How To Survive In The Wild?

Jeremy Bowyer
Written By Jeremy Bowyer

Jeremy Bower is a generational survivalist and expert outdoorsman.

Humans have been here on the planet Earth for thousands of years, and the key to this is survival. Wilderness survival is a hard thing, and not everyone is capable of enduring the harsh forces of nature, so you should always have a little bit of help with you.

Some survivalist guides with a kit in your car or just a little survival bag in your rucksack don’t take that much space, but your life could very well depend on it. And you may think that you will be able to do it, that you’ve watched enough of the education channels, you have read enough survival books and you have all the necessary survival skills to do it, but no one is ever prepared enough.

So, if you want a sure way to get through even the hardest wilderness survival situation out there, you should always wear at least a multifunctional tool like a Swiss knife and a water filter. But let’s say, you ended up in the wild after an evacuation or a snowstorm you weren’t expecting. What do you do then?

Well, here I’ve made a very summarized wild survival guide that has only essential activities and priorities that you need to be alive, so what are you waiting for, read it and be ready to learn how to survive in the wild, in any weather and any place.

The Essentials For Wilderness Survival

Survive in the wild

Let’s say you have ended up stranded in the woods, in cold winter weather of November. And you are lost and scared, without a sense of direction, time, and location. And while your first thought may be to find a way back to civilization or to call help if you start with that, you will get tired pretty fast, and you will starve to death.

So, the two most essentials things are calories and hydration, but not in that particular order. While yes, hydration is at uttermost importance, food can wait for a little until you build a shelter. And after you have a place to stay safe, then you can start gathering food and creating a fireplace to process it.

But that doesn’t mean you are safe and sound yet. After you have the main things to stay alive, now you should find a way to keep your body warm and safe from the elements, while still being cared for other dangerous factors, like animals or natural disasters.

And down here, I’ve thoroughly researched all of the six steps mentioned above and laid out the steps needed to get all the things you need to survive.

1. Finding Water

Finding Water

Locating a water source

First, you should locate a body with fresh water like a pond, a river, or a lake. Water always flows downhill, so depressions or valleys are the best places where water collects. If you’re somewhere near a mountain, there’s a high chance that you will encounter some river flowing from it.

If you do encounter a body of water, you should try to find a suitable place for a shelter near it. Don’t build a shelter on the water’s edge, though, because you aren’t the only one searching for water. There are dozens of dangerous animals searching for hydration.

Make sure water is clean

Now you have found a source of hydration. But remember, never drink water directly from the source, no matter how thirsty you are. You should always boil it first. If you have some sterilized container, preferably a metal one, you can pour it into it and boil it on fire for half an hour to make it good consumption.

Another way is to make a boiling pit, by separating clay from the soil, digging a hole and lining it. Make sure that there are no cracks or openings in the layer of clay.

Then use something like a hat or a shoe to transport water from your water source to the boiling pit until it’s full. Once your pit is full, heat rocks on your campfire. Heat them for approximately 10 minutes, then start dropping them in the pit. Finally, rotate the freshly heated stones in the pit until you have a steady boil. Repeat this process for 20 minutes.

If you do encounter a body of water, you should try to find a suitable place for a shelter near it. Don’t build a shelter on the water’s edge, though, because you aren’t the only one searching for water. There are dozens of dangerous animals searching for hydration.

Step Three

river in the woods

If you don’t encounter a natural source of water, you should dig a hole to find some precious hydration. Before you go to sleep, dig a hole that is approximately 30 x 30 cm wide and 30 cm deep. The pit should fill with water overnight, but it muddy, so you should definitely strain it with some piece of cloth-like your shirt.

And even if you don’t have a container to strain your water into, you can use your shirt to wring directly into your mouth. Your shirt should hold any excess mud so don’t worry about dirty water.

Use clothing as a filter

And if the above-mentioned step sounds difficult to you, you can always use your shirt to soak up moisture from plants or the ground. In the morning, you can use your shirt to collect dew by just pressing it lightly into the ground. It should soak up some water that you can wring into a counter or directly into your mouth. During the day if you trail your shirt behind you through the underbrush, it should pick up some moisture from the nearby plants.

Find alternative sources

Animals have a natural sense of finding provisions like water. if you follow ants that are climbing trees and you should find pockets of moisture in the bark. But be very careful not to swallow any ants using this method because they could have pincers.

