You can’t remember which way took you out of the forest and evening is kicking in. There is no signal, little food, and it’s raining. You have a few things in your bag like a tarp, a rope, a sandwich, and matches. So what do you do now?

Regardless if you’re a seasoned hiker or a newbie, things can go awry in the wilderness so it’s best to have a wealth of survival knowledge before your next trip. 

It doesn’t have to be Bear Grylls crazy, like making a “sheeping bag,” but every explorer must have these five essential survival tips.

1. Fire

Knowing how to make fire is critical when you’re in the wilderness, figuring how to survive. A blazing fire means you can cook, purify water, get warmth, and light. It also helps deter predators. This is an essential survival technique, and you should have two ways of starting a fire, one always on your person, and the other in your gear.

As soon as you arrive at camp, collect enough firewood for the night. Aim to get an armful of kindling and several larger logs for slow-burners. You should also have a disposable butane lighter or matches stored in a waterproof container. 

In a traditional friction method, use dry sticks and rub them together until an ember appears.  Then add this to your prepared tinder and blow on the flame, so it expands but try not to suffocate it. Note you can make tinder from cotton balls, wax or natural tinders like birch bark and old man’s beard. 

For a quicker option, use a fire starter kit to jump-start the fire even in wet conditions. And, as a backup, bring a stove for emergency heat and water source.

2. Shelter

You need protection from elements at night. It’s possible to fashion a refuge with basic skills either from tarps, ponchos, or any waterproof fabric. 

First, string up a line and drape the material over it, so you have a traditional tent-shape. Either keep it close to the floor or higher up so you can hang a hammock underneath it. Experiment and build a frame out of sticks like a tipi until you’re happy.

It’s wise to carry an emergency shelter to protect you in case you get stranded or injured. Bring along an emergency space blanket, which packs small and weighs little, a bivy sack or even a large plastic trash bag.  

3. Food and Water

Before heading out, carry enough water for your outing and bring a filter or purifier so you can treat water on your trip. Note, in your survival guide, that people need about half a liter per hour if they’re doing moderate activity in moderate temperatures.

But it depends on your environment as you will have to carry more if it’s hotter.
You should always have a collapsible water reservoir and one water bottle.

For food, always pack an extra day’s worth in case your trip lasts longer than planned. Pack items you don’t have to cook and have a long shelf life like nuts, energy bars, and jerky. 

For the more adventurous, why not forage? Although only do this when you have enough knowledge, otherwise it could be disastrous.

Stinging Nettles

These are delicious in a soup or for tea. Wear gloves and work from the bottom upwards, so you don’t get stung.


These are everywhere but make sure you have a guidebook or are with someone who knows the correct ones to pick. 


We consider burdock a weed, but in Asia, its root is a delicacy.

4. First Aid

Every explorer should have a first kit in your camping supplies, so you have necessary medical needs. Instead of freaking out when you realize you’re lost, think ‘STOP.’ It means Sit, Think, Observe, and Plan. You must reason, so you don’t waste energy or become overrun with negative thoughts.

Most survival situations need a dressing for bruises, small cuts, and personal medication requirements. Also include treatment for blisters, adhesive bandages of different sizes, gauze pads, over-the-counter painkillers, and disinfecting ointment.   
You should also bring a knife for food preparation and kindling or emergency needs. A basic knife will have a single foldout blade, and a pair of foldout scissors would be handy too.

Alongside your first aid kit, bring a small gear repair kit if you’re going deep into the backcountry. It should include duct tape, fabric repair tape, safety pins, and repair parts for your water filter.  

5. Navigation

You must have a range of navigation tools, including a map, compass, and a GPS device.  


Get a topographic map, so you don’t miss the smallest of turnings. It’s important to learn how to read a topographic map before you leave too.


A compass is a lifesaver if you feel disorientated. Many smartphones have a built-in compass but bring along a standard baseplate compass one as it does not need batteries. If you want to be extra-savvy, get a compass with a sighting mirror so you can flash sunlight to a helicopter during an emergency.

GPS Device

A GPS device lets you pinpoint exactly where you are on a digital map. Find one specially designed for outdoor travel as they are more durable and weatherproof. You always have a smartphone with GPS, but you don’t want to drain your battery.

You should also download Maps.me as it works offline and shows you the smaller potential trails that Google Maps doesn’t pick up. Also, get a no credit check internet so you can stay connected.  

Which of these Survival Tips Will You Use?

You can never have too many survival tips when you’re in the wilderness.

It’s essential to come prepared with a first-aid kit, several lighters, navigation equipment, and enough food and water to live.  Also, let your friends and family know your whereabouts whenever you get a signal so they can tell if a problem arises. Have fun!

Did you find this article helpful? Look around for more skill-based posts.