These days many of us are dependent on technology for pretty much everything! What do you do when you’re without technology and need to survive on your wilderness skills alone? Make sure to learn these 7 survival hacks to help keep you safe if you ever find yourself lost or stranded in the wilderness!
The main three areas you need to focus on to survive are food, water, and shelter. It may seem like a survival emergency if your iPhone dies, but you can live without it (trust me!). Once you have your basic needs met, you’ll be much better off until you either find your way out or a search party finds you.
Survival Hack 1: Soda Can Fishhooks
You've probably worked up an appetite after getting lost in the woods. In order to refuel your body so you can find your way out, you’re going to need to find food! If you’re lost in an area that has lakes or streams, you can try to catch some fish! If you don’t have a pole and hook handy, all you need is a knife, a soda can tab, and some string. Using the knife, cut an opening in the bottom hole (the wider of the two) on the tab on a slant. This is your hook. Cut away any extra you need to get enough space for a fish to bite it. You now have a homemade fishhook!
Survival Hack 2: Get your Bait
You could dig up some worms, but if you want to catch a decent-sized fish, you should use those worms to catch real bait. To do this, all you need is a 2-liter bottle, some string, and a knife! Remove the cap, and just below where the bottle begins to slope up to the neck, cut all the way around. Turn the small piece around so that the top of the bottle is inserted into the rest of the bottle. Cut a small hole through both pieces on opposite sides. Use your string to tie the two pieces together on both sides with the holes you just made. Now put your worms down in the bottle and put the bottle in the water. Small minnows will swim in the bottle to get the worms, but they won’t be able to swim back out. Then just untie one of the strings to open it up and get your bait. Now you’re ready to catch the big one!
Survival Hack 3: Starting a Fire Without Matches or a Lighter
Typically people use a lighter or matches to get a campfire going, but if you’re lost in the woods you may not have either of these on hand. Hopefully you have a pair of glasses, a mirror, or a round, smooth water bottle handy. If you have any of these, you’ll be able to get your fire going as long as the sun is out! All you need to do is use one of them to reflect the sun onto your tinder once it’s gathered. This might take a while, so be patient, but any of these things will concentrate the sun’s rays into a beam that will heat up the tinder enough to spark it. Then you just gently blow on it to get it going.
Survival Hack 4: Cleaning your Water
After that delicious meal you’re probably going to be pretty thirsty. In fact, you can only go about 24 hours without water before your body begins to shut down. If you get lost in the woods, you will need to find and create clean drinking water to keep yourself alive. Not all water out there is safe to drink and since you won’t know about the area, it’s better to be safe and clean the water as best as you can. Giardia is a parasite that can get into the water from human and animal feces, and drinking water with this in it can pose a serious health risk.
The first thing you want to do is filter out the dirt and grime from the water. You can do this by simply running the water through a t-shirt to strain out any solids that may be in it. It’s not as effective as a home water filter, but when you’re lost and desperate, even sandy water will start to look good. Once you have your water filtered, you want to boil it. This will kill bacteria and parasites such as giardia. You can use an empty soda can or a glass bottle to boil the water in a fire if you’re stranded without your cooking supplies.
Survival Hack 5: Tarp Shelter
Shelter is the next thing you’re going to need especially if it’s going to rain or you’re going to be stuck out in the woods at night. The easiest one to make is with a tarp and rope. Tie your rope between two trees at about the height of your head when you’re crouched down. You want to keep it somewhat low to the ground so there’s less space you need to heat with your body. Drape the tarp over the rope so that one side just touches the ground and the other folds under the tent shape you just made. This is your shelter base but you don’t want to have to just lay on the cold ground. To help insulate your shelter, find some leaves and grass to put under the bottom of the tarp so that it’s not just resting on the ground. Using some small sticks, peg down the corners of the part of the tarp that is on the ground. Then, using more sticks and some rope, peg down the corners of the end that is hanging, so that it’s on a slant. You now have a waterproof shelter to keep you dry and somewhat warm.
Survival Hack 6: Leaf Hut
If you don’t have a tarp, don’t worry, there’s still an easy shelter you can build for yourself. First you need to find your beam and supports. You’ll want to find something long and sturdy that will hold the weight of your shelter without breaking. You need to prop one end up so look for a fork in a tree or a tall stump that will bring it up about three feet. You want to ensure it is secure and isn’t going to fall over on you because when you get done adding all the items to it, it’s going to be kind of heavy.
Next find some branches and place them along both sides of the beam you just put up, close together. You want to be able to put leaves on them on the outside without them falling through. Once you have them all set up, start loading leaves and other vegetation on top. You want to get this layer approximately about three feet thick in order to keep you out of the elements and keep your body heat in. If there’s enough around, collect some slabs of bark and place them on the outside of this layer to help keep the rain out. Now all you have to do is find leaves and grass to insulate the bottom, similar to the tarp shelter!
Survival Hack 7: Quinzhee
What happens if you’re lost in the winter when everything is covered in snow and it’s hard to find things like sticks and branches on the ground? Use that snow to build up a Quinzhee! This is basically just a shelter dug out of a pile of snow. First you want to start making a big pile of snow. As you add to your pile, pack it down a bit so that it sticks together. Once you have a pile about the size you want your shelter to be, let it sit for a bit so it can settle (an one-and-a-half to three hours). Go see what you can do to gather up some sticks. You’ll need a bunch that are about a foot long but the diameter can be pretty small. You’re just going to use them as a guide. Once it’s been sitting a while, you want to plunge the sticks down into the mound in random places, with about 2 inches still sticking up. Now you start digging out the door. If possible start to dig down a bit before you start going up into the mound. This dip down and then up into it will help trap your body heat inside with you. Once you have the door dug out, start carving out your snow cave. When you hit the end of a stick, you want to stop. The sticks are there so you can ensure you don’t make the walls too thin. If they’re too thin they can fall in on you. Dig a trench around where you will sleep so that any snow that melts or condensation that builds up has somewhere to go and you don’t wake up soaked. To get fresh air in, you may want to put a couple fist-sized holes in the walls near the top as vents.
Learning these 7 Survival Hacks will really help you if you ever find yourself lost in the wilderness! You can even have a bit of fun practicing these when you’re out on your camping trips so that you’re ready just in case. Either way, these hacks could potentially save your life, so if you plan to go anywhere where you could possibly get lost, keep these tips handy!