On average, we humans can go about three weeks without food, so this tends to be last on the wilderness survival priority list in most situations. As a wilderness survival guide, I encourage my students to connect with their hunter-gatherer ancestors. The reality is that the majority of our time on Earth, we humans have lived as hunter-gatherers. It is deep in our DNA.

In terms of the wilderness itself, avoid any foliage that has a chalky white appearance as this is a mold that could spread through your shelter and impact your health. Also, if a tree contains a lot of ‘lacey’ leaves, that indicates it is probably infested with insects and best to be avoided.

Consider reading some novels about the apocalypse, as well, but don't rely on these for accurate advice since you won't necessarily know how much effort the author put into research. Examples of books to read include: The Road by Cormac McCarthy, Lucifer's Hammer by Larry Niven, Alas, Babylon by Pat Frank, Earth Abides by George R. Stewart, Stephen King's The Stand, and The Day of the Triffids by John Wyndham are all great places to start (even if the apocalypse doesn't end up coming anytime soon). You've already read The Hunger Games, right?


To ensure you have the proper tools, take inventory of the various tasks you will need to perform when building shelter such as cutting, de-branching, notching, lashing, digging, and weaving. Consider what tools could help with these tasks (and all the better if one tool can address several tasks) and make sure they are in your bug-out and get-home bags as well as on your person while you’re out exploring.

Depending on the supply of materials available, the construction can take anywhere from two to five hours. Start by looking for downed trees that have branches low enough to support the topmost point, known as the ridgepole. If you only locate one tree, use it as the ridgepole – lashing in place if necessary – but if you locate two downed trees near one another, lay a sturdy branch between them.
Preperably a real snow cave, a quinzhee or a slope cave would be chosen, but those shelters are time consuming and requires some experience to do right, and in som areas like in the forest, it can be impossible due to snow depth, or to find a bank with enough drifted snow. Shelters like that are more useful above the tree-line were there are more snow and less vegitation.
The SOS Parachute (about $2,400) is compact enough to store in a cubicle, opens in about two seconds and is designed to work for the 11th floor and higher. Granted, the parachute is exactly not 82nd Airborne-grade, and a 200-pound man might find the landing a little rough. “You may twist an ankle,” said Nicolas Havett, a company executive. But in a situation serious enough to warrant a parachute, that’s a deal that many would take.

That is a big statement. That is also what I see so many people searching for, especially in contrast with the superficial values of our degenerative, consumeristic, capitalistic, western society. Perhaps more than anything else, wilderness survival served as the doorway to a deep and profound experience of connection, belonging, and meaning to my life. I've discovered along the way that my passion and purpose is to mentor others into that same profound sense of connection, belonging, and meaning that comes through wilderness survival and deep nature connection, ultimately guiding them to their deepest calling.
Hunting, fishing, and trapping are also significant endeavors, ones that take much time and practice. These are also skills that are often times unnecessary in a short term survival situation. However if you are in a wilderness survival situation for any length of time, you'll want these skills. Throwing sticks, bow and arrow, primitive fishing, spear fishing, and primitive trapping are all important to learn.
Sure, you could master jiu-jitsu. “But if it’s really on, hand-to-hand self-defense will only take you so far,” said Jason Charles, a firefighter and organizer of the New York City Prepper’s Network. To balance legality with lethality in a bug-out bag, he said, “you have to go simpler — hammers, hatchets, certain heavy tools.” That roll of old silver quarters might come in handy, too.
Do not let your ethics stand in the way of your identity. The rules are different now. Just because you decided someone isn't pulling their slack and the team should, therefore, cut their losses doesn't mean you've turned into an animal. Assess your moralities as you see fit, but understand that the world is a much different place now and you must adapt to it to stay alive and fruitful.
Regardless of what it looks like, a wilderness survival shelter should embrace these essential principles. It should provide insulation and protection from all elements. It should include a heart source, whether that is a fire, the sun, or trapping body heat. It should be placed in a good location - think high and dry. And lastly, it should offer comfort and sanctuary. After all, this will be your new home.

In terms of the wilderness itself, avoid any foliage that has a chalky white appearance as this is a mold that could spread through your shelter and impact your health. Also, if a tree contains a lot of ‘lacey’ leaves, that indicates it is probably infested with insects and best to be avoided.
Gather approximately five to six poles to lean against the ridgepole at roughly a 45-60 degree angle, enough to create a comfortable space to fit your team and gear underneath. This will serve as your grid. To create the grid frame, attach 5 to 6 poles across the frame. Weave flexible boughs between poles at right angles and then use bark or leafy branches to thatch the roof, starting from the bottom and moving upwards.

I keep looking back at this and time and time again, I find myself getting lost in the vastness of what it covers. Sure, there's specialized survival manuals out there, but this one is takes the cake for what all it covers. The illustrations (black and white) are really helpful and useful. I got this for the handy man/survival expert of the house, but find myself lost in it's detail often. Take note of the size. It's big, definitely a coffee table book sized item. But it's paperback, so relatively light. Not something you'd take on the AT. Makes me want to make my own cheese or practice the art of canning seasonal veggies.
Knowing how to create a simple shelter can also help improve your chances of survival if you are stranded in the wilderness with no way to get back to the main road within the day. Knowing how to find or create a shelter in a wilderness setting is yet another indispensable skill that any survivalist must possess. There are many survival training tips and methods to live in the wilderness but knowing how to build a shelter is one of the most important skills to have.
If you're all alone, keep a look out for lights and fires at nighttime. If you see one or more, consider venturing out yourself to make new best friends, but only if you think the end would justify the means. How far away is the light? How quickly could you get there? What would you be risking by leaving? Are there predators or obstacles in your path? You may be better off being alone, for now.

So what is a defenseless, law-abiding survivalist to do? Prepper bibles like “100 Deadly Skills,” by Clint Emerson, a former Navy SEAL, are filled with improvised alternative weapons, like a collapsible umbrella lined with wrenches, which is “not illegal to possess,” a New York City Police Department spokesman said, but “would be considered a weapon if you used it on someone.”
Preperably a real snow cave, a quinzhee or a slope cave would be chosen, but those shelters are time consuming and requires some experience to do right, and in som areas like in the forest, it can be impossible due to snow depth, or to find a bank with enough drifted snow. Shelters like that are more useful above the tree-line were there are more snow and less vegitation. 
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