10 Survival Skills

The folks over at the LastOneAlive blog listed these ten survival skills:

  1. How to start a fire
  2. How to catch game with snares and traps
  3. How to clean game so you can cook and eat it
  4. How to forage for food
  5. How to find water
  6. How to build a shelter
  7. How to open a can without a can opener
  8. How to defend yourself with a knife
  9. How to navigate with just a compass and a map
  10. How to mend clothing

While these are listed with unprepared survival in mind (think getting dropped in the woods a long way from anywhere without tools), they are also skills you should keep in mind when you are out backpacking.

As a backpacker,  or any camper for that matter,  you will normally prepare for the needs that these skills provide.

You’ll have a camp stove of some sort, but it helps to also have the tools and knowledge you need to start wood on fire.  You’ll probably be taking dehydrated food to eat, but if you run out,  you may still need to eat vegetable matter or trap and clean game for food.  Water is normally available if there are animals around, but you’ll have a way of purifying it for use.  You’ll have a tent and probably no food in cans.  You’ll have a knife, but should have better options than fighting a large animal with it.  You should also have a sewing kit of some sort to make mending easy.

To me, navigating with a compass and map is the most critical skill – if you want to go somewhere in particular.  We can easily get enamored of our GPS equipment, but batteries die and equipment can be damaged.  Always take a paper (preferably waterproofed) map of the area you will be in, along with a good quality compass and know how to use them.

 

Reminder: Get free topographic maps of the USA at the USGS Store.

What do you think of these as essential survival skills?  Do you have better list?  Provide your comments below or just reply if you are reading this in your email.

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