If you love the great outdoors, you may be interested in how you can become an expert on wilderness survival. In a world where modern conveniences often distance us from nature’s challenges, mastering the art of thriving in the wild demands dedication and a diverse skill set. From shelter construction and firemaking to navigation and foraging or hunting, the path to wilderness expertise entails immersing oneself in the teachings of experienced survivalists, practicing essential techniques, and fostering a strong connection with the wilderness. Becoming a wilderness survival expert requires a combination of practical skills, strong knowledge, hands-on experience, and the right mindset. Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you on your journey:
To become an expert at anything, you need to first, educate yourself. Learn from different resources to gain well-rounded knowledge on survival through credible textbooks and online resources as well as hands-on learning. Read foundational books on wilderness survival, take courses online that cover survival skills, attend workshops, join survival groups, and network with like-minded individuals. The more you know about wilderness survival, the more you’ll be able to master the skills necessary to be an expert.
Learn Basic Survival Skills
To successfully survive in the wild, you’ll need to learn basic survival skills. Here are the most important survival skills you can learn:
Shelter Building: Shelter is essential in the wild to protect you from the elements and wildlife. Learn how to create different types of shelters using natural materials.
Firemaking: Fire is a crucial aspect of survival so knowing how to correctly (and safely) build a fire in the backcountry is vital. Fire can keep you warm, cook food and boil water, protect you from dangerous wildlife, and provide illumination at night.
Water Procurement: The average human can only live a few days without water, so knowing how to find, purify, and store water in the wild is essential.
Foraging Edible and Medicinal Plants: In survival situations, you’ll need to know how to find food in the wilderness. Study local plant species or take our Herbal First Aid course to identify edible and medicinal plants that may be necessary for survival.
Navigation: You can’t always rely on technology in survival situations so it’s important to understand how to navigate using a map and compass as well as natural indicators, such as the sun, stars, and landmarks.
Practice Makes Perfect
As they say, practice makes perfect. To become an expert in anything, you have to practice regularly and with time, it will become second nature. With all the skills and knowledge you learn, test them out in a controlled environment before venturing out into the backcountry with limited facilities or communications. The best way to do this is in your backyard or at a campsite in a park. Spend time in nature regularly. Experiment with fire-making techniques, building shelters, and finding food and water. Gradually increase the complexity of your outdoor experiences, moving from day hikes to overnight camping trips.
Take a Wilderness First Aid Course
Obtaining a certification in wilderness first aid is essential for those who want to become an expert in wilderness survival, and many wilderness jobs and careers require it. The knowledge you’ll learn in this course is crucial for handling medical emergencies in remote areas. Out in the untamed wilderness, accidents and injuries can happen and you’re often far away from conventional medical facilities so it’s vital to be self-sufficient and know how to deal with medical emergencies if they happen.
Build a Survival Kit
An essential part of survival is the gear you bring with you. That’s why it’s so important to create a comprehensive survival kit that includes all the essential items you’ll need to thrive in the wild. Some of these items include a fire starter, water purification tablets, a first aid kit, a multi-tool, a compass, a headlamp, etc. Check out our guide to find out all the items you should include in your survival kit.
Stay Fit and Healthy
Spending time out in the wilderness without the modern conveniences of everyday life can be physically taxing, especially when in survival mode. That’s why physical fitness is crucial for survival situations. Regular exercise and a healthy lifestyle will prepare your body for the challenges of the wild.
Mindset and Mental Preparedness
Understand that survival is not just about physical skills but also about staying mentally strong. A resilient and positive mindset can make a huge difference when it comes to survival in the wilderness. Out in the backcountry, things are often out of your control and up to Mother Nature. Learning how to stay calm under pressure, not make impulsive decisions, and adapt to changing situations is so important.
If you want to be an expert in wilderness survival, you also need to wholeheartedly respect it. Practice Leave No Trace principles to minimize your impact on the environment and preserve its beauty. Dispose of waste properly and opt for reusable items and materials that are eco-friendly. Build fires responsibility and make sure they’re never left unattended. Observe wildlife from a distance and avoid feeding them as this can lead to unnatural behaviors and dependency on human food, which can harm them and alter ecosystems.
Survival techniques evolve and it’s never possible that you’ll know everything, so stay updated with new information and skills through books, online resources, and workshops. There’s always something new to learn.
Remember that becoming a wilderness survival expert takes time, dedication, and a commitment to learning and improving. Always prioritize safety, and never put yourself in unnecessarily dangerous situations.