind. Large leaves, such as ferns or fir branches, can then be added to create cover for rain and hail. Ferns can also be added on a shelter to provide insect repellent. Branches propped against a fallen tree make a simple and effective shelter, but animals such as ants and snakes may nest under the tree. With some practice, more advanced shelters such as a debris shelter can be constructed without modern tools or implements. Shelters can also be made by draping a parachute or other large cloth over sticks or some kind of support, or of rammed earth. In thermal physics, heat transfer is the passage of thermal energy from a hot to a cold body. ... Flashing is the weatherproofing shielding put around objects which protrude from the roof of a building (such as pipes and chimneys, or the edges of other roofs) to deflect water away from the seams. ... For other uses, see Bear (disambiguation). ... Classes Psilotopsida Equisetopsida Marattiopsida Pteridopsida (Polypodiopsida) this dnt make sense A fern is any one of a group of about 20,000 species of plants classified in the phylum or division Pteridophyta, also known as Filicophyta. ... FIR may stand for: finite impulse response (a property of some digital filters) far infrared, i. ... A debris shelter is a shelter constructed of logs, branches and brush without modern tools or implements. ... Rammed earth walls form part of the entrance building for the Eden Project in Cornwall, England. ...


Humans can live for several weeks without sex, and about three days without water. Depending on the climate conditions, it has been recorded that people have lasted longer than two weeks with no water supply. According to the Guinness Book of Records, the longest time a human has survived without water is 18 days. The length of survival does also depend on physical exertion. A typical person will lose 2-3 liters of water per day in ordinary conditions, but more in very hot or dry weather. A lack of water causes dehydration, resulting in lethargy, headaches, dizziness, confusion, and eventually death. Even mild dehydration impairs concentration, which is dangerous in a survival situation where clear thinking is essential. Dark yellow or brown urine indicates dehydration. Because of these risks, a safe supply of drinking water must be located as soon as a shelter is built (or even before, depending on conditions). In a survival situation, any water supply may be contaminated with pollutants or pathogens (see Potability of backcountry water). Although little can be done to remove molecular contaminants, particles and microorganisms can be removed and/or killed (see Portable water purification). Suresh Joachim, minutes away from breaking the ironing world record at 55 hours and 5 minutes, at Shoppers World, Brampton. ... The liter (spelled liter in American English and litre in Commonwealth English) is a unit of volume. ... Dehydration (hypohydration) is the removal of water (hydro in ancient Greek) from an object. ... Many of the compounds which are dangerous to the environment can also be harmful to humans in the long-term range and come from mineral and fossil sources or are produced by humans themselves. ... A pathogen or infectious agent is a biological agent that causes disease or illness to its host. ... The potability of backcountry water is uncertain. ... A cluster of Escherichia coli bacteria magnified 10,000 times. ... Portable water purification is used to treat water in remote or rural locations, or in emergency settings, to make it safe for drinking purposes. ...

There are some plants which will provide you with survivable sources of water. Most tree roots and vines contain lots of water, and can be purged by breaking into 3 ft. sections, and standing upright above a water catcher. Avoid any vegetable liquids which are cloudy, milky in appearance, or colored in any way.

Water can be gathered in numerous ways. In areas of abundant moisture, water can be scooped out of a creek or pond. Rainwater (which is typically safe to drink) can be caught in makeshift containers. If these easy sources are not available, a bit more ingenuity will be necessary. Water can be collected from condensation traps or solar stills. Clothing can be used to collect dew from vegetation. Tie a tee shirt to your ankle and walk through dew-covered grass in the morning or evening, wring out water and collect. This is a very effective water procurement method. Please wikify (format) this article or section as suggested in the Guide to layout and the Manual of Style. ... Solar still built into a pit in the ground A solar still is a very simple device for distilling water, powered by the heat of the sun. ...

Although you cannot drink salty seawater, if you are near the beach, you can dig a sand well on the opposite side (from the sea) of a windblown dune. Below sea level, the sand well will fill with drinkable water. It may taste salty or brackish, but the sand acts as a filter reducing the salt content the further you dig inland.

Stagnant water can be made drinkable by filtration through a sieve of charcoal.

