Basic Survival 101: Skills you should know

Basic Survival 101:  Skills you should know

With basic survival on the line, start with STOP!

STOP is the acronym for immediate action when you find yourself in adverse situations and conditions. Basic survival requires that you keep your wits about you.

Sit down to calm down. This also stops you from continuing to wander when your lost. This will help you resist fear and panic while preserving emotional and mental clarity, key components of basic survival.

Think about your situation; Engage the brain, it is your greatest survival tool.


1) What is happening and WHY?

2) What will happen NEXT?

3) What are my OPTIONS?

Organize available resources. Make a mental checklist of everything you have, both natural and man made. Empty your pockets and use your imagination. Humans are the most inventive species to ever walk the earth.

Ask Yourself;

Is there a source of water nearby?
Is there immediate shelter available or the resources to make shelter?
Do you have a method of and are there materials readily available for building a fire?

Plan & Execute

Create a plan be flexible, planning to improvise must be a part of any good plan!  Your plan of action will best use your available resources, meet your physiological needs and conserve available energy.

Focus on:

First aid, Fire, Shelter, Water and Rescue.

Keep in mind, your situation may dictate these priorities in differing order. Building a fire in the rain isn't easy and every minute spent in a downpour can increase thermal heat loss.

Top Five Components of Basic Survival

Number 1: Attitude
Your attitude will determine if  you survive. Your mental fortitude is the the biggest difference between life and death.

Consider The Four Rules of Three

Survive 3 minutes without air
Go 3 hours without a regulated body temperature (shelter)
Stretch 3 days without water
Make it 3 weeks without food

Number 2: Shelter
Shelter Considerations:
- Location (away from hazards, near materials)
- Insulation (from ground, rain, wind, air)
- Heat Source (body heat or fire-heated)
- Personal or Group Shelter

Natural shelters like caves, hollow stumps and logs, rocky overhands are ideal. Building a debris hut, lean-to, debris tipi, scout pit or snow shelter are critical skills. Remember to insulate your self from the ground no matter what shelter you select.

Number 3: Water
The best sources for clean drinking water in a wilderness setting are springs, head-water streams, and collecting morning dew.

Popular modern methods for purifying and treating water include filtering pumps and chemical treatments.  The most widely used and proven method for safely purifying water is boiling. Bringing water to a boil and allowing it to continue to boil for 2-3 minutes will kill bacteria and viruses.

Number 4: Fire
Making fire is one of the most useful basic survival skills. It helps warm the body, or your shelter, dry clothes, boil water, and cook food. Fire can provide psychological support in a survival situation, creating a sense of security and safety.

You should always carry multiple fire-starting tools, a lighter, matches, flint and steel.

Number 5: Food
Food is not as important as shelter or water in the top five. Keeping some quick super-food bars in your pack or vehicle can make the difference. In fact, keeping a bug out bag with you can cover all of these bases!