Introduction: How to Survive in the Woods/jungle

Picture of How to Survive in the Woods/jungle

This Instructable will be teaching you how to survive in the wilderness, but you must remember the single most important rule of any true survivalist:

"be prepared for anything mother nature may throw at you"

now that we have that out the way you have to decide now whether it is worth you carrying on reading this and the way you are going to decide is to ask yourself this.

"do you have the will to survive?"

if the answer is no. then clear off. if the answer is yes then congratulations, you have completed the first step of survival school. will power.

Step 1: The Basics of Survival!

Picture of The Basics of Survival!

Always make sure that someone knows where you are going and when you're planning to come back. If something goes wrong, they will know when to get help.

Most valuable - before you trek anywhere unassisted check local knowledge. Find out about the basic geography of the area. Familiarize yourself with edible plants and animals and local seasonal dangers like floods and animal migrations.

Be prepared for the environment you're heading into - bring the right tools and supplies.

Use common sense. If you are lost, try to get your bearings before moving on. If you're tired, rest. If you're hungry, try to find food.

And always push yourself, the only way the people like bear grylls and ray mears survive is by pushing themselves beyond what the think they can do.

Step 2: The Knife

Picture of The Knife

A knife is always important wether it's for sharpening sticks for traps, gutting animals or cutting sticks down to size to make a bivvy. A knife has come in handy to me more times than you could shake a stick at. lol...

You can make a knife but i find this to be a time consuming effort and is nearly pointless compared to some of the knives you can find on the market. i will however put a link in just incase you were curious with this instructable

I personally always carry a swiss army knife that has a lock on it whenever i go camping, you could however use a bog standard swiss army knife without a lock: upside is it does more stuff (you could probably find one out there with and umbrella on it) downside is you have to be careful because it wont lock. on the other hand a simple lock knife without any add ons is good: upside is it's light weight and simple, downside is there is nothing on there like a can opener or a fish scaler etc. If you really want to go over the top and do infact find yourself stuck in a particularly dense part of the woods/jungle you may want to have a machete handy. i got one whilst i was in uganda and i havent regreted it since.

regarding the machete my parents beg to differ....

Step 3: Altoids Survival Kit

Picture of Altoids Survival Kit

This is a fairly handy thinggummywhat thats has served it's purpose many a time.

It is essentially a small tin full of everything you might need to get through the night in not only a forest/jungle but anywhere. the contents of each survival kit varys from whoever has made them, but you cannot buy these and everyone is homemade.

It saves money compared to shop bought survival kit, but more importantly it could save your life

For my survival kit i took an old mint tin and filled it with:

-7 matches
-2 match strikers sellotaped to the inner top of the tin
-a birthday candle
-a light, compass and whistle combo thing
-a fair amount of dental floss
-a fair amount of soldering wire
-a fair amount of tin foil
-the tin
-the elastic band holding the tin together

Things i should have in my survival kit:

-some duct tape
-a small sealable bag of some sort

Reasons for having those things in the tin

-matches: always handy for starting fires
-strikers: handy for starting the matches to start the fire =]
-candle: it burns for a long time so helps greatly to start fires
-a light, compass and whistle combo: the whistle is good for getting attention, as is the light and the compass is good for navigation
-dental floss: it is nearly clear when lay out in a trap
-soldering wire: strong wire for binding
-tin foil: good for cooking things in and holding things to keep them dry
-the tin: holds everything and you can cook small things in there
-elastic band: holds the tin together and is good for bindings

-duct tape: very good at fixing things. i've heard many a story where people have used to duct tape in the wilderness
-small sealabe bag: keeps things dry and fresh

There is a more extensive kit here, but my tin was small so i was severly limited =[

Step 4: How to Make Fire (important!!)

Picture of How to Make Fire (important!!)

An essential part of survival is the ability to create and sustain a fire as this will offer you the chances of cooking any meat you may have with you or caught, some light to perform various tasks with and the light will keep the bugs away, which is handy because midges, mosquitos and flys are a horror!!

Before you can even think about starting the fire you have to prepare yourself and this means gathering alot of different types of wood that you can use to build a fire up.