Animal blood is not suitable for rehydration, as it may be diseased. In addition, because of the nutrients it contains, it requires energy to digest. Mammals all have blood-borne pathogens so the animal must also be cooked. Urine contains salt and other toxins, which also makes it unsuitable to drink, although it can be refined in a solar still.

A common survival myth is that cacti can be sliced open to obtain water. While some cacti do have fluid inside, it is a highly acidic solution and would induce vomiting if drunk.[citation needed] Some Cacti are very toxic and would kill you if drunk. Subfamilies Cactoideae Maihuenioideae Opuntioideae Pereskioideae See also taxonomy of the Cactaceae A cactus (plural cacti, cactuses or cactus) is any member of the succulent plant family Cactaceae, native to the Americas. ...

Many birds, mammals, and some insects, such as bees, ants, and mason flies, are reliable indications of water, either through a stream or a soaked patch of earth.

In extremely dry environments, it is necessary to take extra care to prevent water loss by:

  • Breathing through the nose to prevent water vapor escaping through the mouth
  • Not smoking
  • Resting in the shade and avoiding strenuous labor during sunny, hot periods
  • Not eating too much (the human body uses a lot of water to digest food - especially fats and proteins)
  • Not drinking alcohol, which hastens dehydration

You can gather moisture in these ways:

Transpiration is the evaporation of excess water from aerial parts and of plants, especially leaves but also stems, flowers and fruits. ... Solar still built into a pit in the ground A solar still is a very simple device for distilling water, powered by the heat of the sun. ... View of a Johad at village Thathawata View of a stepwell at Fatehpur,Shekhawati. ... Well water is drawn via mechanical pump from a source below the surface of the earth. ... Shevchenko BN350 desalination unit situated on the shore of the Caspian Sea. ... An Atmospheric water generator (AWG), or atmospheric condenser, produces pure drinking water from the humidity of the surrounding air. ...


A fire is as important as a safe water supply, because of its many uses: For other uses, see Fire (disambiguation). ...

  • Boiling water to kill pathogens (see above)
  • Cooking food, including wild-caught fish and game (see below)
  • Staying warm, particularly when wet
  • Repelling dangerous animals and certain insects (e.g. mosquitoes)
  • Provides a sense of companionship and morale boost
  • Signaling to rescuers (bright at night, smoky by day)
See also: Campfire, Ignition device

How to make fire: The article attempts to categorize the relative dangers of different Biota to humans. ... Wikibooks Transwiki has more about this subject: Campfire A campfire in a fire pit A campfire is a fire lit at a campsite, usually in a fire ring. ... An ignition device is a device that ignites fire. ...


Food is not urgently needed in survival situations, since a human can survive for several weeks without it. However, much like dehydration, hunger can bring about many consequences long before it causes death, such as: Dehydration (hypohydration) is the removal of water (hydro in ancient Greek) from an object. ...

  • Irritability and low morale
  • Weakness
  • Loss of mental clarity, such as confusion, disorientation, or poor judgment
  • Weakened immune system
  • Difficulty maintaining body temperature (see heat exhaustion and hypothermia)

It is actually rather easy to find food in most wild environments, provided one knows where to look. A basic knowledge of animal trapping, hunting, and fishing will provide meat. Equally important is a knowledge of edible plants, fungi, and lichens. One cannot always rely on the most abundant or most easily accessible type of food. To survive for long periods of time, one must maintain a balanced diet. In order to do this, one must consume a balanced variety of foods. A scanning electron microscope image of a single neutrophil (yellow), engulfing anthrax bacteria (orange). ... Hyperthermia is an acute condition resulting from excessive exposure to heat, it is also known as heat stroke or sunstroke. ... Hypothermia is a condition in which an organisms temperature drops below that Required fOr normal metabolism and Bodily functionS. In warm-blooded animals, core [[body Temperature]] is maintained nEar a constant leVel through biologic [[homEostasis]]. But wheN the body iS exposed to cold Its internal mechanismS may be unable... Bird trapping, tacuinum sanitatis casanatensis (XIV century) The human activity of animal trapping has two separate but related meanings. ... This article is about the hunting of prey by human society. ... Fishing is the activity of hunting for fish by hooking, trapping, or gathering. ... u fuck in ua ... Divisions Chytridiomycota Zygomycota Ascomycota Basidiomycota The Fungi (singular: fungus) are a large group of organisms ranked as a kingdom within the Domain Eukaryota. ... For other things named Lichen, see: Lichen (disambiguation). ...