2. Building a Shelter

Camping shelter


After you have found a suitable water source to survive in the wild, find a fallen tree or a cliffside. You’ll want to make your shelter against a large surface that can block out any wind, keep you dry and hide you from predatory animals in any survival situation. But do make sure there are no animals already living in the vicinity, you don’t want any additional problems for a couple of days you will be spending in the wild, and you want to survive at any cost.

Gather materials

After you have found a tree or a cliffside, get some tree branches and keen them against it. The forest floor is usually littered with fallen branches, so you shouldn’t need to chop any off of the trees themselves. Search for larger branches so you can lean them together more easily.

Ideally, the branches should be as straight as possible and about one and a half to two meters long. Make the shelter is as small as possible, but still large enough to fit your whole body if it’s curled up. The lower the shelter is, the easier it will be for you to warm it with your body heat.

Fill the gaps

After you’ve made a strong base structure, you should fill in the gaps between the larger branches with smaller ones. No matter how straight they are or how close together you place them, there will always be gaps between them. Lastly, cover the entire shelter with leaves, add vines or any other form of debris from the forest floor, to make sure the shelter is isolated from the harsh wind of the woods in any survival situation or experience.

Birdwatching cabin


Next, you should make that inside functional. Line the ground inside the shelter with dry leaves or pine needles to provide some insulation against the cold and damp dirt beneath you. And like you change your bedsheets at home, you should also replace the bedding in your shelter without missing any days, to prevent it from getting moist, thus keeping you dry and increasing your chances of survival significantly.

Alternative options

If you end up stranded in a colder climate, or it’s just that kind of a season, in the middle of November, your best option is a snow trench shelter. To build a snow trench shelter, you obviously first dig a trench into the snow. It should be a little longer than your body, and then pile the snow you dug up around the trench to form a wall-like structure, to protect you from the elements. Then for the roof pile some sticks in a lattice pattern over your shelter and pile some snow on top, patting it down during the process for better isolation.

3. Obtaining Food

Food in the wild

Insects and bugs

Just eat bugs. They are a reliable source of protein and sustenance when you’re out in the wild. Bugs love moisture, so search on the ground, in rotten logs and dig in the dirt for insects like worms, beetles, grasshoppers, and crickets. Don’t be picky with your bug, because no.matyer how disgusting they look, you can’t survive without food.

But not every bug is a good choice. Research beforehand and stay out of any bugs that are poisonous or that have pincers.

Before you eat the bugs, remove their extremities and outer shells if they have any, then crush them with a rock and cook the pulp over your fire.

Trees and plants

Trees are another good source of food. Ther nuts are almost always visible, and even their bark is. The nuts will probably be at the base of trees. Chestnuts or acorns can be roasted on a fire and are a valuable source of protein. All evergreen trees also have an edible inner bark. Once you’ve found one of these trees, you can dig into the bark with a rock to get to the rubbery, cream-colored edible inner layer.

The needles of firs and pines can also be boiled in hot water to make tea. Pine needle tea is a source of valuable nutrients, particularly Vitamin C. But if you are pregnant don’t drink it, as it is harmful to unborn babies.


Eggs are another great source of nutrients. Search for bird nests on the ground and in low-hanging branches. If you find any, collect them carefully. There even is a slight possibility you can catch the bird itself if you hang out until it returns to the nest.

To cook an egg without a pan, gently tap a hole in the top about 1cm² wide, use a stick to pull some of the coals from the fire and make a bed for the egg with a circular recess to keep the egg steady. Let the egg cook for approximately 5 to 10 minutes and it should be ready.

Hunting for game

If all fails, or you just need a little bit more calories, you need to start hunting. Find a young hardwood sapling and use a rock to cut it down. You’ll want a strong and long sapling, about 2 meters long and 3 to 5 centimeters thick. Use your rock to cut off any excess branches and sharpen the end, but not too much to make it fragile. Then harden it over the fire.

To get some result out of the spear, carry it with you through the day, and try to kill small animals like squirrels frogs or rabbits to roast them over the fire later.


Man fishing by the lake

In colder climates though, or maybe you have been stranded in the wild woods in the cold days of November or December, you should focus on catching fish. If you’re near the ocean in, you can catch fish by digging holes in areas where the high and low tires meet, to trap and catch them later. If you’re not near the ocean though, you can still catch fish by making a spear like the one mentioned above and using to catch fish in rivers and small ponds.

