How to Survive in the Woods/jungle

Introduction: How to Survive in the Woods/jungle

About: 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 To Survive (in a certain place). These inbstrucables will include …

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!

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

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

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!!)

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

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

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.

Lonely Planet Travel Tips Contest

Participated in the
Lonely Planet Travel Tips Contest

Be the First to Share


    • Audio Challenge

      Audio Challenge
    • Halloween Contest

      Halloween Contest
    • Robots Contest

      Robots Contest



    9 years ago on Introduction

    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.


    9 years ago on Step 8

    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.


    12 years ago on Step 7

    i did it and a caught a fox THX


    Reply 9 years ago on Step 7

    depends on the species and location


    13 years ago on Introduction

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


    Reply 12 years ago on Introduction

    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.


    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    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 ;-)


    Reply 12 years ago on Introduction

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


    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

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


    Reply 12 years ago on Introduction

    exactly les could die and no one would know

    Wolf Seril
    Wolf Seril

    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    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.


    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    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.


    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    Ha. I presume your being sarcastic?