You’ve been preparing for months for an outdoor hike: you’ve acquired equipment, exercised, chosen your destination, and stocked up on groceries. And behold, by an incident, you get lost in the middle of the woods. Anyone who has seen movies like “127 Hours”, “The Revenant” and “Six Days, Seven Nights” knows that learning some survival tips in the woods is essential to not having life transformed into a true Hollywood drama. Agree Are you looking for a safe trail? This is the right place! Read on and learn 10 Boy Scout Lessons!
Tell a few people where you’re going before you hit the road. Make sure you leave contact numbers (from the inn, the campsite and neighbouring hospitals) with close friends and family, explaining the route you plan to take and how long the trail should take. That way, they will have references in case the police need to be called.
2. Don’t despair
This is the time for you to stay calm and think positive. Analyze the situation from a realistic point of view and keep your mental and physical sanity. If lighting a fire is not working, take your time and try not to panic.
3. Build a tent
Keeping calm is important for being creative! There are a number of ways to build shelters — and each has its pros and cons. Look around and see what can protect you from heat and cold. When in doubt, take a portable tent with you.
4. Ensure water
Your body won’t last more than three days without water. If you are lucky enough to be near a stream, be sure to boil the liquid before using it. If there are no options around, prepare a container to store rainwater.
5. Keep your body nourished
It can be very frustrating to have to go looking for food when you are in a survival situation. After all, we are used to finding a supermarket close by when we hear our stomach growl, right? Before leaving, familiarize yourself with the edible species of the region and try to understand which plants cannot be ingested.
It is also important to remember that you may have to set aside some requirements. When we are trying to survive, everything can provide the nutrients with our body needs, including leaves, fruits, eggs, and even insects.
Also, learn how to make traps to capture small animals such as rabbits. It is important to secure proteins to have strengths. Other nutrients, such as fibre and vitamins, should also be provided.
6. Light a fire
Lighting a fire is a magical gesture that requires energy and concentration. In addition to scaring away insects and predators, keeping you warm and cooking food brings a sense of welcome, which is important for the mental health of those alone in the forest.
A clearing is a great place to build a fire as it lessens the risk of fire. Clean the area well to avoid the possibility of the fire spreading and remember that you need fuel, heat and an oxidizer. In a forest, your fuel will be dry grass and wood.
Look for pieces of dry wood in different sizes: the smallest will be used at the beginning of the structure. The large ones should be left for the night when they will burn longer.
Assembly is crucial to the success of the bonfire. Place the dried leaves first and a few thin sticks in the centre. Then it is necessary to have a source of heat to light the fire. For this, you can use a lighter, match or a flintlock.
If you don’t have these materials, you can use a magnifying glass, holding it up to the sun, or the lens of a flashlight. A condom with water or a pet bottle also fulfils this function.
The primitive (and more difficult) way is to rub together a piece of wood and a stick. This method requires prior experience and some energy. Let us remember that, especially when there is little food, we must spare ourselves unnecessary efforts.
After lighting the first flames, add more kindling and then the thicker wood. Be very careful not to leave objects too close to the fire.
7. Learn what types of bonfires are
Did you understand the step by step to make a fire? So, it’s time to learn what types of fire pits are and when to use each one. Come on?
- Hunter’s campfire: is ideal for cooking, it is surrounded by green wood and stone. To keep the fire low, add firewood little by little.
- Signal fire: good for signalling a place, showing that someone has been there. To make it, just add green leaves, which produce the smoke.
- Reflective fire: when it’s cold, it helps to warm up, directing the heat to one place. To do so, just put a kind of wall behind the fire, using green wood or stones.
- Star bonfire: this type of bonfire stays lit for a long time and doesn’t need a lot of wood. When the medium starts to burn, just push the wood, keeping the shape of an asterisk.
The signal fire can be combined with the old trick we learned in movies: in a clearing, write a request for HELP, SOS or HELP in giant letters, with the help of stones. Also, carry a metallic object to make the sign reflections.
8. Have tools
A pocket knife or a Swiss Army knife can save your life in the middle of the forest. Before travelling, be sure to carry these tools with you, as you never know when you’ll have to cut, protect or prepare food.
It’s also important to know how to sharpen it like a real MacGyver! For this, you will need a stone. Position the knife at a 15 degree angle to the stone and make circular movements.
9. Look for directions
In addition to carrying a compass with you and learning to use it, keep an eye on the stars and follow the course of rivers and mountains. They can take you to villages where you will find ways to communicate with your family.
10. Have some first aid knowledge
Have a first aid kit equipped with the basics to deal with minor accidents. Include materials such as tape, scissors, pain relievers, cotton, antiseptics and saline. If you take medication regularly, don’t forget to put them in your backpack as well. Try to learn how to take care of injuries online, it won’t take a lot of time and can be a useful learning experience in many situations throughout life.
Just as important as carrying a first aid kit with you is knowing how to use it. In the case of venomous animal bites, wash the area with water and saline solution. Keep still, so that the poison does not spread quickly, and drink plenty of water, conserving the hydration of the body. Find a hospital quickly. Do not tourniquet or suction the wound, as this can contaminate the wound and increase the chance of necrosis. The bite of venomous animals can only be treated with the use of antivenom and professional monitoring.
So, be careful: wear shoes, flintlocks and long pants try not to walk in places where there are snakes, pack your food and garbage well (rodents attract snakes) and don’t put your hands in holes or piles of foliage.