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10 Forest Survival Tips You Need to Know

10 Forest Survival Tips You Need to Know

Venturing into the wilderness requires more than just a passion for the outdoors; it demands preparation and the knowledge to handle unexpected situations.

Drawing from my military experience, where survival skills were as crucial as tactical ones, I’ve translated these vital tips for forest survival.

Let’s explore these 10 lessons that can turn you from a novice into a seasoned wilderness navigator.

1. Communicate

Before embarking on your journey, inform someone about your destination, route, and expected return time. This fundamental principle mirrors military operations where missions are thoroughly briefed and logged. Leave detailed information including contacts for local emergency services.

2. Don’t Despair

In the face of adversity, maintaining composure is your first line of defense. The ability to stay calm, think clearly, and act logically is crucial. This echoes the military mantra of “Adapt and Overcome,” where mental resilience can often tip the scales in your favor.

3. Build A Tent

Shelter is a primary survival need, offering protection from the elements. Whether using natural materials or a portable tent, your choice of shelter can significantly impact your comfort and safety. In the field, we learned to utilize whatever was available to create protective shelters, a skill just as valuable in the wilderness.

4. Ensure Water

Water is life. Knowing how to locate and purify water sources is a survival cornerstone. Just as we were trained to utilize water purification tablets or boiling in the absence of clean water, you should be prepared to make any available water safe for consumption.

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5. Keep Your Body Nourished

Understanding local flora and fauna can provide vital nutrition.

Similar to foraging skills taught in survival training, recognizing edible plants and setting traps for small game can sustain you when conventional food sources are unavailable.

6. Light A Fire

A fire serves multiple purposes: warmth, protection, and a means to cook food.

Learning various methods to start a fire, including improvisation without modern tools, was a critical skill developed during my service. The ability to create fire under any conditions is a testament to resourcefulness and preparation.

7. Learn What Types Of Bonfires Are

Different situations call for different types of fires, from cooking to signaling for help. The strategic use of fires, akin to signal flares in a military context, can mean the difference between being found or remaining lost.

8. Have Tools

A reliable knife or multi-tool is indispensable. It’s akin to the multi-purpose tools we were issued, capable of performing a myriad of tasks from preparing food to makeshift repairs. Knowing how to maintain and sharpen your tool is equally important.

9. Look For Directions

Navigational skills are paramount. Using a compass, understanding topography, and reading natural signs were essential during reconnaissance missions and are equally critical in wilderness survival.

10. Have Some First Aid Knowledge

A well-equipped first aid kit and the knowledge to use it effectively can save lives.

Training often covered basic first aid to address common injuries and conditions, emphasizing the importance of preparedness for any scenario.


Forest survival is not solely about enduring the elements but thriving through knowledge, preparation, and adaptability.

These tips, rooted in Boy Scout lessons and honed through military experience, offer a foundation for anyone seeking to navigate the wilderness confidently.

Remember, the wilderness does not discriminate; it respects only those who respect it. Equip yourself with these skills, and you’re not just surviving; you’re living.