What Does It Take to Survive in the Wilderness?

Surviving in the wilderness requires more than just luck or chance. It requires proper planning, knowledge, and skills. Whether you are a seasoned adventurer or a beginner, knowing what to do in a survival situation can mean the difference between life and death.

In this article, we will explore what it takes to survive in the wilderness and provide you with valuable information that can help you overcome any challenges you may face in the great outdoors.

Understanding Your Environment

The first step in surviving in the wilderness is understanding the environment you are in. Each environment has unique challenges that require different skills and knowledge to overcome.

For instance, surviving in the desert requires knowledge of finding water and shelter from the scorching sun.

On the other hand, surviving in the forest requires skills in identifying edible plants, building shelters, and starting fires.

Building a Shelter

Building a shelter is one of the most important skills you need to survive in the wilderness. A good shelter protects you from the elements, keeps you warm, and helps you conserve your energy.

The type of shelter you build depends on the environment you are in. For instance, in the desert, a simple shade structure made from a tarp or blanket can provide relief from the sun.

In colder environments, a snow shelter or a debris shelter made from branches and leaves can provide warmth.

Finding Water

Water is essential for survival. In the wilderness, finding water can be a challenge, especially in arid environments.

However, there are several ways to find water in the wilderness. One of the easiest ways is to look for signs of water such as animal tracks or vegetation that require more water than others.

Another way is to dig for water in dry river beds or create a solar still to extract water from plants.

Starting a Fire

Starting a fire is crucial for survival in the wilderness. A fire provides warmth, cooks food, and purifies water.

There are several ways to start a fire in the wilderness. You can use a lighter, matches, or a fire starter.

However, it is essential to learn how to start a fire without any tools. For instance, using a bow drill or a hand drill can create friction that generates enough heat to start a fire.

Navigating in the Wilderness

Navigating in the wilderness is crucial to finding food, water, and shelter. However, getting lost is easy, and it can be challenging to find your way back.

To navigate in the wilderness, it is essential to carry a map and a compass. It is also helpful to learn how to use natural signs such as the position of the sun or the direction of the wind to determine your direction.

Finding Food

Finding food in the wilderness can be a challenge, but it is essential for survival. There are several ways to find food in the wilderness. For instance, you can hunt for animals or fish in rivers and lakes.

You can also forage for edible plants such as berries or nuts. However, it is essential to learn how to identify edible plants and avoid poisonous ones.

Dealing with Injuries and Illnesses

Injuries and illnesses can occur in the wilderness, and it is essential to know how to deal with them. First aid skills such as bandaging wounds, splinting broken bones, and treating burns are essential.

It is also essential to carry a first aid kit with you that includes essential supplies such as bandages, antiseptics, and pain relievers.


What are the most important survival skills for wilderness survival?

The most important survival skills for wilderness survival include shelter-building, finding and purifying water, starting a fire, and finding food.

What should I do if I get lost in the wilderness?

If you get lost in the wilderness, it’s important to stay calm and focused. Look for shelter, water, and a way to signal for help. If you can’t find your way out, stay put and wait for rescuers.

What type of gear should I bring on a wilderness trip?

You should bring appropriate clothing and footwear, a map and compass or GPS, a first aid kit, a knife, a way to start a fire, and enough food and water for your trip.

Can I survive in the wilderness without any gear?

While it’s possible to survive in the wilderness without any gear, it’s not recommended.

Having appropriate gear can make survival much easier and increase your chances of making it out alive.

How long can someone survive in the wilderness without food or water?

The amount of time someone can survive in the wilderness without food or water varies depending on a variety of factors, such as age, health, and environmental conditions.

However, most people can only survive a few days without water and a few weeks without food.


Surviving in the wilderness requires knowledge, skills, and the right mindset. Whether you’re planning a wilderness trip or find yourself in a survival situation unexpectedly, knowing how to build a shelter, find and purify water, start a fire, and find food can mean the difference between life and death.

It’s important to prepare for a wilderness trip by bringing appropriate gear and knowing how to use it, as well as having a plan in case of an emergency.

Remember to stay calm, stay focused, and stay safe.