Introduction: A Somewhat Simple Survival Guide

Picture of A Somewhat Simple Survival Guide

This is just yet another survival guide albeit a simplified one that comes with pixellated graphics. I originally planned on making this for my little brother to teach him basic survival tips in a simple way but I have been putting it in the backburner for quite some time.

It covers survival skills in a broad sense, meaning it does not go into specifics. Just the basics.

Disclaimer: I am not an expert on survival skills and nor have I been in scenarios where I had to use survival skills, apart from the annual camping trips we had in school. I am merely compiling knowledge from all those years of camps and life skills classes. If you happen to spot false information or typos herein, feel free to comment below. I will correct them as soon as possible.

Step 1: Be Prepared

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It is better to be prepared for anything as you never know what might happen. And so before you go out and hike up a mountain or trek through a jungle, make sure you do the following:

  1. Study the place before going there. Look at a map of the area and take note of several landmarks as they may come in handy if you get lost there.
  2. Notify your family or friends about your trip. Tell them where you're going and how long you plan on staying there.
  3. Pack a survival kit with you, be it a pocket-sized one or a fully-equipped one. This will be your lifeline in the wild.

Step 2: Worst-Case Scenario

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Accidents happen. In the event that you get lost or injured and are otherwise incapable of immediately vacating the premises and get back home, keep calm. Panicking would do you no good; it'll just drain you of precious energy.

Calm yourself and analyze the situation.

To survive, you will need to find water, food, and shelter for the next several days or so, depending on how long it takes for help to arrive. Apart from that you should also be able to signal for help, be able to safely navigate your way out, be able to treat any sustained injury or illness.

Depending on your location, your resources will vary. Plan accordingly.

Step 3: First Aid

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To avoid making things worse for you, you need to treat your injuries, wounds, and/or illnesses if you have any.

  1. Cuts, puncture wounds. Clean any wounds with water. Cover the wounds with bandages.
  2. Bites. If bitten by a snake, keep the bitten limb below the heart. It is also helpful if you can identify the snake.
  3. Bone fractures. Use a bandanna as a sling or use a makeshift splint.
  4. Sprains. Rest the afflicted area. Dress it in bandages. Keep it elevated.

Getting sick and getting wounds suck, so always bring a small first aid kit with you.

Step 4: Quenching Thirst

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Water is vital for your survival. We can survive for around 3 to 5 days without water, but don't wait. Look for water as soon as possible.

Water is there. You just have to know where to find it.

    1. This one's pretty obvious but look for bodies of water like streams or lakes.
    2. Water can be found in between rock crevices.
    3. Keep a lookout for birds as they usually hang around freshwater.
    4. Collect rainwater or use a shirt or something to collect morning dew.
    5. In dry places like deserts, dig in dried out bodies of water. Water may be found underneath the sun-baked surface.
    6. Familiarise yourself with plants. Some plants like cattails are generally located near water.

    When you've found water, you might want to purify it depending on how it looks. You can use a filter to separate water from any present sediments and boil it (or at least leave it out under the sun for a few hours) to kill all that bacteria and microorganisms.

    Concerning drinking your own urine, there has been some debate about that and personally I wouldn't recommend it as it's pretty disgusting. Just go look for water.

    Step 5: Foraging for Food

    Picture of Foraging for Food

    Food is fuel for your body. Don't get picky. There are no pizza places or restaurants in the wilderness.

    1. Leaves of some plants, like dandelion, are edible
    2. Look for fruits.
    3. Some species of cacti are edible. Unless you know what you're doing, don't bother looking for cacti as some species are poisonous.
    4. The same goes with berries and mushrooms. If you are unsure whether they are poisonous or not, it's best to leave them alone and look for alternative sources of food
    5. Look for eggs.
    6. Eat bugs. Make sure to cook them first. Avoid eating colourful bugs and caterpillars.
    7. Catch some fish. This will be quite a challenge especially if you have no equipment and have to resort to using your bare hands.
    8. Set up traps (i.e. snares, pits, etc.) and catch animals like rabbits.

    Step 6: Finding Shelter and Building a Fire

    Picture of Finding Shelter and Building a Fire

    To protect yourself from the various things like rain or wild animals, especially at night, or the scorching heat of the sun in desert areas, you need to have a shelter to retreat to. This could be a tent if you brought one along. However, if you were unfortunate enough to not have a tent with you, you have other options.

    1. A fallen tree or a slightly leaning one. You could easily use several branches and sticks to construct a simple shelter.
    2. A cave. Take caution with this one. Caves are often inhabited by snakes, bears, and other dangerous animals.
    3. A snow cave. I have not experienced making this though it requires digging a slightly sloped tunnel, ending with an igloo-like shelter.

    Don't waste too much energy building a "perfect" shelter. There's no need to make it beautiful.

    With the shelter done, it is also a good idea to build a small campfire. This will keep you warm during cold nights and may deter animals from your campsite.

    1. Use a magnifying glass to focus the sun's rays onto a pile of dried leaves and twigs.
    2. Strike two stones together. (Easier said than done in my experience.)
    3. Use flint and steel.
    4. Make a hand drill out of two dry pieces of wood. This is easier if you use the bow drill method.

    Step 7: Calling for Help

    Picture of Calling for Help

    Sooner or later, a rescue team passes by whether on foot as a patrol team or in the air as a rescue chopper. There are several ways you can attract the attention of the people looking for you.

    1. Build a fire. The bigger the better. Although mind the flames; you wouldn't want to be stuck in a forest fire.
    2. Use the sun's rays and a reflective object (i.e. a signalling mirror).
    3. Set up a huge SOS sign. You may need a huge open area to maximize the chances of it being spotted.
    4. Get on a high place, like a hill or a tree, and wave a brightly-coloured object.
    5. Blow a whistle three times.
    6. Create smoke signals. Add green leaves to the fire to make lots of smoke.

    Step 8: Navigation

    Picture of Navigation

    Sometimes, waiting out for search and rescue is not an option. Perhaps your current location is extremely isolated or you are desperate to get out. This is when navigational skills would come in handy.

    1. Look for familiar landmarks like a mountain or a river. This is why you should study the place through a map before venturing out there.
    2. Climb up a tall hill. This will serve as your vantage point and allow you to see the area in a sort of bird's eye view.
    3. Follow a river/stream downstream. In most cases, this will lead to civilization.

    Find North

    There are several ways to locate the direction of north. This could be done in a jiffy if you have a compass with you. But if you happen to not have one:

    1. Use the sun or moon, depending on the time. Both rises from the east and sets in the west. If you are facing a setting sun, north is to your right. If you are facing a rising sun, north is to your left.
    2. Use the stars. Find Polaris, also called the North Star. It is the last star in the constellation Little Dipper. Follow that star and you'll be heading north. The middle star on Orion's belt also points north.

    Thanks for reading.

    Comments

    24Eng (author)2014-05-05

    The graphics are perfect. You could be more specific like drawing up scenarios. Saying that water is underground on the desert isn't helpful if someone doesn't know how to fashion a way to get at it. I favorited this because you have a lot of good points.

    joshavanier (author)24Eng2014-05-17

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this.

    Drawing up scenarios is a really good idea. I'll definitely include that in the book version of this guide that I've been working on. It may take a while due to my busy schedule but I hope to have it here soon.

    As for the desert water thing, I may have oversimplified it. Sorry about that.

    Sorry for the late reply. I've been busy with school stuff and I rarely have time to go here.

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