Exploring and enjoying the great outdoors is one of our favourite things to do. If you are like us and spend a lot of time out in the wilderness enjoying its wonders then arming yourself with some basic survival knowledge is a good idea – it may save your life one day (or somebody else’s)!
I recently spent a weekend in the bush learning wilderness survival skills with our friends at We Are Explorers and A.S.I. Australian Survival Instructors. The aim of this 2 day course was not only to teach basic survival skills, but to also get us thinking about ‘what if’ scenarios and educate us on what gear you should always carry while out in nature.
Here are a few top tips I learned –
- Drinking your own urine will NOT save your life! Contrary to popular belief – it will, in fact, dehydrate you further!
- Your 3 essentials for survival are Shelter, Water and Fire. These should be prioritised according to your situation and surroundings ie; If it’s raining concentrate on finding shelter and building a fire (as water is falling from the sky!), If it’s hot, concentrate on finding water and shelter. When building a shelter look for any natural formations or materials that will help you or make things easier ie; a rock overhang or a fallen tree trunk – conserving energy is paramount.For water collection the obvious is a freshwater creek, failing this you can catch rain or dew overnight on a tarp or extract water from leafy bushes by covering them in a plastic bag.Creating fire may seem a little more of a challenge. We learned the basics of fire by friction (think rubbing 2 sticks together!) which is quite quick when the correct wood is used, but it’s always a good idea to carry matches or a lighter or a ferrocerium rod with you.
- Always take a basic survival kit whenever you go into the bush, even if it’s just for a quick walk as things can go bad when you least expect it. This kit can be small and simple to just cover your shelter-fire-water essentials. Or as in-depth as you like as long as you are ok to carry it. This could also include a general first aid kit and a snake bandage.
- Never drink any water found in nature without first treating it, either by boiling, using a portable water filter or UV sterilisation (by the sun). An example of UV sterilisation is to fill a clear (not coloured) water bottle and place it in the direct sunlight for at least 3 hours which will allow the suns UV rays to sterilise the water and make it safe for drink. You can read more about how to purify water here.
- Always tell someone where you are going and when you expect to be back. Use common sense when exploring like sticking to the tracks and keeping track of sign posts. Knowing basic navigation techniques will also be helpful such as how to use a compass or how to find North without a compass.
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Thanks to www.CherihanPhotography.com for all images supplied.
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