You will need different sizes of wood, BUT IT ALL HAS TO BE DRY!! this is critical other wise it will not burn (the only exception is when you are impaling some food onto a stick, then you want it live so it doesn't burn). the different types of wood/fuel you will need are-

1. Wood or bark shavings. (dry grass or paper may be used here but is not recommended as it burns far too intensely and as such will not last very long)

2. Small twigs. this will serve as building blocks to the main structure of your fire (this will be discussed later)

3. Slightly bigger twigs, but not too big. this will make it possible to stack bigger stuff on

4. Even bigger sticks. this again will lead on to bigger sticks

this cycle carrys on and on and on depending on the size of fire you want.

An exceptions of the above are pallet wood. often found in firewood dumps. this is good because it burns for a while.

You will also need a few big logs to put around the fire if you are not in a designated fire zone. This will stop the fire from spreading and causing any major damage.

Always remember to get more firewood than you will need. this means that you can stack it on if you need the fire for longer than expected or if you wanted the fire slightly bigger.

To make a fire you need 3 things. 1: Fuel, 2: Oxygen and 3. Ignition

We've covered number one. number 2 needs a bit more thought (surprisingly) because you need to create the right sort of structure for the fire so that the oxygen can get in and you also need to make sure not to put too much firewood on too quickly because this will smother the fire and put it out, much like a candle with a snuffer.

The structure that I like to use for my fire is a basic two sticks ontop of two others and then carry on.
This is done by laying two sticks parallel from each other than laying two on top of them and then building it up. This allows for good ventilation and the opportunity to put your fuel and ignition in the middle, in the heart of the fire.

There are a few other types but i find none of them to be as effective, but it is just important to remember to have a structure to have an air flow (co2 goes out o2 comes in) and to get the right size sticks next to each other so the fire can build itself up.

Now, the final section. ignition. there are a few different things you can use for this, including a steel striker (a carbonised steel rod struck with a key shaped piece of metal. this can be replaced with a knife or a key) this is the same concept as a striking two flints together, you can use matches (these aren't good in wind or water unless you have "monkey matches", these are wind and water proof matches. very hand but they burn incredibly quickly) and lighters, storm lighters or zippos are good because they are windproof too.

To light a fire create you fire with the kindlering in the middle in the middle and then start your ignition in there.

Congratulations. if all went to plan you now have a fire. =]

i like fire... lol

Step 5: Making a Shelter. Hooray

I'm not going to lie to you. i'm no expert at this. I may have been on my fair share of survival camps i still prefer to have a helping hand around when i'm creating my own bivvy, bivwhack or shelter, whatever you want to call it. I do know that it's important to have a survival bag because it's a huge orange water proof bag. This is good because it is obvious it's there because it's bright, it's warm with a sleeping bag aswell and it will keep your dry. But when it's all said and done you still need to have a shelter of some sort to survive.

The shelter i generally use is a bog one. A large stick proped up against a tree and then with fern branches coming down from either side. this creates a nice waterproof (ish) shelter that generally fits one man, but can be improvised to fit two or more by using more than one stick and connecting the two with fern branches.

Sorry i can't offer anything more on this subject but i can say that as i start to get more info i will post it up then we can all be true surivalists =]

Step 6: Dress Appropriatly

Picture of Dress Appropriatly

This can be farily handy because im sure you wouldnt want to be running around in any high heeled shoes or trousers that are so baggy that they fall from your arse wihtout the aid of belt or your hands.

What you wear really depends on where you're going and what time of year it is, but on a whole i like to wear thin, lightweight trousers that will protect me from stingers, etc but will also be cool and light for mobility. I also have a camoflauge coat that i am in love with because it traps heat, is full of pockets and can be used to pad out your sleeping bag or whatever. it is not very good for the summer however =[

on a whole this is what i wear according to the seasons

spring/summer: lightweight trousers, a breathable t-shirt and some hiking shoes. This is dependant on the weather

autumn/winter: lightweiht trousers, a thick t-shirt, maybe a jumper, my camo coat, some wooley hiking socks and my hiking shoes. This, to, is dependant on the weather

Just remember to check the forecasts if you ever go out, but also remember that the forecasts can never be 100% correct, so in my eyes it's better to bring that extra jumper or coat you were planning to because you may find yourself stuck in the wet, cold rain trying to stay warm in just your t-shirt and trousers. not good =[

Also it is a good idea to wear shorts if you know there aren't going to be any particularly vicious stingers or plants about and it's going to be hot. it's a good idea.

