Thursday, December 3, 2009
Practice Your Survival Skills
The subject of survival is a big topic and the beginner, as well as the more experienced, may sometimes feel overwhelmed by the sheer volume of material that one can learn.
I always recommend frequenting the several excellent survival forums and message boards that are on the Internet. These are run by friendly experienced people well versed in the field of survival. Participants in these survival forums are skilled in everything from bushcraft to firecraft to handicraft. They take great pride and pleasure in helping anyone. Often the survival discussions are lively and informative. If you are interested in learning more about survival, you will be welcomed with open arms into the survival community.
In addition there are a number of excellent books and magazines that cover the topic of survival. The basic ways of surviving have not always changed much over hundreds of years, and very old outdoor survival books contain nuggets of wisdom that even modern day survivors can use.
But it is not enough to read survival books and visit online survival forums. You have to get out there and practice your survival skills and survival gear. Set up a lean-to, build a debris hut, build a fire, find water. Test your skills in a variety of conditions and with a variety of materials. Make sure you would be able to do these very same things while injured or when it is wet or cold or blazingly hot.
The more you learn about survival techniques the more you realize how much there is to learn. When faced with a large task it is often easier to break it down into bite sized chunks. Survival experts have found through experience that the foundation of survival rests on five basic survival skills. Master these 5 basic survival skills and you are well on your way to being an expert survivor yourself.
So discuss, read, and practice. That is the way of becoming a survival expert.
5 Basic Survival Skills
Acquiring survival skills is an ongoing process that will last for your entire life. There is always more to learn and experience, which is part of the fun of being a survivor.
As your survival expertise grows the knowledge and abilities you gain are often useful in other areas. For example survivors prepare ahead of time, and they are experts in the art of ingenuity and inventiveness. Excellent attributes for anyone.
The possible environments and situations you could find yourself in are innumerable. Although each situation has its particular requirements for successfully surviving, in the final analysis it is mastery of five basic survival skills that are essential. Proficiency and preparedness in these 5 basic skills will give you the edge and put you on your way toward becoming a talented survivor.
First Basic Survival Skill - Fire
Knowing how to build a fire is the best survival skill you can have. Fire provides warmth, light, and comfort so you get on with the business of survival. Even if you do not have adequate clothing a good fire can allow you to survive in the coldest of environments.
Fire keeps away the creatures that go bump in the night and so you can have the peace of mind and rest you need. And that is not all. Fire will cook your food and purify your water, both excellent attributes when you want to stay healthy when potential disease causing organisms are lurking about. Fire will dry your clothing and even aid in the making of tools and keeping pesky insects at bay.
But even that is not all. Fire and smoke can be used for signaling very long distances.
Always have at least two, and preferably three, ways of making a fire at you immediate disposal. With waterproof matches, a butane lighter, and a magnesium fire starter or firesteel you should be able to create a fire anytime anywhere no matter how adverse the condtions.
So the lesson here is to learn the art of fire craft. Practice and become an expert. Your ability to create a fire is perhaps the most visible mark of an experienced survivor.
Second Basic Survival Skill - Shelter
Shelter protects your body from the outside elements. This includes heat, cold, rain, snow, the sun, and wind. It also protects you from insects and other creatures that seek to do you harm.
The survival expert has several layers of shelter to think about. The first layer of shelter is the clothing you choose to wear. Your clothing is of vital importance and must be wisely chosen according to the environment you are likely to find yourself in. Be sure to dress in layers in order to maximize your ability to adapt to changing conditions.
The next layer of shelter is the one you may have to build yourself, a lean-to or debris hut perhaps. This is only limited by your inventiveness and ingenuity. If the situation requires, your shelter can be insulated with whatever is at hand for the purpose. Being prepared, you may have a space blanket or tarp with you, in which case creating a shelter should be relatively easy.
Before you are in need of making a survival shelter, be sure to practice and experiment with a variety of materials and survival scenarios on a regular basis. Should the need arise you will be glad you did.
Third Basic Survival Skill - Signaling
Signaling allows you to make contact with people who can rescue you without having to be in actual physical contact with them. There are a variety of ways to signal for help. These include using fire and smoke, flashlights, bright colored clothing and other markers, reflective mirrors, whistles, and Personal Locator Beacons. Three of anything is considered a signal for help: 3 gunshots, 3 blows on a whistle, three sticks in the shape of a triangle.
In a pinch, your ingenuity in devising a way to signal potential help could very well save your life.
Fourth Basic Survival Skill - Food and Water