This is a guest post from our friend Dan at True North Athletics . Please address any comments, complaints, or quibbles to him. Just kidding; I’m always glad to hear from readers.
Hiking In the Bush: What You Need To Survive
A survivalist-style guide for helping you survive out in the wilderness
Picture this: You’re stranded out in the wilderness. It’s 40°C (in the shade) and you know that there isn’t any water around for a least a couple of hundred miles.
How do you stay alive?
More importantly, how do you still make a success of your hiking excursion when Mother Nature is throwing all her super powers at you?
It’s pretty simple really…you stick to your guts and don’t do anything stupid, and you should be just fine. You also take the survival tips and tricks we’re about to share with you into account, and you know what will happen then? You’ll have an epic survival-style hiking story to tell one day!
Hiking in the Bush: Multi-Day Hiking
Before You Head Off
- Always tell your friends and family where you are going and how long you plan on staying.
- If you can, always take a friend with you. If it comes to it survival situations are always better dealt with when you’ve got someone to share the load with.
- Take enough water with you (one gallon per person per day).
- Remember the STOP Stop, Think, Observe, Plan.
Survival Skill Number One – Set Up Shelter and Stay Warm as Soon as You Can
If you’re hiking in the wilderness, you’re probably kitted out with layers of lightweight clothing that will help protect you from the harmful UVA and UVB rays already. As dusk starts to set in, you’re going to have to find somewhere to sleep and ensure that you’ve got the means of staying warm through the cold night.
You’re not going to build a shelter during the hottest part of the day because that will be a big imbalance of the whole output-for-benefit ratio related to survivalist camping. Try looking for natural shelters such as rocks, which can minimize the amount of effort you’re putting into the construction of your shelter.
Staying warm throughout the night will help recharge your physical strength as well as your mental capacity, which means that you’ll need to ensure that you’ve got a source of heat along with the shelter you made. Think along the lines of fire-baked rocks placed under the ground where you intend to sleep, or something like a fire being used to its maximum capacity by sheltering it with a tarp or space blanket.
Survival Skill Number Two: Gather or Hunt the Food You Need to Sustain Your Energy Levels (Pack Food with You Too…)
The good news is that most folks that end up in survival scenarios don’t die from hunger. Our human bodies can actually survive for a good few weeks without proper nutrition, as long as we’ve got water to keep us going. If you’re in a colder area, your body will need calories to burn in order to keep warm, which means you’re going to have to find some food.
You’re going to avoid dense foods which cannot be properly digested without sufficient amounts of water. Hunting food will probably drain your body of huge amounts of energy, which might not be a luxury you have to spare at the time. Fishing is one of the most energy-effective methods of hunting in the wild, and you can also set up a line and allow it to do the work for you while you’re sleeping.
Before you head out on your hiking trip, make sure you’ve brushed up on the area and its plant life. This will ensure that you’ll be able to identify the different seeds, roots, and other plants that can either be consumed or used as antiseptics and fluids.
Survival Skill Number Three: Let the Sun & Stars Guide You
So you’ve got shelter sorted, and you’re prepped to stay warm throughout the night. You’re also set with food and water, but the next thing you need to sort out is your navigational skills & heading out on your planned route. The reason you’ll need a sense of direction and navigational skills is because you’re probably going to wander around, and need a surefire way of finding your way back to your camp or to your next destination.
The sun’s movement is one of the best ways to navigate during the daylight hours. Grab a stick and then point it up into the air, noticing where its shadow falls. You’ll mark the tip of that shadow and then mark the end of the stick’s shadow 10 minutes later. The line you’ll be able to trace from the tip to the end of the shadow with the markers you set in place indicates the east-to-west directions. You can figure out north-to-south by estimating a perpendicular line through your first line. The exact same method can be used at night using the light of the stars and moon.
Of course, you can always bring a GPS device with you when you go on long distance trips into the bush, but some of us still enjoy the old school way of navigating! One thing I have used before believe it or not is my phone. A phone’s GPS is not tied to any cell towers, so it works even out of service!
Survival Skill Number Four: Never Leave Home without a Survival Kit
Before you embark on your hiking expedition, you should ensure that you’ve packed a basic (yet comprehensive) survival kit which should include the following items:
- A flashlight
- Spare batteries
- A first-aid kit
- A multi-purpose tool like a Swiss Army Knife
- An emergency blanket
- Maps of the area
- An emergency whistle
- A raincoat or space blanket
- A tarp
- A fire-starter kit
In order to survive a hiking excursion in the wilderness, you’ll need to regroup and control your emotional responses to the situation. Make sure that you think before you do anything and only act when it’s done with purpose. Carefully consider your problems and then try to come up with creative ways to solve them, never underestimating the provisions that Mother Nature as so thoughtfully put at your disposal. Most importantly, keeping your outlook positive can essentially help you overcome the one thing you deemed to be almost impossible!
About The Author
I’m Dan, and I’m the Editor in Chief of True North Athletics. I’m also an avid adventurer, digital nomad and traveler. I enjoy all types of outdoor sports, a good golf tan, and spontaneous weekend trips. I currently live in Brazil where I can be found frequently hiking the rain forest around my city!