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The Ultimate Survival Guide for 2021

You’re in a wilderness situation that’s less than ideal. Do you have the survival skills to protect yourself from harm? Read our Ultimate Survival Guide to learn tips on how to survive in the wild.

Camping In The Middle Of Nowhere

Top Survival Rules

The survival skills of our primitive ancestors remain the same as they were thousands of years ago. The importance of knowing these skills has not changed either- it is essential for all people to know and understand- yet today we forget how easy we have it. We live in a world with modern conveniences.  Just by turning a handle, we have drinkable water, with the flip of a switch we have light, and with the push of a button, we have fire. Our demand society has not challenged our innate survival skills which have led us to be complacent and lacking survival techniques. It is of uttermost importance to recognize this and learn the necessary skills to survive, whether it be for an adventurous hike, or for an accident that leaves you stranded, knowing the survival rules is the only thing that will save you. Read our survival tips to learn more!

Give a responsible person your hunting plan.

If you plan on venturing out into the wilderness, it is imperative you notify someone at home of your hunting plan. A hunting plan tells where and with whom you intend to hunt, and when you expect to return. It also should contain specific directions on your route to your destination and any alternate destination you may have if bad weather changes your plans. This will ensure that if anything goes wrong, this person will be able to recognize and get help. If one does not give their hunting plan to a responsible person, the chances of being rescued decreases significantly.

Don’t travel or hunt alone.

You should always go hunting with at least one partner. Together, you and your partner can work together and watch out for one another. In an emergency, the chances of survival increase if there is someone with you. In a scenario where one person is hurt, the other can assist and get help. Without a partner, you’re left on your own. Any simple accident can quickly become a life-threatening situation. Likewise, it is important to work with a partner while hunting in unfamiliar terrain. By working together, you will be better at navigating the area, therefore not getting lost.

Take enough food and water to last for several days in an emergency.

Humans need food and water to survive. On average, a person can survive for 3 weeks without food. On the other hand, one can only last 3 to 4 days without water, and depending on certain factors, you may be susceptible to the effects of dehydration even faster. Proper hydration is essential to your survival because our body needs water to carry out essential functions. A person needs to consume a significant amount of water each day to function properly – this is because you constantly excrete water through sweat and urination, so your body needs to replenish the lost fluids. Our tactical hydration bladders are a lightweight solution to ensure you have an adequate water supply while traveling. Likewise, our tactical hydration packs make carrying clean water accessible and easy to carry, making traveling effortless.

Bring a map and compass, and always orient yourself before leaving camp.

Preparing before your trip can make the difference between life and death. One of the most important rules of survival is having access to both a map and compass. This will help prevent you from getting lost, as well aid you in navigating if lost. Knowing how to read a map is a necessary survival skill. A compass is a tool that is used to show directions. It has a needle that spins and always points North. You can turn the compass so that the needle points north on the dial. If you know you should be heading southwest, then you can head in the right direction. You will also see “compass roses” printed on maps. The direction on a compass can be read as the number of degrees away from zero- this how you measure bearings. An easy way to orient yourself before leaving camp.

What Compass Should You Use?


The orienteering compass is a critical piece of equipment for outdoor travel. A good orienteering compass has these features: A clear base plate that allows you to see the map underneath, Straight sides for aligning to points or for drawing lines, Liquid-filled needle housing that keeps the magnetic needle relatively steady when taking readings, Two arrows, a direction arrow painted on the base plate is used to point the compass from your starting point to your destination; an orienting arrow, located the needle housing, is used to orient your compass to your map.

Wear layered clothing, and take extra clothing, preferably wool and polyester, with you.

Clothing can affect your ability to perform safely and responsibly. Select clothing based on the weather you expected, weather you expect, while being prepared for the worst. A hat or cap with earflaps and gloves to retain body heat- most body heat is lost through the head and hands; gloves also protect your hands; gloves also protect your hands from abrasions and rope burns. Footwear that is sturdy, suitable for the conditions you’ll encounter, and broken in before you hunt. Two layers of socks-polypropylene against the skin and a wool outer layer.

Plan your outings so that you can return to camp before dark.

It is imperative that you create a schedule of what you are planning on doing during your outing. The itinerary should include where you plan to go and at what time. This will help keep you on track and prevent you from being out too late. Being in the dark in the wilderness can be dangerous due to wildlife, and unseen obstacles in your path. It will also hinder your ability to see, resulting in making it difficult to return safely to your camping site.

Never leave camp without taking fire-starting equipment and a foil blanket.

In the scenario, you get lost while away from camp, having fire starting materials can save your life. Fire starting equipment can include many different things like tinder, matches, ferro rods, etc. Having a fire can keep you warm, allow you to see your surroundings, boil water, and make warm food. A foil blanket is an especially low-weight, low-bulk blanket made of heat-reflective, thin, plastic sheeting. These are essential for camping because they are easy to carry and extremely effective at keeping you warm. Having these items are keen for survival.

