8 Basic Wilderness Survival Skills You Should Learn

“Learn these basic survival skills to keep yourself alive in the wilderness. From water collection, starting a fire, finding edible herbs and more!”


We wanted to learn more about survival and prepping skills this year. While we do have access to most of our creature comforts, just in case you find yourself in a situation where you need to survive without modern conveniences, we feel it behooved us to learn the skills. So if you find yourself in the wilderness or if shit hits the fan near you, there are 8 basic survival skills you should learn. 

1. Learn to Navigate With A Compass Or Map

Know your surroundings or get to know them by keep a compass with you. Learn to read a map, just in case your phone isn’t working. 

If you don’t have a compass, you can use the sun. Take a long stick and push it into the ground so that it stands up on its own. Then, make a marking in the dirt where the tip of the stick’s shadow is. Wait a few minutes and check to see in which direction the shadow has moved – that general direction is east. 

If you are near a river, follow the flow. Most people live near water, so eventually should should find some people.

As I mentioned, you should try to carry a compass with you if you are going for a hike. Just in case you get lost at night, or there is a cloudy day, you should have one.

basic survival skills

Eyeskey Multifunctional Military Army Aluminum Alloy Compass

Carry a compass with you on a hike, or in your car. For About $22, you can get this compass. Eyeskey Multifunctional Military Army Aluminum Alloy Compass. It has a metal body, rugged and capable of working under extreme weather condition.

2. Find Edible Food

If your situation turns long-term, you may need to find food. You can hunt animals, if you are great at making tools or have tools with you. 

You can also trap food, and fish. You can learn about how to make an easy trap at the Art of Manliness blog. 

Another option, is to forage plants for food. You can learn beforehand by reading some great books on edible plants,. The rule is to stay away from traditionally poisonous plants like mushrooms. 

basic survival skills

Edible Wild Plants

Learn what plants you can eat and what you can't eat before you get in a situation where you have to figure it out for yourself. 25 Plants You Can Find In The Forest: Identify, Harvest & Prepare.

3. Wound Dressing/ Medical Supples

If you get hurt while you are out hiking, or not near a place where you can get medical attention, it is a great skill to learn what to do in those situations. 

If you do find yourself with a shallow wound, close it immediately, and wrap with a sterile bandage if you have access to one. For deep wounds, visit Backpacker.com where they detail how to treat deep wounds in a survival situations. If you can carry a first aid kit with you if you are hiking, or in your car.

First Aid Survival Kit

Take a medical first aid with you if you do plan to go hiking, and definitely add to your bug out bag. This kit is under $25 bucks and features several tools and pieces needed to help you in emergency medical situations.

4. Knot Tying

This skill can come in handy for a number of skills ( not just survival situations. Look into learning the several different types of knots. Animated knots has a a great simple walk through of basic knot tying. There are also apps that walk through types of knots and their uses. Useful knots app explains loops, bends, hitches, bindings, and their applications. 

This skill is sometimes overlooked, but learning it can be helpful for a variety of situations. 

Tactical Waist Belt

This belt is for survival situations during outdoor activies. It's about $17, and unraveled it can provide about 28 meters of rescue rope. Several applications for a belt like this.

5. Cooking Food

If you need to cook what you catch in survival mode, you need to figure out a way to do so. General rules include to not eat the insides of the animals that includes their digestive system. Just stick to the limbs and muscles of the animals you eat. You can definitely have digestive issues if you eat the wrong thing. 

Bury Your Trash-

Be sure to get rid of all your animal waste to dispel predators that might be looking for a bite. You don’t want to attract wold animals, so be sure to bury everything far away from your sleeping area.

Overcook Your Meat- 

It’s a general rule to make sure you overcook your meat. While in factory farms, you know the farmers at least have a profit motive to keep their animals edible ( they say) in surival situaions, you may not know if an animals is safe to eat, so overcook rather than undercook. 


Portable Backpacking Stove

If you can plan ahead, this stove is perfect for camping and backing and surival situations where you might need to cook. It's durable and afforable for $12.

6. Start A Fire

One of the most important skills you should learn to help you survive, is how to start a fire. It can keep you warm in cold situations, help you cook food, stave off large animals that might want to eat you, and so much more. I keep a lighter on me just in case. 

Finding dry materials, starting small, and using glass are all great tidbits that can help you start and maintain a fire. Off Grid News has a great post about the many ways to start a fire with no matches

Waterproof Lighter

Try to carry a lighter on you at all times. This is a great option at $9. This is a waterproof lighter for surival and emergency use.

7. Build Temporary Shelter

If you find yourself in need of building shelter in a survival situation, you need to learn these skills. Building a shelter can help protect you against cold, and rain. There are several types of easy shelters that you can build such as a teepee or a lean to type of shelter that both have its positives and negatives. 

Outdoor life has a great breakdown of several types of shelters which include: 

-Round Lodge


– Tarp Wings


Camping Axe

If you can, you can try to pack this survival axe. It can help you break up enough wood to build a shelter. It's less than $30, and super handy.

8. Find & Purify Water

The number one thing you need to learn to do is to find and purify water. You won’t be able to survive long at all without it. 

General rules to find drinkable water is to drink from moving water, and to not drink from still or stagnant water. If you do not have a portable filter, you can boil the water. It’s a safe and reliable way to clean your water in survival situations. 

Personal Water Filter

If you can, try to bring a water filter with you. Just in case you can't start a fire, or boil the water, it can really be a great addition to your camping gear, or bug out bags. Lifestraw runs about $15.

This Post Has One Comment

  1. UmAskia

    My I suggest, HONEY in small bottle , with METAL SPOON & Lighter & POWDERED HOT PEPPERS or Tea Tree Oil with CoConut oil! Heat honey in Spoon & put needed amount on WOUND! Red Pepper or Tea Tree OIL , STOP or DRAMATICALLY SLOW DOWN bleeding! But remember wounded HAS TO SLOW DOWN BREATHING/Heart Rate!
    I keep CUT UP , prepackaged ADULT DIAPERS or the LONG THICK sanitary Pads ,with TRIPLE antibotic cream! Get at Thrift storethe adult briefs/Sant.Pads , or buy from Seniors who DO NOT USE rhem, but ORDER every three months!

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