Step 7: Trapping Animals

Picture of Trapping Animals

This is esential if you want to survive because dead animals + fire = yum. It's that simple, really. i am once again no master at this but i will explain as much as i know.

The Deadfall Trap

The deadfall trap works on the principle that when the bait is taken a weight falls on the prey. This live animal trap can be made to any size. Prop a weight up with a stick with some food attached by a string to the stick propping the weight up. when the animal takes the bait the weight will drop and either leave your animal looking alot like road kill or just imobilise it. let's hope for the latter.

Box Trap

A box trap is a very good trap for small game and birds.

To construct a box trap assemble a box from sticks tied together or whatever appropriate material that's available. Make it big enough to hold the game you intend to catch.Take time to make a trigger that fits well, like some string attached to the door and the bait. This will then force the door shut and some yum inside.

Snare Trap

Using snares to trap animals is a simple method. Especially if you want to catch rabbits and small animals.

Make sure the noose is large enough to pass freely over the animal's head. Set it at a height that's equal to the height of the animals head and a hand's width from an obstruction. Anchor securely.

Just remember to leave yourself downwind from the animal, follow their tracks to watering holes etc, be patient and practice as much as you can.

I will leave fishing down to you

I will also leave gutting the animal to you, as much fun as it is you can work it out. (it's half the fun =])

Step 8: Well, Gosh. Congratulations

Well done. you have completed your crash course on survival in the forst and jungle. well done you. just remember what i said and you should be fine.

P.S i take no liabilty for death for any other forms of injury caused by the acivities stated in this guide.

lol, i'm just kidding. you wont die, but if you do find yourself caught in a man size snare trap dont come crying to me.


hotchocdrop (author)2012-04-01

okay guys, listen up:
bear grylls may be trained in the sas, and so is the camera guy, les.
but always remember that it is a television show, and they will often do things that any survivalist will know is the exact wrong thing to do.
take drinking urine for example. urine has no benefit left for the body whatsoever. it has all been filtered out, plus there are many harmful bacteria in urine, that can prove fatal. if you feel the sudden urge to drink urine, distill it first.

blingblingdog (author)2012-03-21

i like fire more than you

Woodbuffalo (author)2012-03-19

I enjoyed the reading, most points were "put through to the reader". A couple of extras, if you get rained on or fall in a creek (etc) keep moving. Your movement will keep your body warm and dry your clothes...don't overexert though as you may not know how long you will need to keep the energy stored in your body. Always always be carefull not to hurt yourself when building your Bivi or fire; compounds the situation if not just the wound. When camping/hiking don't sleep in the same clothing you've worn all day (the sweat will cool, leaving you to shiver all night, using precious energy and valuable rest for mind and body) use a dry change of clothes or butt naked if you happen to have a good sleeping bag.
If you think you'll be stuck for a couple of days, try adding a thick layer of dirt/sod to the roof of your Bivi for the extra insulation.
When baiting your "deadfall", if you aren't using parts of an already dead could have used that bait for yourself. (besides, do you really want to eat a Fox/coyote even if you were starving?) Fishing and snares are the way to go. Snares should be on an already made path by the animal you are after. That reminds me, a hook and 3-4 feet of fishing line would fit in your survival tin.
If you want to burn green wood, use ALOT OF the smaller branches of pine/fir as the needles will burn bright hot and fast with lots of smoke.....used best if you hear a LOW LEVEL plane or helicopter.
I've had my share of "adventures" self inflicted or not. I can say i've nevre been lost but definately been "stuck" a few times, from hot dry days to freezing temps. It's never "fun" but you do what you can to survive...I still have all my fingers and toes too.

trapshooter (author)2009-03-01

i did it and a caught a fox THX

harley_rly (author)trapshooter2009-05-15

arent foxes a protected species?

Zappa021 (author)harley_rly2011-11-27

depends on the species and location

goeon (author)2008-10-14

Bear Grylls doesent count he has a crew Les Stroud!!!

temp (author)goeon2009-07-26

Yes, but Les knows where he is going by the end of the week. He knows where he'll be picked up. Bear doesn't. But he does have a crew so they both have their weeknesses.

etw (author)temp2011-06-02

Bear does not know where he is going????
I saw an episode once where he got in from see, up a creek, into a small indian village in the middle of nowehere and there just happened to be a helicopter that he could jump in with his camera crew, without asking questions.

