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.
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.
So, where do I start? I am not a prepper. Actually, I did not even know what a prepper was until I read this book. So, you are probably wondering why I even bought it. Well, I'm getting to that point in life where I am thinking of retirement in the next ten years. I would like to find some property out of the city...away from everything. Just tired of traffic, tired of barking dogs, tired of hit and runs, tired of loud music - you get it. With living on a large plot of land, I have been keeping in mind that I need to have some things to be prepared. I'm looking at moving to Montana, and, with the thought of being snowed in a for a while, I wanted to make sure that I was prepared.
Well…with the exception of the Mayans, the time has been vague. In the Mayans’ calendar system, terribly accurate so far, the absence of any dates past December 21, 2012, evokes images of massive destruction on a global scale. Hollywood has even jumped on the moneymaking bandwagon and produced a movie called simply “2012”, that while frightening if true, had the requisite happy ending.
This is a discussion about skills and gear that will be necessary for survival. Not just in an apocalyptic situation, but also in Urban and city survival. We discuss Fire Making, Water Purification, Shelter, First Aid and Self Defense. We talk about the skills and gear needed in general to begin training or prepping and will elaborate in much more in depth videos coming up soon.
As I wrap up this wilderness survival guide, consider this. While I began my journey learning wilderness survival out of a deep, and what I now understand as an archetypal, need to be in direct relationship with my most basic needs as a human being, the learning journey itself brought many more gifts. It actually changed the way I perceived the world, bringing me to a newfound level of health and vitality, and ultimately bringing me into full connection with my passion, my power, and my purpose in life.
With a calm center, over half the struggle is over. As I mentioned earlier, the most common physical reason that people die in wilderness survival situations is exposure to the elements. A person can die from exposure in as little as three hours. You must learn how to stay warm when it is cold, how to stay cool when it is hot, and how to stay dry when it is wet. Enter the wilderness survival shelter. It can take many forms, with a classic one being the debris hut. The debris hut is a small, one person shelter that is basically a simple structure that cocoons a person in leaves, grasses, boughs, or other natural debris to keep them insulated. It is built to shed water. Just imagine a primitive tent and sleeping bag all in one.
The A-Frame shelter is constructed in much the same way as the lean-to, the only difference is that the ridgepole starts on the ground and extends up into tree, lashed at a height that allows enough space to sit underneath. In this way, two sides are constructed to create the A-frame shape, providing additional protection from weather or cold temperatures. For added warmth, locate your fire pit near the opening.
As a wilderness survival guide, I often am called upon to differentiate wilderness survival from primitive living. Often times these two are lumped together as one, but in fact they are distinct. Wilderness survival refers to the actual experience of survival in the wilderness, which may or may not be a "primitive" experience depending on the gear you have access to. Wilderness survival is usually a short term experience. Primitive Living is usually a long term experience, and refers to the experience of living in a primitive setting, practicing primitive skills for an extended period of time.
“If we look at examples of systematic social breakdowns, like Argentina in 2001, or the war in the Balkans, goods that people understood on an intrinsic level clearly carried the most value when trading — cans of food, gas, batteries, cheap Bic lighters,” he said. “A good rule of thumb: If you’d find it useful in an emergency, you’ll be able to find someone who will trade for it in an emergency.”
Imagine for a minute that you work downtown in a large city, maybe you ride the subway or take a bus to work everyday. You are in a large office building with many floors, thousands of people, and you are on the fifteen or twentieth story. If a disaster strikes how are you going to get out? I mean literally. If there is an earthquake, or a catastrophic man made event how are you going to get out of your building? How are you going to get down the street? How are you going to get home? Do you want to be one of the people covered in dust wandering around in shock? I sure don’t.

It’s the perfect time because if something does go wrong, you can always retreat back into your tent and try again the next night. The summer camping months provide the perfect opportunity to hone your survival shelter skills; however, keep in mind that when the need arises to bug out, you won’t have the luxury of choosing what time of year it is. Practice building survival shelters year-round, especially if you live in a four-season climate where summer and winter present drastically different survival scenarios.
If it’s the middle of winter and all available building supplies are frozen or buried under snow, remember that snow will have the same insulating effect as a stick-built shelter. For more cold weather survival tips, CLICK HERE. Additionally, always seek out shelter where the ground is dry. If it is raining, waterways may overflow their banks and ravines, and washes may form.
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