It is usually wise to eat little and often in survival situations. Small meals take time to digest, and may help heal the empty-stomach feeling. Several bugs are edible, (but taste atrocious), for example, many types of maggots are edible. Some types of spiders, for example, the crucifix spider are edible. To eat a maggot, simply bite off the head and eat the body. The taste may not be particularily pleasant, but the maggots hold vital calories needed for survival. Binomial name Karsch, 1878 Argiope keyserlingi is a common species of orb-web spider found on the east coast of Australia, from central New South Wales to southern Queensland. ...

Many survival books promote the "universal edibility test": allegedly, one can distinguish edible foods from toxic ones by tasting progressively larger portions over time. However, many experts including Ray Mears and John Kallas[1] reject this method, in main part because a very small amount of some "potential foods" can cause anything from gastric distress to illness or death. An additional step called the "scratch test" is sometimes included. In this step (before tasting the food) one makes a major abrasion on the surface of an area of skin (such as with fingernails) and then lightly rubs some of the food product on the abrasion. Foods which cause surface inflammation, discomfort, itching or eruption should be avoided. Ray Mears (born 1964) is a British author and TV presenter on the subject of bushcraft and survival techniques. ...

Finding food in the wild depends on your environment (i.e. vegetation, animals, and water sources).

How to:

First aid

First aid (and wilderness first aid in particular) can help a person survive and function with injuries that would otherwise kill or incapacitate him/her. Common and dangerous injuries include: First aid is a series of simple, life-saving medical techniques that a non-doctor or layman can be trained to perform. ... Wilderness first aid is the provision of first aid under conditions where the arrival of emergency responders or the patient evacuation may be delayed due to constraints of terrain, weather, and available persons or equipment. ...

The survivor may need to apply the contents of a first aid kit or naturally-occurring medicinal plants, immobilize injured limbs, or even transport incapacitated comrades. Definition A cut is an injury that results in a break or opening in the skin. ... An infection is the detrimental colonization of a host organism by a foreign species. ... For other uses, see Snake (disambiguation). ... Internal and external views of an arm with a compound fracture, both before and after surgery A bone fracture is a medical condition in which a bone breaks. ... A sprain (from the French espraindre - to wring) is an injury which occurs to ligaments caused by a sudden over stretching (for the muscle injury, see strain). ... For a review of anatomical terms, see Anatomical position and Anatomical terms of location. ... For other uses, see Burn. ... First aid kit of the French Army A first aid kit is a collection of supplies and equipment for use in giving first aid, particularly in a medical emergency. ... ...


Many survival situations can be resolved, or at least ameliorated, by finding one's way to safety. This requires some navigation or movement: Table of geography, hydrography, and navigation, from the 1728 Cyclopaedia. ...

For the episode of The West Wing, see Celestial Navigation (The West Wing). ... For other uses, see Map (disambiguation). ... // Topographic maps are a variety of maps characterized by large-scale detail and quantitative representation of relief, usually using contour lines in modern mapping, but historically using a variety of methods. ... This article is about the navigational instrument. ... Over fifty GPS satellites such as this NAVSTAR have been launched since 1978. ...

Other survival skills

For long-term survival some other skills are useful:

  • Knife or Multitool - usage and sharpening (a knife or Multitool is important and useful for many aspects of bushcraft)
  • Climbing and Mountaineering techniques
  • Ropework
    • Making rope from materials such as the inner bark of trees, other plant fibers, or animal sinews
    • Knowledge of knots and their applications
  • Making a raft or boat
  • Basic rifle marksmanship / handgun marksmanship, both for hunting and defense

This article is about the tool. ... A multitool is a portable, versatile hand tool that combines several individual tool functions in a single grip or in the shape of a credit card. ... Rock climbers on Valkyrie at The Roaches in Staffordshire, England. ... An open crevasse. ... Ropework is commonly defined as the set of processes of making and repairing ropes; some, however, also include any other work that can be done with ropes, such as tying knots and splicing. ... Coils of rope used for long-line fishing A rope (IPA: ) is a length of fibers, twisted or braided together to improve strength for pulling and connecting. ... KNOT is a commercial Classic Country music radio station in Prescott, Arizona, broadcasting to the Flagstaff-Prescott, Arizona area on 1450 AM. Query the FCCs AM station database for KNOT Radio Locator Information on KNOT AM radio stations in the Flagstaff-Prescott, Arizona market (Arbitron #151) By frequency: By... Traditional raft, from 1884 edition Huckleberry Finn and Jim Children successfully test their raft, in Brixham harbour, south Devon, England. ... For other uses, see Boat (disambiguation). ...