No, he certainly does not know where he is going ;-)

goeon (author)temp2009-07-26


albylovesscience (author)goeon2009-08-02

bear grylls does count he may have a crew but they dont help him or interact with him only when in dangerous situations

yeah they do in one of his jungle episodes they build a latter for him

goeon (author)albylovesscience2009-08-02

exactly les could die and no one would know

Wolf Seril (author)goeon2011-01-12

Les had a support group less than half a mile away from him at all times. One episode where he is in Alaska he calls them on day three.

Besides, Bear was in the SAS. They have extensive survival training. Yes, parts of the show are staged, but the point of the show is to get information across. If he acted exactly how he would in real life, there would be no show because he would be rescued within the day.

Both of them are very knowledgeable and experienced survivalists. You don't have to pick one or the other.

did you know bear has a survival expert with him behind the camera, youtube "man vs wild outtakes" and you will see the guy giving bear pointers on how to do things. Its really funny.

Fujo (author)albylovesscience2010-10-28

Ha. I presume your being sarcastic?

bubba j (author)goeon2009-03-03

les rocks

goeon (author)bubba j2009-03-03


orangewolf22 (author)goeon2009-07-21


goeon (author)orangewolf222009-07-21

Ok than now what

orangewolf22 (author)goeon2009-07-22

no idea

goeon (author)orangewolf222009-07-22


orangewolf22 (author)goeon2009-07-22


i like bear grylls better... but survivorman is more realistic because not all of us were formerly in the military and are like total beasts.

i'll agree with that

plznothanks (author)2011-05-15

Bear Grylls is the champ at this

mikesm1234 (author)2010-11-01

Bear is a presenter/host the guy is a hack he kills little furry animals just for the shows rating, disgraceful. Les knows his stuff, the guy quit the survivorman show because is was too much for him to film and survive at the same time. No crew for Les so props to him.
But the guy pictured above to the right of Bear is the man. His name is Ray Mears and he is the top survival expert in my opinion. Humble does not so off, he is a matter of fact kind of guy. I respects this guys opinion, and if anyone wants to learn anything at all about survival skills in any environment he's you man.

Superninjacamper941 (author)2008-08-18

Hey bear gryls is better no one knows what les stroud has in that back pack of his he is out there alone no one would know what he has. at least with bear more people would know what he does.

Fujo (author)Superninjacamper9412010-10-28

Your not serious?? Your talking about Bear the man who faked a grizzly attack using one of his crew dressed in a bear suit?? Have you ever read the credits for his show?

bowmaster (author)2008-10-04

You should change the beginning to say "The only way bear grilz survives is eating the food his camera crew brings for him to eat and sleeping in an insulated sleeping bag inside his custom made tent.

Fujo (author)bowmaster2010-10-28

Exactly. He's a fake/wannabe.

cclark13 (author)2009-07-05

what about survivor man

benlee1114 (author)cclark132009-08-20

ya! wat about survivor man even though bear is awesome :D lol

Fujo (author)benlee11142010-10-28

"Bear" is a sham. He's been caught out several times. Check up on it. All he does is use shock factor - nothing useful.

Ray mears on the other hand is an expert in all aspects of survival and he provides useful information and shares his experience and knowledge.

plumber4 (author)benlee11142009-09-16

Bear is entertaining but ridiculous. He has a camera crew and probably some local survival expert. Survivorman is just him...and a harmonica.

jrsh92 (author)2008-08-19

The Opinel knives, as shown in the picture, are wonderful for just about everything. Easy to sharpen, inexpensive, with a good lock, and long lasting if treated correctly. Make sure to dry them out and then oil them or the wood soaks up water, swells, and the knife becomes VERY hard to open-- it's essential to have the knife dried and well oiled before going out in the woods, you'll never get it dry if it's raining and you might not have oil to treat the handle with while you're out there. Always have stuff like that in good condition, sharp, and otherwise well prepared ahead of time.