Don’t panic if you become lost

One of the most crucial survival rules pertains to one’s mental strength. Getting lost can be an incredibly frightening and unnerving experience. Studies have shown that people universally become agitated and upset on some level when they lose their way. This type of psychological stress goes hand in hand with wilderness survival. Being able to remain calm when things go wrong will increase your chance of survival immensely. If one panics, they lose the ability to think clearly and will act irrationally, which can result in making a bad situation worse. Practice keeping a good headspace before adventuring out so that if faced with a scary situation, you can remain calm and focus on getting out.

The Basic areas of Survival

There are 6 basic areas of survival that every adventurer should be aware and well versed in. 

Survival In The Forest

Mental psyche

The benefits of maintaining a good attitude in the wilderness seem implicit- our daily experiences have taught us that mood influences outcomes. Research has revealed a link between positive thinking and emotions and successful survival. That’s because it opens up global thinking capacities in the brain, allowing for more innovation and creativity. It is crucial for one to maintain a positive attitude and a good mentality when faced with the need to survive.


Shelter is a basic human need crucial for survival. Shelter provides security, personal safety, and protection from the weather. One of the easiest survival structures to build in the wilderness is a lean-to. This structure generally consists of materials built up against a pre-existing structure or natural foundation, such as a wall, rock, or fallen tree. It can also be built standing alone if you are able to construct a 3-piece standalone frame. If you find yourself in a colder climate, structures such as Igloos and snow caves will protect you/. All in all, the same rule applies for all shelters in any climate or terrain- a roof. Having a roof over your head will protect you from potential environmental dangers/


It is important that you plan and prepare enough food for the entirety of your trip. Although you can survive 3 weeks without food, malnutriousment will cause other issues like lack of energy or trouble performing basic bodily functions. If traveling on a long journey, make sure to pack survival foods, anything that can be kept for an indefinite amount of time, to mitigate the risk of starvation. Survival foods should be portable and light so it does not compromise the rest of your items. As a traveler in the wilderness, you need to know what foods are safe to eat in case of an emergency. In the event that you must forage for food, here are a few tips:

  • Do not eat anything unless you know what it is, especially plants. 
  • Insects are usually safe, bugs are not 
  • Stay away from bright colored plants, amphibians, marine life, etc 
  • Research safe plants to eat 
  • Cook any food you can 


Nothing is more important in a survival situation than access to clean drinkable water. After 2 days without water, the human body becomes dehydrated and basic tasks become near impossible. When dehydrated, people typically experience dizziness, tiredness, and dry mouth, lips and eyes. There are 3 stages of dehydration: mild, moderate and severe. Severe levels of dehydration is a life-threatening emergency and needs immediate medical attention. 


Outdoor adventurers are always at risk of an emergent situation in the wilderness. In remote areas, cell phone connection can be sparse or non-existent. In the event of an emergency there are certain ways to draw attention to yourself. First, you can cast a beam of light with a mirror as it is one of the farthest reaching non-electric signals for help. Second, pack a whistle because it is a small piece of gear that can make all the difference. Third, if available, signal by flare or fire. Fires are an obvious sign that help is needed. A small fire can be started with dry timber and vegetation on top producing more smoke than flame. 

First aid

There are limitless possibilities of what can happen in the wild therefore you must understand how to treat yourself or a friend in a first aid situation. Having a good diet, cleanliness and appropriate clothing will decrease the risk of harmful situations, but knowing basic first aid will be the difference between life and serious injury or death. No matter what the issue is, always remain calm and provide the patient with support, comfort, and reassurance. Do not move the patient until you’ve properly assessed the injuries because you could cause more harm. Stop any bleeding while checking for cuts and head injuries. Most importantly, decide the severity of the issue and if the patient requires professional help. 

Hydration Paddling

The Survival Skills that you Must Takeaway

There are several survival skills that you must master before committing to an adventurous outdoor activity. You need to be aware of the top survival rules. Things like planning outings and using a compass are recommended because of the safety implications of an outdoor excursion. Additionally, understanding the basic areas of survival will help you tremendously. Positive mental psyche, shelter, food, water, signaling, and first aid will all decrease the risk of the overall trip.

Sum Up

Wilderness survival looks like child’s play thanks to popular TV shows. In reality, surviving in the wild is not so easy. Building a foundation of knowledge using this ultimate survival guide will prepare you to help protect yourself and your loved ones. Learning survival basics and being prepared with the right essentials can help you make it through an unplanned night in the woods. For more information and survival tips, check out Source Tactical Gear Blog!

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