There are creatures lurking around every corner in a survival situation, which is why a weapon is essential. A knife will not do, as it is too short for any close range fight. The knife should be used for spear sharpening. A spear should be at least 10in. below your body height. The sharpening should begin at least 3 inches below the tip of the spear stick. Continue until you have a sharp point.


Training survival skills has two components: mental competence and physical fitness. Physical fitness includes, among other abilities, carrying loads over long distances on rough terrain. Mental competence includes the skills listed in this article, as well as the ability to overcome panic and think clearly. Theoretical knowledge of survival skills is useful only if it can be applied effectively in a real survival situation.

Several organizations offer training in survival skills, which ranges from introductory courses lasting only a day, to field courses lasting as long as a month. In addition to teaching survival techniques for conditions of limited food, water, and shelter, many such courses seek to engender appreciation and understanding of the lifestyles of pre-industrialized cultures.

There are several books that teach one how to survive in dangerous situations and schools usually tell children what to do in the event of an earthquake or fire. Some cities also have contingency plans in case of a major disaster.

Survival Training is normally broken down into two types; Modern Wilderness Survival and Primitive Technology. Modern Wilderness Survival training teaches only skills necessary to survive in the short-term (1-4 days) or medium-term (5-40 days), while Primitive Technology teaches skills need to survive over the long-term (40 days plus). Many primitive technology skills require much more practice and may be more environment specific.

Survival manual

A survival manual is a book used as reference in case of emergency, when one's survival is threatened. Typically it will cover both preparation for a trip, and guidance, such as is contained in this article, for dealing with eventualities. A user guide, also commonly known as a manual, is a technical communication document intended to give assistance to people using a particular system. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ...

There are many different types of survival manuals. The military will usually have one as part of its standard documentation. These are sometimes republished for public distribution; for example the SAS Survival Handbook and United States Army Survival Manual: FM 21-76. Other manuals may be written for more specific uses, such as wilderness or maritime survival. For other uses, see Wilderness (disambiguation). ... Seamanship is the art of operating a ship or boat. ...


  1. ^ John Kallas, Ph.D., Director, Institute for the Study of Edible Wild Plants and Other Foragables. Biography

See also

Bushcraft is, to a certain extent a version of what have always been called survival skills. ... To meet Wikipedias quality standards, this article may require cleanup. ... Outdoor education (also known as adventure education) usually refers to organized learning that takes place in the outdoors. ... Survival kit is a package of basic tools and supplies prepared in advance as an aid to survival in an emergency. ... Survival knives are intended for survival purposes when lost in a wilderness environment. ... A debris shelter is a shelter constructed of logs, branches and brush without modern tools or implements. ... For other uses, see Survivalism (disambiguation). ... A firearm is a kinetic energy weapon that fires either a single or multiple projectiles propelled at high velocity by the gases produced by action of the rapid confined burning of a propellant. ...

External links

  Results from FactBites:
Books on survival skills - OutdoorEbooks.com (1668 words)
Outdoor wilderness survival and its psychological and sociological effects upon students in changing human behavior
Survival: Live Off the Land in the City and Country
Surviving the unexpected: A curriculum guide for wilderness survival and survival from natural and man made disasters
SurvivalIQ Handbook: Survival Skills - Survival use of plants - Edibility of plants (1880 words)
In this instance you may not have had the chance to learn the plant life of the region in which you must survive.
It is important to be able to recognize both cultivated and wild edible plants in a survival situation.
The 'Survival Skills' section of this site is based on 'U.S. Army Survival Manual', a public domain work published by the U.S. Department of Defense that is available for sale at Amazon.com.
  More results at FactBites »



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