greenwing hero (author)jrsh922008-08-20

yeah, i had heard about them long before i went to get one and it was twice as good as any knife in there that cost twice as much. generally a good all round knife, if looked after like you say

afridave (author)greenwing hero2010-10-13

yip ive taken over your instructable im sorry (not really) ,but if i save a life its all good,another serious thing here (south africa is a largly semi to desert country and hot) is sunstroke,heat exhaustion,dehydration,all diffrent but related.A hat is mandatory,moving in temperature of 40c ,45c and above is just not a realistic option,Wake early move in the morning stop under shade from 10 am till 3pm (you can push this envelope depending how hot it is) and move again.always be aware of water,make sure you have it and can get it,dont waste it ,plan your route according to it (manage it).The sun can kill you before you are even aware you have a problem ,heat exhaustion and dehydration can cause irrepairable damage to your body which after it reaches a certain point cannot be treated anyhow and you will die.You can go home and die a week later from damage that was caused while out in the field.

afridave (author)greenwing hero2010-10-13

an just by the way ive got that same camo jacket,its really awesome ,actually ive got about 5 camo jackets (im a freak yes i know my girlfriend tells me every day and she loves me so i know shes not lying) but that particular camo is one of my favs. as for knives girlfriend an i both carry 1907 lee enfield bayonets strapped into our rucksacks so they cant be seen an can be easily reached.most usefull knife,axe,spade,weapon,tin opener etc but a little heavy.
if you ever get to south africa go hiking in the cedarberg its like bieng on another beautifull planet

afridave (author)greenwing hero2010-10-13

the lesson that i learned i will never ever forget,we were lucky it was a small isolated cloud cluster.had it been an established cold front we could have been in deep poo.DO NOT TAKE NATURE FOR GRANTED EVER.dont play with mountain enviroments,they are beautiful and awesome (best places on earth) but extremely unpredicatable,vicious and unforgiving,needless to say i never go anywhere,even a desert hot place without a good all weather jacket and good boots anymore. you can die of hypothermia in a couple of hours and its all good an well having MRES,knives,fire makers etc etc but they are all useless if you freeze to death in the first six hours.

afridave (author)greenwing hero2010-10-13

nice tutorial.ive read a couple of these survival things and ive found one thing that all have missed (3 acutally).As far as im concerned no matter what climate or terrain you are in the single most important item you require is a really good all wheather jacket and almost on par with this comes good socks and the best boots you can afford.
A couple of years back me and some friends went for a short, relaxed gentle day walk (on a marked trail) in the mountains along the coast, near cape town.
It was a beautifull summers day,we left early and about 9.30 am we were getting hot.Some small insignificant clouds appeared far away out to sea an we paid no attention.
The clouds moved real quick an by 11am had reached the coast and pushed up against the mountain and we were now in the clouds.You could literally feel the temperature dropping by the second.I had a m65 style bush jacket which i put on but it was useless,After 10 to 15 min we were wet and it was so cold that my hands and fingers were burning.visibility was down to about 5 to 10 meters.
We walked up through the cloud (about 2 hours) and once we were above it were back in 30degc sunshine.It was an absolutly awesome and unforgetable experience bieng above the clouds and seeing all the mountain peaks sticking out above them,it was also a little scary in the clouds.

I think those are the old "school trip to France while the teachers not watching" knife very famous, very good, and you can get them pretty much every where with lanes i.e. Brighton, London, some place in France where the teachers weren't paying attention

Blacksmith Spader (author)2010-06-30

No pun-gee pit traps?

KittyF (author)2010-05-08

no, in most places foxes aren't protected but you better have a hunting license if you don't want to have a game warden after you for trapping or snaring an animal other than a mouse.  I think mice are free for all.   LOL

flubs (author)2010-03-30

 my dad OKed a machete for me. just to cut thorns in our ranch and to chop coconuts and pineapples

Remote Man (author)2008-07-05

congrats, nubcakes.

i am no cake?

Its Plural you silly kid. :D

ok, i am no cakes, or kid. a kid is a goats child, not a humans. :|

But surprisingly, both smell the same when you burn them. So maybe there's a connection... Goats and humans, I mean; not necessarily children. (that'd be horrid)

About This Instructable




Bio: I'm Ben, i enjoy the majority of all outdoor extreme sports and i partciuarly enjoy survival camps, hence the new series of instructables; How ... More »
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