4. Building a Fire

Building a fire

Build a stable base

Like all things in survival situations, your fire should have a stable base, so the first step is to build a fire pit. To make it, dig a hole 2 feet 60 cm² wide by 15 cm deep that is at least 1 meter away from your shelter. Finally, line the hole with stones and you are almost ready. Pile the hole with dry leaves and pine needles and start kindling.

Use a bow drill

Next, you need to make a bow drill. Find a piece of hardwood or rock that has a pivot in it for the top of your drill to rest in. Then, find a piece of softwood and carve a hole through it with a sharp rock. Create a triangular cut from the edge of the softwood to the hole, with the point of the triangle at the hole. Find a green, flexible branch and tie one of your shoestrings to either end of it to form a bow. Then find a hardwood stick approximately 2 cm thick to serve for your drill

If you don’t have shoelaces, you can create a string by digging into a tree with a rock to the fibrous inner layer, pulling out the fibers, and tying them together. If you’re not in a forested area though, you can create it by cutting off bits of your hair and tying them together.

Start the fire

After you have the hole and bow ready, you can start your fire. Position your softwood or the other dry plants in your firepit so that the kindling fills the triangular cut on edge. Then, put your drill in the hole with the string of your bow wrapped around it in a single loop with the bow parallel to the ground. Hold the softwood firmly with your foot and place the top of the drill in the divot of the hardwood or rock you found to hold it securely in position. Then draw the bow back and forth so that the drill spins and creates friction on the softwood and makes a spark. After several minutes of ш sawing, you should start to see smoke. When it happens, blow on the kindling gently to encourage the spark.

Once a little fire stars to form, make three pyramids of branches that gradually increase in size starting with little twigs and ending with larger branches, that have a bark in the center. Though you could always start another one, try to keep the fire burning thought the day by adding wood continuously.

5. Protecting Yourself from the Elements

Eat Late

First, eat as late as you can. Bodies create heat as they metabolize food, so you should definitely take advantage of this. Eat foods like nuts, bugs, and small animals that are high in protein and fat just before you go to sleep, allows your body to process heat through the whole night.

Keep Warm

A blanket is a must at night, and the best you can do to simulate one is to cover yourself with dirt, debris, and leaves. They will give you enough isolation from the cold night air.

But don’t go overboard so that you make yourself sweat, because sweating will cool down your body and it will make your bedding moist, thus depriving it of its isolation abilities

6. Additional Wilderness Survival Tips

Avoid Predators


Avoid predators at any cost. To do that, however stupid it may sound, sing or whistle to yourself when you move from place to place to warm them about your arrival. Another thing you should take care of food smell in your cam tries to discard any remains as far as possible. It’s also a good idea to stay away from animals that were freshly killed because sometimes predators return to their prey.

If you do encounter a predator, don’t panic. Don’t make eye contact and move calmly away from by making a strong big posture to look intimidating.

Keep Skin Covered

You should always try to keep your skin covered and protected, particularly tropical climates, where the warm, moist weather can speed infections, and many of the local insects carry deadly diseases like malaria. If you don’t have long sleeves or pants, leaves should do the job just right, but be careful that you don’t encounter any poisonous plants, as they can do more harm than help.

Treat wounds ASAP

Treat wounds

If something bad happens and you injure yourself, you should know how to treat your wounds. For example, there is an easy way to get a broken bone to heal even in the wild. You can splint a broken bone by lining up two tree branches on either side of the bone and tying them in place with a piece of cloth, shoelaces or some green flexible branches.

Stay hydrated

If you feel yourself starting to get sick, or have already gotten sick a lot, the most critical care you can give yourself is to stay hydrated and rest as much as possible. Stay inside your shelter and keep water nearby at all times. You should also try to stay warm because cold bodies don’t heal as quickly.

Final Words

Suffice it to say, you should never go in the wild u prepared. And even though nothing can beat the experience of doing survival alone in the woods at least once to be prepared for something similar, if you have read a lot about survival before, that does add some points to your chances to survive actually.

So my honest advice is to read through this guide a couple of times, to remember the most important and basic things, and even go try out some Bushcraft survival exercises, and you will be

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